Archive for the ‘Series’ tag
Welcome back to the VMware Mirage Series here at That’s my View. In previous parts of this series I’ve described what home lab I’m using for my Mirage infrastructure and how to install the Mirage Management Server, Mirage Server and the Mirage Management Console. This time you’ll get a walkthrough of the Console. I’ll try to explain all main options available.
The common wizards page is an easy way to perform the most common tasks used in Mirage. From here you can deploy, manager, support and protect all Mirage endpoints. Here’s a list of all wizards.
- Centralize Endpoint
- Disaster Recovery
- Assign Base Layer
- Capture Base Layer
- Windows 7 Migration
- Base Layer Provisioning
- Hardware Migration
- Update App Layers
- Capture App Layer
This option migrates the content of an endpoint to the Mirage Server. The endpoint needs the Mirage Client to be installed. After completing the centralization the endpoint will be protected and managed by the Mirage System.
Here you can restore a Client Virtual Desktop (CVD) to the same or to a new endpoint i.e. in case of a hard drive failure.
Assign Base Layer
Assigning a base layer to a CVD or collection of CVD’s is done here. After validation the layer will be deployed to the selected endpoints over the network.
Capture Base Layer
Capturing a base layer means creating a template for the default content of an endpoint. This layer includes commonly the operating system, service packs, patches and the core applications i.e. VPN client or anti virus solution.
Windows 7 Migration
This options helps migrating an Windows XP endpoint to Windows 7 preserving all end user data.
Base Layer Provisioning
When provisioning a base layer to an endpoint you’re going to clean up the device for corporate usage. After applying the base layer the device will automatically migrate it’s content to the Mirage Server.
During the hardware migration a CVD can be migrated to a new virtual or physical endpoint.
Update App Layers
Editing and assigning app layers to endpoints connected to the Mirage System.
Capture App Layer
Capturing an app layer allows you to capture a set or a single application into a layer for deploying it to a large number of endpoints.
The Dashboard provides a monitoring functionality for the system status and the operations. In a few statistics you can see the system activities and alerts. Information to be found in the dashboard is:
- System Status
- Server Information
- Update Progress
- Data Protection Information
- Compliance Meter gauge
- Capacity Status Information
- Efficiency Benchmarks
The information is provided in form of gauges, graphs and tables.
As the name already says the Task Monitoring gives you an overview of all tasks performed by the Mirage System. In a list you can see all tasks i.e. Cature an app layer or Assign a layer and their status, device and progress.
The Inventory node gives you access to all CVD’s and Collections. From here you can access devices in all states (Assigned, Pending and Rejected)
The Image Composer node is the main point to manage the base and app layers. Within this node you can also manage the Reference CVD’s and rules for all layers.
The driver library is a repository where all drivers for the Mirage endpoints are managed in. An Administrator can manage hardware specific drives here which are stored outside the layers. With an import wizard it’s possible to import new drivers. If configured the system will inject the necessary drivers to all relevant endpoints. The Driver Library copies the drivers from the Mirage system to the endpoints which will then be detected by the Windows Plug and Play mechanism.
The Mirage Reporting helps you to create different reports for storage, device, layer or hardware information. A very powerful tool.
Access the event and transaction logs from here. You can find loads of transactions information here i.e.
- Centralize endpoint
- Upload incremental changes
- Update base layer
- Update App Layer
- Base Layer Caching
- Base Layer Verification
- Restore Prefetch
- Restore streaning
The node gives you also the option to search and filter.
User and Roles
Within the user and role management you can define which user can access which functionality within the Mirage System. You can granularly define the roles as Mirage supports dynamic role-based access control (RBAC). A role can be grated to one or more groups from the Active Directory.
The System Configuration gives you control of the Mirage Servers, Volumes and Branch Reflectors.
I hope this has given you a first impression of the scope of the VMware Mirage solution. This is surely a very powerful tool!
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