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. ).

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

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.

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.