The VMware Labs flings monthly for January 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.

The VMware Labs flings monthly for July 2020- Reach is back!

A couple of days late but I had  good excuse: I was away on a holiday. I needed it and enjoyed it and have a week left before I start work again. This month there was one new release and nine flings received an update. Overall it’s a EUC rich overview since no less than seven of those are Horizon / App Volumes related.

New Releases

App Volumes Packaging Utility

Updated flings

HCIBench

App Volumes Migration Utility

Horizon Session Recording

Power vRA Cloud

Horizon Reach

Desktop Watermark

App Volumes Entitlement Sync

vSphere Mobile Client

VMware OS Optimization Tool

New Releases

App Volumes Packaging Utility

This 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.

Updated Flings

HCIBench

HCIBench is a VMware wrapper around VdBench or Fio to test the capabilities of your HCI environement. I would recommend always to test with your own settings so you can do an honest comparison.

Changelog

Version 2.4.0

  1. Fixed tvm deployment bug when specifying host
  2. enabled easy run to support stretched cluster
  3. fixed timezone issue on pdf report, and added more vSAN info into PDF report
  4. set testname and testcase as variables in grafana
  5. added CPU workload into fio config page
  6. updated rbvmomi to support vsphere 7.0+
  7. enhanced fio and vdbench graphite dashboards

MD5 Checksum: 0cfd6cc852e33e5ce32022a66539b4c9 HCIBench_2.4.0.ova

App Volumes Migration Utility

The App Volumes Migration Utility helps the users in moving from App Volumes 2.18 to App VOlumes 4 so app stacks don’t need to be reprovisioned.

Changelog

Version 1.0.3 Update

  • Field “uniqueId” is added in the metadata JSON for migrated appstacks.

Version 1.0.2 Update

  • Fix for fling bug 983.
  • The customer bug on the fling, exposed an un handled scenario.
  • Prior to migration if the appstacks registry database contained registry keys with embedded NUL
  • (\0) chars in their name, Migration fails.
  • This scenario has now been addressed with this update.

Horizon Session Recording

The Horizon Session Recording is a usefull tool when an Horizon Admin wants to be able to record sessions and see what the users are doing exactly when a problems happens.

Changelog

Version 2.1 Update

  • Many bugfixes in agent side

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

Horizon Reach

If you don’t have any other 3rd partly tooling (like ControlUp, sorry gotta plug my employer 😛 ) to manage your Horizon environment than Reach is a very useful tool. This is not an update but a re-release, read below why.

Warning: Horizon Versions 7.10 through 7.12 have a known issue which can cause Horizon Reach to trigger a low memory issue on the Horizon Connection Server.

For Horizon 7.10, ensure to deploy Horizon 7.10.2. For 7.11 and 7.12, please refer to the following document here.

Desktop Watermark

The Desktop Watermark fling gives you the option to visible and unvisible mark the desktop that you are using.

Changelog

v1.2 – Build 20200713-signed Version Update

  • Added support for multiple displays.

App Volumes Entitlement Sync

The App Volumes Entitlement Sync flings helps an APp VOlumes admin to sync various App Volumes Environments like test/dev/prod or different pod’s for example.

Changelog

Version 4.1 Update:

  • Get App Volumes version from an API value which always returns the build number.
  • App Volumes 2006 and later has a problem with version 4.0 of the Fling in returning a string value.

vSphere Mobile Client

Manage vSphere from your phone or tablet with the vSphere Mobile Client fling, do I need to say more?

Changelog

Version 1.13.2 Update:

New:

  • Datastore details page (link from VM details page)

Improvements:

  • Fixed issues related to connecting to standalone ESXi VM console
  • Fixed issues when switching between servers

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Do you build golden images or templates? Than use the VMware OS Optimization Tool to optimize them!

Changelog

August, 2020, b1170 Update

Templates

  • New combined template for all versions of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and 2019. Optimizations can have optional parameters to filter the version that a setting is applied to.

Optimizations

  • Turn off NCSI is no longer selected by default as this was shown to cause issues with some applications thinking they did not have internet connectivity.
  • New Optimizations added and some removed, For details see: https://techzone.vmware.com/resource/vmware-operating-system-optimization-tool-guide#Template_Updates

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed issues with re-enabling Windows Update functionality on Server 2016 and 2019.
  • Fixed issue that was preventing Windows Antimalware from being disabled properly.

Common Options

  • Changed interface and language on the Common Options page for Windows Update to remove confusion. This option can only be used to disable Windows Update as part of an optimization task. To re-enable Windows Update functionality, use the Update button on the main menu ribbon.

Guides

Updates to the VMware Horizon Helpdesk fling

Today a new version has been released of the VMware Horizon Helpdesk fling by Andrew Morgan. One big change is that the Helpdesk license isn’t required anymore so at least a part of the functionality is available to owners of advanced or standard Horizon licenses.

the entire changelog:

Version 1.4.0.1

  • No longer requires a helpdesk license! Yay!
  • Added the ability to interact with vCenter machines
  • Added the ability to open vCenter VM consoles
  • Added the ability to perform bulk machine actions
  • Added the ability to perform refresh / recompose tasks directly from helpdesk.
  • Fixed performance issues with multiple windows open (see single instance).
  • Fixed a crash when logon durations could not be accessed.
  • Added polling to allow logon durations to be received if notavailable when the session page is requested.
  • Fixed a crash in the ending of processes.
  • Fixed a metric ton of bugs with delegated administration.
  • Fixed a memory leak in the tray icon menu, of all places.
  • Removed the logon page graphic as it was to much of a pain to change it’s colour when changing themes
  • Fixed some layout issues when changing themes.
  • Removed empty sites from the viewon the change pod tray menu.
  • Added preliminary support for Horizon 7.9.

 

Let’s look into some of the new options (will do the options without the helpdesk license last)

Added the ability to interact with vCenter machines 

From the pool view you’ll see an extra button for vCenter actions

And that will give these options

These all speak for themselves in functionality.

Added the ability to open vCenter VM consoles 

Open VM console will give an popup that asks for vCenter credentials.

Hit logon and a vrmc client should start if it’s installed

Added the ability to perform bulk machine actions 

The vCenter actions above can be done against multiple vm’s but also the various actions from View itself

Added the ability to perform refresh / recompose tasks directly from helpdesk. 

No longer requires a helpdesk license! Yay! 

when you use the std license the biggest difference is that you can’t view any specifics inside sessions since that’s all limited to the helpdesk license.

New fling: mobile vSphere management

Every once in a while there’s a fling that looks too good to only be mentioned in my monthly updates. The vSphere mobile Client is one of those in my opinion. For years and years I have seen questions about apps to manage vSphere from your mobile device and there indeed have been a couple in the past. With the amount of available API’s some VMware engineers now have decided on creating a fling for it. Currently it’s only available for Android devices but it is an awesome step in the right direction.

vSphere Mobile Client enables administrators to monitor and manage vSphere infrastructure directly from any mobile device. Whether you want to check on the current or historical resource consumption; you want to get notifications on long running tasks; or you want to check the currently running tasks – the vSphere Mobile Client is there to help.

Features

  • VM overview: Review the status of your VMs including state (powered on/off), resource usage and configuration information
  • VM management: Change the power state of a VM or restart it. Locating the virtual machine to operate on can be done through search.
  • Task monitoring: Subscribe to any running task and receive a notification on your mobile device upon task completion, even when your device is in-active or you have another application running on the foreground.
  • Performance charts: Monitor the resource usage of a VM in real time or a day, week, month or year back. Counters include CPU, Memory, Storage and Network.

NOTE: vSphere Mobile Client is currently available for Android devices and vCenter 6.0+ deployments. Check the “Requirements” tab for more details. Access to vSphere infrastructure may require a secure access method such as VPN on a mobile device.

This is a technical preview release and as such it only has a limited subset of the intended functionality. The team would be releasing updates with new features regularly, but our main task is to gather feedback so please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

There are some screenshots on the fling site and the one below from my phone but once I am able to connect to my lab I will add some more.

The Horizon Helpdesk Utility fling version 1.3.3.1 has been released

Last august I posted about a then new fling: the Horizon Helpdesk Utility While that release was great Andrew added a whole lot more of awesomeness.

Changelog

Version 1.3.3.1

  • Removed machine listings from session view (overkill)
  • Improved Environment view to include metrics on all connected infrastructure:
    • vSphere
    • Hosts
    • Datastores
    • Remote Pods
    • Events
    • Problem Machines
  • Added repeated queries for logon breakdown if missed on first instance
  • Added event query support for logon breakdown
  • Added events view for Farm and Desktop pools
  • Added inbuilt find / search to users / machines in pool views
  • Added support for multiselect in pool / farm views
  • Added graph / chart views of machines / sessions and problem machines on the environment overview
  • Added a pod switcher to the environment overview
  • Added a global search to the environment overview
  • Added support for Pod Jumping.
    • the ability to jump to a pod on demand
    • the ability to jump to a pod a session belongs to
  • Added support for an architecture view of Desktop Pools
  • Added support for an architecture view of Farms
    • Enhanced view of servers load evaluator value
  • Added bulk user tasks via pool or farm views:
    • Bulk messaging
    • Bulk log off
    • Bulk disconnect
    • Bulk reset
    • Bulk restart
  • Added support for a local pod view (AKA environment view):
    • Connection servers
    • Farms
    • Desktop pools
  • Added documentation (finally)
  • Added MSI installation support
  • Added a start time column to user sessions (this will persist as a preference)

Let’s take a look some of the new goodies, the first change is that you now get a proper connection alert:

The POD switcher

The show environment button will show you the environment as seen from the pod you are currently connected to. A lot of tabs with health information about those components and some counts on sessions, machines and problem machines.

The address behind Connected To will send you to the Horizon Admin Console, this might sound small but I like it!

When you open a pool this is what you see

All of the events for that pool and yes you can sort & filter them!

Some details for a users session

If there are multiple sessions (unlike in my lab) you can select them and mass send messages or do other actions against them.

The view for an RDS farm

So yes the best Horizon helpdesk tool ever just got improved by a 100%!

 

 

 

New EUC fling released: Horizon Helpdesk Utility

Ok, normally I do a post each month with the latest and greatest flings and I will still do that tomorrow. Today though Andrew Morgan from VMware OCTO has released a fantastic new fling: Horizon Helpdesk Utility! But we already have the Helpdesk tool you might say? Well this fling is everything the helpdesk tool should have been. While it isn’t bad this one is way better.

First of all this fling is an app that you need to install on your own computer or a management server. It will keep its settings in C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\HorizonHelpDeskAgent\ .net Framework 4.5.2 is required but most will already have that or a higher version installed. Installation itself is a quick next next finish with the warning that the signer of the application is not trusted, I have been told that this might be fixed in the next release. After installation you will find a new application in your start menu. I have already attached it to my start menu as well.

After starting you will get a box where you will need to fill in the server address including the http part and your credentials (the same role is required as the regular helpdesk tool)

If you don’t have a trusted certificate you will get a box to accept that certificate.

After that I was looking for something to popup but I just had a small icon added down right

Right click on this and you’ll see a small search box. This search is more easily reachable by using ctrl+F12

Put in a name and you’ll get a box that contains all matching names

Double click the correct account or session and the real deal will open up for you.

The diagrams hardly need any explanation, please also notice the user experience rating on the top right. The image in my lab doesn’t have anything installed so I can’t really show a lot but here are the views from the other tabs as well:

All entitlements for the user

This is pulled directly from the event database

Some more fancy diagrams about the blast protocol

The last tab shows all processes on the desktop, this can easily be filtered on any of the info shown

A possible improvement here would be some kind of checkbox to show only the users own processes because otherwise things can get confusing at RDS hosts. I’ve already talked with Andrew about that (actually the checkbox was his idea).

On the top left there’s a couple of pull down menus to allow for some actions on the session or the machine itself.

The remote control functionality starts windows’ own mrsa tool.

Despite running it against my own very small lab the tool seems to perform very well. I consider it for the few moments that I have used it as a very decent replacement for the original helpdesk tool.

 

 

The VMware Labs flings monthly for June 2018

It’s less than two months before VMworld US is on us, are you looking forward to it? I know I am! In June there have been six updates to VMware flings:

ESXi Compatibility Checker

This was a new fling last month and now the ESXi Compatibility checker has been expanded with several functions like offline and multiple vCenter support. With this tool it is possible to check if your ESXi hosts will work with the latest and greatest that VMware has to offer.

Changelog

Build 8951845

Offline case support

  • The current script requires to be executed with access to both public internet and target hosts. The new version can separately validate compatibility from collecting hardware information. Hence, user can collect hardware information on a system without public internet access and save the information in a json file. And he can validate compatibility of collected hardware from a saved json file on a system with public internet access.

Example

  • The ‘-g’ option will collect hardware information and generate a json file. (no need to have internet access)
$compchecker.py -s <host> -u <user> -g <json-data-filename>
  • The ‘-f’ option will validate compatibility from a json file (no need to access target hosts)
$compchecker.py -f <json-data-filename>

Multiple virtual centers support

  • The host parameter with the ‘-s’ option now accepts comma separated multiple hostnames. This feature will be useful to create a single compatibility report for multiple VCs

example

$compchecker.py -s <host1>,<host2>,<host3> -u <user>(,<user>)

More information in the compatibility report

  • “Installed Release”, “Checked Release”, and hardware information have been added in the report.

The “-p” option to set a proxy server

  • The https proxy server can be specified with the “-p” option

Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility

The Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility provides a GUI to migrate vm’s between vCenters.

Changelog

Version 2.1, June 21, 2018

  • Increased simultaneous migration limit to 100 from 10
  • Added check to ignore unknown fields for inventory info
  • Fixed source/target site names in task status view
  • Updated status API to include version number

 

DRS Lens

As VMware vSphere DRS has become more widely adopted now, more and more users are interested in knowing how it works. They need more insights into DRS activity and actions. They want to know the value that DRS provides to their clusters. DRS Lens is an attempt to provide a UI-based solution to help understand DRS better. (yes this is a lame copy/paste, it’s too hot to come up with original stuf)

Changelog

Version 1.3

  • Upgraded apache tomcat to version 8.5.31 for security compliance.

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

What would this monthly overview be without the vSphere HTML5 Web client?

Changelog

Fling 3.39 – Build 8835608

New Features

  • All the features of Auto Deploy (when compared with the vSphere Web Client)
    • Software Depots
    • Deploy Rules
    • Deployed Hosts
    • Discovered Hosts
    • Configure (Auto-Deploy configuration)
  • Script Bundles support for Auto-Deploy (Available only in the vSphere Client)
    • Script Bundles view where all bundles are listed
    • Ability to Upload a script bundle
    • Ability to Add/Edit deploy rules with script bundles
  • New virtual switches view on a host which includes topology diagrams for standard and host proxy switches

Improvements

  • vApp properties create, edit, delete and set value functionality
  • VM vApp option properties create, edit, delete and set value functionality
  • vCenter Extensions
  • VM SDRS create, edit and delete

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Being an EUC guy this is simply my favorite fling, nothing new this time, it’s just a bug fix release.

Changelog

June 14, 2018

  • Issue fix: Crash in non-English locale (e.g. French)

Horizon Migration Tool

The Horizon Migration Tool helps you to migrate from Xendesktop/App to Horizon View. This is mainly a maintenance version for a tool they missed in the last release.

Changelog

Version 3.0.1

  • Fixed issue: add missed XenAppDumper.exe for XenApp 5.0

 

The VMware Labs flings monthly for March 2018

So how was your april fools this year? I bet a lot of children have been looking for eggs that where never hidden. Luckily I got away with only a couple of good jokes by my kids. On the VMware flings front there are no new flings but seven have received one or more updates or more exact six have received an update and one has received a couple. The Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility received it’s first update and for the App Volumes Utility it was several months ago. Besides those the Cross vCenter VM Mobility – CLI, HCIBenchVMware OS Optimization ToolvSphere HTML5 Web Client and ESXi Embedded Host Client also received updates.

App Volumes Backup Utility

The App Volumes Backup Utility is one of the few ways to backup those writable volumes. Friends don’t let friends use them but if you do please make sure you have backups.

Version 2.1

  • Added missing pre and post backup prep files

Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility

This is the graphical tool to move vm’s between vCenter servers. If you prefer a command line way please use the tool below.

Version 1.1.0, March 30, 2018

  • Added a detailed task info view for migration tasks
  • Fixed an issue with site name containing “DOT” characters
  • Display VM resource (CPU, Mem, Disk) info
  • Add a button to clear selected inventory data

Cross vCenter VM Mobility – CLI

This is the CLI way to move those vm’s between linked or not linked vCenter servers. If you prefer something visual then please use the tool above.

Version 1.6

  • Added support for bulk-relocate / bulk-clone which helps the user to migrate / clone multiple VMs specifying various destination locations in a single command.
  • Added support to choose destination resource pool

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Some use scripts, some use other tools but for me the OSOT is the preferred method to optimize my golden images.

March 30, 2018

  • [Template] Issue fix – DELETEVALUE actions do not do anything
  • [Template] Issue fix – DISM commands missing /NoRestart switch
  • [Tool] Issue fix – Switching to another tab loses all unsaved changes
  • [Tool] Enhancement – Simplify user interaction in Template Editor. Now editing template no longer requires repeated Update button click. Mac style editing is applied (Automatically save changes along with edit)

HCIBench

What is there to say about the HCIBench benchmarking tool for Hyperconverged Infrasturctures

Version 1.6.6.

  • Spectre & Meldown patch on both HCIBench VM and Client VM
  • Added client VM prefix field, allow running multiple HCIBench instances against single cluster
  • Attach testing log along with testing results
  • Enabled live vSAN Observer when running testing, using https://HCIBench_IP:8010
  • Updated the drop read/write cache script
  • Added more message info during the testing
  • Bug fixes

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

A couple of updates for the vSphere html5 client, more and more features are being added so it will end on par with the flash client.

Fling 3.36 – Build 8111348

New Features

  • Customize additional hardware devices/options during VM creation or cloning:
    • Host USB device
    • SCSI controller
    • USB controller
    • SATA controller
    • CPU > CPUID Mask > Advanced
    • VM Options > VMRC options
    • VM Options > VMware Tools > Power Operations
    • VM Options > Power Management > Wake up on LAN
    • VM Options > Advanced Configuration Parameters
    • VM Options > Fibre Channel NPIV
  • Warn when about to perform an operation on VM template(s) managed by a solution

Bug Fixes

  • SSO authentication error during accessing the vSphere Client from the fling appliance is resolved
Fling 3.35 – Build 7914771

Improvements

  • UI improvements on Quick search including
    • Search dropdown design is changed to show the top 10 results
    • View all results page design is modified to show grouping in the object navigator and the results in the right pane
  • UI improvements in grouping of hard disks in Edit Settings and VM Summary. If there are more than 4 harddisks for a VM, you will see them grouped in Edit settings. This enhancements will improve the performance of the VM Edit Settings.

ESXi Embedded Host Client

This should eb installed on your ESXi hosts by default by now but ESXi embedded host client is  getting updates trough this channel.

Version 1.29.0 build 8122819 (Fling 20) – March 28, 2018
  • General
    • Reset selection on vm deletion
    • Fix issue with datastore wizard on very large datastores
    • Update available rdm disk list in vm wizard
    • Correct miscalculation of datastore total in wizard
    • Better support for NSX networks
    • Fix clicking issues on full-screen and new tab console screen
    • Prevent password maangers from autofilling optional field on login page.
    • Minor bug fixes and cosmetic changes