VMware just lifted the NDA for VMware View 5.0. Despite VMware has not incorporated dozens of new features into the product; those added features significantly improve VMware View as a whole. Most of the features included are valuable to improve the end user experience.
From a technology perspective there were considerable changes to the behavior of some View components. Because of those changes the supported architecture has also changed.
Let’s start with the new features…
Announced VMware View 5.0 improvements
PCoIP WAN performance optimization – Improvements on PCoIP protocol performance in low-bandwidth WAN environments. Users who connect to their desktops over an external WAN have enhanced desktop experience.
PCoIP Build-to-Lossless – PCoIP now provides the ability to turn off Build-to-Lossless. This is the feature that puts PCoIP in parity with ICA when the discussion is around bandwidth consumption. Build-to-Lossless is ON by default and included in the PCoIP protocol within VMware View. I have prepared another post specifically to discuss this feature along with other important changes to the display protocol.
VMware Client Side Caching – VMware View Client (Windows Only) now implements a client side image caching to store portions of the display that were previously transmitted. Image caching reduces the amount of data that is retransmitted and improve user experience. This cache can be managed and it’s size can be modified. I have prepared an article specifically to address this feature.
Support for 3D graphics on vSphere 5.0 – This feature provides View desktops with vGPU graphics enablement available on vSphere 5.0 platforms (hardware version 8). View users can take advantage of desktop graphics enhancements provided by AERO (such as peek, shake, and Flip 3D) and the 3D capabilities of Windows Office 2010 (such as picture editing, slide transitions and animations, presentation-to-video conversion, video embedding, editing, and 3D rotations). Include here: Support for DirectX9 and OpenGL 2.1
View Persona Management – The View Persona Management feature manages user profiles in a secure and centralized environment. (User profiles include user data and settings, application data and settings, and Windows registry settings configured by user applications.) View Persona Management allows IT organizations to simplify and automate the capture and management of a user’s persona while providing a rich user experience. View Persona Management offers the following benefits:
- Provides a user profile that is independent of the virtual desktop. When a user logs into any desktop, the same profile appears.
- Lets you configure and manage personas entirely within View. You do not have to configure Windows roaming profiles.
- Expands functionality and improves performance compared to Windows roaming profiles.
- Minimizes login impact by downloading only the files that Windows requires, such as user registry files. Other files are copied to the local desktop when the user or an application opens them from the local profile folder.
- Copies recent changes in the local profile to a remote profile repository at configurable intervals, typically once every few minutes.
Client certificate checking for Windows Clients – You can configure remote Windows clients to require certificate verification. Users without valid certificates are denied access to View Connection Server. Alternatively, you can use a Warn But Allow mode that supports self-signed server certificates and lets users connect to View Connection Server with certificates that have expired or are not yet valid. You can also set a No Security mode that lets users connect without certificate checking.
Support for vSphere 5.0 and hardware v8 – Remote View desktops can be hardware v8 virtual machines. Hardware v8 is not supported for desktops that run in local mode.
Localization support for Korean – The View Administrator console, documentation, online help, and release notes are available in Korean.
Unannounced VMware View 5.0 improvements (Beyond Marketing)
I call unannounced those key changes that allowed VMware to deliver an enhanced end user experience, but for marketing reasons are not part of the big announcement. You may find the items below in the technical documentation.
Group Policy Additions – The number of configurable parameters through ADM templates for Windows Group Policies has been extended to cover User Persona with Folder Redirection and PCoIP additional settings. PCoIP additional settings include options like: Configure the PCoIP session MTU, Configure the PCoIP session audio bandwidth limit, Configure clipboard redirection and Configure PCoIP client image cache size policy.
Linked Cloning Scalability using NFS – This could be the most important modification in VMware View 5. Just to recap… until VMware View 4.6 the maximum SUPPORTED number of hosts per cluster when using View Composer Linked Clones was eight.
In VMware View 5.0 a cluster that is used for View Composer Linked Clones may contain more than eight hosts, but you must store replica disks on NFS datastores. On VMFS datastores, you can store replica disks only with clusters that contain at most eight hosts.
This feature is till under scrutiny because of the different information on different documents provided by VMware. Read more in my article VMware View Composer 2.7 Maximums
Linked Cloning Disk Alignment – A existing issue in previous releases of VMware View was that even when you aligned the Parent VM, disks created by View Composer would not be aligned. There is a good article from Duncan Epping on the alignment subject. VMware View 5.0 will create disk partitions for Persistent and Disposable aligned with 1024 KB offset. The only disk not properly aligned is the internal.vmk (read more about the internal.vmk at VMware View 4.5 Linked Cloning explained)
Desktops per Pool – VMware has tested and validated 1,000 desktops per desktop pool. The desktop pools may be Full or Linked Clones and it’s a jump from the previous supported 512 desktops per pool.
PCoIP Session Statistics – PCoIP sessions statistics are available via WMI for all virtual desktops and can be retrieved from within the host VM. The statistics exposed are: General, Network, Audio, Imaging and USB. All the statistics can be monitored via Windows PerfMon. Automation of tasks such as querying for management data, executing a method from a WMI class, or receiving event notifications using WMI is also possible.
PCoIP Continuity Services – While roaming unreliable networks or those with high latency and packet loss, users can unexpectedly be disconnected from their View session. PCoIP Continuity Services automatically detects a loss in connection and will automatically reconnect the user session. The key improvements on the protocol are:
- Enhanced adaptability to loss of network connectivity
- Seamlessly recovers active user sessions after loss of network connectivity
- Session recovery during loss of network ~30 seconds
- Better session resilience on networks with high packet loss