VMware has just announced VMware View 5.1 and has also lifted the NDA. Despite being a .1 release the VMware View team added a significant number of features that improve VMware View performance, scalability and user experience.
Following the format of my previous article What’s New in VMware View 5.0 (beyond Marketing) I am going to introduce some of the new features that don’t necessarily make to the marketing press release but also represent major product improvements.
I am splitting the new features in five main areas: Platform, User Experience and Client, Management and Administration, Persona Management and Security.
Let’s start with the New Features…
- CBRC or View Storage Accelerator
CBRC will help address some of the performance bottlenecks and the increase storage cost for VDI. CBRC is a 100% host-based RAM-Based caching solution that help to reduce read IOs issued to the storage subsystem and thus improves scalability of the storage subsystem while being completely transparent to the guest OS. VMware tests have identified a boot storm reduction of approximately 80% on peaks IOPS, ~45% on average IOPS, ~65% on peak throughput and ~25% on average throughput.
For additional information I recommend you reading my two previous articles Understanding CBRC (Content Based Read Cache) and Understanding CBRC – RecomputeDigest Method. I also have a Storage View Accelerator Deep Dive prepared to be published this week, but for now take the opportunity to read VMware EUC Portfolio: Optimizing Storage with View Storage Accelerator by Narasimha Krishnakumar, Staff Product Manager.
View Storage Accelerator allow host caching of OS disks and user persistent disks on Linked Clone desktops; and administrators also have ability to specify how often the cache metadada should be regenerated.
Please note that View Storage Accelerator is is not supported under certain conditions:
• Not supported with View Composer API’s for Array Integration, which is a Tech Preview feature of View 5.1.
• Not supported for use with desktops with the local mode feature turned on.
• Not supported when View Replica Tiering is enabled.
I’ll write additional articles focusing View Storage Accelerator.
- View Composer Array Integration (VCAI)
VCAI is a Tech Preview feature that allow administrators to take advantage of the storage native snapshot feature within the normal administrative workflow of VMware View and View Composer. VCAI integrate with NAS storage partner’s native cloning capabilities using vSphere vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). VCAI speeds up provisioning of virtual desktops while offloads CPU consumption and network bandwidth. Take the opportunity to read VMware EUC Portfolio: View Composer Array Integration Tech Preview from Narasimha Krishnakumar, Staff Product Manager.
- Support 32 (up from eight) hosts in a cluster on NAS
Until VMware View 5.1 any vSphere Cluster supporting VMware View deployments with Linked Clones would only allow for clusters with a maximum of eight hosts. The reason behind the limitation is a VMFS limit on the number of hosts that can concurrently execute IO operations against a single file; the Replica.
This was never so much of an issue when talking about NFS exports, however the limitation was hard-coded into View Composer; the tool responsible for creating the Linked Clones. With VMware View 5.1 this limitation has been removed and View Composer will support cluster with 32 hosts if the underlying storage file system and protocol is NFS. Great addition, as this will completely change the architecture of many VMware View deployments.
- Standalone View Composer Server
- VMware View Composer is the piece responsible for creating Linked Clones and may now be installed in other server than vCenter Server. This move is aiming towards a highly scalable VMware View architecture.
- Customizable Disposable Disk Drive Letter
The inability to specific the disposable desk drive letter led me to write How to specify VMware View Disposable Disk Drive Letter in the past. Thanks to the VMware View Product team for listening to customers and adding the feature into VMware View. However, if you still want VMware View to select the drive letter for you, just leave the dropdown in Auto mode.
User Experience and Client Features
In this section the improvements are so many that I decided not to include a description for all of new features. I will write about them one-by-one at a later time. Here are some of the improvements.
- Local Mode enhancements
- Multi-monitor support
- Disk I/O performance improvements and reduced de-duplication I/O cost
- NAT support for DNS over TCP
- Local Mode disk consistency validations
- Virtual Hardware version 8 support
- Improved NAT, DNS resolution performance, Link State Propagation
- One-Click Send Ctrl-Alt-Delete
- Automation Support for Point-Of-Sale operations
- Data Integrity and Security Hardening
- USB Enhancements - VMware reworked the USB stack for Windows clients.
- Broader device support
- New filtering mechanism for better management of devices on Client, configurable via Group Policies.
- Multi platform support for USB View Client
- New filtering mechanism for better management of devices on Agent allowing Blocking of unwanted devices and blocking of devices that are forwarded by other means (e.g. keyboards/smartcards), configurable via Group Policies.
- The device driver for a device does not need to be installed on the client machine anymore.
- PCoIP Enhancements – A number os small enhancements to the display protocol have been made.
- UI Enhancements and Localization
The picture below demonstrate the new look and feel for the View Manager User Interface. It’s sleek and faster. VMware View has also been localized to five different foreign languages (French, German, Japanese, Korean and Simplified Chinese)
- Support of Pre-created AD Machine Accounts
This feature is a great addition for organizations that wish to create their own active directory computer accounts due to security guidelines or because of automation processes in place to ensure that Active Directory objects are created upon user joining the organization, as an example.
- VMware vCenter and View Composer Advanced Settings
VMware View UI now allow administrators to specify the maximum concurrent number of provisioning and maintenance operations. Previously, only Power and vCenter concurrent operations were available for configuration via User Interface. No hacking into the ADAM and vCenter database anymore to increase the number of concurrent operations for higher scalability. I recommend not changing the Default settings in production environment with tests as it could affect user experience should IOPs or throughput go beyond boundaries supported by the storage sub-system.
- Phone Home
- Allow virtual profile on physical machine
- One-time Windows XP to Windows 7 migration
- Virtual Profile as an one-time migration tool
VMware View Persona Management now offers profile support on physical machines to to help users transition from from physical to VMware View desktops. I’ll definitely talk more about that in a later post. During a physical to virtual migration, the administrator can first install View Persona Management on the physical desktop. When the same user uses a virtual desktop with Persona Management enabled, user data and settings are automatically synchronized. We also extend Persona Management to support a one-time Windows XP to Windows 7 migration.
- Multiple Two-factor authentication with Radius Support, including vendors such as RSA SecurID, VASCO DIGIPASS, SMS Passcode, SafeNet and others.
- VMware View Administrator Session Timeout – The session timeouts was always there, but now is possible to be configured by the administrator.
- SSL Certificate Security Enhancements
VMware View 5.1 now alerts when self-signed certificates are used. Administrators will have to validate the use of self-signed certificates. VMware recommends that trusted Certification Authority (CA) services be used.
VMware View 5.1 has several additional features that I have not highlighted in this post but I will try to cover them over the next few articles. One of the most important things in my opinion is that the upgrade to VMware View 5.1 is seamless, quick, and with minimal or zero downtime depending on how the infrastructure and View components have been deployed.
In paralel VMware has also announced:
- vCenter Operations for VMware View
- Project Octopus Beta
- VMware Horizon Application Manager 1.5
- Zimbra 7.2