Aug 262018
 
Fedora Logo

One of the coolest things I love about running VMware Horizon View and VDI is that you can repurpose old computers, laptops, or even netbooks in to perfect VDI clients running Linux! This is extremely easy to do and gives life to old hardware you may have lying around (and we all know there’s nothing wrong with that).

I generally use Fedora and the VMware Horizon View Linux client to accomplish this. See below to see how I do it!

 

Quick Guide

  1. Download the Fedora Workstation install or netboot ISO from here.
  2. Burn it to a DVD/CD if you have DVD/CD drive, or you can write it to a USB stick using this method here.
  3. Install Fedora on to your laptop/notebook/netbook using the workstation install.
  4. Update your Fedora Linux install using the following command
    dnf -y upgrade
  5. Install the prerequisites for the VMware Horizon View Linux client using these commands
    dnf -y install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
    dnf -y install gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-ffmpeg xine-lib-extras-freeworld xine-lib-extras-freeworld libssl* libcrypto* openssl-devel libpng12 systemd-devel libffi-devel
    
  6. To fix an issue with package versions and dependancies, run the following commands
    ln -s /usr/lib64/libudev.so.1 /usr/lib64/libudev.so.0
    ln -s /usr/lib64/libffi.so.6 /usr/lib64/libffi.so.5
  7. Download the VMware Horizon View Linux client from here
  8. Make the VMware bundle executable and then run the installer using these commands (your file name may be different depending on build version number)
    chmod 777 VMware-Horizon-Client-4.8.0-8518891.x64.bundle
    sudo ./VMware-Horizon-Client-4.8.0-8518891.x64.bundle
  9. Complete the installation wizard
  10. You’re done!

To run the client, you can find it in the GUI applications list as “VMware Horizon Client”, or you can launch it by running “vmware-view”.

VMware Horizon View on Linux in action

Here is a VMware Horizon View Linux client running on HP Mini 220 Netbook

Additional Notes:

-If you’re comfortable, instead of the workstation install, you can install the Fedora LXQt Desktop spin, which is a lightweight desktop environment perfect for low performance hardware or netbooks. More information and the download link for Fedora LXQt Desktop Spin can be found here: https://spins.fedoraproject.org/en/lxqt/

-If you installed Fedora Workstation and would like to install the LXQt window manager afterwards, you can do so by running the following command (after installing, at login prompt, click on the gear to change window managers):

dnf install @lxqt-desktop-environment

-Some of the prerequisites above in the guide may not be required, however I have installed them anyways for compatibility.

Aug 212018
 
VMware Horizon View Logo

Well, after using the VMware Horizon Client mobile app (for Android) for a year, I finally decided to do a little write up and review. I use the android client regularly on my Samsung Tab E LTE tablet, and somewhat infrequently on my Samsung Galaxy S9+ mobile phone (due to the smaller screen).

Let’s start off by briefly explaining what VMware Horizon View is, what the client does, and finally the review. I’ll be including a couple screenshots as well to give an idea as to how the interface and resolution looks on the tablet itself.

The VMware Horizon Client mobile app for android is available at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vmware.view.client.android

What is VMware Horizon View

VMware Hoirzon View is a product and solution that enables VDI technology for a business. VDI stands for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. When a business uses VDI, they virtualize their desktops and use either thin clients, zero clients, or the view client to access these virtualized desktops. This allows the business to utilize all the awesome technologies that virtualization brings (DRS, High Availability, Backup/DR, high performance, reduced hardware costs) and provide rich computing environments to their users. The technology is also particularly interesting in the fact that it provides amazing remote access capabilities as one can access their desktop very easily with the VMware View Client.

When you tie this on to an advanced security technology such as Duo’s MFA product, you can’t go wrong!

In special case or large environments, enormous cost savings can be realized when implementing VDI.

What is the VMware Horizon View Mobile client for Android

As mentioned above, to access one’s virtualized desktop a client is needed. While a thin client or zero client can be used, this is beyond the scope of this post as here we are only discussing the VMware View client for Android.

You can download the VMware View client for Android from the App store (link here).

The VMware Horizon View Mobile client for Android allows you to connect to your VDI desktop remotely using your Android based phone or tablet. Below is a screenshot I took with my Samsung Tab E LTE tablet (with the side bar expanded):

VMware Horizon View Client on Android Tablet

VMware Horizon View Client on Android Tablet

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client for Android Experience

Please Note: There is more of the review below the screenshots. Scroll down for more!

The app appears to be very lightweight, with an easy interface. Configuration of View Connections Servers, or UAG’s (Unified Access Gateways) is very simple. The login process performs with RADIUS and/or MFA as the desktop client would. In the examples below, you’ll notice I use Duo’s MFA/2FA authentication solution in combination with AD logins.

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Server List

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Server List

The interface is almost identical to the desktop client with very little differences. The configuration options are also very similar and allow customization of the app, with options for connection quality as an example.

 

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Server Login

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Server Login

 

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Login Duo MFA

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Login Duo MFA

As you can see above, the RADIUS and Duo Security Login prompts are fully functional.

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Server List

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Server List

 

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Windows 10 VDI Desktop

VMware Horizon View Mobile Client Android Windows 10 VDI Desktop

 

The resolution is perfect for the tablet, and is very usable. The touch interface works extremely well, and text input works as good as it can. While this wouldn’t be used as a replacement for the desktop client, or a thin/zero client, it is a valuable tool for the mobile power user.

With how lightweight and cheap tablets are now, you could almost leave your tablet in your vehicle (although I wouldn’t recommend it), so that in the event of an emergency where you need to access your desktop, you’d be able to using the app.

Pros:

  • Fluid interface
  • Windows 10 touch functionality works great
  • Resolution Support
  • Samsung Dex is fully supported
  • Webcam redirection works
  • Works on Airplanes using in flight WiFi

Cons:

  • Bandwidth usage
  • Saving credentials via Fingerprint Scanner would be nice (on the S8+ and S9+)

My Usage

Being in IT, I’ve had to use this many times to log in and manage my vSphere cluster, servers, HPe iLo, check temperatures, and log in to customer environments (I prefer to log in using my VDI desktop, instead of saving client information on the device I’m carrying with me). It’s perfect for these uses.

I also regularly use VDI over LTE. Using VDI over mobile LTE connections works fantastic, however you’ll want to make sure you have an adequate data plan as the H.264 video stream uses a lot of bandwidth. Using this regularly over LTE could cause you to go over your data limits and incur additional charges.

Additional Information

Samsung Dex

The VMware Horizon View Mobile Client for Android also supports Samsung Dex. This means that if you have a Dex dock or the Dex pad, you can use the mobile client to provide a full desktop experience to a monitor/keyboard/mouse using your Samsung Galaxy phone. I’ll be doing a write up later to demo this (it works great).

VMware Horizon Client for Chrome OS

VMware also has a client for Chrome OS, so that you can use your Chromebook to connect to your VDI desktop. You can download VMware Horizon Client for Chrome OS here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/vmware-horizon-client-for/ppkfnjlimknmjoaemnpidmdlfchhehel

Aug 122018
 
VMware Horizon View Icon

On VMware Horizon view after updating the view agent on the VM, you may notice that USB redirection stops working with the error “USB Redirection is not available for this desktop”. This is due to an issue with the certificates on the VDI host (The VM running the VDI OS), after the VMware view agent upgrade is completed.

To resolve this you must use MMC, open the local computer certificate store, browse to “VMwareView\Certificates”, delete the agent certificates (for the local agent), and finally reboot for the agent to regenerate the certificates.

See below for instructions:

  1. While connected to the VM running the VDI OS, click Start, type “mmc.exe” (without quotations), and open the Microsoft Management Console.
    mmc.exe

    Open MMC by running mmc.exe

     

  2. Open the “Add/Remote Snap-in” wizard.

    Open the Add/Remove Snap-in Wizard

     

  3. We must now open the local certificate store on the local computer. Select “Certicates” on the Available Snap-ins, click “Add”, select “Computer Account”, then proceed to choose “Local Computer” and complete the wizard.

    Select the Computer account certificate store on the local computer

     

  4. Expand the “Certificates (Local Computer)” on the left underneath “Console Root”. Expand “VMwareView”, then expand and select “Certificates”. Select the certificate on the right that matches the local computer name of the VDI host, right click and select “Delete”. You may have to do this multiple times if multiple certificates exist for the local computer.

    Delete the VMwareView local agent certificate

     

  5. Restart the VDI host. And USB redirection should now be working!

    VMware View USB Redirection issue resolved

     

Cheers to VDI!

Jan 262018
 
10ZiG 5948q Zero Client

In an effort to truly showcase the capabilities of VMware Horizon View and the 10ZiG 5948q Zero Client, I wanted to put together a demo showing the ability to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 7.4) in a VDI environment.

First and foremost, this was super easy to setup. It was almost too easy…

Please see below for video:

You’ll notice during login that after the credential prompt multiple desktops were available (we chose to log on to the RHEL instance) to choose from. You’ll see further on in the video versioning and specifications as well as video playback. Again, please note that my environment does not have any GPU or 3D rendering.

Please Note: The momentary black border on the bottom right side during login, was due to a resolution change on the VDI session. This was the first time logging in with this client, and the border doesn’t normally occur unless changing resolutions.

Equipment/Software used in this demo:

Please note, my company Digitally Accurate Inc, is a VMware Solution Provider Partner, 10ZiG Partner, and Red Hat Ready Business partner. Please don’t hesitate in reaching out for anything VDI! We design, sell, implement, and support VMware and VDI environments!

Jan 202018
 
10ZiG 5948q Zero Client

As promised in my previous post which covered my first impressions, here are some pictures and video of the 10ZiG 5948q zero client in action! In the videos I demonstrate video playback as well as the USB redirection capabilities of the 10ZiG Zero Client and VMware Horizon View. Scroll down to the bottom for videos!

Pictures

10ZiG 5948q Zero Client

10ZiG 5948q Zero Client

 

10ZiG 5948qv Zero Client VMware Horizon View

10ZiG 5948qv Zero Client VMware Horizon View

 

10ZiG 5900 Series Zero Client VMware Horizon View Login

10ZiG 5900 Series Zero Client VMware Horizon View Login

 

10ZiG 5948q Series Zero Client Configuration Menu

10ZiG 5948q Series Zero Client Configuration Menu

 

Videos

In this video, I demonstrate the capability of the 10ZiG 5948q zero client connected to a VMware Horizon View server (via a Unified Access Gateway) playing a video from YouTube. Please note that the ESXi server does not have a GPU and 3D rendering is disabled for the test (this is as low performance as it gets).

In this video, I demonstrate the capability of the 10ZiG 5948q zero client using USB redirection on a live VDI session.

And finally, here’s a video of a 10ZiG zero client cold boot for those that are interested.

And remember, my company Digitally Accurate Inc. is a VMware Solutions Provider and 10ZiG Partner. I’m also regularly posting content on these on the corporate blog as well!

Jan 202018
 
10ZiG 5948q Zero Client

It’s an exciting weekend as I got my hands on 2 new 10ZiG 5948q Series Zero Clients (the 10ZiG 5948qv to be exact). My company Digitally Accurate Inc. in Calgary, Alberta purchased these for internal testing and demo purposes since we sell VMware VDI solutions. I figured I’d do a brief post to offer my first impressions, offer a few pictures, as well as a brief write up.

UPDATED POST – More pictures and videos can be found on a new post here!

For a brief backstory, zero clients are used for environments and businesses that use desktop virtualization (VDI) instead of traditional computers. This means that an employee won’t actually have a computer, instead they will be using a zero client which relays video/keyboard/mouse (it’s actually more complicated than that, lol) to a desktop computer that’s virtualized on a server (either in the cloud, data center, or on-premise). This allows the company to save on hardware, provide better performance to end users, and really simplify a big portion of the IT landscape.

I’m a big fan of VDI, particularly the VMware Horizon View product. My company has a full demo/test VDI environment we have available to showcase this technology.

What’s really awesome is that you don’t necesarily even need to use a zero client. You could instead use an old netbook, laptop, computer, or even a cellphone to connect to these virtualized desktops using the VMware Horizon View client.

The next question you may be asking, is what about graphics quality? Well, you can implement special graphics cards to virtualize GPUs (such as the AMD FirePro MxGPU class of cards) and provide high end graphical capabilities to your users.

In my deployment we’ve been using software based VDI clients, but it was time to get our hands dirty with some zero clients. We decided to partner up with 10ZiG, and order a couple of these units for internal and demo purposes.

 

Now let’s get started!

10ZiG 5948q Zero Client

10ZiG 5948 Zero Client

The 5948q series is part of 10ZiG’s power class of zero clients. This bad boy is the latest and greatest model and supports 3 displays (yup, that’s right) and 4K UHD resolutions. The hardware itself is based off an Intel Braswell (refreshed version) CPU. The device has 1 HDMI port, as well as 2 DisplayPort connections. It also has a microphone, audio line out,  and a ton of USB ports (including both USB2 and USB3) for USB redirection. You can choose from 4GB or 8GB RAM configurations.

The 5948q runs off 10ZiG’s NOS operation system. This is a compact and lightweight operating system that includes the VMware Horizon View client, as well as all the configuration utilities you’ll need to get up and running (as well as troubleshoot the device if needed).

When I received the first two units, I noticed that the boxes were very heavy (I was actually really surprised).

10ZiG 5900q Series Zero Client Box Shot

10ZiG 5900q Series Zero Client Box Shot

 

10ZiG 5948q Series Zero Client Box Shot

10ZiG 5948q Series Zero Client Box Shot

 

The packaging was very nice, and the contents were safely secured with proper cardboard spacers to avoid items shifting during transport.

Finally it was time to take the zero client out! It is a very sleek, and very well put together device (I was actually surprised). As mentioned, it has some weight to it. It just looks great…

10ZiG 5948q Zero Client

 

The bottom of the device swivels and turns to expose 2 hidden USB ports which can be used for any type of USB device. The device also has 2 x USB3.0 ports on the front, an additional 1 x USB2.0 on the front, and 2 x USB2.0 ports on the back.

Plugging in the device and turning it on, it brings you to a big 10ZiG splash image and then on to first time configuration. In the first time configuration you specify your locale and region settings, date and time, and others. One problem I came across, is that when choosing Canada, it defaulted the keyboard to French for some reason. I actually didn’t even realize this until later when trying to log in to my VDI session (it was registering the wrong characters when pressing keys) and rejecting my password. It actually took me over an hour to realize this when I finally started poking around in the console and noticed that the “/” key was triggering an entirely different character. Changing the keyboard to US English fixed this (although in my opinion it should have been the default).

Moving on…

After the first time setup is complete, the interface is very simple yet powerful. You can configure your VMware View Connection Server address (and properties for the connection), as well as all the hardware components of the zero client, this includes: Network, Display, Mouse, Keyboard, USB devices, printers, etc…

After specifying my View connection server and then leaving the control panel, I logged in to my VDI session and it worked great!

Initially I tested some videos on YouTube, which looked great, and then moved on to trying some other things that involved audio and all was perfect. This product was production ready! I also tested the USB redirection by connecting a USB thumb flash drive to a USB port. The Windows 10 VM detected the USB drive, and I was able to partition, format, and use the stick without any problems. Initial testing resulted in 4MB/sec USB redirection speeds.

I’m really hoping that when my budget permits, I can purchase an AMD MxGPU S7150 card so I can test the 10ZiG with some high performance graphic applications. In the meantime though, this works great!

 

Now before I leave you, there are two important things I want to mention:

  1. The 10ZiG zero clients can be completely centrally managed and provisioned by the 10ZiG Manager, which is completely free if you own the products. You’d use this to deploy many zero clients (hundreds, thousands, etc…) in large scale deployments.
  2. You can use the 10ZiG Manager to reflash the firmware of the devices and use them for different desktop virtualization platforms including Citrix XenDesktop, and Microsoft VDI over RDP using Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

 

All in all, I’m very impressed with the device and have absolutely no complaints. I’ll be doing some more write ups and videos on the device soon! Stay posted!

Jan 062018
 

Last night I updated my VMware VDI envionrment to VMware Horizon 7.4.0. For the most part the upgrade went smooth, however I discovered an issue (probably unrelated to the upgrade itself, and more so just previously overlooked). When connecting with Google Chrome to  VMware Horizon HTML Access via the UAG (Unified Access Gateway), an error pops up after pressing the button saying “Failed to connected to the connection server”.

The Problem:

This error pops up ONLY when using Chrome, and ONLY when connecting through the UAG. If you use a different browser (Firefox, IE), this issue will not occur. If you connect using Chrome to the connection server itself, this issue will not occur. It took me hours to find out what was causing this as virtually nothing popped up when searching for a solution.

Finally I stumbled across a VMware document that mentions on View Connection Server instances and security servers that reside behind a gateway (such as a UAG, or Access Point), the instance must be aware of the address in which browsers will connect to the gateway for HTML access.

The VMware document is here: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-7/7.0/com.vmware.horizon-view.installation.doc/GUID-FE26A9DE-E344-42EC-A1EE-E1389299B793.html

To resolve this:

On the view connection server, create a file called “locked.properties” in “install_directory\VMware\VMware View\Server\sslgateway\conf\”.

If you have a single UAG/Access Point, populate this file with:

portalHost=view-gateway.example.com

If you have multiple UAG/Access Points, populate the file with:

portalHost.1=view-gateway-1.example.com
portalHost.2=view-gateway-2.example.com

Restart the server

The issue should now be resolved!

On a side note, I also deleted my VMware Unified Access Gateways VMs and deployed the updated version that ship with Horizon 7.4.0. This means I deployed VMware Unified Access Gateway 3.2.0. There was an issue importing the configuration from the export backup I took from the previous version, so I had to configure from scratch (installing certificates, configuring URLs, etc…), be aware of this issue importing configuration.