Thursday, January 24, 2013

VMware's HOL - Troubleshoot and Optimize VMware View

Back in November, I wrote a blog on VMware's Project NEE, their next generation education environment. At that time, I had access to their VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage lab, but now I have the opportunity to try out several more labs. In this post, I will review the Troubleshoot and Optimize VMware View hands-on-lab (HOL).

List of HOL:

HOL-INF-02 - Explore vSphere 5.1 Distributed Switch (vDS) New Features
This lab explores the new features of the vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS).

HOL-INF-03 - Automate Your vSphere 5.1 Deployment with Auto Deploy
Learn how to use VMware Auto Deploy to scale and manage ESXi deployments or upgrades.

HOL-INF-04 - Deliver Optimal Performance with VMware vSphere 5.1
This lab will step you through performance monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimization options in VMware vSphere 5.1.

HOL-INF-05 - VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM)
In this lab you will leverage various VMware technologies to implement disaster recovery protection for a vCloud Director managed infrastructure.

HOL-INF-06 - Deploy and Operate Your Cloud with the VMware vCloud Suite
Learn how to build and use the Virtual Datacenter with the vCloud Suite as introduced by Steve Herrod at VMworld 2012. This lab is presented as two 30 minute lightning lab modules.

HOL-INF-07 - VMware vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS)
Learn the fundamentals of software defined networking in the VMware vCloud Suite using vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS).

HOL-EUC-03 - Troubleshoot and Optimize VMware View
This lab covers new performance features in View 5.1 with two 30 minute lightning lab modules.

HOL-EUC-04 - Discover VMware Horizon Application Manager
Explore VMware Horizon Application Manager through two 15 minute and one 30 minute lightning lab module.

HOL-OPS-01 - VMware vCenter Operations Manager Enterprise
This lab covers automated performance, capacity, and configuration management with VMware vCenter Operations Manager Enterprise.

HOL-OPS-02 - Secure Your Cloud with VMware vCenter Configuration Manager
Learn how VMware vCenter Configuration Manager (vCM) can be used to harden your cloud infrastructure and help monitor, assess and remediate to ensure configuration consistency and compliance.

HOL-OPS-05 - Explore VMware vCenter Operations Manager Enterprise New Features
In this lab you will use new features of VMware vCenter Operations Manager Enterprise edition for performance monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimization of VMware vSphere infrastructure.

HOL-OPS-07 - VMware vCenter Orchestrator - "The Undiscovered Country"
This lab introduces the little known yet powerful automation solution, VMware vCenter Orchestrator.

The VMware HOL Online tool is divided into several categories which include Cloud Infrastructure, End-User Computing, and Cloud Operations. After you enroll for a class, it will show up in My Enrollments. You simply click on the Start This Lab button to begin the class.

Similar to my previous post, you will notice that there are two buttons on the side of the browser - Consoles and Manual. The Consoles tab provides you with access to the other virtual instances in the lab environment, and the Manual tab gives you the step by step instructions for the class.

When you first start the lab, it can take up to 10 to 15 minutes for it to load the VMs, when I started the HOL-EUC-03 lab their site crashed and it took me about 30 minutes before I could restart the lab.

The Manual tab walks you through a set of instructions for the lab; the diagram below illustrates logging on to the VMware View Administrator web console to start working on the optimization lab. The arrow keys move you forward or backward in the lesson, and the numbers in the circle are the lesson chapters.

At the bottom of the browser (it typically isn't visible and you need to scroll down) there are several buttons. This is where you send the CTRL-ALT-DEL command to login to your virtual machine with the credentials provided from VMware.

Like my previous experience with VMware's HOL, I did have several issues with the CTRL-ALT-DEL button; a Power Reset of the instance was required so that I could login to the Windows 2008 server.

First, it has you log on to the VMware View Administrator so that you can disable provisioning from the WIN7-Opt-Lab pool; this prevents View from creating more desktops from this pool. It then has you disable the pools so that users are prevented from using the pool while you are making modifications.

After you disable the pool, it has you log on to a Window 7 workstation image and modify the performance settings. The steps include adjusting the Visual Effects for Best Performance, turning off System Protect, and disabling several of the registry keys to enhance the user experience. You can click on the images in the Manual tab to zoom-in; the image in this section of the lesson is showing you a screenshot of the settings Adjust to Best Performance.

The next part of the lesson steps you through modifying the VM properties to enhance user experience. Unfortunately, I left my desk for about 30 minutes and I came back to the lesson being expired. I did a quick Google search on the issue, it seems like this is a known bug, and the next day I was able to re-enroll into the class.

Is the VMware HOL Online experience perfect? Not by any means. But, it really does provide a fantastic opportunity to get hands on experience with VMware's product portfolio to help educate infrastructure support staff on best practices for your technology investments. Classroom training is a richer experience, but it isn't always practical. Project NEE fills the gap in-between VMware's self-paced courses and the instructor lead classroom courses.

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