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Dec 30 2009

VMware View 4 – What changes for the Administrator

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The big difference between VMware View 3 and 4 is that View 4 adds a new display protocol – PCoIP – that provides an optimized desktop experience for the delivery of the entire desktop environment specially across WANs with high latency and low bandwidth.

From a user experience perspective View 4 offers a big improvement over its former release, but for the VMware View Administrator nothing much changes on a day-to-day basis besides few bits and pieces, and off course, the added support for vSphere 4 that enables improved virtual machine scalability and performance.

The installation of all VMware View 4 components is pretty much the same – For VMware View Agent only an additional option to install a PCoIP Server when deploying to the template.

viewagent_install

There is another difference during installation of VMware View Client. A feature called Log in as current user that provides enhanced single sign-on – this  feature integrates with Active Directory and smart cards to help simplify the process of logging in to a VMware View desktop. If you want to require all users to provide identity and credential information to log in to a View Connection Server and again to access a View desktop, deselect the Log in as current user component.

viewclient_install

Most of the new features related do administration or management can be found in the Desktop/Pool Settings and View Server Settings pages.

Connection server restrictions: When you assign a tag to a View desktop or desktop pool, only users who connect to a View Connection Server instance that has a matching tag can access that desktop or desktop pool. You can assign a tag when you add or edit a desktop or desktop pool. See View Server Settings for configuration of the tags.

Default display protocol: The new option here is PCoIP, however RDP and HP RGS are still available.

Max number of monitors: Support for up to four monitors. (PCoIP only)

Resolution on each monitor: Support for resolutions up to 1920×1200 and pivot orientation to each monitor independently. (PCoIP only)

add_desktop

Tags: In View Server Settings administrators now can control user access to virtual desktops based on the View Connection Server being used for authentication. When you assign a tag to a View Connection Server instance, users who connect to that View Connection Server can access only those View desktops and desktop pools that have a matching tag or no tags.

viewserver_settingsFrom View 4 release notes it is possible to read the following additional features:

Smart card policies – Administrators can set group policies to force desktop disconnection and require reconnection when users remove smart cards.

Domain filtering – You can use vdmadmin.exe to control the accessibility of domains and traverse trust relationships more quickly.

You can cleanly delete View desktops using scripts.
I haven’t seen any additional information about this, not even in the manual. The only link with a script to clean orphaned replicas comes from Duncan Epping. http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/12/16/cleaning-up-orphaned-replicas-in-view/

You can log in to View desktops using user principal names (UPN).

You can explicitly configure IP addresses to override those supplied by the View Agent when accessing a desktop.

Mixed Active Directory and Kerberos authentication is supported.

Conclusion

Besides some obscure new features that are not even properly documented in the manual, the upgrade and management of VMware View 4 should be no hard work for an experienced View 3 administrator.

PCoIP greatly enhances the user experience however due to the lack of new features, in my opinion VMware View 4 had an early market release as a result of the obvious competition with XenDesktop.

One of the features I would like to see for a next release is a agnostic connection protocol such as http/https to be able to access the desktop from anywhere. For some organisations multimedia and audio are not the most important when delivering virtual desktops but I will let this discussion for another opportunity.

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1 comment

  1. Adam

    PCoIP is certainly a great display protocol. However in some scenarios of slow remote connections (like over certain WANs) there may be issues where PCoIP doesn’t function quite as well. In those cases, you can complement the VMware View deployment with Ericom Blaze, a software-based RDP acceleration and compression product that provides improved performance over WANs and congested LANs. Besides delivering higher frame rates and reducing screen freezes and choppiness, Blaze accelerates RDP performance by up to 10-25 times, while significantly reducing network bandwidth consumption over low-bandwidth/high latency connections.

    Ericom Blaze can be used in conjunction with VMware View 4 for enhancing performance of PCoIP in a WAN environment.

    Read more about Blaze and download a free evaluation at:
    http://www.ericom.com/ericom_blaze.asp?URL_ID=708

    Adam

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