Archive for the ‘Mirage’ Category
Just now VMware released a new version of Horizon Mirage. The new version 4.2.3 features a lot of bug fixes and some new features.
- Better storage disconnects handling – Horizon Mirage servers now identify high load conditions on storage that can cause disconnects and can throttle down to allow storage utilization to return to normal.
- SSL configuration option in Horizon Mirage server installation – The IT manager can now configure SSL communication during server installation. There is no need to perform this operation with the Management console after installing.
- Branch reflector enhancements – The IT manager can better design and monitor branch reflector deployment by simulating the branch reflector selection on endpoints. The IT manager can now click any device from the Management console and see if it has a branch reflector in its vicinity.
If you want to learn more about this release have a look at the release notes.
Due to some installation issues version 4.2.3 isn’t available to download anymore. I will update this post as soon as problem is fixed and the download is back again. VMware re-released version 4.2.3 with additional bug fixes. Everyone who has already update to the first release please consider upgrading your environment to the latest release.
For optimizing the performance and stability of a Mirage cluster it is highly recommended to use a dedicated network interface for the SMB storage traffic. The following article will guide you through the process of getting an dedicated storage network up and running and how to move your existing Mirage volumes to the dedicated network.
Please validate this guide in an test environment before applying any chances to your production environment.
Create dedicated network
It is recommended to use a dedicated network for just the storage traffic. In this example a dedicated virtual switch is created which is only used for storage traffic.
In a productive environment you can use a dedicated network switch, or VLAN. If VLAN is not an option the physical separation of the storage network is the best option. For this scenario you need a minimum of four NICs (2 for storage network and 2 for client network)
A new network card, connected to the dedictated network, was added to each Mirage server.
Mirage server configuration
As a new network card was added to each Mirage servers this cards need to be configured correctly.
First of all the order in which the network cards are accessed by network services needs to be correct.
The primary network card which is used for the general communcation (Active Directory, Mirage server, Backup, Management, etc.) needs to be the first card in the list.
This option can be found under Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network Connections –> Advanced -> Adapters and Bindings.
After configuring the order of the new network card for the dedicated storage the network needs to be configured.
In this example the IP range 192.168.89.0/24 is used for this cluster network. Therefore the first Mirage server gets the IP 192.168.89.1.
The use of DNS isn’t necessary and it is not recommended to configure an additional default gateway. The storage network should be a none routed network with direct connect tot he storage, if possible.
It is also necessary to leave the services „Client for Microsoft Networks“ and „File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks“ checked for the storage interface. If these services are disabled no access to the network share is possible.
Network share configuration
To use a network share as Mirage storage volume the account used for the Mirage services needs to be granted full permissions on the share.
Also, if a Windows file server it used, it also has to have full permissions granted at NTFS level.
If the network share used for the Mirage storage is provided by the Mirage servers itself, no additional configuration steps are needed. Windows automacially binds network shares on all network interfaces which have the „Files and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks“ enabled.
If a dedicated Windows file server or network filer (like NetApp) is used additional configuration steps are necessary to make the used network share available on the dedicated cluster network. These configuration steps are not covered in this article. Please contact your Windows file server administrator or storage vendor for further information on this topic.
Change path of an existing volumes to use the dedicated network
Before the current path of the Mirage volume can be changed the volume needs to be unmountend first. Unmounting a volume places the volume in a non-operational status but retains the CVD and Base Layer data on the volume. This means for time the volume is unmounted CVDs placed on this volume aren’t centralized or backed up.
As unmounting and changing the path of the volume only takes a few moments this shouldn’t be a problem.
When the storage is unmounted the path can be changed to the dedicated network. In this example the path is change from \\mirage2.fluxhorizon.com\miragelocalstorage$ to \\192.168.89.1\miragelocalstorage$.
After the path is changed the volume needs to be mounted again.
These steps need to repeated on each Mirage volume which should be placed on the dedicated network interface.
With the newest version of Mirage released just a few days ago there is often the question how to upgrade the Mirage servers to the latest release.
Luckily the instructions on how to upgrade Mirage servers are documented in the VMware Horizon Mirage Administrator’s Guide (page 265 ff.) and also as a separate KB article called: Best practices for upgrading VMware Mirage (2031711).
Unfortunately one crucial thing isn’t mentioned in the documentation: Do not use the “Create new storage areas.” option during the upgrade process of the Mirage management server.
If this option is used and the path of the original storage area is entered everything of your Mirage installation (Base Layer, AppLayer, CVD data, etc.) is getting deleted and is lost permanently if you haven’t created a backup before!
The same is true is when the “Create new local cache area.” is used while upgrading the Mirage server software. This situation is far less critical as only the local cache of the server itself is deleted but no important stuff like base layers and CVD data. This may result in some short-time performance penalties as the cache has to be filled again
So please make sure to keep this in mind before and while upgrading your Mirage servers.
The features File Portal and Web Manager of VMware Horizon Mirage both need Microsoft .NET Framework to work properly. While the File Potal still uses .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 the new Web Manager needs .NET Framework 4.0.
Sometimes if you want to access one of these consoles right after the installation you either get a HTTP 403 error (Web Manager) or HTTP 500 error (File Portal).
Both of these errors most often occure when the relevant .NET Framework version isn’t registered properly with IIS (Internet Information Service).
To solve this issue just run one of the following commands:
Mirage File Portal
Mirage Web Manager
These commands register the corresponding .NET version with IIS.
At this point I want to thank my colleague Christian Gehring for pointing out this problem and his help solving it.
On last Wednesday (06.06.2013) VMware released version 4.2 of Horizon Mirage. This new version features support for Windows Vista (migrations from Vista to Windows 7 are also supported), client and file portal localization (French, German, Japanese and Simplified Chinese), optimizations of the endpoint centralization process, a brand new Web console for help desk users and much more.
Here is a snippet from the what’s new section of the release notes:
- Endpoint centralization – Performance improvement when a large number of endpoint centralizations are performed, by reducing the number of IO operations required from the storage.
- Vista OS support – Horizon Mirage supports the disaster recovery use case for Vista, and Vista to Windows 7 migration.
- New help desk Web console – Help desk users can troubleshoot and fix endpoints using a Horizon Mirage Web interface.
- Client and file portal localization – The Horizon Mirage client and file portal now supports: French, German, Japanese and Simplified Chinese.
- Windows 7 in-place migration encrypts endpoints with Sophos 5.5 software – There is no need to decrypt endpoints during an in-place Windows 7 migration.
- Aligned Mirage license scheme to the Horizon user-based license scheme – Horizon Mirage no longer enforces license based on device count.
If you want to know more about this release I recommend the official VMware blog post to this release: Announcing Horizon Mirage 4.2!
With Horizon Mirage application layering and ThinApp VMware has now two options to deploy applications to endpoints. The big difference between both products is that ThinApp is an application virtualization solution and Mirage Application Layering is not.
While this is the main difference there are still many, many differences between both products in terms of functionality and deployment options. In the following table I tried summarizes most of the differences.
|Functionality / Product||Mirage application layering 4.0||ThinApp 4.7|
|Application isolation (running multiple version of the same application, prevent DLL conflicts, etc.)||No||Yes|
|OS independency (possibility to build a package on another OS version than it runs on)||No||Yes|
|Run different versions of the same application||No, only if application supports this natively.||Yes|
|Supports Internet Explorer virtualization / running multiple Version of IE||No||Yes|
|For more differences visit horizonflux.com|
If you want to know more about the differences between Mirage Application layering and ThinApp head over to horizonflux.com and of course please vote for our VMworld US 2013 session: 4863 Dare to compare: Mirage application layering and ThinApp.
If you’re interested in VMware’s Horizon Mirage solution, this might be a great option for you to get a free training. VMware is offering a 3,5 hours self paced eLearning course on the MyLearn platform. The course covers the main features of the solution as well as the common administration tasks and more.
Here’s a quick overview of the objectives:
Objectives: After completing the course, you should be able to:
• Define Horizon Mirage concepts and components.
• Explain how Horizon Mirage works.
• List some of the key business challenges that Horizon Mirage solves.
• Describe the main features and benefits of Horizon Mirage.
• Describe the Mirage components and how they fit into the Horizon Mirage architecture.
• Define the Horizon Mirage layers.
• Discuss the tasks for configuring a Horizon Mirage System.
• Describe the process for deploying Horizon Mirage to endpoints.
• Recognize the main function of each of the Horizon Mirage common wizards.
• Discuss the steps for capturing and assigning a Base Layer.
• List the steps for capturing and assigning an App Layer.
• Explain how an administrator uses the Disaster Recovery Wizard to restore a Central Virtualized Desktop (CVD).
• Describe the high level tasks for performing a Windows XP to Windows 7 migration.
• Recognize the main functions of the System Dashboard and how to use them to monitor your desktop deployment.
• Explain how to use the Client Status window.
• Describe how an end user performs a file-level restore and directory-level restore.
• Discuss how the Snooze option works.
• Recognize how the Sync Now option works.
If you haven’t heard about Mirage yet or you need more information please visit the VMware website which offers great whitepapers: http://www.vmware.com/products/desktop_virtualization/mirage/overview.html
A few days ago Tim published an article about Mirage Layering on his blog. Today he topped this one with a really great write up of the Application Layering in Mirage. This article gives you a great overview.
Image source: http://www.horizonflux.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/AssignAppLayer.png
My colleague Tim Arenz has published a great article about Mirage Layering on his blog. A great read for everyone who loves to learn more about Horizon Mirage.
There is a great new guide online from VMware. If you want to setup a test environment for VMware Mirage, this is the resource to use. Please check the link below.