View 5.1, How Good Desktop virtualizationTurned out to be.

With the new release of VMware View 5.1 in the market, VMware is again changing the way the game is actually being played in the desktop virtualization market not only in term of how things actually operate but also in term of complexity and management when it comes to talk about the virtualized desktop platform. how much can customer scale in this regard and how can they go oward the desktop virtualization journey to all their end users.


before starting into that, I just wold like to highlight one note that is, VMware has created the vision last year for something we are all aware of, something that everybody is talking about. even last summer i recall Apple CEO Tim Cook talking about the same concept which is the post PC-Era. we are all seeing the fight in the market and we are all seeing how tablets are actually starting to evolve in our files replacing our  use of laptop or desktops at home in so many ways. frankly speaking sometimes i get this claim that i am running a virgin store shop due to the number of tablet and smart devices that i actually hold or use @ home :)

As of now, we are seeing the execution and evolution of the VMware vision into some enhancement in products, some new products evolving for end-user management in all prospective. so the plan for VMware is to bring your consumer world or I would rather say act & attitude to your office location and use it the same way.

this may a very long introduction to what the blog post is all about so let us have the time to discuss about the enhancement of the desktop virualization product that VMware has surprised the world with.

since the release of View 5, VMware has done alot of great work in term of enhancement to the product in its whole stack. and now with View 5.1 a new evolution took place in term of performance, scallability, component architectures as well as procedures.

speaking of which let us start to dig deep in each and every feature of those.

1- VMware View Storage Accelerator.

this is something new as a technology in VMware View. however, it is actually formally know by CBRC(Content Based Read Cache). since VMware view since the release of version 4.5 added the storage tiering capability which allowed the parent-image in a linked clone pool scenario to be stored  in a seperate VMFS datastore than the one that contains the desktop linked clones. this allow the parent-image to be stored on a very fast drives in the storage so that the common content that are shared by all the linked clones(in this case the OS files) can be read by the ESXi hosts faster for every desktop request and try to minimize or even avoid the boot-storm issue that happens in virtual desktop. i will write a new blog about this in the near future to explain the details on how this actually works.


2- VMware View Composer Array Integration.

At the time when VMware VAAI was released in vSphere 4.1 to offload the storage functionality as part of the hypervisor features in vSphere editions like Storage vMotion & others to the storage array instead of consuming resources on the hosts, Administrator got really existed about it. Now VMware has thought to bring that to the desktops in a different form and use cases, what VCAI allows the desktop virtualization admin to offload the tasks away to the NAS Storage that has VAAI Support & Native Snapshot capability. so in order to minimize the expenses here when talking about deploying virtual desktop solution in term of CAPEX, the solution cost requirement can dramatically decrease due to the fact that we can leverage the capabilities of NAS Storage Arrays as an option.


3- VMWare View Persona Management for View.

after VMware aquired RTO in the begining of 2010. VMware started to work toward identifying the first bottleneck to the customers, which was about creating a way to easily allow users to use floating desktop architecture. for some use cases, VMware View Floating desktops architecture can allow the enterprise to dramatically save cost in term of resources requirement to adapt virtual desktop technology in their enterprises without having to pay for resources that is partially uses everyday, example of such saving are shift workers & Call Center Workers.

after this feature was released in View 5.0, VMware started to think about another problem. what about staging phase for the end users and what about Users Profile Migration. so this was the purpose for the new feature to tackle the new problems and requirement for enterprise to help in the transition phase in migrating not only the users but also their existing data to the virtual desktop cloud.

View persona management for physical devices allow such tasks to take place, so here are 2 of the so many use cases.

  • Transition phase from Physical to virtual desktops within the enterprise: the enterprise may not go 100% desktop virtualized @ one time but this way the users will also have their data preserved in running through this transition phase and they can login to physical or virtual desktop devices with ease.
  • Migration from Physical to virtual: so this will easiuly allow the user to transit their data to the centralized storage location so that in once the virtual desktop is ready for the user, the data will still be preserved for his use without any IT overhead in migration requirement. it is just a matter of one agent installation.


4- VMware vCenter operations for View.

This one is an absolutly amazing add-on added. with the customers being existed about VCOPS in server infrastructure, they can leverage the same set of featured but in a way that is actually engineered to understand the virtual desktop operations in the datacenter. this can be easily leveraged by the administrator to understand how the virtual desktop infrastructure health in their enterprise and give them a great visibility & insight around it with an easy way to pin point the exact location of the problem.


5- VMware View Administrator Enhancement for hte administration Console.

any IT  field is being driven actually by customer demands. so the differentiator between different IT companies is in how much they can deliver to the cusotmer in term of demand, and since the market is all about virtual desktops now a days based on analyst and what i see in the market evolving, The companies have to allow the customers to really be able to scale in a way that can reach them as far as the customer own limits. this is how it is been done by VMware in the marketplace. if you recall last year the blog post by Vittorio Viarengo talking about the largest deal of View ever. you may have noticed the scalability requirement for the customer. for enterprises to be to scale, some kind of optimization and hard work has to be done at the administration level to be able to scale for such high numbers. with View 5.1 customer can really scale their environment to 10’s of thousands of desktops with ease.


also another compliance requirement that has to exist for some enterprise use cases like the way the composer works in provisioning the desktops. one of the main tasks was to allow the composer to be able to add computer objects to the enterprise active directory. for some customers, this wasn’t something they want composer to do. so now, With View 5.1 we can provision desktops with pre-created active directory machines accounts. enterprises can actually script that on their own before deploying view and this will decrease their concerns about security & compliance requirement.


and as a final feature added to this enhancement, in this specific administration capabilities and enhancement is the ability for the administrator to choose the disposal disk drives. this is about the drive letter for the disposable disk. people may think it is not something of importance but if you tried Windows Mapped Drive deployment via GPO then you know exactly the type of pain i am talking about.


6- Radius Suppport:

Security is one of the major concerns in IT today, so in term of security we are talking about a lot of aspects in the product from the ground up. so we talk hypervisor, we talk protocol encryption and environment design to fit the security requirement of the enterprises. one more aspect of focus in term of security is the focus on the end point and how this end point actually be able to get authenticated to use its virtual desktop, so the use of active directory authentication is the mechanisom out there. now if the enterprise wanted to do more than just that, they will use some tools like 2 factor authentications. VMware had this feature from the old versions but it was limited to one only vendor(RSA with SecureID Software). now this functionality got explanded to included more of the security vendors. so if the customer has an existing product then there is no need to replace it to fit the view environment in this case.


7- Mobility Support:

VMware is been really working great here weather adding support for new platforms or adding more features and enhancements to existing ones, so as of today there are clients supported for the following platforms

  • Windows.
  • Linux.
  • MAC.
  • iOS.
  • Android.


8-VMware View Media Service Enhancement:

VMware View 5.1 added lots of feature in USB devices compatibility to enable more device types to be connected seamlessly to the VMware View virtual desktops. this will eliminate lots of issues customers use to have in their environment. this includes the redirection of some devices other than scanners and printers like some mobile phones, Headset with Microphones & so on.


I will be discussing each of these features in details in coming posts soon. so stay tuned.

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