Filtering/Searching and pagination with the Python module for VMware Horizon

Yesterday I added the first method to the VMware Horizon Python module that makes use of filtering while the day before that I added pagination. VMware{Code} has a document describing available options for both but let me give some explanation.

Pagination

Pagination is where you perform a query but only get an x amount of objects returned by default. The rest of the objects are available on the next page or pages. This is exactly what I ran into with the vmware.hv.helper Powershell module a long time ago. With the REST api’s this is rather easy to add since if there are more pages/objects left the headers will contain a key named HAS_MORE_RECORDS. For all the methods that I add where pagination is supported you don’t need to handle this though as I have added it to the method itself. What I did add was the option the change the maximum page size. I default to 100 and the maximum is 1000, if you supply an interrupt higher than 1000 this will be corrected to 1000.

Filtering

Filtering needs some more work from the user of the module to be able to use it.

What options are there for filtering?

For the type we have: And, Or and Not

For the filters themselves there are: Equals, NotEquals, Contains, StartsWith and Between.

The formula is you pick one from the first row and combine that with one or more from the second row.

To apply these the document describes the base schema like this:

{
    “type”: ”And”,
    “filter”: <filter object>
}

and a filter object looks like this:

{
    "type":"Equals",
    "name":"domain",
    "value":"ad-example0"
}

or this for a range:

{
    "type":"Between",
    "name":"assignedUsers",
    "fromValue":"10",
    "toValue":"20"
}

Combining both into a single object looks like this:

{
    "type":"Not",
    "filter": {
        "type":"Equals",
        "name":"domain",
        "value":"ad-example0"
    }
}

This all looks like a dictionary with a nested dictionary when translating it to Python but when you have multiple filters it suddenly looks like this:

{
    "type":"And",
  "filters": [
        {
            "type":"Equals", 
            "name":"domain",
            "value":"ad-example0"
        },
        {
            "type":"StartsWith", 
            "name":"name",
            "value":"test"
        }
    ]
}

otherwise know as a dictionary with a list of dictionaries in it and since the latter also works with a single dict inside the list I have taken that route. The document also describes encoding and minifying the code to it works for a REST api call but I have done all of that for you so no need to worry about it, just build the dictionary and you are good!

Now let’s actually perform a search

First I create my base object with the type AND and a list for the filters key

filter_dict = {}
filter_dict["type"] = "And"
filter_dict["filters"] = []

Next I create the filters object where the type is contains and I filter on the field name with the value LP-00

filter1={}
filter1["type"] = "Contains"
filter1["name"] = "name"
filter1["value"] = "LP-00"

And now I add the filters1 object to the filter_dict filters list

filter["filters"].append(filter1)

and I get the machines with a pagesize of 1 to show the pagination (the pool with these machines only has 2 😉 )

machines = obj.get_machines(maxpagesize=1, filter = filter_dict)

And this would be the entire python script

import requests, getpass, urllib, json
import vmware_horizon

requests.packages.urllib3.disable_warnings()

url="https://loftcbr01.loft.lab"
username = "m_wouter"
domain = "loft.lab"
pw = getpass.getpass()

hvconnectionobj = vmware_horizon.Connection(username = username,domain = domain,password = pw,url = url)
hvconnectionobj.hv_connect()

obj = vmware_horizon.Inventory(url=hvconnectionobj.url, access_token=hvconnectionobj.access_token)

filter_dict = {}
filter_dict["type"] = "And"
filter_dict["filters"] = []
filter1={}
filter1["type"] = "Contains"
filter1["name"] = "name"
filter1["value"] = "LP-00"

filter["filters"].append(filter1)

machines = obj.get_machines(maxpagesize=1, filter = filter_dict)

for i in machines:
    print(i["name"])

hvconnectionobj.hv_disconnect()

And it shows this in python:

My #100DaysOfCode #Python Challenge == VMware_Horizon Module

So after 5 weeks of following the #Python training for my 100DaysOfCode challenge I have decided that my main goal for the challenge itself will be to work on the Horizon Python Module. With the course some things I find really boring and I need a real target to really learn things instead of just repeating someone else is doing as well.

I will still do some of the fun parts of it in time like databases and such when I need it but for now I will focus on the module. This weekend I added handling of the Instant Clone domain accounts to the module and also added documentation both in the module and the github repository. I know I will still learn heaps because almost all of it is still rather new and repetition works best for me.

Added Methods to the module

  • External Class
    • get_ad_domains
  • Settings class
    • get_ic_domain_accounts
    • get_ic_domain_account
    • new_ic_domain_account
    • update_ic_domain_account
    • delete_ic_domain_account

The VMware Labs flings monthly for January 2021 – it’s OSOT time again!

January was a good month for me as I started the Python 100DaysOfCode challenge but the VMware engineers also did plenty of work. Seven flingss received an update and it looks like we have a single new release.

New Release

Desktop Container Tools

Updates

Demo Appliance for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid

Power vRA Cloud

DRS Dump Insight

vSphere Software Asset Management Tool

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Workspace ONE Discovery

Python Client for VMC on AWS

New Releases

[sta_anchor id=”dct” /]

Desktop Container Tools

Desktop Container Tools is a free tool that allows you to do basic management of vctl (a CLI tool shipped with VMware Fusion) container engine on macOS for running containers and Kubernetes clusters.

Features

  • Easy&Access

Handy management of vctl container engine through the user interface and Touch Bar. Configure your virtual machines for containers and Kubernetes cluster without CLI.

  • Multi-language Support

Currently support English & Simplified Chinese. More languages are underway.

  • Light & Free

It’s light and it’s free.

Updated Flings

[sta_anchor id=”daftkg” /]

Demo Appliance for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid

The Demo Appliance for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is a sample appliance to help customers to learn and deploy Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.

Changelog

Jan 05, 2021 – v1.2.1

  • Support for latest TKG 1.2.1 release
  • Support for TKG Workload Cluster upgrade workflow from K8s 1.18.10 to 1.19.3
  • Updated embedded Harbor to use self-sign TLS certificate (new feature of TKG 1.2.1)
  • Updated to latest version of Harbor (2.1.2)

Known Issue:

DNS resolution issue when installing TKG Extensions. Workaround is to add the following snippet to kapp-controller.yaml

volumeMounts:
- mountPath: /etc/hosts
name: etc
subPath: hosts
volumes:
- name: etc
hostPath:
path: /etc

[sta_anchor id=”pvrac” /]

Power vRA Cloud

PowervRA Cloud is a PowerShell module that abstracts the VMware vRealize Automation Cloud APIs to a set of easily used PowerShell functions. This tool provides a comprehensive command line environment for managing your VMware vRealize Automation Cloud environment.

Changelog

Version 1.3

  • 4 x New Cmdlets for VMC
  • 5 x New Cmdlets for AWS
  • Powershell 7 on Windows Support
  • Bugfixes

[sta_anchor id=”drsdi” /]

DRS Dump Insight

DRS Dump Insight is a portal that vSPhere administrators can use to analyze why DRS performed actions.

Changelog

Version 2.0

  • Added support for 7.0 and 7.0U1 dumps.
  • Toggle added for selective analysis of all full dumps.
  • Bug fixes and backend improvements

[sta_anchor id=”vsamt” /]

vSphere Software Asset Management Tool

The vSphere Software Asset Management (vSAM) is a tool that collects and summarizes vSphere product deployment information. It calls on vSphere APIs for deployment data and produces a PDF report that the customer can consult as a part of their infrastructure review and planning process. This lightweight Java application runs on Windows, Linux or Mac OS.

Changelog

Version 1.3 Update

  • Show Tanzu products in the report.
  • Bug fixes.

[sta_anchor id=”osot” /]

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Building a new golden image? Use the OS Optimizer tool to let it perform better but please test test test if all your apps are working.

Changelog

January 2021, b2001 Bug Fixes

  • All optimization entries have been added back into the main user template. This allows manual tuning and selection of all optimizations.
  • Fixed two hardware acceleration selections were not previously controlled by the Common Option for Visual Effect to disable hardware acceleration.

Optimize

  • During an Optimize, the optimization selections are automatically exported to a default json file (%ProgramData%\VMware\OSOT\OptimizedTemplateData.json).

Analyze

  • When an Analyze is run, if the default json file exists (meaning that this image has already been optimized), this is imported and used to select the optimizations and the Common Options selections with the previous choices.
  • If the default selections are required, on subsequent runs of the OS Optimization Tool, delete the default json file, relaunch the tool and run Analyze.

Command Line

  • The OptimizedTemplateData.json file can also be used from the command line with the -applyoptimization parameter.

Optimizations

  • Changed entries for Hyper-V services to not be selected by default. These services are required for VMs deployed onto Azure. Windows installation sets these to manual (trigger) so these so not cause any overhead on vSphere, when left with the default setting.

[sta_anchor id=”wsoned” /]

Workspace ONE Discovery

VMware Workspace ONE UEM is used to manage Windows 10 endpoints, whether it be Certificate Management, Application Deployment or Profile Management. The Discovery Fling enables you to view these from the device point of view and review the Workspace ONE related services, which applications have been successfully deployed, use the granular view to see exactly what has been configured with Profiles, view User & Machine certificates and see which Microsoft Windows Updates have been applied.

Changelog

January 14, 2021 – Version 1.1

  • Updated application icon (ICO)
  • Monitoring the VMware Horizon Client, VMware Digital Experience Telemetry and VMware Hub Health services

[sta_anchor id=”pcfvrmcoaws” /]

Python Client for VMC on AWS

Python Client for VMware Cloud on AWS is an open-source Python-based tool. Written in Python, the tool enables VMware Cloud on AWS users to automate the consumption of their VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC.

Changelog

Version 1.2

  • Added a Dockerfile to build a Docker image to run PyVMC
  • Added Egress counters visibility
  • Added routing table visibility
  • Added L2VPN support
  • Added Nested Group support

The VMware Labs flings monthly for December 2021: Happy New Year

Let’s start with wishing all of you a happy New Year!

<Insert random stolen 2021 fireworks picture>

Just like me with my bog it’s been quiet on the flings front. No new ones but 4 received updates.

HCIBench

VMware Event Broker Appliance

Supernova – Accelerating Machine Learning Inference

App Volumes Packaging Utility

Updates

[sta_anchor id=”hcibench” /]

HCIBench

HCIBench is one of many performance benchmarking tools, make sure to use it wisely with real life data sizes.

Changelog

Version 2.5.2

  • fixed testing issue for hybrid cluster
  • fixed testing issue for the version prior to vSphere 6.7
  • fixed easy-run issue with self-defined ip range
  • replaced icon
  • upgrade httpd to 2.4.46

[sta_anchor id=”veba” /]

VMware Event Broker Appliance

All kinds of changes to the VMware Event Broker Appliance fling, not only a new logo. You can check them out on William Lams blog here.

[sta_anchor id=”samli” /]

Supernova – Accelerating Machine Learning Inference

Project Supernova is to build a common machine learning inference service framework by enabling machine learning inference accelerators across edge endpoint devices, edge systems and cloud, with or without hardware accelerators.

Changelog

Version 1.2 Update 

  • Support Xilinx Cloud FPGA

[sta_anchor id=”avpu” /]

App Volumes Packaging Utility

The App Volumes Packaging Utility helps to package applications. With this fling, packagers can add the necessary metadata to MSIX app attach VHDs so they can be used alongside existing AV format packages. The MSIX format VHDs will require App Volumes 4, version 2006 or later and Windows 10, version 2004 or later.

Changelog

Version 1.1 Update

  • Rebase with the latest code

The VMware Labs flings monthly for November 2020: time for a new OSOT

In November only one new fling was released while seven other received update. One that received an update was the Horizon Session Recording fling that I blogged about at the time of release. Also it looks like the VSAN team is letting all its tools loose on the community because yet another tool for VSAN has been released (Storage Simulator Using Cellular Automata). The OS Optimization tool received some nice command-line features to improve your automated Golden images builds.

New Release

Storage Simulator Using Cellular Automata

Updates

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Supernova – Accelerating Machine Learning Inference

vRealize Build Tools

Horizon Session Recording

Sample Data Platform on VMware Cloud Foundation with VMware Tanzu for Kubernetes Provisioning

VMware Appliance for Folding@Home

ESXi Arm Edition

New Release

[sta_anchor id=”ssuca” /]

Storage Simulator Using Cellular Automata

Storage Simulator Using Cellular Automata is loosely based on the principles of cellular automata (CA) to model the performance characteristics of data path in a vSAN cluster. In general, CA can used to model and study any complex system with number of elements operating in parallel having short range relationships that as whole exhibit emergent behavior. When simulating a storage stack, we are modelling transmission of data blocks across a network of hardware resources communicating with each other through various interconnects. These includes processors, caches, DRAM, SSDs HDDs, PCIe links, ethernet links etc.

When modelling an IO request such as read/write, vSAN software stack applies various functions as the data block moves through this network. These functions include, data replication, parity calculation, checksum, encryption, compression etc. Some of these can lead to IO amplification.

This Fling implements a standalone vSAN simulation utility to aid developers in getting ideal speed-of-light (SOL) performance of a given cluster. This can be used as a starting point to rapidly iterate various ideas/features by making small changes to simulator and quantifying its potential performance impact. It can also be used by customers/partners to identify potential bottlenecks of their deployment under various type of workloads.

Updates

[sta_anchor id=”osot” /]

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Always good to see the OSOT getting some new features, bug fixes but laso some nice new command line features and also very important extra knobs to use for Office.

Changelog

November, 2020, b2000

Bug Fixes

  • Resolved the issue that stopped automatic logon in Server and WVD edition after Sysprep process.
  • Resolved a reboot prompt problem which displayed in process of generalizing on Win10 1607 LTSB.
  • Resolved the issue of failing to disable anti-virus feature on Windows 10 2004.
  • Fixed issue where re-enabling Windows Update would pull down feature updates by default.

Common Options

  • Common options selections are now remembered between different runs of the OSOT.
  • For all tabs, user now can apply different Common Options settings multiple times on optimized system.
  • Under Update tab, introduce a new option to switch on/off update feature of Office 365, 2016, 2019
  • Under Store Apps tab, disable checkbox for removed built-in apps

Update

  • New option to defer or directly trigger feature updates
  • New option to defer or directly trigger quality updates
  • New option to skip Office Click-to-Run updates
  • Added commands to stop and disable the App Volumes services when re-enabling Windows Update. These are then set back to automatic when Windows Update is disabled again.

Optimizations

  • Added the ability to export and import selected optimization items on the Optimize page (Export Selections and Import Selections).

Changes:

  • Default for “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service” is now unselected by default to resolve missed language bar issue.
  • Default for “Connected Devices Platform Service” is now unselected by default.

New:

  • Turn off account privacy notifications in Office 365 and Office 2019

[sta_anchor id=”samli” /]

Supernova – Accelerating Machine Learning Inference

Project Supernova is to build a common machine learning inference service framework by enabling machine learning inference accelerators across edge endpoint devices, edge systems and cloud, with or without hardware accelerators.

Changelog

Version 1.1 Update

Support Bitfusion
K8S and docker-compose deployment

[sta_anchor id=”vbt” /]

vRealize Build Tools

vRealize Build Tools provides tools to development and release teams implementing solutions based on vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO). The solution targets Virtual Infrastructure Administrators and Solution Developers working in parallel on multiple vRealize-based projects who want to use standard DevOps practices.

Changelog

Version 2.10.0 Update

  • [MVN] Improvements in package installer
  • [vROps] Regex support in YAML definitions for vROps content
  • [vRLI] Regex support in YAML definitions for vRLI content
  • [POL] Added Polyglot and ABX support:
    • NodeJS, Python and PowerShell code support
  • new archetype: com.vmware.pscoe.polyglot.archetypes:package-polyglot-archetype
    • two new project types: com.vmware.pscoe.polyglot:polyglot-project; com.vmware.pscoe.serverless:serverless-project
    • tooling for compiling, bundling and packaging: polyglotpkg
  • [TS] Added support for description field for workflow inputs and outputs in the Workflow decorator
  • [vRA-NG] Fixed NPE error during custom resources import

[sta_anchor id=”hsr” /]

Horizon Session Recording

No need to explain the Horizon Session Recording anymore, just hit the link that I have posted at the beginning of this post.

Changelog

Version 2.2.0

Server Changes:

  • Added the ability to import server settings easily from another running server.
  • Added the ability to filter searches based on farm / pool.
  • Added the ability to lock and unlock sessions from the session view page.

Agent Changes:

1: Misc bugfixes.
2: PowerShell API to interact with the Recording agent, to perform such tasks as:

  • Start a session recording.
  • Stop a session recording.
  • Troubleshoot connectivity issues.
  • View machine configuration
  • Add a trusted certificate.

[sta_anchor id=”sdpvcfvtk” /]

Sample Data Platform on VMware Cloud Foundation with VMware Tanzu for Kubernetes Provisioning

With this Fling, you will leverage your VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 deployment and stand a sample data platform on a Tanzu Kubernetes Grid guest cluster in less than 20-minutes comprising of Kafka, Spark, Solr, and ELK.

Changelog

Version Update 1.1

  • Bug fix for storage class for bitnami kafka

[sta_anchor id=”vaffh” /]

VMware Appliance for Folding@Home

This Fling is a vSphere Appliance that contains the Folding@Home client software. Upon deploying the VMware Appliance for Folding@Home, the user will be prompted to enter information to configure the Folding@Home software. Once the appliance is deployed, the Folding@Home client is running and ready for Working Units. The Fling is also pre-configured to allow remote management of the Folding@Home client. For more information on the Folding@Home Project and how we can be a Force for Good against diseases like the Coronavirus, visit the website www.foldingathome.org.

Nov 18, 2020 – v1.0.5

  • F@H software has been updated to latest 7.6.21

VMware-Appliance-FaH_1.0.5.ova
MD5: 31d1a0c3dd4c308694f24cae77baee95

[sta_anchor id=”esxiae” /]

ESXi Arm Edition

Hello ESXi-Arm Fling participants!

Over the past several years, you’ve seen us demonstrate our virtualization technology on the Arm platform across several use cases, everything from running mission critical workloads on a windmill, to running on the SmartNIC, to running on AWS Graviton in the cloud. We realized that the resilient platform created for the datacenter can be equally valuable in non-traditional environments. We’ve learned a lot from exploratory discussions with customers and Arm Silicon Partners.

Changelog

November 30, 2020 – v1.2

Note: Upgrade is NOT possible, only fresh installation is supported. If you select “Preserve VMFS” option, you can re-register your existing Virtual Machines.

  • UI: Disable datastore browsing when no datastores are present
  • PSCI: Fix missing context_id argument for CPU_ON calls
  • GICv2: Always enable SGIs, as GIC-500
  • arm64: Support for big-endian guests
  • Remove requirements/restrictions on initrd for UEFI-less VMs

Build 17230755
VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-17230755.aarch64.iso

ControlUp loves Horizon Session Recording!

Ok maybe it’s more me than ControlUp but the usual audience on this blogs knows that I work for ControlUp and that I love the VMware flings. Recently we received the question from several South-America based customers if we where able to start the Horizon Session Recordings using a Script Based Action. Technically we would have been able to but with the current version we would have to add the user to an ad group that was configured for this and than would be at the mercy of AD replication for the recording to actually start. Que Trentent Tye who reached out to the one and only Andrew Morgan (imho king of the VMware Horizon related flings) if it would be possible to add an API or PowerShell module to start the recordings. I guess Andrew’s reaction was that he saw the use case for this and within no-time he had a beta version ready for us that had a Powershell module. By the time you read this the new version has been added to the flings site that includes all of these goodies and you can find it here.

<I wanted to insert a picture of Andrew here wearing a crown but that was too much>

The Horizon Session Recording fling

First let’s look at what the Horizon Session Recording fling actually does.

VMware Horizon Session Recording allows administrators of a VMware Horizon environment to record their users activity in their Blast Extreme virtual desktop and application sessions. Recordings are uploaded from the agent devices to the central web service, for central storage and ease of viewing.

The Session Recordings are stored as MP4 files for watching via the web console or downloading to play in a local player.

So we have an agent> server application where the videos are stored on the server. During the setup I found that this was very easy but configuring a proper SSL certificate makes things a lot easier as you otherwise need to supply the thumbprint of the self-signed certificate during installation of the agent or in the registry.

The server interface is easy enough with the standard dashboard showing recent recordings while on the Recordings tab you can search for for specific recordings.

The agent is a plain installer that only asks for the server location and the SSL certificate thumbprint. The last one is only needed when the certificate itself is not trusted, if you used a VA signed certificate for the server there’s no need to enter the thumbprint.

Starting a recording

As said in the previous versions of the recorder it was required to configure an ad group and add users to that group to record their sessions. With this version we get a powershell module installed with the agent. It gets even better because if you copy the entire /api folder from the agent installation folder to another system you’re perfectly able to start recordings from there.

Starting a recording using powershell is a matter of importing the proper dll

import-module Horizon.SessionRecording.PowerShell.dll

And now the user can start the recording themselves if they have too many rights by using Start-HSRSessionRecording -SessionID %sessionid%. The session ID can be found as a metric in ControlUp or in the task manager if you add the column under users.

Start-HSRSessionRecording -SessionID 1

My user clearly didn’t have enough rights on the system so I got an error, actually not a bad thing so users can’t easily overload the server this way.

Update: Andrew confirmed this is by design to stop users from recording each other.

Starting the recording remote is a matter of adding the computername to the command

Start-HSRSessionRecording -ComputerName pod02-2001 -SessionID 1

Here you also see in the bottom right corner the message that the user receives when a recording is started.

And stopping is a matter of this command.

Stop-HSRSessionRecording -ComputerName pod02-2001 -SessionID 1

Other Cmdlets in the PS module

Integrating with ControlUp

To integrate the Horizon session recording with ControlUp I have created two basic Script Actions. both use three arguments, besides the required SessionId I add the username and machine name in the output so it’s obvious for whom the recording was started.

$sessionId=$args[0]
$username=$args[1]
$computer=$args[2]

try{
    $InstallDir = Get-ItemPropertyValue -path "hklm:\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\SessionRecordingAgent" -Name installdir
}
catch{
    write-host "Error determining the Horizon Session recording installation location. Please make sure the Horizon Sesison recording Agent is Installed."
}
try{
    import-module "$($InstallDir)\api\horizon.sessionrecording.powershell.dll"
}
catch{
    write-host "Error loading the Horizon Session Recording PowerShell Module. Make sure the latest vesrion of the Horizon Session Recording Agent is installed"
}
try{
    Start-HSRSessionRecording -SessionID $sessionId
}
Catch{
    write-host "Error starting the recording"
}

write-host "Started session recording for $username on $computer"
$sessionId=$args[0]
$username=$args[1]
$computer=$args[2]

try{
    $InstallDir = Get-ItemPropertyValue -path "hklm:\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\SessionRecordingAgent" -Name installdir
}
catch{
    write-host "Error determining the Horizon Session recording installation location. Please make sure the Horizon Sesison recording Agent is Installed."
}
try{
    import-module "$($InstallDir)\api\horizon.sessionrecording.powershell.dll"
}
catch{
    write-host "Error loading the Horizon Session Recording PowerShell Module. Make sure the latest vesrion of the Horizon Session Recording Agent is installed"
}
try{
    stop-HSRSessionRecording -SessionID $sessionId
}
Catch{
    write-host "Error stopping the recording"
}

write-host "Stopped session recording for $username on $computer"

Both these script will get better error handling and notifications in the future but you still see the old error in the background but with the notification that the recording was started.

And stopping the recording

And that shows how easy it is to control the Horizon Session Recording using a Script Based Action. If you combine this with a trigger, cpu usage for example you might be able to capture what is causing that spike, just remember to also create a trigger than stops it after the cpu goes down again.

Changelog

Version 2.2.0

Server Changes:

  • Added the ability to import server settings easily from another running server.
  • Added the ability to filter searches based on farm / pool.
  • Added the ability to lock and unlock sessions from the session view page.

Agent Changes:

1: Misc bugfixes.
2: PowerShell API to interact with the Recording agent, to perform such tasks as:

  • Start a session recording.
  • Stop a session recording.
  • Troubleshoot connectivity issues.
  • View machine configuration
  • Add a trusted certificate.

The VMware Labs flings monthly for October 2020

First of all I hope that everyone is staying safe en sound and keeping their social distance. Over here we’ve been back to a light lockdown again but at least most of the shops are still open. I just opened the flings site and the VMware engineers have been dam busy! This are the tabs I had after opening all of them.

If I count it right I have six new flings and another eight received updates, I can’t remember the last time we had so much activity on the flings front. The new flings include one of the most anticipated VMware products for the last years: ESXi on Arm!

New Releases

Sample Data Platform on VMware Cloud Foundation with VMware Tanzu for Kubernetes Provisioning

vSphere Pod Autoscaler

Workspace ONE Discovery

ESXi Arm Edition

Horizon Peripherals Intelligence

Storage Performance Tester

Updating Flings

vRealize Build Tools

VMCA Certificate Generator

USB Network Native Driver for ESXi

Demo Appliance for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid

Workspace ONE App Analyzer for macOS

App Volumes Migration Utility

True SSO Diagnostic Utility

HCIBench

New Releases

[sta_anchor id=”sdpvcfvtkp” /]

Sample Data Platform on VMware Cloud Foundation with VMware Tanzu for Kubernetes Provisioning

With this Fling, you will leverage your VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 deployment and stand a sample data platform on a Tanzu Kubernetes Grid guest cluster in less than 20-minutes comprising of Kafka, Spark, Solr, and ELK.

Additionally, this Fling comes with a market data sample application (using real market data from dxFeed) that shows how all these data platform components work together.

[sta_anchor id=”vpa” /]

vSphere Pod Autoscaler

This Fling is useful for vSphere PodVM users who want to perform auto-scaling on vSphere PodVMs based on memory utilization.

This python script is intended to implement the Horizontal Pod Autoscaler algorithm for podVM for the vSphere 7.0 with Kubernetes. The implementation follows the algorithm from the official Kubernetes documents: https://kubernetes.io/docs/tasks/run-application/horizontal-pod-autoscale/

This script will automatically scale the number of PodVMs in the environment. The script will perform the following actions:

  1. The script will retrieve the memory utilization of PodVMs in the environment
  2. The script will then allow users to provide the memory threshold for PodVMs
  3. The script will then calculate the desired number of replicas based on the memory threshold and utilization
  4. The script will automatically scale the PodVMs to the desired number of replicas calculated in step #3

[sta_anchor id=”wsoned” /]

Workspace ONE Discovery

VMware Workspace ONE UEM is used to manage Windows 10 endpoints, whether it be Certificate Management, Application Deployment or Profile Management. The Discovery Fling enables you to view these from the device point of view and review the Workspace ONE related services, which applications have been successfully deployed, use the granular view to see exactly what has been configured with Profiles, view User & Machine certificates and see which Microsoft Windows Updates have been applied.

Discovery provides you a view of the Managed device and can be used to help with troubleshooting.

[sta_anchor id=”esxiae” /]

ESXi Arm Edition

Hello ESXi-Arm Fling participants!

Over the past several years, you’ve seen us demonstrate our virtualization technology on the Arm platform across several use cases, everything from running mission critical workloads on a windmill, to running on the SmartNIC, to running on AWS Graviton in the cloud. We realized that the resilient platform created for the datacenter can be equally valuable in non-traditional environments. We’ve learned a lot from exploratory discussions with customers and Arm Silicon Partners.

Now we’d like to give our customers a chance to evaluate this technology in their own environments. This evaluation program is for the enterprise architects who are considering the viability of virtualizing Arm workloads, for the test/dev team looking for a way to spin up Arm environments, and for the tinkerers who simply want to explore running ESXi-Arm in a small form factor Edge environment. We’re interested to understand what features you will find most valuable, and how you will want to deploy this technology.

As there has been an update for this fling already here’s the changelog:

Changelog

October 22, 2020 – v1.1

Note: Upgrade is NOT possible, only fresh installation is supported. If you select “Preserve VMFS” option, you can re-register your existing Virtual Machines.

  • Fix for https://flings.vmware.com/esxi-arm-edition/bugs/1098 (PSOD adding to VDS)
  • Support for Arm N1 SDP platform
  • Support for VMs on Neoverse N1 CPU
  • Pass-thru stability improvements to LS1046A and LX2160A platforms
  • Fix for vCenter/DRS incorrect CPU usage
  • Fix for VM crash when VM storage fills up
  • Stability fix for non-coherent DMA device support
  • Installer: tolerate RAM size within 4% of 4GB instead of 3.125 (for the otherwise unsupported RK3399 boards)
  • Serial port handling improvements (for unsupported/unknown boards, to be a bit more resilient of firmware configuration errors)
    • Documentation Updates:
      Moved and expanded iSCSI doc for Pi doc to main ESXi-Arm Fling doc
    • Added LS1046ARDB docs (including ref to it from main ESXi-Arm doc and Fling website)
    • Fixed Ampere server name and links (its HR330A/HR350A, not SR-something)
    • Added Arm N1SDP document (including ref to it from main ESXi-Arm doc)
    • Updated GuestOSes known to work with ESXi-Arm including new “Verified” section
    • Updated instruction to update EEPROM for Pi doc

Build 17068872
VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-17068872.aarch64.iso

October 06, 2020 – v1.0 (Initial Release)

Build 16966451

VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-16966451.aarch64.iso

[sta_anchor id=”hpi” /]

Horizon Peripherals Intelligence

Horizon Peripherals Intelligence is an online self-serviced diagnosis service that can help increase the satisfaction when using peripheral devices with Horizon product by both the end users and the admin user. Currently, we support diagnosis for the following device categories – USB storage devices, USB printers, USB scanners, Cameras. We will continue to cover more device categories in the future.

[sta_anchor id=”spt” /]

Storage Performance Tester

Storage Performance Tester is a one-click storage performance test tool, which is able to collect IOPS, latency and CPU cycles per I/O for ESXi storage stack. This tool automates all the testing steps including the customized VMs deployment, I/O workload running, and storage performance analysis. It displays the performance metrics through multiple visualized graphical charts. The only thing that users need to do is enter one command and wait for the performance report of your server.

This tool is designed to be a developer-friendly tool help troubleshoot and identify storage performance issues. It could be used to validate the maximum performance of new storage hardwares/drivers and setups of vSphere/vSAN. For more details please check the guild located in the instructions

Updated Flings

[sta_anchor id=”vmcacg” /]

VMCA Certificate Generator

The VMCA Certificate Generator is useful to create your own certificates using the VMCA in vCenter if you don’t have access to a purpose build system in your network.

Changelog

Version 1.0 Update

  • Added the open source license file.

[sta_anchor id=”vrbt” /]

vRealize Build Tools

vRealize Build Tools provides tools to development and release teams implementing solutions based on vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO). The solution targets Virtual Infrastructure Administrators and Solution Developers working in parallel on multiple vRealize-based projects who want to use standard DevOps practices.

Changelog

Version 2.8.8 Update

  • [MVN] Support SHA1 checksum generation for JS,TS,XML,vRA,vRANG project types.
  • [MVN] Include the pom.xml description content as description of the built vRO package artifact
  • [TS-AutoGen] Define a property for storing the version of the API for which this project is generated.
  • [TS-AutoGen] Store the API version as part of the vRO package description.
  • [vRA-NG] Adds support for import/export of custom resources and resource actions.
  • [TS] Typescript projects for vRO, now support syntax for specifying a description for a configuration element attribute.
  • [vRA-NG] Adds support for using project name when managing vRA-NG content.
  • [vROps] Adds support for vROps 8.1
  • [vROps] Change default authentication provider to Token-based Authentication
  • [TS] Extend vropkg tool to support Polyglot bundle
  • [TS] Support for skipping unmapped dependencies, e.g. –skipUnmappedDeps
  • [TS] Bumped up Typescript version to 3.8.3
  • [TS] Added support for tsconfig file override using the project option of the tsc executable.
  • [MVN] Updated vRBT infrastructure project with latest dependencies and improved installation robustness
  • [vROps] Fixes a problem with resource kind during alert definition import
  • [TS] Use fixed node package versions
  • [vROps] Support for policy assignment to custom groups
  • [vRA] Fixes a problem with vra-ng authentication always setting System Domain and users not being able to authenticate with different domain
  • [vROps] Removed sshHost from Installer. Use host instead.
  • [TS] Make dependency:go-offline execution conditional
  • [TS] All version of Node are supported from 10.x and above
  • [TS] npm repository is no longer needed [TS] Support for RequireJS imports/exports
  • [TS] Support for yaml configurations
  • [TS] Improved workflows and policy templates transpilation
  • [TS] Improved diagnostic messages
  • [TS] Improved handling of cycle references
  • [TS] Extended workflow support
  • [TS] Support for ES2017.String

[sta_anchor id=”unndfe” /]

USB Network Native Driver for ESXi

USB has become one the most widely adopted connection type in the world & USB network adapters are also popular among Edge computing platforms. In some platforms, there is either limited or no PCI/PCIe slots for I/O expansion & in some cases, an Ethernet port is not even available. Another advantage of a USB-based network adapter is that it can be hot-plugged into an system without a reboot which means no impact to the workload, same is true for hot-remove.

This Fling supports the most popular USB network adapter chipsets found in the market. The ASIX USB 2.0 gigabit network ASIX88178a, ASIX USB 3.0 gigabit network ASIX88179, Realtek USB 3.0 gigabit network RTL8152/RTL8153 and Aquantia AQC111U. These are relatively inexpensive devices that many of our existing vSphere customers are already using and are familiar with.

Changelog

October 26, 2020 – v1.7

  • Added support for ESXi 7.0 Update 1
  • USB NIC Bindings are now automatically persistent
  • 5GbE USB NICs now properly show Full vs Half Duplex

Note: This is ONLY for ESXi 7.0 Update 1, for ESXi 7.0/6.7/6.5, please ensure you are using the correct version of driver.

ESXi701-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-40599856-component-17078334.zip

[sta_anchor id=”daftkg” /]

Demo Appliance for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid

The Demo Appliance for Tanzu Kubernetes grid includes all the things needed tolearn about and run a Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.

Changelog

Oct 28, 2020 – v1.2.0

  • Support for latest TKG 1.2.0 release
  • Support for TKG Workload Cluster upgrade workflow from K8s 1.18.8 to 1.19.1
  • Updated to latest version of Harbor (1.10.5), Docker Compose (1.27.4), Kubectl (1.18.10), Octant (0.16.1), TMC (6867ad54), TKG Crashd (0.3.1) CLI in appliance

TKG-Demo-Appliance-1.2.0.ova
MD5: 0f0c60358a867b432698144820f8e8b0

[sta_anchor id=”wsoneaafm” /]

Workspace ONE App Analyzer for macOS

The Workspace ONE macOS App Analyzer will determine any Privacy Permissions, Kernel Extensions, or System Extensions needed by an installed macOS application, and can be used to automatically create profiles in Workspace ONE UEM to whitelist those same settings when deploying apps to managed devices.

Changelog

Version 1.1 Update

  • 10/27/2020 – Fixed bug that prevented Privacy Preferences from loading when default shell was set to zsh.

[sta_anchor id=”avmu” /]

App Volumes Migration Utility

App Volumes Migration Utility allows admins to migrate AppStacks managed by VMware App Volumes 2.18, to the new application package format of App Volumes 4. The format of these packages in App Volumes 4 have evolved to improve performance and help simplify application management.

Changelog

1.0.6 Version Update

  • Create meta_json.zip in migrated appstacks.

[sta_anchor id=”hcibench” /]

HCIBench

HCIBench is THE tool to test the performance of your VSAN cluster. Always use your own metrics based on the actual requirements for your environment.

HCIBench stands for “Hyper-converged Infrastructure Benchmark”. It’s essentially an automation wrapper around the popular and proven open source benchmark tools: Vdbench and Fio that make it easier to automate testing across a HCI cluster. HCIBench aims to simplify and accelerate customer POC performance testing in a consistent and controlled way. The tool fully automates the end-to-end process of deploying test VMs, coordinating workload runs, aggregating test results, performance analysis and collecting necessary data for troubleshooting purposes.

HCIBench is not only a benchmark tool designed for vSAN, but also could be used to evaluate the performance of all kinds of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Storage in vSphere environment.

Changelog

Version 2.5.1 Update

  • Fixed non vSAN cluster testing issue
  • Fixed pre-validation storage policy issue
  • Added in-place upgrading capability, to do so, you can also upgrade HCIBench to the latest version by running the following command in HCIBench: tdnf install -y git && git clone https://github.com/cwei44/HCIBench.git && sh HCIBench/upgrade.sh
    MD5 Checksum: 1d14426f92b353e90469a8623ade2bc1 HCIBench_2.5.1.ova

Version 2.5.0 Update

  • Added support vSAN HCI Mesh testing, now you can test both local and remote vSAN datastores at the same time
  • Added support local storage including VMFS and vSAN-Direct testing
  • Added vSAN Debug Mode, allow user to collect vm-support bundle and vmkstats automatically when running testing against vSAN
  • Changed guest VMs name convention to {vm_prefix}-{datastore_id}-batch_num-sequence_num
  • Enhanced testing report format
  • Allow user to specify customized IP addresses for guest VMs
  • Allow user to configure CPU and Memory for guest VMs
  • Added best practice and network troubleshooting guide in the user manual
  • Bug fixes
  • MD5 Checksum: 817c2c788364f252e728d4253b3b96da HCIBench_2.5.0.ova

[sta_anchor id=”tssodu” /]

True SSO Diagnostic Utility

The True SSO Diagnostic Utility allows for validation of the various components needed for True SSO.

Horizon View True SSO uses Microsoft Enterprise Certificate Servers to issue certificates that are used when the user logs on to the desktop. The Horizon View Enrollment Server (ES) is responsible for sending a certificate request to certificate servers, and for monitoring the PKI configuration settings in the Active Directory.

Changelog

Version 2.2

  • The tool has been updated to allow performance-testing of the enrollment-server.

[HorizonAPI] Disabling Provisioning and/or disabling entire Desktop Pools and RDS Farms

Today I saw the question on the VMware{Code} Slack Channel if anyone ever managed to disabled Desktop Pools using PowerCLI. I was like yeah I have done that and you might need to user the helperservice for that. I offered to create q fast and quick blog post about it so here we go.

First as always I connect to my Connection Server and use a query to retrieve the Pool that I am going to disable.

$creds=import-clixml creds.xml
$hvserver=connect-hvserver pod1cbr1.loft.lab -Credential $creds
$hvservice=$hvserver.ExtensionData
$poolqueryservice=new-object vmware.hv.queryserviceservice
$pooldefn = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryDefinition
$filter = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryFilterEquals -Property @{ 'memberName' = 'desktopSummaryData.name'; 'value' = "Pod01_Pool01" }
$pooldefn.filter=$filter
$pooldefn.queryentitytype='DesktopSummaryView'
$pool = ($poolqueryService.QueryService_Create($hvservice, $pooldefn)).results

With this object I can show you the details of the desktop pool

($hvservice.Desktop.Desktop_Get($pool.id)).base
($hvservice.Desktop.Desktop_Get($pool.id)).desktopsettings

Like I said to actually change things I need the helper service so this is what you do to initialize that.

$desktopservice=new-object vmware.hv.DesktopService
$desktophelper=$desktopservice.read($HVservice, $pool.id)
$desktophelper.getdesktopsettingshelper() | gm

As we saw in the second screenshot I need the desktopsettings and than Enabled

$desktophelper.getdesktopsettingshelper().getenabled()

To change the setting in the helper I need to use sethelper($False)

$desktophelper.getdesktopsettingshelper().setEnabled($False)

Now this has not been changed yet on the desktop pool itself, to do that we need to use desktopservice.update and I also show the result of the change.

$desktopservice.update($hvservice, $desktophelper)
($hvservice.Desktop.Desktop_Get($pool.id)).desktopsettings

And to reverse this

$desktophelper.getdesktopsettingshelper().setEnabled($True)
$desktopservice.update($hvservice, $desktophelper)
($hvservice.Desktop.Desktop_Get($pool.id)).desktopsettings

Disabling provisioning uses the same methodology just in another spot.

To disable provisioning ( the | gm is not needed, it’s just there to show you whats’s in there):

($hvservice.Desktop.Desktop_Get($pool.id)).automateddesktopdata.virtualcenterprovisioningsettings
$desktophelper.getAutomatedDesktopDataHelper().getVirtualCenterProvisioningSettingsHelper() | gm
$desktophelper.getAutomatedDesktopDataHelper().getVirtualCenterProvisioningSettingsHelper().getenableprovisioning()
$desktophelper.getAutomatedDesktopDataHelper().getVirtualCenterProvisioningSettingsHelper().setenableprovisioning($False)
$desktopservice.update($hvservice, $desktophelper)
($hvservice.Desktop.Desktop_Get($pool.id)).automateddesktopdata.virtualcenterprovisioningsettings

And to revert it

$desktophelper.getAutomatedDesktopDataHelper().getVirtualCenterProvisioningSettingsHelper().setenableprovisioning($True)
$desktopservice.update($hvservice, $desktophelper)
($hvservice.Desktop.Desktop_Get($pool.id)).automateddesktopdata.virtualcenterprovisioningsettings

For RDSH farms the process is similar some of the naming is just different. First to get the farm object

$farmqueryservice=new-object vmware.hv.queryserviceservice
$farmdefn = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryDefinition
$filter = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryFilterEquals -Property @{ 'memberName' = 'data.name'; 'value' = "Pod01-Farm01" }
$farmdefn.filter=$filter
$farmdefn.queryentitytype='FarmSummaryView'
$farm = ($farmqueryservice.QueryService_Create($hvservice, $farmdefn)).results
($hvservice.Farm.farm_get($farm.id)).data

And to create the helper and disable the farm

$farmservice=New-Object VMware.Hv.FarmService
$farmhelper=$farmservice.read($hvservice,$farm.id)
$farmhelper.getDataHelper().setenabled($False)
$farmservice.update($hvservice,$farmhelper)
($hvservice.Farm.farm_get($farm.id)).data

And in reverse 🙂

$farmhelper.getDataHelper().setenabled($True)
$farmservice.update($hvservice,$farmhelper)
($hvservice.Farm.farm_get($farm.id)).data

And now the provisioning part

($hvservice.Farm.farm_get($farm.id)).automatedfarmdata.virtualcenterprovisioningsettings
$farmhelper.getAutomatedFarmDataHelper().getvirtualcenterprovisioningsettingshelper().setenableprovisioning($False)
$farmservice.update($hvservice,$farmhelper)
($hvservice.Farm.farm_get($farm.id)).automatedfarmdata.virtualcenterprovisioningsettings

Guess what?

$farmhelper.getAutomatedFarmDataHelper().getvirtualcenterprovisioningsettingshelper().setenableprovisioning($True)
$farmservice.update($hvservice,$farmhelper)
($hvservice.Farm.farm_get($farm.id)).automatedfarmdata.virtualcenterprovisioningsettings

Calling the EMEA #vCommunity for a Monthly Virtual #vBreakfast EMEA!

For years Fred Hofer has been organizing the vBreakfast for VMworld EMEA across the street of the Fira in a very nice place. A big thank you to Fred to do this every year!! Due to the mess this world currently is in we couldn’t do it in person this year and we moved virtual. Big thanks to Runecast for organizing the virtual space we could use but sadly we had to do it without the vWorldfamous Grumpy Waiter. I really like the way it was setup with separate tables and everything. The only issue was that it seemed to use whatever Microphone, speaker and webcam that where configured in Chrome and switching was almost impossible.

During this meeting we came up with the idea to organize a monthly virtual vBreakfast for EMEA. Kev Johnson offered to do it again on the site that Runecast used for this but I think it would be more flexible if we used something like zoom. Luckily I can use a paid license so it’s no problem to make this a 2 hour long come and go whenever you like session. The talk can be tech, it can be non-tech whatever you like!

When?

Every Last Friday of the month (yes we’ll move the december one!)

How late?

7.30am UK time to 9.30 (8.30 Amsterdam to 10.30, 9.30 Israel time to11.30, you get what I am saying)

How do I attend?

Drop me an email at vbreakfastemea at gmail.com and I will forward you the invite

But I don’t live in EMEA can I still attend?

Hell yeah, I don’t give a flying F..K where you are from, everyone is welcome and the more the better!

I don’t use VMware but Nutanix or Hyper-V or Citrix?

Didn’t I just say everyone is welcome? Yes I also don’t care what hypervisor or EUC platform you use!

I work for company XYZ and want to sponsor this!

I think the only way of sponsoring that could work is if you organize a real breakfast for everyone that signs up. If you are prepared to do that we won’t offer more in return than a mention and a thank you as this is an organized unstructured meeting to meetup with friends.

My Golden Image build using HashiCorp Packer

After a Tweet last week by former colleague and fellow vExpert Jeroen Buren, my reaction on that and another question that we got  I decided to finally make some time and document how my Packer Golden Image build works. To be honest I don’t think that it’s anything spectacular and most of it has been borrowed from either Mark Brookfield or someone else but I forgot who, sorry for that! (if you recognize your work send me a note and I’ll update this piece) While my templates aren’t really complicated I am happy with them and they are exactly what I need in my lab. Things can definitely be done better but it’s enough for me.

I use 2 main files, 1 with the generic settings for the type of image and one that has the variables for the vCenter where it will be created. The last one looks like this:

{
    "vm_name":"W10-p2-{{isotime \"2006-01-02-15-04\"}}",
    "vcenter_server":"pod1vcr1.loft.lab",
    "username":"administrator@vsphere.local",
    "password":"hahahahanope!",
    "datastore":"NVME1TB (1)",
    "datastore_iso":"ISO",
    "cluster": "Cluster_Pod2",
    "network": "dpg_loft_102",
    "winrm_username": "Administrator",
    "winrm_password": "VMware1!"
}

The VM name is W10-p2-dateandtime the isotime combined with that default time makes sure that I get the current date and time of running the script. For more information see this page: https://www.packer.io/guides/workflow-tips-and-tricks/isotime-template-function. I have separate datastores for ISO’s and where the VM will be created while that port group is on a dVswitch.

The 2nd file is slightly more complicated:

{
    "builders": [
    {
        "type": "vsphere-iso",
        "vcenter_server":      "{{user `vcenter_server`}}",
        "username":            "{{user `username`}}",
        "password":            "{{user `password`}}",
        "insecure_connection": "true",
 
        "vm_name": "{{user `vm_name`}}",
        "datastore": "{{user `datastore`}}",
    "Notes": "Windows 10 1909 Instant Clone Image build using Packer {{isotime \"2006-01-02-15-04\"}}",
        "create_snapshot": true,
        "cluster": "{{user `cluster`}}",
        "network": "{{user `network`}}",
        "boot_order": "disk,cdrom",
 
        "vm_version":       15,  
        "guest_os_type": "windows9_64Guest",
    "firmware":	"bios",
 
        "communicator": "winrm",
        "winrm_username": "{{user `winrm_username`}}",
        "winrm_password": "{{user `winrm_password`}}",
    "winrm_timeout": "5h",
 
        "CPUs":             2,
        "RAM":              6064,
        "RAM_reserve_all":  false,
    "video_ram": 128000,
    
    "remove_cdrom": true,
 
        "disk_controller_type":  "pvscsi",
        "disk_size":        51200,
        "disk_thin_provisioned": true,
    
    "configuration_parameters": {
      "svga.autodetect" : "FALSE",
      "svga.numDisplays" : "2"
    },
 
        "network_card": "vmxnet3",
 
        "iso_paths": [
        "[{{user `datastore_iso`}}] Windows_10_1909_enterprise.iso",
        "[{{user `datastore_iso`}}] VMware-Tools-windows-11.0.5-15389592.iso"
        ],
 
        "floppy_files": [
            "{{template_dir}}/setup/"
        ],
        "floppy_img_path": "[{{user `datastore_iso`}}] floppy/pvscsi-Windows8.flp"
    }
    ],
 
    "provisioners": [
    {
            "type": "windows-shell",
      "script": "{{template_dir}}/setup/onedrive.cmd"
        },
    {
      "type": "windows-update",
      "search_criteria": "IsInstalled=0",
      "filters": [
        "exclude:$_.Title -like '*Preview*'",
        "include:$true"
      ],
      "update_limit": 25
    },
    {
      "type": "windows-restart",
      "restart_timeout": "15m",
      "restart_check_command": "powershell -command \"& {Write-Output 'restarted.'}\""
    },
        {
            "type": "powershell",
            "inline": [
        "Set-TimeZone -Id 'W. Europe Standard Time'",
                "Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Where {($_.name -notlike \"Photos\") -and ($_.Name -notlike \"Calculator\") -and ($_.Name -notlike \"Store\")} | Remove-AppXPackage -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue",
                "Get-AppXProvisionedPackage -Online | Where {($_.DisplayName -notlike \"Photos\") -and ($_.DisplayName -notlike \"Calculator\") -and ($_.DisplayName -notlike \"Store\")} | Remove-AppXProvisionedPackage -Online -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue"     
            ]
        },
    {
      "type": "windows-restart",
      "restart_timeout": "15m",
      "restart_check_command": "powershell -command \"& {Write-Output 'restarted.'}\""
    },
        {
            "type": "powershell",
            "scripts": [
                "{{template_dir}}/setup/Horizon_Agent_IC.ps1"
                "{{template_dir}}/setup/appvolumes.ps1",
                "{{template_dir}}/setup/dem.ps1",
        "{{template_dir}}/setup/fslogix.ps1",
                ,
        "{{template_dir}}/setup/CU.ps1"
            ]
        },
    {
      "type": "windows-restart",
      "restart_timeout": "15m",
      "restart_check_command": "powershell -command \"& {Write-Output 'restarted.'}\""
    },
    {
            "type": "powershell",
            "scripts": [
        "{{template_dir}}/setup/osot.ps1"
            ]
        }
    ]
}

Some specifics: to mark my GI’s I always create a note with the type and build date again using the isotime.

"Notes": "Windows 10 1909 Instant Clone Image build using Packer {{isotime \"2006-01-02-15-04\"}}",

And as I am very lazy I also have it creating a snapshot for me

"create_snapshot": true,

These make sure I have more than the default ram for the build in graphics adapter

"RAM":              6064,
"RAM_reserve_all":  false,
"video_ram": 128000,


"configuration_parameters": {
  "svga.autodetect" : "FALSE",
  "svga.numDisplays" : "2"
},

Some versions of Packer had an issue with ejecting the cd-rom’s but that has been fixed now.

"remove_cdrom": true,

There are several optimizations that take place like the app volumes script at the beginning (onedrive.cmd) and the VMware OS Optimization Tool in the end (osot.ps1).

All the agents are shared from a webserver and this is one of the ps1 scripts that starts the installation, the horizon agent in this case.

$ErrorActionPreference = "Stop"
 
$webserver = "loftfls01.loft.lab"
$url = "http://" + $webserver
$installer = "VMware-Horizon-Agent-x86_64-8.0.0-16530789.exe"
$listConfig = "/s /v ""/qn VDM_VC_MANAGED_AGENT=1 ADDLOCAL=Core,ClientDriveRedirection,RTAV,TSMMR,VmwVaudio,USB,NGVC,PerfTracker,HelpDesk"""
 
# Verify connectivity
Test-Connection $webserver -Count 1
 
# Get Horizon Agent
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri ($url + "/" + $installer) -OutFile C:\$installer
 
# Unblock installer
Unblock-File C:\$installer -Confirm:$false -ErrorAction Stop
 
# Install Horizon Agent
Try 
{
   Start-Process C:\$installer -ArgumentList $listConfig -PassThru -Wait -ErrorAction Stop
}
Catch
{
   Write-Error "Failed to install the Horizon Agent"
   Write-Error $_.Exception
   Exit -1 
}
 
# Cleanup on aisle 4...
Remove-Item C:\$installer -Confirm:$false

and the osot.ps1 looks like this

$ErrorActionPreference = "Stop"
 
$webserver = "loftfls01.loft.lab"
$url = "http://" + $webserver
$osot = "VMwareOSOptimizationTool.exe"
$osotConfig = "VMwareOSOptimizationTool.exe.config"
 
# Verify connectivity
Test-Connection $webserver -Count 1
 
# Get Files
ForEach ($file in $osot,$osotConfig) {
   Invoke-WebRequest -Uri ($url + "/" + $file) -OutFile C:\$file
}
 
# Run OSOT
C:\VMwareOSOptimizationTool.exe -o -t "VMware Templates\Windows 10 and Server 2016 or later" -f all
 
# Sleep before cleanup
Start-Sleep -Seconds 180
 
# Cleanup on aisle 4...
ForEach ($file in $osot,$osotConfig) {
   Remove-Item C:\$file -Confirm:$false
}

I have even created a simple powershell script that starts the build with a couple extra options. -Timestamp-ui to show the timestamp while the -force isn’t needed anymore as each build has it’s own name but I keep it in there.

[CmdletBinding()]
param(
Parameter(Mandatory)]
[string]$environmentfile,
[Parameter(Mandatory)]
[string]$buildfile
)

c:\software\packer\packer.exe build -force -timestamp-ui -var-file $environmentfile $buildfile

So how does this look?

I understand that this is far from a full explanation of all the options in the json files but I think most things are rather generic with a few things that I have highlighted.

Total running time in my lab highly depends on what host I use (core speed) and what iso is used as I also install Windows Updates. The server 2019 ISO updated in sept 2020 takes 40 minutes while Windows 10 1909 without extra patches takes just over an hour.

Jon Howe also did a nice write-up with some more explanation: https://www.virtjunkie.com/vmware-template-packer/#Packer_Template_File_User_Variables