The new version of VMware View is out and I want to find out what is new, different and hopefully better. This is very exciting. The following list layouts the plan I have in mind (but subject to change) to cover VMware View 4.5:
VMware View 4.5 Server Components
VMware View 4.5 Local Mode
This part will cover the server components and their requirements, hardware and software. I will try to get my head around how they are connected and which I need and which are optional. I hope it will be interesting.
View Server Components Overview
VMware View needs several components to be installed before it can run like you want to have it. Some of the components are optional or a component can be installed in different ways.
The View Connection Server is the central and most important component. He is acting as broker between the client and the virtual desktop. He is taking care about the authentication and after that creates a connection between the client and the assigned virtual desktop via the selected (or forced via policy) protocol. This component is required. You can install it in 3 ways, as the primary, a replicated instance or as a Security Server. The replicated instance provides you with a high availability and load balancing option, one configuration is replicated to all View Connection server instances. The Security Server is for user outside of your network to connection to an internal View Connection server to provide a virtual desktop over the internet.
The View Administrator is a web application that allows you to configure the View Connection Server and is also the central component to define desktop pools. You are able to analyse the activity and log files. This component will be installed with the Connection Server and is also required. Some of the functionality can be done via PowerCLI as well.
The View Composer allows you to create linked-clone virtual desktops, means the Composer creates a base image clone and every virtual desktop will use this base image and only saves differences in an own virtual hard disk. This allows you to deploy new virtual desktops a lot faster and saves a lot storage space (if the differences are minima)l. This is not a required component and is tightly integrated with vCenter.
The View Transfer Server is used to support offline clients and handles the check-out and check-in of such virtual desktops. The other piece is handling the replication of virtual desktops that run in local mode. This is an optional component and you need it only if you have such virtual desktops.
View Connection Server
The View Connection needs to have the hardware requirements (or virtual machine requirements) listed below. These are not strict requirements, for test reasons you can install it on hardware with less hardware spec or a virtual machine with a different configuration. VMware also defines recommended specs to give a heads up for a real production installation.
The requirements are taken from the VMware View 4.5 Installation guide. For a POC you don’t need to full fill these requirements, but keep in mind if the POC also includes a user test you need to carefully decide how low from the minimum requirements you will go. If you decide to go to low, the user experience will not be as good as could be, you will probably face a hard time to implement it as user spread their opinion about.
|Processor||Pentium 4 2GHz||Dual processor|
|Memory||Windows 2008 R2 64-Bit -> 4GB
Windows 2003 32-bit -> 2GB
|Windows 2008 R2 64-bit -> 10GB
Windows 2003 32-bit -> 6GB (PAE)
|Networking||1 x 100Mbps NIC||1 Gbps NIC|
The software requirements are more strict and you need to follow them and are taken from the VMware View 4.5 Installation guide.
|Windows 2008 R2 64-bit||Standard
|Windows 2003 R2 32-bit||Standard
|Windows 2003 32-bit||Standard
The View Connection Server must be joined to an Active Directory domain. Windows 2000, Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 domains are supported. The Windows operating system should not have the Terminal Server role installed. It is also good practice to use this server (or virtual machine) only for the View Connection server. The system you install the View Connection server on should also have a static IP address.
The View Administrator will be installed with the View Connection Server and the hardware and software requirements are same. Because it is a web application we have a client software requirement.
The documentation states that you need either Internet Explorer 7 or newer and Firefox 3.0 or newer. You also need the Adobe Flash Plugin installed into the browser. Other browsers might work but no guarantees. I personally like to use Google Chrome and during my playing around I have not discovered any issues. The iPad unfortunately does not work because of the lack of Adobe Flash. I feel a bit sad about that fact.
The View Composer is a kind of additional application for vCenter and must be installed on the same machine. It does not matter if the vCenter server is installed on a physical box or virtual machine. Because of this limitation there are no hardware requirements, only software.
View Composer also needs a database to store important information about the base image and all cloned images. This database must be available and accessible to the vCenter server. You can install the Composer database on the same database server as the vCenter database, but it should not be installed inside of the vCenter database. For testing purpose it is not a problem to use the same MS SQL 2005 Express instance.
The requirements are taken from the VMware View 4.5 Installation guide.
64-Bit Operating Systems
|vCenter Version||OS||Service Pack|
|4.1||Windows 2008 R2|
|4.1||Windows 2008||SP 2|
|4.1||Windows 2003 R2||SP 2|
|4.1||Windows 2003||SP 2|
|4.0 Update 2||Windows 2008||SP 2|
This is a change to the previous version where the 64-bit support was reduced. The move from VMware that vCenter 4.1 can only be installed on 64-bit operating system was a handicap for View 4.1 and earlier if you wanted to use View Composer.
32-Bit Operating Systems
|vCenter Version||OS||Service Pack|
|4.0 Update 2||Windows 2003||SP 2|
|2.5 Update 6||Windows 2003 R2||SP 2|
|2.5 Update 6||Windows 2003||SP 2|
As we can see, the future is going to support only 64-bit operating systems, we have seen this with the vCenter 4.1 release.
The operating system support is aligned with each other, the database requirements are different and also depend on the version of vCenter you have in place. You can run each on a different database server but vCenter needs to be able to access this database as well, the result is the following matrix:
|Database||vCenter 4.1||vCenter 4.0 U2||vCenter 2.5 U6|
|MS SQL 2000 SP4||No||No||Yes|
|MS SQL 2005 Express||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|MS SQL 2005 SP3||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|MS SQL 2008 SP1||Yes||Yes||No|
|MS SQL 2008 SP! 64-bit||Yes||Yes||No|
|Oracle 9i Release 2||No||No||Yes|
|Oracle 10g Release 2||Yes||Yes||No|
|Oracle 11g Release 1||Yes||Yes||No|
Additionally to software and hardware requirements, we have a third one and that means that the View Composer 4.5 needs to have ESX/ESXi4 hosts as underlying platform for virtual desktops.
The last piece that you need to know is the support of sysprep. if you are running vSphere 4.1 in your environment, you are lucky and can use it. In older versions you can’t use it anymore. If you plan to you use Windows 7 as your virtual desktop platform you are safe because Windows 7 does not use sysprep to update the newly provisioned desktop.
View Transfer Server
VMware states that you may install this windows application into a virtual machine. There are some requirements that you need to consider in your planning of the virtual machine:
- It must be installed on the same vCenter server instance that will manage your virtual desktops
- It is not part of your domain, means not joined to the domain
- Must have a static IP address
- The SCSI controller must be an LSI Logic Parallel SCSI controller
- 2 vCPU must be configured
|Windows 2008 R2 64-Bit||Standard
|Windows 2003 R2 32-Bit||Standard
|Windows 2003 32-Bit||Standard
The disk drive that will be used as the repository for the static image files must be big enough to hold the View Composer base image.
The View transfer server must have access to the datastore where the desktop disks are placed to be able to transfer the files over to the client. Plus during the check-in process to change the repository version of the virtual desktop. This means that the ESX/ESXi host that is running this virtual machine must have access to the datastore of your virtual machines (This will only apply if the virtual desktops are running on a different host than the Transfer Server). On a POC installation you will not have big issues with it, in a production architecture it is very likely that the Transfer Server will be running on a separate host/cluster.
Other important information
You can run 60 disk operations at the same time. (Hopefully your network supports that as well). The images are compressed and encrypted, this will guarantee the safety and also increase the speed of a check in/out operation.
After you installed the Transfer Server you manage it through the View Administrator web application. Inside of View Administrator you can add several instances of a Transfer Server. If you have done that you can configure the different repositories for the offline desktops.
When you add the Transfer Server instance to the View Administrator the DRS options is automatically set to manual for the Transfer Server virtual machine. This prevents the DRS scheduler to change the underlying host for this particular virtual machine. VMware forces you to change the instance into maintenance mode first (can be done via View Administrator) and than move the virtual machine. Very important the new host must have access to the virtual desktop datastores.