Home Virtualization Lab Day at VMworld 2009

Lab Day at VMworld 2009

by Philip Sellers

Day 0 for VMworld was a bit of a bust for me.  I had two labs scheduled for the day – one which dealt with the upgrade from VI3 to vSphere 4 and the second with troubleshooting VMware View deployments.  Unfortunately, the first lab was plauged by technical issues and the lab was never able to get off the ground.   But the morning wasn’t a complete bust.  I actually ended up in line with a consultant I’d previously worked with from one of our partners, Logicalis, for the second lab.  So, he and I were able to talk about different things in the virtualization space.

The second lab was pretty good – still plauged with a few technical difficulties.  This lab largely worked, albeit slowly, because all of the lab environment was running from a single LUN (not a great idea). The lecture portion of this lab was quite good, so here a few notes:

  • VMware View contains the ability to prevent certain classes or hardware ID’s of USB devices from being able to attach to virtual desktops
  • We were exposed to a tool called USBlyzer which allows you to get the hardware, vendor ID and other needed information for masking away these devices from the View desktops
  • The USB limiting functionality is coordinated by registry entries and by the View tools loaded in the virtual desktop.
  • There are command line tools which allow for mapping default VM mappings for users and the ability to point user data disks back to the correct VMDK if you have to purge or redeploy a virtual desktop
  • We discussed the problems with User Data Disks and the mistaken notion that these were somehow roaming profiles for users
  • We talked about basic troubleshooting which often relies on DNS resolution – when in doubt, check DNS, if all else is working, check DNS again.
  • We talked about some of the things during a View deployment that could come into play – such as vCenter pointing to one Domain Controller and the View Desktops pointing to another (thanks to configuration in AD Sites and Services).  Because replication takes 15 minutes to occur, by default, in this configuration, View Desktops will try and join the domain, but computer accounts won’t exist.
  • Dynamic DNS is almost an necessity and even in environments where BIND or other DNS is used, most people setup a Windows DNS instance for Dynamic registration if only for the  virtual desktops – then including a forwarder to the primary BIND DNS or other.
  • And in case I didn’t say it already (I know I did, but here goes) – Problems with View deployments are almost always DNS.
  • We were exposed to two command lines:
  • vdmadmin – used to map users to default virtual desktops – vdmadmin -D -d desktop-pool -m machine -u domain\userid – can also be used to list user information, show entitlement or policies
  • sviconfig – used to backup or restore databases for View Composer – also used to create a View Composer database
  • See http://www.vmware.com/pdf/viewmanager_cl_tool.pdf for more information.

The afternoon was a partner session, which although I could have attended (nice little “Partner” tag on my credentials), but I chose not to.  Last year, the partner session was mostly how to sell and sales related marketing, but was interesting only because of the early access to the vSphere release information.   From other coverage online, the main announcements centered around cloud initiatives, which we heard about the following morning during the first general keynote.

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