VMware View 4.6 Bootcamp Day 1 – Design Consideration Guidelines for VMware View – Overview

Let me start out by saying that VMware has done a very good thing. VMware View is a good product that is difficult to obtain low cost training on (save for recent releases by Train Signal and some work by Mike Laverick)  and I think they have finally recognized that. The offer a traditional classroom training for the product but most small shops can’t afford that, especially if they did scrape to afford the flagship vSphere Install/Configure/Manage course.VMware has released a 9 day video bootcamp that covers most of what you need to know to begin planning yourView implementation. I say “most” because subjects such as storage and networking differ from one company to the next so they can’t give much more than basic guidance on those topics. Today was day 4 of the video series and now that the weekend is here I wanted to touch on what we  have learned to date. Day 1: Design ConsiderationGuidelines for VMware View – Overview Day 1 focuses on many of those things that no one likes, which is the types of analysis you must do when planning to implement VMware View. Speaker John Dodge talks about the concept of “design entanglement”, which is basically the idea that every decision you make may impact the Viewdesign in multiple ways. Some examples:

  • The applications required affect memory and CPU requirements.
  • The operating system chosen affects the applications you can run, the CPU you need, the ram you require, and the storage needed.
  • The amont of ram dictates the size of your virtual swap file which impacts your storage needs.

Think about it; these three “simple” things that we rarely think of impact our View design heavily. The video goes on to talk about the decisions we must make when laying out the View components themselves:

  • User persona (profiles): None (use a default Windows profile), native OS (let them grow on the virtual machine), or external (roaming profiles or managed using a third party tool).
  • Desktop design: What OS to deploy, what virtual hardware is required to run it (ram/cpu/storage), and will the apps be installed directly within the base image.
  • View pool design: Floating (virtual machines can be used by multiple individuals), dedicated (virtual machine tied to a specific user), local mode (users “download” virtual desktops to their laptops for transport), or non linked clone (users get a full copy of the base image).
  • Application delivery: Traditional (installed within the base image), virtual (VMware ThinApp or similar), or SAAS.

These questions require that the design team have a solid understanding of the needs of the target audience of theView environment. Only when these needs are known can the true needs of the View environment be estimated. One of the final concepts the video touches on are the constraints that we must consider before moving forward with a View implementation:

  • Quality: Are there organizational standards we must adhere to when undergoing a project such as this?
  • Knowledge: Per my last section, do we have adequate knowledge of the environment so that the Viewimplementation can be properly supported?
  • Standards: Are there existing standards in place that affect the decisions we have made/will make with regard to hardware, software, or other aspects of the View implementation.
  • Budget: Does the organization have the resources needed to implement View according to the designrequirements? What are the CAPEX and OPEX values for the View environment?

Anyone who has lead large IT projects should be familiar with many of these constraints; based on my own experience they are fairly typical. The video closes by going over the new features introduced in View 4.6:

  • Security server: View server placed in a DMZ that acts as an intermediary between the internal View resources and the external clients.
  • Tiered storage: The ability to direct View data to unique storage tiers (example was keeping the replica disk seperate from the linked clones).
  • Local mode: The ability to download a full clone to a local machine for portability (primarily for laptops).

All in all the day 1 video was very interesting and lead to some interesting discussions on the day 1 message board. The message board adds to the overall educational value of this video series and the participants often build upon the video of the day and ask even more involved questions. Day 2 writeup to follow on Saturday! – Jason

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