Friday, June 28, 2013

Multi-Site VDI Deployment with ProfileUnity


Today, as I was talking to one of my colleagues, I started to think about the possibility of delivering a multi-site stateless VDI solution that maintained a personal user experience. In this design, we are going to assume a Site A and Site B location, they both have stateless pools fronted by a global load balancer.

Typically, setting up this design works well if you don't need to deliver a feature-rich personalized desktop experience, it would be better for locked down kiosk style machines. But, if we employ Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity, we can replicate the datastore hosting the profile, user-authored data, and FlexApps to Site B.

Then you are going to say, "Mr. Gaudreau, when the user logs onto their virtual desktop pool in Site B they are going to pull their profile information across the WAN from the Site A datastore!" Which, normally, is correct; but we are going build in two different ProfileUnity configuration files into our respective desktop pools and point our GPO to execute them locally (check out my previous post).

First, open up the Guided Configuration file found on C:\ProfileUnity on the Parent Image in the Site A pool.


Below is a picture of my Guided Configuration policy file on the Parent Image, this was created by the guided configuration wizard from the ProfileUnity 5.5 Configuration Management web portal. You will notice the mapping to the SITEA server.


Monday, June 24, 2013

ProfileUnity Configuration

Local Execution

As I discussed in my last post, I don't like to rely on a solid network connection with Active Directory for script execution, this is something learned early in my career when I supported my organizations corporate login scripts. Instead, I prefer to copy the login script folder from the netlogon share down to the client.

In order to take advantage of this with ProfileUnity, you need to make some changes to the ProfileUnity GPO settings. First, let's open Group Policy Manager by selecting Start - All Programs - Administrative Tools - Group Policy Management.



From there, edit your ProfileUnity GPO.


Select Computer Configuration - Policies - Windows Settings - Scripts (Startup/Shutdown). Change the Script Parameters to C:\ProfileUnity\Startup.vbs //b.


Next navigate to User Configuration - Policies - Windows Settings - Scripts (Logon/Logoff). Modify the Script Parameters to C:\ProfileUnity\Logoff.vbs //b.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflection

First, I want to extend my heart-felt thanks to vDestination, Veeam, Nutanix, and TrainSignal for selecting me to go to VMworld 2013. It really is an honor to be going this year.

Being in pre-sales and doing consulting requires you to travel frequently. When I am on the road, I often listen to audio books and podcasts. Today, as I was driving to the office, I was listening to The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. In the book, Thomas talks about two different individuals, a girl that is just starting out her life full of dreams and an old woman at the end of her life full of memories. He then talks about how the young girl is very much like developed countries, they are full of dreamers and individuals that want to make the world a better place; individuals that believe that they have limitless opportunities. In countries that are under-developed, they typically are filled with people that are looking in the past at their memories and their past accomplishments. They spend so much time looking back, that is hard for them ever to turn their head and see what is ahead.

I thought about this a little, it really describes individuals in IT as well; as the people in our industry grow older, I find that several of them look back at their past and aren't always passionate about the future. The wick that provides the fuel for their dreams is growing short and the light is growing dim, they have become stuck in a rut. They don't dream about how far this amazing industry can take them. Instead, they reflect back on their career, both good times and bad, and clutch on to those memories. They are biding their time, waiting for the day that they can finally retire and move on with the next phase of their lives.


LiquidWare Labs ProfileUnity - Install and Configure



For a feature rich persona management solution, I recommend a tool like Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity with FlexApp. ProfileUnity is a cost effective, yet robust user profile and application management solution that decouples the user profile, user authored data, and applications from the operating system making them universally portable and compatible with any Windows operating system. Using a tool like ProfileUnity with FlexApp, in conjunction with Hoizon View and Horizon Mirage, can provide a comprehensive desktop management solution.

This is a complete solution, not just focused on virtual desktops, but also includes physical desktops and laptops. This provides users the familiar, personalized desktop environment they have come to expect on any device from anywhere.

My first post is going to focus on installation of ProfileUnity, my subsequent post will discuss implementation best practices.

Installation

The ProfileUnity Management Console requires Microsoft .NET Framework v4.5 or later. You have two options when downloading ProfileUnity. The options are ProfileUnity without .NET Framework and ProfileUnity with .NET Framework.

Requirements:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Horizon View RACI Document

It is no secret that designing a VDI infrastructure is a complex undertaking, but one aspect that certainly needs to be considered is how the environment will be supported. In small to medium sized business, a majority of the IT departments support all aspects of the infrastructure, but in enterprise organizations technical competencies are supported by different organizations and divisions.

Will the server infrastructure be supported by the server team or the end-user computing team? How about the master desktop images and pools?

A key to the success of a VDI project is developing a RACI document. A responsibility assignment matrix (RACI) is developed by listing the activities along the left column of a table and the roles across the top. A matrix is then developed to identify which roles are responsible, accountable, consulted and informed within the process. A RACI model ensures that end-to-end accountability is identified for the process activities and ensures that gaps are identified and can be corrected.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

VMware Horizon Suite Licensing


VMware has updated their licensing model for the Horizon Suite to include a concurrent option; the list price is $500.00 a concurrent user compared to $300.00 for the named user bundle. Personally, I love the Horizon Suite, but if I were going to deploy this for 500 users it would cost me $250,000.00 not including support. If you add in 3 years technical support, which costs $166.00 a user, we are adding another $83,160.00 in the overall licensing costs for a total of $333,160.00.

When Horizon Suite was first introduced and I saw the price, I thought it was a fantastic deal for an additional $50.00; until you look at the Named User pricing model and how it changes Horizon View to Named User licensing. With Named User, you can't specify Joe Smith that is using a thin client in a call center consumes a View license and Jane Brown in application development with a traditional endpoint gets a Mirage license. Instead, the Named User is bundled all the products whether they are using them or not. So, even though it is $100,000.00 cheaper, you could have a lot of wasted product licenses if your business partners aren't using the entire suite.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Horizon Mirage 4.2 released

by Hanan Stein, Product Management, End-User Computing VMware

Today, VMware is pleased to announce the launch of the latest edition of VMware® Horizon Mirage™: the Horizon Mirage 4.2 release. In Horizon Mirage 4.2 VMware has made major storage performance improvements which greatly reduces the time it takes an endpoint to finish centralization. How significant is the impact you ask? Great question! Unfortunately, the answer is that it depends heavily on your environment, but we are quite sure that it will reduce the time significantly in environments where the storage is the bottleneck.  So we could have published “X% improvement achieved in the lab” we will try to share performance improvement data from real world deployments if our customers give us permission to publish it!

What’s new in VMware Horizon Mirage 4.2?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mirage Endpoint Protection

VMware Horizon Mirage not only acts as a layered deployment mechanism for centralized IT administration of physical devices, it is a comprehensive endpoint protection solution. Changes made to the endpoint device are synchronized with the centralized virtual desktop (CVD) on an hourly basis. These changes are then rolled up into snapshots. Each snapshot contains only the incremental changes to the original desktop image since the previous snapshot. This protects mission critical data for your business users which includes user-installed applications, user settings and data, and machine state. Execution is local to the device, and your business users can work online or offline; they are not tied to the network. The snapshots are automatically uploaded to the datacenter while users work without interruption. While a user is disconnected from the network, user changes to the endpoint are flagged for upload when re-connected.

This gives IT professionals the ability to restore all or part of the desktop.



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