What’s New in VMware Horizon 7.3

VMware Horizon 7 version 7.3 provides the following new features and enhancements. This information is grouped by installable component.

  • Horizon Connection Server
  • Horizon Agent for Linux
  • Horizon Agent
  • Horizon GPO Bundle
  • Horizon Client

Horizon Connection Server

  • Horizon Help Desk Tool
    • View application and process names and resource use within a virtual or published desktop to identify which applications and process are using up machine resources.
    • View event log information about the user’s activities.
    • View updated metrics such as Horizon Client version and the Blast protocol.
    • View additional session metrics such as the VM information, CPU, or memory usage.
    • You can assign predefined administrator roles to Horizon Help Desk Tool administrators to delegate the troubleshooting tasks between administrator users. You can also create custom roles and add privileges based on the predefined administrator roles.
    • You can verify the product license key for Horizon Help Desk Tool and apply a valid license.
  • Monitoring
    • If the event database shuts down, Horizon Administrator maintains an audit trail of the events that occur before and after the event database shutdown.
  • Instant Clones
    • You can create dedicated instant-clone desktop pools.
    • Windows Server operating systems are supported for instant clones in this release. For an updated list of supported Windows Server operating systems, see the VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article  2150295.
    • You can copy, paste, or enter the path for the AD tree in the AD container field when you create an instant-clone desktop pool.
    • If there are no internal VMs in all four internal folders created in vSphere Web Client, these folders are unprotected and you can delete these folders.
    • You can use the enhanced instant-clone maintenance utlity IcUnprotect.cmd to unprotect or delete template, replica, or parent VMs or folders from vSphere hosts.
    • Instant clones are compatible with Storage DRS (sDRS). Therefore, instant clones can reside in a datastore that is part of an sDRS cluster.
  • Cloud Pod Architecture
    • The total session limit is increased to 140,000.
    • The site limit is increased to 7.
    • You can configure Windows Start menu shortcuts for global entitlements. When an entitled user connects to a Connection Server instance in the pod federation, Horizon Client for Windows places these shortcuts in the Start menu on the user’s Windows client device.
  • Published Desktops and Application Pools
    • You can restrict access to entitled desktop pools, application pools, global entitlements, and global application entitlements from certain client computers.
    • You can configure Windows start menu shortcuts for entitled desktop and application pools. When an entitled user connects to a Connection Server instance, Horizon Client for Windows places these shortcuts in the Start menu on the user’s Windows client device.
  • Virtual Desktops and Desktop Pools
    • Blast Extreme provides network continuity during momentary network loss on Windows clients.
    • Performance counters displayed using PerfMon on Windows agents for Blast session, imaging, audio, CDR, USB, and virtual printing provide an accurate representation of the current state of the system that also updates at a constant rate.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program
    • Details regarding the data collected through CEIP and the purposes for which it is used by VMware are set forth at the Trust Assurance Center.
  • Security
    • With the USB over Session Enhancement SDK feature, you do not need to open TCP port 32111 for USB traffic in a DMZ-based security server deployment. This feature is supported for both virtual desktops and published desktops on RDS hosts.
  • Database Support
    • The Always On Availability Groups feature for Microsoft SQL Server 2014 is supported in this release of Horizon 7.

Horizon Agent for Linux

Horizon Agent for Linux desktops now support the following features:

  • UDP based Blast Extreme connectivity
    User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is enabled by default in both the client and the agent.  Note that Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connectivity will have a better performance than UDP on the Local Area Network (LAN). UDP will have better perforance than TCP over Wde Area Network (WAN). If you are on a LAN, disable the UDP  feature to switch to using TCP to get better connectivity performance.
  • KDE support
    K Desktop Environment (KDE) support is now also available on CentOS 7, RHEL 7, Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 16.04, and SLED 11 SP4 platforms.
  • MATE support
    MATE desktop environment is supported on Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 virtual machines.
  • Hardware H.264 Encoder
    The hardware H.264 encoder is now available and used when the vGPU is configured with the NVIDIA graphics card that has the NVIDIA driver 384 series or later installed on it.
  • Additional platforms support
    RHEL 7.4 x64 and CentOS 7.4 x64 are now supported.

Horizon Agent

  • HTML5 Multimedia Redirection
    You can install the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection feature by selecting the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection custom setup option in the Horizon Agent installer. With HTML5 Multimedia Redirection, if an end user uses the Chrome browser, HTML5 multimedia content is sent from the remote desktop to the client system, reducing the load on the ESXi host. The client system plays the multimedia content and the user has a better audio and video experience.
  • SHA-256 support
    Horizon Agent has been updated to support the SHA-256 cryptographic hash algorithm. SHA-256 is also supported in Horizon Client 4.6 and Horizon 7 version 7.2 and later.
  • Improved USB redirection with User Environment Manager
    • The default User Environment Manager timeout value has been increased. This change ensures that the USB redirection smart policy takes effect even when the login process takes a long time. With Horizon Client 4.6, the User Environment Manager timeout value is configured only on the agent and is sent from the agent to the client.
    • You can now bypass User Environment Manager control of USB redirection by setting a registry key on the agent machine. This change ensures that smart card SSO works on Teradici zero clients. For more information, see VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article 2151440 Smart card SSO fails when you use User Environment Manager with a zero client.

Horizon GPO Bundle

 

  • VMware Horizon Printer Redirection ADMX template file
    This new ADMX template file (vdm_agent_printing.admx) contains policy settings for filtering redirected printers.
  • “Enable VMware HTML5 Multimedia Redirection” group policy setting
    Use this new VMware View Agent Configuration ADMX template file (vdm_agent.admx) group policy setting to enable the HTML5 Multimedia redirection feature.
  • “Enable URL list for VMware HTML5 Multimedia Redirection” group policy setting
    Use this new VMware View Agent Configuration ADMX template file (vdm_agent.admx) group policy setting to specify which websites redirect HTML5 multimedia content.
  • “Enforces Wallpaper Setting from GPO” group policy setting
    Use this new Persona Management ADMX template file (ViewPM.admx) group policy setting to apply the wallpaper specified in the AD group policy setting.
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vRealize Operations for Published Applications 6.1

VMware vRealize Operations for Published Applications extends the functionality of VMware vRealize Operations Manager to monitor and manage Citrix XenApp 6.5 environments.

vRealize Operations for Published Applications collects data about your resources and presents that data in pre-configured dashboards for both real-time and predictive analysis.

Features in This Release

vRealize Operations for Published Applications 6.1 includes the following new features.

  • vRealize Operations Manager 6.0.2 support – vRealize Operations for Published Applications 6.1 is compatible with vRealize Operations Manager 6.0.2. It does not support earlier vCenter Operations Manager versions.
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting – vRealize Operations for Published Applications 6.1 monitors and generates reports for Citrix XenApp application, session, and license usage.
  • Citrix ICA virtual channel monitoring – vRealize Operations for Published Applications 6.1 monitors ICA virtual channels performance insight for faster session assessment and troubleshooting.
  • Out-of-the-box and custom summary reports – You can generate reports from pre-configured report templates or configure your own reports.
  • Internationalization – The vRealize Operations for Published Applications user interface and documentation are available in English, Japanese, French, German, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean.

More info at vRealize Operations for Horizon

FREE eLearning: Horizon View V6 and Mirage V5: What’s New

The Horizon View V6 and Mirage V5: What’s New is a FREE 1-hour self-paced course which highlights the new features and enhancements in Horizon View V6 and VMware Mirage V5 product. Get to know the key features of Horizon 6 and walk through use cases for each of different product areas that make up this powerful end-user computing suite.

See the course details and get started today.

LSI Logic SAS vs VMware Paravirtual SCSI disk

Within virtual machines, there are different SCSI controllers available for writing the data to the actual disk. For the different operating systems, there are best practices which gives the best performance. Windows XP uses the BusLogic Parallel SCSI driver and the results are acceptable. With Windows 7 the commonly used controller is the LSI Logic SAS controller. Which is selected automatically when creating a virtual machine of this type.

Different vendors have different best practices, some of them advice to use the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller. The VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller needs to be selected manually and needs some additional actions before it can be used. Creating a small additional disk with VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller connected will force the OS the use and installation of the correct driver. The additional drive can be removed after installation and the initial drive must be connected to the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller.

The question is which of these controllers gives the highest performance. For that I have started some tests with IOmeter in a virtual Windows 7 machine. The first test was with the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller and using an additional disk beside the system disk. The results of the test is show below:

Test1

The second test was performed with the LSI Logic SAS controller and was using the additional diks. This configuration could not give the same performance as the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller, the results of this test are placed below

Test2

The other test we did was with the system disk instead of the additional disk. The same results are showed as the previous tests. The use of the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller performs a little better then the LSI Logic SAS SCSI controller

The results of above are within the virtual machine, with Xangati i was able to measure from the outside. The following picture will show the light better performance of the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller, where the first and last test includes the VMware Paravirtual SCSI driver:

Xangati

For now, the conclusion can be drawn that the use of the VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller lead them a slight performance gain in these test.

Multiple Sessions in VMware Horizon View

When connecting to a floating pool using the View client, a user ended up receiving a new session despite having an existing session on another VM.

Analysis showed two desktop launch requests that came in from the same client connection in quick succession, spaced two seconds apart. Client log files imply the most likely scenario is that the user requested the desktop, immediately hit cancel on the wait dialog after the request was dispatched, and then launched it a second time. The View Connection Server correctly identified an existing disconnected session for the user while processing the first request at 13:18:57 for example, and provided the client with details to reconnect. The client dropped the Connection Server’s response and sent a second request at 13:18:59. This in turn was routed to the same VM, but the request was rejected as the first connection was still being set up by the View Agent. At this point the Connection Server then fell back to providing the user with a new session as the original was unavailable.

Solution:

View 5.1.1 and onwards contains a hidden configuration option that will inform the Connection Server to not fall back and allocate a new session if it knows the user already has one, even if reconnecting to the session failed. In the specific case analyzed, if this was toggled the user would have received a connection error on the second launch request with the option to retry. Retrying a few seconds later would have succeeded.

VMware recommends that the option to disable the default fallback behaviour is enabled. Instructions for this are below:

  • Ensure connection servers are running 5.1.1 or later
  • Follow the steps to connect to the ADAM database at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2012377
  • Navigate to the object CN=Common,OU=Global,OU=Properties,DC=vdi,DC=vmware,DC=int
  • In the Attribute Editor for the object, edit pae-NameValuePair attribute
  • Making sure not to adjust any other values, add a new string to the attribute with value “cs-allowfallbackfromexistingsession=0” (no quotes)
  • Click OK to close the editor dialog, your change is applied with no need to restart the servers
  • To reverse the change, edit the attribute again and remove the above line

Verification:

To verify the fix has been applied, you may find the allowFallback value in a debug level line on any desktop launch. The line will have the following format:
<date-time> DEBUG <prefix> getSessionForApplication, userDn: <dn>, appMap: {<name>=<value>, […], allowFallback=false, […]}