The VMware Labs flings monthly for September 2018

September flew past for me like a whirlwind. So much new things that I learned so here’s my monthly overview of all the new and updated VMware flings. There are three new ones with the DRS Dump Insight H5 PluginWorkspace One Configuration Tool for provisioning and the Horizon Session Recording. Four have received updates: ESXi Compatibility Checker, HCIBench, vRealize Operations REST Notifications and but not least the SDDC Certificate tool. It’s also one of the few months where the HTML5 Client didn’t get an update.

New

Horizon Session Recording

The Horizon Session Recording fling gives Horizon View administrators a way to record and save their users activity.

VMware Horizon Session Recording allows administrators of a VMware Horizon environment record their users activity in their Blast Extreme virtual desktop and application sessions.

With Session Recording, the administrator can choose to record local or remote sessions, to a central recording Server where the administrator can watch the recordings back via a HTML 5 web console integrated into the server.

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

The VMware Horizon Session Recording Fling comprises of two components:

  • A Central Recording Repository + Web Front End
  • The Agent to be installed in the virtual desktop or RDSH host template which facilitates the recording.

Today VMware Horizon Session Recording supports Windows Server 2016 as the Central Server along with Windows 7, 10, Server 2012 and Server 2016 on the agent.

DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin

If you like the the older DRS Dump Insight fling you will like the DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin even more. No need anymore for pulling the data yourself, with the Plugin it will be available directly.

The DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin helps answer simple questions like

  • “Can I get all the recommendations made by DRS?”
  • “Why did DRS make a certain recommendation?”
  • “Why is DRS not making any recommendations to balance my cluster?”
  • “How is my custom affinity/anti-affinity rule affecting load balancing in my cluster?”
  • “If I have a policy defined in my cluster, how different would DRS load balancing be?”

When diagnosing Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) cluster issues in vSphere, we look at vCenter server logs from the support bundle, including DrmDump files to find any clues. Analyzing DrmDumps is a slow and tedious process, is usually done by VMware support or Engineering teams for advanced debugging of algorithm related issues. This is because analyzing the dumps requires building a replayer module, for which one needs access to the source code. Another challenge is that the final DrmDump data is not in plain text format; it requires someone with an understanding of the source code to be able to make good sense of it.

There is an existing DRS Dump Insight fling, which can replay DrmDumps and provide useful information for debugging. However, Dump Insight requires users to manually upload relevant DrmDump files from the time when the issue occurred. With the DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin, customers do not need to upload any DrmDump files, and can access all the anal yzed information from their vSphere HTML5 web client itself.

  • Once a customer installs the HTML5 plugin, a new DRS Dump Insight tab will be available under the “cluster -> monitor” view.
  • All the DrmDump files that are available for the given cluster are listed in the opening screen. Customers can select the dump file of their choice for analysis.
  • They can also select multiple dump files to be analyzed together.
  • After analysis, the tool shows the analysis for each dump file in a separate tab view.

Workspace ONE Configuration Tool for Provisioning

The Workspace ONE Configuration Tool for Provisioning fling is created for the Workspace One provisioning in the Dell factory.

The Workspace ONE Configuration Tool helps you build special-purpose unattend.xml configuration files to be applied in the Dell factory as part of Factory Provisioning. This helps to domain join (domain, workgroup, AAD, AAD Premium) and enroll devices automatically on first-boot. This simplifies the creation of the unattend.xml configuration file for Windows 10.

Features

  • It’s a stand-alone .exe app that helps IT administrators configure general and Out-of-the-Box Experience Windows setups to automatically enroll users in Workspace ONE.
  • The User Interface is made simple with explicit instructions about each field for easy and quick use by IT admins.
  • The User Interface has dynamic and efficient validations in Clarity and Angular, preventing the user from building the unattend.xml until all the validations are correctly satisfied.
  • This makes the UI fool-proof and reduces the chances of generating an invalid xml file.
  • The tool is made as a .Net Core 2.0 web app with Angular 5 and Clarity, which eases the integration of v2.0 into the AirWatch Console.

Updated

ESXi Compatibility Checker

With the ESXi Compatibility Checker a vSphere admin can automatically check and validate a current vSphere environment against the HCL.

Changelog

Build 10066133

  • Fixed bugs

HCIBench

While it probably is optimized for VSAN workloads the HCIBench is a benchmark tool that can be used with any HCI solution.

Changelog

Version 1.6.7.2

  • Enhanced write/read buffer/cache methodology
  • Fixed network ip-prefix selection issue
  • Fixed 95% percentile calculation issue

vRealize Operations REST Notifications Helper

With the vRealize Operations REST Notifications Helper fling it is possible it’s easier to use alerts in vRealize Operations Manager and send them to third-party tools.

Changelog

Version 1.1.2

  • Changed the line endings in text files from Win to Unix

Version 1.1

  • The new version of imset.jar
  • Updated properties file (imset.properties)
  • A new configuration file example (slack.json)
  • New version release notes (v1.1_notes.pdf)

SDDC Certificate Tool

The SDDC Certificate Tool is your one stop shop to replace all the certificates in a range of VMware Products: vSphere,NSX,vRLI,vROps etc.

Changelog

1.0.1 – Build 10253169

  • Spring Frameworks updated to version 4.3.19 due to security vulnerability

The VMware Labs flings monthly for May 2018

It’s June already, time flies when you are having fun right? This month there have been three new and five updated flings. In the category new there is an ESXi Compatibility checker, DRS Entitlement viewer and the Cellular Module User Space USB Driver on ESXi. In the updated category we have the eternal HTML5 vSphere web client, I/O Analyzer, Desktop WatermarkCross vCenter Workload Migration Utility and last but not least Blockchain on Kubernetes.

ESXi Compatibility Checker

This is a new fling that makes it easier to check if you’re hardware is still supported by VMware. It does require python to be installed.

The ESXi Compatibility Checker is a python script that can validate VMware hardware compatibility and upgrade issues of ESXi.

VMware hardware compatibility and product interoperability need to be validated when new hardware is installed on an existing ESXi or when a VC/ESXi version needs to be upgraded. Unfortunately, it is not a trivial task as the compatibility information is scattered in multiple web pages. The user needs to understand the data and validate them one by one manually. This process is tedious, laborious and often prone to error when done at scale.

This Fling will provide a simple and easy way to collect server and IO device details from ESXi and provide a command line interface to validate their VMware compatibility and upgrade issues. Users no longer need to understand compatibility details or manually compare the dataset to find out compatibility or upgrade issues. The Fling can generate a compatibility report for many ESXi managed by a VC with a simple command.

Changelog

  • first release May 15, 2018 v1.0 – Build 8532763

DRS Entitlement Viewer

This HTML5 client plugin shows entitled resources per VM and resource pool.

DRS Entitlement Viewer is installed as a plugin to the vSphere client. It is currently only supported for the HTML5 based vSphere client. Once installed, it gives the hierarchical view of vCenter DRS cluster inventory with entitled CPU and memory resources for each resource pool and VM in the cluster.

Entitled resources can change with VMs’ resource demand and with the VM’s and resource pool’s reservation, limit and shares (RLS) settings. So, customers can get the current entitlements based on the VMs’ current demand and RLS settings of the VMs and resource pools.

DRS Entitlement Viewer also provides 3 different What-If scenarios,
1. Changing RLS settings of a VM and/or resource pool
2. What-If all the VMs’ resource demand is at 100%
3. Both 1 and 2 happen together

Customers can pick one of the 3 scenarios and can get new entitlements without actually changing RLS settings on the cluster.

Finally, DRS Entitlement Viewer also provides an option to export the new RLS values from a What-If scenario as a vSphere powercli command which customers can execute against their vCenter to apply the new settings.

Changelog

  • First public release May 29, 2018 v1.0.2

Cellular Module User Space USB Driver on ESXi

The Cellular Module User Space USB Driver on ESXi provides you with a driver so you are better able to use a cellular module form ESXi.

IoT is growing rapidly so many users would like to enable ESXi on their IoT devices. Driven by VMware’s virtualization technology, which can help them address some challenges like security issues, fragmentation, multi-tenancy, etc. The reality is that many of those IoT devices have a variety of devices and busses that ESXi does not support. The Cellular Module is one of those devices in the case of IoT. Typically, these devices have to communicate with their own remote management center.

This Fling provides a driver to enable deployment on ESXi on their IoT devices. Note that this driver is running in UserSpace mode. While many widely used IoT Edge Gateways are equipped with a cellular module, ESXi does not have a driver to activate that cellular module. So our cellular module userspace USB driver can enable that hardware module to communicate with a remote cloud server.

Changelog

  • First release May 07, 2018 v1.0

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

The fat client’s already gone, the flash client is on its way out so better get used to the vSphere HTML5 Web Client!

Changelog

Fling 3.38 – Build 8535804

New Features

  • Guest OS User Mappings for VMs
  • Serial port support for VMs
  • Improved search including
    • New redesigned search results page
    • VM search results has filters such as power state, guest os, host, clusters, datacenter
    • Save search

Improvements

  • VM Quick power operations

I/O Analyzer

The I/O Analyzer doesn’t get a lot of updates so you might not have heard of it. Like the names says it’s a very usable tool to test your storage performance.

VMware I/O Analyzer is an integrated framework designed to measure storage performance in a virtual environment and to help diagnose storage performance concerns. I/O Analyzer, supplied as an easy-to-deploy virtual appliance, automates storage performance analysis through a unified interface that can be used to configure and deploy storage tests and view graphical results for those tests. I/O Analyzer can use Iometer to generate synthetic I/O loads or a trace replay tool to deploy real application workloads. It uses the VMware VI SDK to remotely collect storage performance statistics from VMware ESX/ESXi hosts. Standardizing load generation and statistics collection allows users and VMware engineers to have a high level of confidence in the data collected. Please post comments and questions regarding this fling to the I/O Analyzer Community.

Features

  • Integrated framework for storage performance testing
  • Readily deployable virtual appliance
  • Easy configuration and launch of storage I/O tests on one or more hosts
  • Integrated performance results at both guest and host levels
  • Storage I/O trace replay as an additional workload generator
  • Ability to upload storage I/O traces for automatic extraction of vital metrics
  • Graphical visualization of workload metrics and performance results

Changelog

New in version 1.6.2u1

  • Support vSphere 6.5 onward
  • Upgrade to OpenSSL 1.0.2o
  • Hot patch script to live upgrade existing 1.6.2 VMs

Desktop Watermark

Desktop Watermark is a tool that adds a visible or invisible watermark to a VDI Desktop. This can be used for auditing for example.

Changelog

Build 20180510

  • Added support for multiple monitors.

Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility

I used the Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility myself this week when I wanted to clone my golden image to the not linked vcenter servers in my lab. Yes it can also clone besides just moving the servers. I might end up putting up a seperate blog post about this.

Changelog

Version 2.0, May 4, 2018

  • Added support to select individual host as the placement target
  • Added support for migrating VMs with shared datastore
  • Added clone functionality in addition to relocate
  • Added resource summary details for placement targets
  • Added a prompt to verify site thumbprint during SSL verification
  • Added a link to refresh vm list in the inventory view
  • Updated REST APIs to add operation type parameter

Blockchain on Kubernetes

Not a blockchain person myself (yet) but this is the former Blockchain on vSphere fling that has been renamed to Blockchain on Kubernetes

Blockchain is an emerging technology which has been gaining traction globally throughout the past few years. Industries like finance, logistics, and IoT are actively working on research and pilot projects using blockchain.

Fabric is a sub project under Hyperledger (a LinuxFoundation project), it is probably the most mature blockchain solution available now for business use cases.

The mission of Blockchain on Kubernetes (formerly named Blockchain on vSphere) is to provide an end-to-end blockchain solution, from IaaS, to Blockchain platform and Blockchain applications. It allows organizations to quickly collaborate and evaluate the new business models and processes by using the decentralized blockchain technology.

By using BoK, blockchain developers can use BoK command line tool or a GUI tool provided by BoK PCF Tile to quickly set up an environment to build and test their blockchain applications.

Changelog

May 3 2018, BoK 2.0

  • Provide a new PCF Ops Manager Tile to deploy Hyperledger Fabric. It supports creating Kubernetes cluster via PKS Tile and deploy Hyperledger Fabric in the Kubernetes cluster.
  • Add a central config file bok.yml to specify all BoK configuration. No more manual code change is needed.
  • Support kafka as consensus mode.
  • Other enhancement for stability.
  • Verified against Kubernetes 1.9.7.

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