Horizon REST API Library for .Net

So…there is a surprise second post for today. This one is a short one, and if you’ve been interested in automating your Horizon deployment, you will like this.

One of the new features of Horizon 2006 is an expand REST API. The expanded REST API provides administrators with the ability to easily automate pool management and entitlement tasks. You can learn more about the REST API by reviewing the Getting Started guide on Techzone, and you can browse the entire API on VMware Code.

Adopting this API to develop applications for Horizon has gotten easier. Andrew Morgan from the VMware End User Computing business unit has developed a .Net library around the Horizon Server REST API and released it on Github. This library supports both .Net 4.7 and .Net Core. The Github repo includes code samples for using the library with C# and Visual Basic.

I’m excited to see investment in this REST API as it will help customers, partners, and the community build applications to enhance and extend their Horizon deployments.

More Than VDI…Let’s Make 2019 The Year of End-User Computing

It seems like the popular joke question at the beginning of every year is “Is this finally the year of VDI?”  The answer, of course, is always no.

Last week, Johan Van Amersfoort wrote a blog post about the virtues of VDI technology with the goal of making 2019 the “Year of VDI.”  Johan made a number of really good points about how the technology has matured to be able to deliver to almost every use case.

And today, Brian Madden published a response.  In his response, Brian stated that while VDI is a mature technology that works well, it is just a small subset of the broader EUC space.

I think both Brian and Johan make good points. VDI is a great set of technologies that have matured significantly since I started working with it back in 2011.  But it is just a small subset of what the EUC space has grown to encompass.

And since the EUC space has grown, I think it’s time to put the “Year of VDI” meme to bed and, in it’s place start talking about 2019 as the “Year of End-User Computing.”

When I say that we should make 2019 the “Year of End-User Computing,” I’m not referring to some tipping point where EUC solutions become nearly ubiquitous. EUC projects, especially in large organizations, require a large time investment for discovery, planning, and testing, so you can’t just buy one and call it a day.

I’m talking about elevating the conversation around end-user computing so that as we go into the next decade, businesses can truly embrace the power and flexibility that smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices offer.

Since the new year is only a few weeks away, and the 2019 project budgets are most likely allocated, conversations you have around any new end-user computing initiatives will likely be for 2020 and beyond.

So how can you get started with these conversations?

If you’re in IT management or managing end-user machines, you should start taking stock of your management technologies and remote access capabilities.  Then talk to your users.  Yes…talk to the users.  Find out what works well, what doesn’t, and what capabilities they’d like to have.  Talk to the data center teams and application owners to find out what is moving to the cloud or a SaaS offering.  And make sure you have a line of communication open with your security team because they have a vested interest in protecting the company and its data.

If you’re a consultant or service provider organization, you should be asking your customers about their end-user computing plans and talking to the end-user computing managers. It’s especially important to have these conversations when your customers talk about moving applications out to the cloud because moving the applications will impact the users, and as a trusted advisor, you want to make sure they get it right the first time.  And if they already have a solution, make sure the capabilities of that solution match the direction they want to go.

End-Users are the “last mile of IT.” They’re at the edges of the network, consuming the reosurces in the data center. At the same time, life has a tendency to pull people away from the office, and we now have the technology to bridge the work-life gap.  As applications are moved from the on-premises data center to the cloud or SaaS platforms, a solid end-user computing strategy is critical to delivering business critical services while providing those users with a consistently good experience.

A Day of Giving Thanks

Today, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving.  It’s a day that we come together with our families to eat a little turkey, watch some football, and give thanks for the good things in our lives. 

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.  Some of the things I’m thankful for are:

1. An amazing and supportive family.

2. An awesome and challenging job with some of the smartest people I know.

3. A great community that enables passionate IT professionals to come together and share with each other.  Although I might only see people at VMUGs and conferences, I’ve come to consider many people friends.

4.  A Bears victory over the Packers…at Lambeau.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

Countdown to Virtualization Field Day 5–#VFD5

In two weeks, I get the pleasure of joining some awesome members of the virtualization community in Boston for Virtualization Field Day 5. 

If you’re not familiar with Virtualization Field Day, it is one of the many Tech Field Day events put on by Stephen Foskett (@sfoskett) and the crew at Gestalt IT.  These events bring together vendors and members from the community to have technical discussions about the vendor’s products and offerings.   These events are streamed live on the Tech Field Day website, and there are many opportunities to interact with the delegates via Twitter by following the #VFD5 hashtag.

The vendors that will be sponsoring and presenting at Virtualization Field Day 5 are:

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I will be joining an awesome group of delegates:

This will be my first time attending Virtualization Field Day as a delegate.  I’ve previously watched the events online and interacted with the delegates on Twitter. 

Keep watching this space, and the #VFD5 hashtag on Twitter, as there will be a lot more exciting stuff.

Writing for Virtualization Review – My 2nd Gig

In my end of the year wrap-up post, I teased that there would be an announcement coming early in January.   Now that it’s early January, I can let the cat out of the bag.

Starting this month, I will writing a twice-per-month column called Sean’s Virtual Desktop in Virtualization Review.  My plan is to write about VDI and to do how-to type articles like the Horizon View series that I’ve done on this blog.

My first article, Pets and Cattle in Virtual End User Computing, should be up sometime in the next day or two.

Edit: The article is now up, and it can be viewed here.

Looking Back at 2014, My Goals for 2015, and Something New….

Christmas is here, and the end of 2014 is just around the corner.  That means it is time to look back on this year and start looking forward to the next.  I also have a couple of announcements at the end of the post.

A Year in Review

2014 was a very busy year with a lot of exciting opportunities to grow.  Some of the highlights from this year were:

  • Giving my first vBrownbag Presentation
  • Participating in the Virtual Design Master challenge
  • Attended my second VMworld, where I presented on the vBrownbag stage and met a lot of really cool people
  • Passed both VCAP exams in the desktop track
  • Was a technical reviewer on the VMware Horizon View 6 Desktop Virtualization Cookbook by Jason Ventresco
  • Became a VMware vExpert and Cisco Champion
  • Joined the Steering Committee for the Wisconsin VMUG

The biggest highlights were early in the year when my wife and I welcomed our second child, a daughter, into the world and moved into our new house.

Blog Statistics

2014 was a very busy year on the blog front.  As of 12/24/2014, I had posted 86 times and received 149,600 page views for the year.  Those numbers should creep up to closer to 90 posts and 150,000 page views by the end of the year.

Some key statistics for the year are:

2015 Goals

I have a few goals for 2015.  These goals are:

  1. Get My VCDX: I will be starting my design documentation for my VCDX after the 1st of the year.  I have my design picked out, and my goal is to defend in October.
  2. Make the jump to a vendor or partner: This kind of goes with goal #1 as this will help with the VCDX process.  I currently work on the customer side, and I would like to transition to the other side and work for a vendor or a partner.  My long-term goal is to get into technical marketing or become a technology evangelist.
  3. Find a better balance between work, community involvement, and family: I think this one is self-explanatory.  Smile

And now for the good stuff

I mentioned that I had a couple of announcements at the top of the post.  None of the announcements are a new job, otherwise I would not have listed that as one of my goals for the next year.  But I do think they are exciting opportunities.

The first announcement is that I’ve been invited to present at the inaugural meeting of the North Central Wisconsin VMUG in early February at UW-Eau Claire.  I’ll have more details about the date and time as they become available.

The second announcement is going to be a bit vague at this point.  It’s not a new job, in a manner of speaking, but it is a big opportunity that I’m very excited about.  Keep an eye out in early January for more details.

And a big thank you…

This year wouldn’t have been as successful as it was without the great vCommunity.  A few of the people that I’d like to thank are:

  • The Wisconsin VMUG Leadership team
  • The Virtual DesignMaster leadership team of Eric Wright, Angelo Luciani, and Melissa Palmer and all of the judges and participants
  • Jonathan Frappier and the vBrownBag crew
  • Josh Atwell – who, despite being in most of the above, has provided some great advice

I’m looking forward to 2015, and I hope everyone has a great year.

My VCDX Journey – One Year In

Last year, I set a rather challenging goal for myself – to become a VCDX within three years.  I’m now one year in, and I wanted to update my progress.

When I first set the goal, I had only just achieved VCP status with the VCP5-DCV and the VCP5-DT and I was looking at the daunting challenge of the VCAP exams.

Today, I’m much closer to achieving a VCDX.  I’ve completed the prerequisite exams for the VCDX-DT.

But I’m not ready to take the next step of the journey yet.  Although I gained a lot of valuable experience from Virtual Design Master, I don’t have enough real-world experience to put together a #VCDX quality design.

I’m not sure how I am going to rectify this yet, but I have the next year to figure it out and start working on a formal design.

Community Matters – A VMworld 2014 Retrospective

This year’s VMworld was the second that I had the pleasure of attending.  Last year had been my first, and while I had a good time, I didn’t really know anyone or even know what I wanted to get out of it, and I wasn’t the type to just walk up to someone I talked to on Twitter and introduce myself or engage in table talk.

And most nights, after the sessions were done, I would grab dinner alone and go back to my hotel.

What a difference a year makes.

Last year’s conference opened the door and showed how wide and vibrant the greater virtualization community is.  It encouraged me to get more active in my local VMUG, on twitter and through community events such as Virtual Design Master.

I put myself out there, and I grew as both an IT Professional and a person, and along the way, I made new connections and new friends, and my experience at VMworld this year was different because of it.

The moral of the story is to get involved with your local user communities.  Build relationships with others in your profession through groups like VMUG or AITP.  And if one doesn’t exist (or worse, inactive) build it up so others can get the same benefits.

The Changing Face of EUC

The first section of Tuesday’s keynote was devoted to VMware’s End-User Computing division, and they shared their vision for the future of the market.

And let me tell you – it’s game changing.

{Note: I do not have early access to any of the EUC technologies discussed below.  Everything discussed below is from the keynote.]

VMware demonstrated the expanded capabilities in Horizon 6 and the improvements that they’ve made to the Blast protocol.  It’s now possible to deliver 3D applications, such as Autodesk 3D Max and the Adobe Creative Suite, to users without having to install a client on your machine.  Yes, it’s all accessible from an HTML5-enabled web browser.

They demoed CloudVolumes. CloudVolumes is an application layering technology that can overlay desktop applications onto a desktop in real time with no need to recompose linked clone desktops or use complex deployment tools like SCCM.  And it’s easy enough that you can delegate this task to the Help Desk.

And they also talked about the Horizon Suite.  In previous versions of Horizon, the products were stand-alone with limited integration.  VMware has started changing this and more closely integrating the Horizon Suite products in the same way that they’ve been been integrating products into the vCloud Suite.

My employer works in the construction industry, and we have projects across the country.  These jobs often require heavy 3D graphics to support the Autodesk REVIT MEP suite for building information management, and that means deploying workstations that can run MEP effectively to these locations.

The features of the Horizon Suite would change this.  Engineers and Project Managers would be able to access a desktop with AutoCAD from  Safari on an iPad or Chromebook from any jobsite anywhere in the country and provide feedback to engineers in the office.  Engineers would be able to go onsite and work with CAD without having to lug around a 30 pound workstation laptop.

But that wasn’t the most disruptive announcement.  One of the new features that was announced was Project Fargo.  Project Fargo will utilize features in vSphere 6 (currently in beta) to rapidly deploy “disposable” virtual machines up to 30x faster than deploying linked clones.  It almost sounds like the next version of vSphere will be able to use a process similar to forking a process in Linux to build up and tear down desktops.

When you combine Project Fargo with Persona Management (or Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity) and CloudVolumes, you get fully-configured Just-In-Time desktops.

I hope that we’ll hear more about these features over the next couple of months.

#vBrownbag TechTalk at VMworld

The great folks who run #vBrownbag are hosting another series of Tech Talks at this year’s VMworld.  These short talks are given in the Hang Space and feature community members presenting on topics that they’re passionate about and cover a variety of topics including Log Insight, Docker, and OpenStack. 

I’ll be giving a Tech Talk on automating the Microsoft stack using vCenter Orchestrator and PowerShell on Monday at 4:30.

The entire schedule is available here.

If you haven’t double (or tripled) booked yourself yet, and you’re passionate about a topic, there are still some slots available.