Posts tagged vdi
This tip is a pretty simple one, but can be confusing to some. For example, when a delete fails, it’s natural to want to just click delete again. To that point, in the past, I have seen virtual desktops go into the ‘Error’ state when deletions or recomposures fail. For example, a recompose failed because it couldn’t join the domain due to the DHCP range running out of addresses, and I know what went wrong and just want to do the operation again.
Trying the same operation again won’t do anything. Getting back to a good state, assuming the root cause has hopefully been resolved, is accomplished via a simple refresh:
We can, assuming deletion was our goal, then re-delete the desktop and it should do so cleanly:
The latest version of the VMware View app has been released for both the iPad and Android. Several new documented changes in this version, as well as some other slight undocumented modifications. Here is the documented list:
- Optimized for VMware View 5 with improved performance
- Support for iOS 5 including AirPlay
- Presentation Mode for use with external display and AirPlay
- Embedded RSA soft token simplifies login to desktop
- Background tasking to move between Windows and iOS apps
- Updated look and feel
- Integrated online help
- Buffered text input for multibyte text entry
- Now in French, German, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese
- Bug fixes
The three bolded are my top choices for best new features. It was a complete pain having to reconnect when switching between apps, and made me almost not want to even use it. I’m very happy to see that is now fixed.
The included online help is also a blessing as it gives novice users (which should be a large portion of the userbase of this app, if VDI is successful) a way to figure out how to maneuver and operate the application.
Lastly, Presentation Mode will be very handy for a lot of users.
Two of the undocumented features that I have noticed are:
- Passwords are no longer savable. You must authenticate every time you log in. Previously you could save the password to the iPad, but this was removed for security reasons.
- The screenshot of desktops used as icons for the specific Virtual Desktops is now blurred, which is likely for security reasons as well.
Earlier this year, EVGA released a new VMware-Certified Zero Client dubbed the PD02. It uses the same chipset as the products it competes with, notably the Wyse P20, Dell FX100, and others; this means it is functionally the exact same.
The form factor is different as it comes in a small cube as opposed to the traditional blocky design. However, the biggest difference is the pricing: $299. The other units are at least 25% more expensive with the Wyse P20 listing on CDW for as much as $419.99. When purchasing hundreds of these units, that amount can really add up. For a 600 seat deployment, that’s a whopping $72,000 saved.
The unit has an aluminum casing on the sides which acts as a heat sink. While this may do a great job at accomplishing its goal of cooling the unit, it also does a great job at making it uncomfortable to touch. A non-scientific heat gun reading listed the unit as around 110 degrees (F). It’s not unbearable, but it is certainly unpleasant to hold after it has been on for awhile.
The unit can be managed via the Teradici PCoIP Management Console just as all other units that use the Teradici chipset. It can also use the firmware directly from Teradici like the others. It does not come with a keyboard or mouse similarly to the FX100; it is worth noting the Wyse P20 comes with PS/2 versions of both.
It will be interesting to see how other manufacturers respond to this unit, but hopefully this will drive down the pricing for zero clients. I am a huge proponent of zero clients over thin clients or re-purposed desktops as the experience among the three is night-and-day with the zero client coming out far ahead of the others. Lowering the cost of these units will increase their deployment numbers and be better for View-based VDI deployments.
In my journey to find the best method to convert an old workstation into a thin client for our View deployments, I came across many solutions before we came upon AutoView by Justin Emerson at VM Junkie. AutoView is a series of scripts and registry edits that convert an XP machine into a thin client in minutes with only one click.
The general premise of what it does is:
1. Create a user called ‘user’ and temporarily adds this user to the Administrator group so it can make the necessary registry changes.
2. Modify the Winlogon registry settings for the local machine so that ‘user’ logs on automatically, and that upon the next reboot another batch script executes.
3. Reboots the system.
4. After reboot, it sets a VBScript to execute the View client in a loop as ‘users’s logon shell. This makes it so that the user only sees the View client, and not the start menu, etc. It also disables Task Manager, Lock Workstation, and Password Change options from the Ctrl+Alt+Delete menu.
5. It then removes ‘user’ from the Administrators group and reboots the system.
6. The system now boots up, auto-logs into the ‘user’ account, and only shows the View client to the user.
If the View client is exited, it simply re-opens automatically. If you need to get to the Administrator account or to another account, simply Ctrl+Alt+Del and hold down ‘Shift’ while clicking Log off. This will exit you out to the normal Windows logon screen. If shift is not held down, it simply logs back into the user account.
The great thing about this is that you can convert someone’s existing workstation and leave it untouched in case they are unhappy with their virtual desktop. All you have to do is make it so the ‘user’ account doesn’t auto-login which can be done by modifying the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\ForceAutoLogon key to 0 then they’re back to their regular desktop.
Overall, this has been the perfect solution for us in our deployments without hardware thin clients. It may not be perfect for everyone, because you’re still using a Windows license on the underlying system, but that is not a problem for our environment.
I won’t go into detail with these, because we didn’t choose to pursue them after initial testing, but I will give my general impressions.
We use several Wyse thin clients, so we did explore their PC Extender solution. We tested this, and came out generally unimpressed. You could tell it didn’t get a lot of TLC from Wyse, which I suppose makes sense… they would obviously prefer you to buy their hardware thin clients. The setup and implementation wasn’t great, and they would only support a limited number of PC makes/models. It definitely has potentional.
We also considered Devon IT’s VDI Blaster, which was an impressive product. It didn’t have quite the amount of polish I was hoping for, but it was a solid solution. Once issue we ran into is that the hostname of their management suite was hard-coded into the software and required a bit of work to fix.
Lastly, another option is ThinLaunch. This software does literally the exact same thing that AutoView does. There are no features in ThinLaunch that are not provided by AutoView. If you don’t believe me, feel free to watch their video demonstration. The real problem with this? It costs $25 per computer, and AutoView is free and modifiable.