Horizon View 6.0 Part 1–What’s New and Improved

Back in April, VMware announced Horizon View 6.0 during a special End-User Computing webinar.  The announcement heralded some major feature additions to the desktop virtualization suite including Remote Desktop Session Host support for application publishing and support for multi-datacenter environments with the Cloud Pod Architecture.

This release has been eagerly awaited, and it finally was released to general availability on June 19th.  It is now available for download on VMware’s website.

The Series

Like my last series on View 5.3, this series will cover the installation of the Horizon View components and related infrastructure.  The topics will be similar to the last series, and I will be creating a landing page for all posts in this series.

What’s New

VMware promised a lot of changes and improvements with Horizon View 6, and they’ve delivered.  There are a number of features that the community has been asking for, and a few less popular options have been removed from the product.

Some of the new features are:

  • Remote Desktop Session Host Support – Horizon View 6 now supports multiuser sessions on Remote Desktop Session Host servers using PCoIP
  • Application Publishing – The expanded support for RDSH also allows for application publishing from RDSH servers.  This feature was missing from previous versions of the Horizon Suite and frequently requested.
  • Cloud Pod Architecture – Larger environments with multiple datacenters had to manage the View environment in each datacenter separately.  Cloud Pod architecture allows administrators to manage up to 20,000 desktops in four pods in two datacenters as one environment.
  • Full Server 2012 R2 Support for all View Server Components
  • Remote Experience Agent is now integrated into the Horizon View desktop agent and does not require a separate installer
  • Feature Pack 1 is now fully integrated into the View Server installer and does not require a separate installer.
  • Space Reclamation supported on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Linked Clone Desktops
  • Persona Management supported on Windows 8.1 and Server 2008 R2 desktops. Note: Persona Management is not supported on multiuser RDSH sessions
  • Blast can now support up to 800 connections per Connection Server/Security Server combination.

One of the biggest changes, though, is a feature that is not included in Horizon View 6.  VMware has ended support for Local Mode desktops,  and this feature was not included with this release.  VMware will be utilizing Mirage to provide similar capabilities as local mode going forward.

If you’re interested in learning more about the additions and changes to Horizon View 6, you can check out the Release Notes here.

The next couple of posts in this series will review the architecture of Horizon View 6 and the components that are in the environment.

Sexism, Bro Culture, and IT – Thoughts on A Recent Advertising Campaign

On June 4th, 1919, the United States Senate passed what would go on to become the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which granted sufferage to women, by a vote of 56 yeas to 25 nays.  It would take more than a year to officially become part of the Constitution.

History, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.  Yesterday, Nutanix launched a new ad campaign called nixVblock.  This campaign, which should have highlighted the advantages of their product over the VCE converged infrastructure, instead veered into “Bro Culture” territory with “high brow humor” that is normally reserved for locker rooms, fraternity houses, and lite beer commercials.

The primary characters of the nixVblock ads are an IT guy named Doug and his “date” Vicky Block, who goes by VBlock for short.  While Doug is characterized as your average IT infrastructure engineer, “VBlock” is supposed to be an uninteresting, high maintenance woman who hears three voices in her head and dresses like three separate people.

The “VBlock” character is supposed to represent the negatives of the competing VCE vBlock product.  Instead, it comes off as the negative stereotype of a crazy ex that has been cranked past 11 into offensive territory.

When I saw the videos, I was offended.  These videos were laden with unfortunate implications (warning: TV Tropes link), and they hit a lot of my berserk buttons (warning: another TV Tropes link).  I found them to be both sexist and insulting to those suffering from mental illness.  These negatives completely overshadowed any positives that I might have picked up about their product.

But most of all, I’m disappointed.  Nutanix has great technology and some of the smartest people in tech working for them.  They didn’t need to stoop to this level, and this ad campaign showed a complete lack of awareness for current events.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had the following:

You’d think that someone, somewhere in the company, would have seen these and thought “Maybe this is a bad idea.  Maybe we should scrap these videos.”

Obviously, that did not happen.

It’s 2014.  Why do we need to continue to perpetuate sexism in IT?

Note: Nutanix appears to have pulled the videos from the nixvblock website prior to this post.

Exam Experience Recap – VCAP Desktop Administrator

On Tuesday, May 20th, I sat for the VCAP Desktop Administrator Exam in Milwaukee.  The exam covers a broad range of topics on Horizon View, Persona Management, and other related infrastructure components such as Group Policy.  Although I don’t work with View on a daily basis anymore, I wanted to sit for this exam as $work will be starting a Horizon View implementation this summer.

I received the official score report on Thursday night, and I did not pass.  I scored a 278 out of 500.

My exam experience mirrors Jason Shiplett’s first attempt.  I ran into an issue early in the exam that cost me time – time that I could have used to complete a few of the questions that I had in progress when the exam ended.

I didn’t prep as well as I should have before this exam.  I read through the blueprint, and I reviewed Chris Beckett’s VCAP DTA study guides.  Despite these two resources and a lot of hands-on experience with View, I went into the exam with some huge gaps in my knowledge in areas of the product suite that I hadn’t worked with in my lab or a production environment.

Unfortunately, the agreement that I had with my wife was that I would only get one crack at the exam before VMworld, and I will need to wait until August before I can take it again.  That will give me a little more time, though, to work on the areas where I need improvement.

Keys to the Exam

1. Time Management is critical. You have a very short time to complete the 23 questions on the exam.  Spending too much time on one area will hurt you.  You may also need to bounce around between questions.  I tried to use the materials my testing center provided to keep track of where I was.

2. If there is a task that you don’t know how to do, skip it and come back to it later.  You’ll lose too much time if you’re searching the documentation.

3. Hands-on Experience is a Must.  This is a practical exam, and you’re tested on successfully completing tasks.  You won’t be able to pass this exam if you don’t actually put View in a lab and try to work through the blueprint.

4. Read the blueprint and Chris Beckett’s notes that I linked to above.