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May 02 2012

What’s New in VMware View 5.1 (Beyond Marketing)

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…

 

Platform 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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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  • 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.

 

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  • 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.

 

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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.

 

Management/Admin

  • 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)

 

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  • 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.

 

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  • 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.

 

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  • Phone Home
This is an Opt-In option during Install time for anonymous VMware View usage statistics collection. All data is anonymized and untraceable and phone home will collect information on versions, features used, system architecture choices and deployment scale. VMware aims to use this information to provide better support and more enhancements to the most popular featured. In additional to that VMware believe this data collection will allow for better alignment of View product R&D priorities to match the way customer are actually using View.
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Persona Management

  • 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.

 

Security

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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:

 

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvirtualcloud.net/?p=3194

11 comments

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  1. Saqib Fayyaz

    Thanks for the information Andre – this is very helpful.

    Just to confirm: Storage Accelerator will not work if replicas are being stored on SSD?

  2. Andre Leibovici

    @Saqib Fayyaz
    Yes, View Storage Accelerator will also work if replicas are stored on SSD. However, bare in mind that CBRC does not use SSD for caching, only RAM.

    Andre

  3. Jason Boche

    Great article. I was referred to this from Simon Long’s site.

  4. Saqib Fayyaz

    Is there a deep dive document for Storage Accelrator feature?

  5. Andre Leibovici

    @Saqib Fayyaz
    I don’t have scoop into what the tech marketing team has created from a documentation perspective. However, I believe they will release the documentation for View 5.1 when the product is GA.

    Andre

  6. JD

    @Andre Leibovici
    Great post. One question – Can you please elaborate on ‘VSA Not supported when View Replica Tiering is enabled’

  7. Andre Leibovici

    @JD
    VCAI is not supported if you are using dedicated Replica Datastore. The reason being is that VCAI allows for array management of the virtual desktops and deltas via VAAI. The Storage Tiering is a VMware View management feature. They don’t work together.

    To use VCA Dedicated Replica Datastores must be disabled.

    Andre

  8. Alex Tanner

    Hi Andre

    Great series of articles

    Given your extensive knowledge of the product (which has just GAed!!) and the immense amount of new features – could I encourage you to write one of your informative blog posts highlighting in one place all the gotchas you see emerging with people trying to deploy 5.1 – already in the comment string above two such gotchas are mentioned – i.e VCAI and dedicated replica datastores – such a blog post of gotchas would then become a very useful View 5.1 Architecture and Deployment aid checklist – helping people shape deployments that will actually work in reality

    Many thanks

    Many thanks

  9. forbsy

    So, View 5.1 doesn’t make it mandatory to use valid SSL certs? You can still use the self signed ones and just verify them in View Administrator afterwards? Is there anything that will not work properly if we choose not to use valid SSL certs?

  10. Andre Leibovici

    @forbsy
    That’s correct, you can still use self-signed certificates as long you accept them in the VMware View Administration GUI.

    Andre

  11. Andre Leibovici

    @Alex Tanner
    THanks for your feedback. I have few blog posts lined up for the next few weeks but I will try to include a post on Design Architectures with VMware View 5.1.

    Andre

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