Archive for the ‘Mirage’ tag
There are some great VMware Mirage videos available on Youtube. If you want to learn more about the Mirage use cases and technology you should watch these videos.
A few days ago I’ve decided that I’ll look a bit deeper into the VMware Mirage solution and blog about it here. The reason for that is that in my role at VMware I get an enormous amount of requests for this relatively new solution. Customers are fascinated by the product and it’s technology. Especially the Windows- and hardware migration functionality is well received because it helps exactly where other migration or deployment solutions are struggling. It’s optimized for small and large scale environments and it comes with load of optimizations i.e. File- and block-level de-duplication, network traffic optimizations and more. If you want to learn more about Mirage please visit the VMware website and download the Mirage FAQ.
But now back to my little project!
As a starting point I’ve decided to read a bit of the collateral delivered by VMware. The Admin Guide for Mirage seemed like a good option – and it was. A great document which includes all information needed to setup my home lab. The Admin Guide is included in the VMware Mirage download package. To get this download package you’ve to visit the old Wanova website at: http://wanova.com/forms/lp.html as the download is not yet available (28.01.2013) in the My VMware Download Center. After the registration you’ll get a download link for the software installers and product guides.
Reading the Admin Guide I found the information which I’ve needed to planned the hardware infrastructure for my demo lab. The sizing mentioned in the guide of course is for a production system i.e. 16 GB RAM for the server and I planned to use less RAM because I’m only using it for a few concurrent client operations.
Of course I’ll use virtual machines for deploying the Mirage Servers and Clients, based on VMware virtualization. At the moment I’ve two options which are working great for me:
- My iMac i5 with 16 GB RAM running Mountain Lion and Fusion 5.0.x.
- A Fujitsu Esprimo P1510 with a Quad core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM running ESX 5.1. By the way this Fujitsu box is a great system for home labs as the storage and the network interface are detected by the installer without issues. Actually this P1510 is a office PC and not a proper server.
I’ve not decided finally which option I’ll go with but I’ve started to install the needed backend (Active Directory, SQL Server) on the Mac as my vSphere environment is not completely ready yet.
The Mirage home lab will finally consist of:
- VM with Windows 2008 R2 Server running as Active Directory Domain Controller and the Mirage Management Console.
- VM with Windows 2008 R2 Server as the Mirage Server and Management Server (Usually in a production environment you would install these modules on different servers but here this will be ok for me).
- Two client VM’s running Windows XP and Windows 7.
- Another client VM running Windows 7 as reference machine.
I’ve already used some product specific wording which you may not know so I’ll give you an overview first.
- Mirage Management Server – The main component that controls the Mirage Server Cluster
- Mirage Server – This server component manages the storage and delivers base/app-layers and CVD’s to the clients. Another task for the server is the consolidation of the monitoring and management communication.
- Mirage Client – The client is installed on a Windows endpoint. The client receives data from the server and sends local changes back into the datacenter.
- Mirage Console – The Mirage Console is a snap-in for the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and it gives you access to the Mirage System.
- Reference Machine – A reference machine is used for creating the base layers for a CVD or s set of CVD’s. Actually this is i.e. a Windows 7 desktop where the IT administrator does install software which will be captured into layers.
- Branch Reflector – The branch reflector is a Mirage Client somewhere in your network, maybe in a branch which has an additional role. It serves the clients in the network with base and app layers so that the clients haven’t to download those layers from the central datacenter. This helps to save bandwidth and speeds up the delivery process.
- File Portal – The File Portal is a web portal based on Internet Information Server which gives the users access to their data located in their centralized CVD. This is great for users who can’t access their laptops or PC’s directly i.e. because they are stolen or broken. If that’s the case they can access the synchronized data via any device using a web browser.
- Base Layer – A layer defined by the administrator which includes the operating system, and the core applications i.e. VPN client, anti virus and so on.
- App Layer – This layer includes software for departments or line of business applications. The app layers can be created using the reference machine and then be deployed to large scale infrastructures.
- Driver Profile – A group of drivers which can be designated for use with specific hardware. The administrator can add drivers for the client hardware and Mirage will use them for the correct configured endpoints.
- User-Installed applications and machine state – The information included here makes the endpoint unique. It includes i.e. a unique identifier, the hostname and any changes made to the Windows Registry. Also DLL’s and configuration files are part of this.
- User settings and data – As it says, it includes the users settings and data. Administrators can define which data will be protected by Mirage. The admin could i.e. exclude large video files or MP3′s from syncing. You should note here that all changes made by the user to data, applications and the machine state are efficiently propagated to the datacenter.
You now got a first impression of the Mirage wording which will help you in the next articles in this series.
For now that’s all but stay tuned for the next blog post coming. I’m currently setting up everything and will be back soon.
Currently I’m planning to write about:
- Installing Mirage and connecting to the Mirage system
- Mirage Console overview
- Centralizing an endpoint
- Creating a base layer
- Working with the driver library
- Deploying layers to the Mirage client
The French blog (english language) www.vladan.fr has published a cool three article series about VMware Mirage. Learn how to install and setup Mirage and in the last article see how to migrate a Windows XP desktop to Windows 7.
Simon Long just published a new article on his Blog which will be interesting for the Mirage fans. Mirage is actually using a throttling technology which helps to reduce the network traffic produced during centralization of a client image. To speed up the centralization you can disable this functionality. Check Simon’s blog if you want to learn how it works.
By default Mirage enables bandwidth throttling. This can reduce the through-put between your desktops and your Mirage Servers to ensure you don’t saturate you WAN connections. However during Testing there is a good chance that all of your desktops are on the same LAN as the Mirage Servers. In which case you may not care if you use all of the bandwidth available, especially if it is going to mean less waiting around.
I’ve learned that a Windows Xp to Windows 7 Migration is tough for loads of customers as the tools they mostly use aren’t easy to work with. Check out this video about an In-Place migration of Windows XP to Windows 7 with VMware Mirage.
Today I’d like to share an interesting read with you which was written by my colleague Andreas Wilke, who’s a Technical Account Manager at VMware. Please note that the configuration mentioned in the article is currently not officially supported by VMware.
One major benefit of desktop virtualization is the central image management for all desktop clients that can be deployed in many different pools as a View master image for floating or dedicated pools. Inside a floating pool deployment our current recommendation is to use a ThinApp repository for your applications which are streamed over a low latency connection from a network share to the View clients. With that solution you will avoid installing applications to the master image and can use the same master image inside many pools with different set of applications in each pool.
The challenge in that scenario begins with the installation of applications inside the master image itself for applications that can’t be used with ThinApp or are hard to be packaged with it. Usually you don’t want to have the local installed applications inside each pool for each user or it can’t be installed with other applications due to incompatibility reasons.
When you start to install applications inside different master images of your View environment you will start to lose control of the central image management. You will need to install patches inside each master image individually. Inside a growing View environment it will be hard to manage all the additional master images. You have to start using a central image and application management tool for your master images (ex. SCCM).
With VMware Mirage there is one simple way to get back the control of all your master images inside your View environment. The only thing you have to do is to install the Mirage Client inside your master images and add them as CVD (Centralized Virtual Desktop) to an existing or new Mirage environment. Inside your Mirage environment you can create a new Base Image that will be used as a Reference CVD for all your master images. This can easily be done inside the Mirage management console. With this solution you can easily update only one reference machine with patches/installed applications and synchronize the changes to your View master images. The updated View master images can be used to recompose your existing floating pools.
There are two things you need to consider when you want to use this:
- You have to disable the Mirage Client deamon each time before you create a new snapshot of the master image so it will not run inside the deployed floating pools.
- If you are not using VMware View Persona Management our recommendation is to disable the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider. This service is necessary for Wanova Mirage, so please active it if you update your master image and disable it before you deploy or recompose the new floating pools
That’s it. A easy integration of VMware Mirage with VMware View and floating pools. If you are already using an application management system for your application you can use it as well to manage your installed applications inside your View Master images and reference machine in combination with VMware Mirage.
A picture tells more than 1000 words…. So here you can see the combination of all products:
What do you think about this configuration? Please feel free to leave your comment.
Would you like to hear more about this solution?
The new book “Building End-User Computing Solutions with VMware View is now available as Paperback. Please visit the link below to learn more.
The VMware User Group Germany North is meeting again on 26.09.2012 in Hamburg.
If you’re around on that day please join me when I’m presenting the new VMware Mirage solution!
The registration page for the VMUG will be up soon!
In the meantime you can visit the group in the XING forum.
Link: https://www.xing.com/net/pridfdc92x/vmugnorth (XING Group)
VMware’s Product Manager Jay Tomlin who’s responsible for VMware Mirage has published an interesting read on the VMware End User Computing blog. He’s asking the question: “Why is it still a challenge to deploy Windows images to an end point?”. There are a few reasons for that! Check the article to get an deeper insight.
Here’s a quick overview of the new functionality in version 3.6:
VMware Mirage v3.6 introduces the following features and improvements:
- Base Layer (BL) Provisioning – Prepares a new device to be part of the organization by cleaning up the device files, applying an existing BL, and then seamlessly migrating the contents of the endpoint to the Mirage Server (as in Centralize Endpoint).
- Fusion support – Mirage supports managing desktops running in a Fusion hypervisor for Macs.
- Streaming enhancements
- During Restore processing, you can view the streaming status of each downloading file. You are notified if a file you try to open is not finished downloading, and advised when that file becomes ready for use.
- Performance improvements were implemented which promote faster response time and enhanced user experience.
- Scalability improvements – Faster management console response time in larger scale CVD configurations.
- Reconnecting a device to a CVD (Force Upload) – A device that has lost its synchronization for any reason can be reconnected to its CVD and can continue backing up incremental changes as before.
- Default Policy Auto Selection
- In endpoint assignment wizard streams, a default Upload Policy (predefined in Security Settings) automatically applies to the endpoint if no other policy is specifically selected.
- Configuration tabs are more logically organized – Upload Policy selection moved from CVD Auto Creation tab to General tab.
If you want to try Mirage please visit this website: http://wanova.com/download
VMware Germany is running a webcast for Mirage on 13.09.2012 at 10:00 CET. Everyone who’s interested can join this event.
Here’re the content in German language:
Durch VMware Mirage wird die Bereitstellung, der Betrieb sowie Disaster Recovery von Laptops, Desktops und virtuellen Desktops deutlich einfacher und kostengünstiger. Der Ansatz eines zentralen Image Managements ermöglicht es, effektiv alle Typen von Desktops und Laptops zu verwalten. Dabei separiert ein Agent auf dem Clientbetriebssystem das eigentliche zentrale Image, die user-bezogenen Daten, aber auch die durch den User installierten Applikationen und sichert diese effektiv im Rechenzentrum. Dabei bleibt eine lokale Kopie auf dem Endgerät und wird direkt auf der Hardware ausgeführt. Somit erhält der Benutzer beste User Experience. Austauschen der Hardware aber auch des Betriebssystems (z.B. Windows 7 Migration) werden durch VMware Mirage spielend ermöglicht.
Registration link: http://3url.de/cjo