The VMware Labs flings monthly for February 2021 – Reach alert!

It’s been a busy month on the flings front, no less than 17(!!) new releases and updated flings. This is how my browser tabs look:

If I have therm all correct there are 6 new releases and 10 updates (2 1 of which update without a changelog so a boo for that!) so this post is going to be a long one!

New Releases

Community NVMe Driver for ESXi

VMware Cloud Foundation Powernova

Workspace ONE Access Migration Tool

Sample Data Platform Deployment on Virtualized Cloud Infrastructure

Community Networking Driver for ESXi

Code Stream Concourse Integrator

Updates

ESXi Compatibility Checker

VMware Machine Learning Platform

Virtualized High Performance Computing Toolkit

Horizon Peripherals Intelligence

Workspace ONE App Analyzer for macOS

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Horizon Helpdesk Utility

HCIBench

Horizon Reach

Workspace ONE Discovery

App Volumes Migration Utility

New Releases

Community NVMe Driver for ESXi

This Fling is a collection of ESXi Native Drivers which enables ESXi to recognize and consume various NVMe-based storage devices. These devices are not officially on the VMware HCL and have been developed to enable and support the VMware Community.

Currently, this Fling provides an emulated NVMe driver for the Apple 2018 Intel Mac Mini 8,1 and the Apple 2019 Intel Mac Pro 7,1 allowing customers to use the local NVMe SSD with ESXi. This driver is packaged up as an Offline Bundle and is only activated when it detects ESXi has been installed on either an Apple Mac Mini or Apple Mac Pro.

VMware Cloud Foundation Powernova

VMware Cloud Foundation Powernova is a Fling built on top of VCF that provides the users the ability to perform Power Operations (Power ON, Power OFF) seamlessly across the entire inventory. It has a sleek UI to visualize the entire VCF inventory (which is the first of its kind for VCF) across the domains of VCF.

The UI is easy to use and elucidates the current Health and Power State of each node in the VCF inventory. Powernova lets the user work on the Power Operations on the components with domain specific inter dependencies automatically resolved.

Powernova also performs valid health checks on all nodes in the VCF inventory to ensure Power Operations are performed only on healthy nodes. Powernova takes minimal input (4 user defined inputs on their VCF system) and does all the magic for the users behind the scenes.

If any infrastructure maintenance activity, VCF migration activity, or power operations need to be performed only on specific domains in VCF, then Powernova is the one stop solution for all VCF users.

Workspace ONE Access Migration Tool

Workspace ONE Access Migration Tool helps ease migration of Apps from one WS1 Access tenant to another (on-premises to SaaS or SaaS to SaaS) and use cases that require mirroring one tenant to another (for setting up UAT from PROD or vice versa) by providing capabilities listed below

Features
  • Copying of App Categories
  • Migrating Weblinks (3rd party IDP), icons as is
  • Creating a link to federated apps and copying the icons (to maintain the same user experience)
  • Copying App Assignment to a Category mapping

Sample Data Platform Deployment on Virtualized Cloud Infrastructure

Data is king and your users need a sample data platform quickly.

With this Fling, you will leverage your VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 with vRealize Automation deployment and stand a sample data platform based on vSphere Virtual Machines in less than 20-minutes comprising of Kafka, Spark, Solr, and ELK.

You can also choose whether to deploy a wavefront proxy and configure the components to send data to the wavefront proxy or use your own.

Community Networking Driver for ESXi

This Fling is a collection of ESXi Native Drivers which enables ESXi to recognize and consume various PCIe-based network adapters (See Requirements for details). These devices are not officially on the VMware HCL and have been developed to enable and support the VMware Community.

Code Stream Concourse Integrator

The Code Stream Concourse Integrator (CSCI) Fling provides integration between a vRealize Automation Code Stream and Concourse CI tools with which users can trigger Concourse CI pipelines from Code Stream pipelines without any additional tooling/scripting. This enables users to use the features from both the tools flexibly and seamlessly as per their needs. This solution is built using Code Stream’s extensibility feature named Custom Integration.

Updates

ESXi Compatibility Checker

The ESXi Compatibility Checker helps the vSphere admin out in checking if their environment will work with later versions of ESXi. [non-sponsored advertisement]Also check Runecast, they can run a simulation for you as well.[/non-sponsored advertisement]

Changelog

Build 20210219

  • Fix for ESX / VC 7.0 U1 Versioning issues
  • A new logo 😉

VMware Machine Learning Platform

Our goal is to provide an end-to-end ML platform for Data Scientists to perform their job more effectively by running ML workloads on top of VMware infrastructure.

Using vMLP allows to:

Save the costs by enabling efficient use of shared GPUs for ML workfloads
Reduce the risks of broken Data Science workflows by leveraging well-tested and ready-to-use demos and project templates
Faster “go-to-market” for ML models by utilizing end-to-end oriented tooling including fast and easy model deployment and serving via standardized REST API

Changelog

Version 0.4.1

  • Jupyter: R Kernel
  • Jupyter: BitFusion 2.5.0 Demo
  • Jupyter: MADlib/RTS4MADlib on Greenplum Demo
  • Multiple bug fixes

Virtualized High Performance Computing Toolkit

This toolkit is intended to facilitate managing the lifecycle of these special configurations by leveraging vSphere APIs. It also includes features that help vSphere administrators perform some common vSphere tasks that are related to creating such high-performing environments, such as VM cloning, setting Latency Sensitivity, and sizing vCPUs, memory, etc.

Changelog

Nope 🙁

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

Changelog

Version 1.0

  • Add support for USB Audios, Speechmics, Signaturepads, Barcode scanners
  • Add support for L10n of web pages in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and English
  • Add support for window 7 and windows 2012R2
  • Add support for 32 bits OS
  • Add support for cmdline installation

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 1.2 

  • Added support for Big Sur
  • Updated icon

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Image optimize you must with osot!

Changelog

  • nope 🙁

Update: OSOT didn’t receive an update, someone only edited the page according to Hilko.

Horizon Helpdesk Utility

Besides ControlUp the helpdesk fling  is the best tool to help your users.

Changelog

Version 1.5.0.24

  • Added support for Horizon 8.1

HCIBench

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.

Changelog

Version 2.5.3

  • Fixed graphite permission issue which blocked vdbench/fio grafana display
  • Updated drop cache script to make it compatible with upcoming vSphere
  • md5sum: 622625cc7a551bd7bf07ff4f19a57a17 HCIBench_2.5.3.ova

Horizon Reach

Again if you’re not a ControlUp customer Reach is the next best thing to manage you’re Horizon environment.

Changelog

Version 1.3.1.2

  • Added support for Horizon 8.1
  • Bugfixes

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

February, 16, 2021 – Version 1.2

  • Replaced icon
  • New logo 🙂

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

Version 1.0.7 Update

  • Migration fails if their are blacklisted registry entries containing embedded NULL chars.
  • File system migration fails if their are directories having a trailing DOT name ( ex- Microsoft. ).

Managing application pools using the VMware Horizon Python Module

Earlier this week I added several methods to the VMware Horizon Python Module that are centered about application pools and I promised a blog post so here it is 🙂 In the module we have the following methods in the Inventory about Application Pools:

Preparation

In order to use the methods I am using this as standard configuration in my script

import requests, getpass, urllib, json, operator
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()
print("connected")
monitor = obj=vmware_horizon.Monitor(url=hvconnectionobj.url, access_token=hvconnectionobj.access_token)
external=vmware_horizon.External(url=hvconnectionobj.url, access_token=hvconnectionobj.access_token)
inventory=vmware_horizon.Inventory(url=hvconnectionobj.url, access_token=hvconnectionobj.access_token)
entitlements=vmware_horizon.Entitlements(url=hvconnectionobj.url, access_token=hvconnectionobj.access_token)

All of the connects at the bottom is so I don’t need to think to do those if I need them when testing.

I end with

end=hvconnectionobj.hv_disconnect()
print(end)

Both the connected and end prints aren’t required at all but give me feedback about the status of the connection.

get_application_pools

This is the easiest method to use as it doesn’t require anything. It does allow for setting page sizes and filtering if needed. See this article if you want to know more about filtering: https://www.retouw.nl/2021/02/14/filtering-searching-and-pagination-with-the-python-module-for-vmware-horizon/ The method will return a list of dicts, for the first example I will show only the names of the items.

ap = inventory.get_application_pools(maxpagesize=100)
for i in ap:
    print(i["name"])

Or just with the entire list returned

ap = inventory.get_application_pools(maxpagesize=100)
print(ap)

get_application_pool

To get a single application pool you can use get_application_pool and it requires an application_pool_id, I will use the first one of the list of application to show it.

ap = inventory.get_application_pools(maxpagesize=100)
firstap=ap[0]
print(inventory.get_application_pool(application_pool_id=firstap["id"]))

delete_application_pool

To delete an application pool we again only need the application_pool_id I will combine both the get methods to show all application pools before and after the deletion. (with some prints not relevant for the code so I won’t show them below)

ap = inventory.get_application_pools(maxpagesize=100)
for i in ap:
    print(i["name"])
firstap=ap[0]

print(inventory.get_application_pool(application_pool_id=firstap["id"]))

inventory.delete_application_pool(application_pool_id=firstap["id"])

ap = inventory.get_application_pools(maxpagesize=100)
for i in ap:
    print(i["name"])

new_application_pool

Since I just deleted my firefox pool I will need to recreate it. The new_application_pool method requires a dict with quite a lof of values. This is the standard list that the swagger-ui gives you

{
  "anti_affinity_data": {
    "anti_affinity_count": 10,
    "anti_affinity_patterns": [
      "*pad.exe",
      "*notepad.???"
    ]
  },
  "category_folder_name": "dir1\\dir2\\dir3\\dir4",
  "cs_restriction_tags": [
    "Internal",
    "External"
  ],
  "description": "string",
  "desktop_pool_id": "0103796c-102b-4ed3-953f-3dfe3d23e0fe",
  "display_name": "Firefox",
  "enable_client_restrictions": false,
  "enable_pre_launch": false,
  "enabled": true,
  "executable_path": "C:\\ProgramData\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\Firefox.lnk",
  "farm_id": "855ea6c5-720a-41e1-96f4-958c90e6e424",
  "max_multi_sessions": 5,
  "multi_session_mode": "DISABLED",
  "name": "Firefox",
  "parameters": "-p myprofile",
  "publisher": "Mozilla Corporation",
  "shortcut_locations": [
    "START_MENU"
  ],
  "start_folder": "string",
  "supported_file_types_data": {
    "enable_auto_update_file_types": true,
    "enable_auto_update_other_file_types": true,
    "file_types": [
      {
        "description": "Firefox Document",
        "type": ".html"
      }
    ],
    "other_file_types": [
      {
        "description": "Firefox URL",
        "name": "https",
        "type": "URL"
      }
    ]
  },
  "version": "72.0.2"
}

This does not say that all of these are required, what I have found to be an easy way to find what the minimums are is to  create an application pool with a single key value pair. display_name is always required so I will use that one. Experience has learned that this might require several tries so let’s go.

new_app_pool = {}
new_app_pool["display_name"] = "Firefox"

inventory.new_application_pool(application_pool_data=new_app_pool)

So the first hard requirements are display_name, executable_path and name, let’s add these and see what happens

new_app_pool = {}
new_app_pool["display_name"] = "Firefox"
new_app_pool["name"] = "Firefox"
new_app_pool["executable_path"] = "C:\\ProgramData\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\Firefox.lnk"

inventory.new_application_pool(application_pool_data=new_app_pool)

It looks like we actually need some more: at least desktop_pool_id or farm_id since I am doing this against a connection server with no farms I’ll use a desktop pool.

desktop_pools = inventory.get_desktop_pools()
firstpool = desktop_pools[0]

new_app_pool = {}
new_app_pool["display_name"] = "Firefox"
new_app_pool["name"] = "Firefox"
new_app_pool["executable_path"] = "C:\\ProgramData\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\Firefox.lnk"
new_app_pool["desktop_pool_id"] = firstpool["id"]

inventory.new_application_pool(application_pool_data=new_app_pool)

No errors and a peak in the admin console shows me that I again have a firefox application

update_application_pool

To update the pools we need the application_pool_id and again a dict, this time the dict needs things we want to update. Experience again learned me there are a few required key value pairs while the example in the swagger-ui shows lots, so let’s find those. I am going to use my new firefox app as the source for this. What I actually am going to try to change is the display_name so I will use that as the first key value pair.

filter = {}
filter["type"] = "And"
filter["filters"] = []
filter1={}

filter1["type"] = "Equals"
filter1["name"] = "name"
filter1["value"] = "Firefox"
filter["filters"].append(filter1)
ap = (inventory.get_application_pools(filter=filter))[0]
appid = ap["id"]
update_app = {}
update_app["display_name"] = "FF2"
inventory.update_application_pool(application_pool_id=appid, application_pool_data=update_app)

So here different key value pairs are required than when creating a new application pool, strange but there is nothing I can do about it! I will add these from the ap object I retrieve earlier in the script.

aps = inventory.get_application_pools(maxpagesize=100)
for i in aps:
    print(i["display_name"])
filter = {}
filter["type"] = "And"
filter["filters"] = []
filter1={}

filter1["type"] = "Equals"
filter1["name"] = "name"
filter1["value"] = "Firefox"
filter["filters"].append(filter1)
ap = (inventory.get_application_pools(filter=filter))[0]
appid = ap["id"]
update_app = {}
update_app["display_name"] = "FF2"
update_app["executable_path"] = ap["executable_path"]
update_app["multi_session_mode"] = ap["multi_session_mode"]
update_app["enable_pre_launch"] = ap["enable_pre_launch"]

inventory.update_application_pool(application_pool_id=appid, application_pool_data=update_app)

aps = inventory.get_application_pools(maxpagesize=100)
for i in aps:
    print(i["display_name"])

So with that you have the basics to retrieve, create, update and delete application pools using python

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

Updates to the VMware Horizon Python Module

I have just pushed some changes to the Horizon Python module. With these changes I am more complying with the Python coding standards by initiating an object before being able to use the functions inside a class. Also I added a bunch of the api calls available in the monitor parts.

To connect you now start like this:

import requests, getpass
import vmware_horizon

requests.packages.urllib3.disable_warnings()
url = input("URL\n")
username = input("Username\n")
domain = input("Domain\n")
pw = getpass.getpass()

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

so technically you first initiate a Connection class object and than you use the hv_connect function inside that class after which the access token is stored inside the object itself.

Now to use the monitors for example you create an object for this.

monitor = vmware_horizon.Monitor(url=hvconnectionobj.url, access_token=hvconnectionobj.access_token)

To see what functions are available you can combine print with dir.

print(dir(monitor))

and the full list, the ones with (id) require an id:

  • ad_domain
  • connection_servers
  • connection_server(id)
  • event_database
  • farms
  • farm(id)
  • gateways
  • gateway(id)
  • rds_servers
  • rds_server(id)
  • saml_authenticators
  • saml_authenticator(id)
  • view_composers
  • view_composer(vcId)
  • virtual_centers
  • virtual_center(id)
  • remote_pods
  • remote_pod(id)
  • true_sso

As you can see I had to work with underscores instead of hyphens as python doesn’t like those in the names of functions

As said some of these might require an id but connection_servers works without one for example
print(monitor.connection_servers())

Todo: Error handling for wrong passwords, documentation

Using the Horizon REST API’s with Python

As you probably have seen from my tweets the last three weeks I have been doing the 100DaysOfCode challenge specifically for Python. Today I was actually a bit bored with the task we got (sorry, I hate creating games) so I decided on checking if I was actually able to consume the Horizon api’s from Python. This was something entirely new for me so it was a boatload of trial & error until I got it working with this script:

import requests,json, getpass

requests.packages.urllib3.disable_warnings()

pw = getpass.getpass()
domain = input("Domain")
username = input("Username")
url = input("URL")



headers = {
    'accept': '*/*',
    'Content-Type': 'application/json',
}

data = {"domain": domain, "password": pw, "username": username}
json_data = json.dumps(data)

response = requests.post(f'{url}/rest/login', verify=False, headers=headers, data=json_data)
data = response.json()

access_token = {
    'accept': '*/*',
    'Authorization': 'Bearer ' + data['access_token']
}

response = requests.get(f'{url}/rest/inventory/v1/desktop-pools', verify=False,  headers=access_token)
data = response.json()
for i in data:
    print(i['name'])

First I import the requests json and getpass modules. The requests module does the webrequests, the json is used to transform the data to be usable and getpass is used to get my password without showing it. After this I add a line to get rid of the warnings that my certificates aren’t to be trusted (it’s a homelab, duh!).

The most important part is that for the authentication I send username,password and domain as json data in the data while the headers contain the content type. The response gets converted to json data and I use that json data to build the access token. For future requests I only need to pass the access token for authentication.

Now this looks fun but wouldn’t it be better if I create a module for it? Yes it does and that’s what I have done and I have even added a simple function to list desktop pools.

import json, requests, ssl

class Connection:
    def hv_connect(username, password, domain, url):
        headers = {
            'accept': '*/*',
            'Content-Type': 'application/json',
        }

        data = {"domain": domain, "password": password, "username": username}
        json_data = json.dumps(data)

        response = requests.post(f'{url}/rest/login', verify=False, headers=headers, data=json_data)
        data = response.json()

        access_token = {
            'accept': '*/*',
            'Authorization': 'Bearer ' + data['access_token']
        }
        return access_token

    def hv_disconnect(url, access_token):
        requests.post(f'{url}/rest/logout', verify=False, headers=access_token)

class Pools:
    def list_hvpools(url,access_token):
        response = requests.get(f'{url}/rest/inventory/v1/desktop-pools', verify=False,  headers=access_token)
        return response.json()



And with a simple script I consume this module to show the display name of the first pool.

import requests, getpass
import vmware_horizon

requests.packages.urllib3.disable_warnings()
url = input("URL\n")
username = input("Username\n")
domain = input("Domain\n")
pw = getpass.getpass()


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


pools = vmware_horizon.Pools.list_hvpools(url=url, access_token=at)
print(f'The first Desktop pool is {pools[0]["display_name"]}')

vmware_horizon.Connection.hv_disconnect(url=url, access_token=at)

The module is from from ready and I need to find a better way to make it optional to ignore the certificate erros but if you want to follow the progress of the module it can be found on my Github.

 

 

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.