VMware View 4 Evaluation

After attending the VMware View 4 Launch tour in Tampa a couple of weeks ago, I loaded up the evaluation to give it a good field test.

NOTE: I recommend reading the documentation BEFORE installing…

A few points to consider prior to rolling out the product:
1) View Server requires a MS Windows Server (2008 is not supported yet) that is a domain member.
2) View Composer requires vCenter Server and is installed as a service on vCenter.
3) So far only Windows desktop OS is supported.
4) There is a 32-bit Open Source client available (Google it).

Note: View Composer is not required to evaluate View but it is worth the slightly extra work to see it in action. Composer certainly makes it easier to rapidly create multiple desktops from a single template.

Observations after a couple of weeks:
After the initial set up, I have not had to do anything other than reboot the View Server after it became non-responsive. This caused a seemingly unrelated error when trying to connect with View Client.

My next steps are to get the Open Source Client working and hopefully to get a PCoIP “zero client” device to test. My initial thought is why would I connect to a Windows desktop from a Windows desktop?

More later…

– habanero_joe

Recreate OWA Virtual Directory IIS7 / Exchange 2007

Ran into an issue today where a clients SBS 2008 server stopped servicing requests made to hostname/owa. I am still unsure as to what caused this issue but find a fairly simple way to recreate the OWA virtual directory for IIS. Many admins are familiar with this procedure / howto for Exchange 2003 but are unable to find something similar for Exchange 2007. While the step that I will describe below is not as in depth as the previous link, it did resolve my issue.

If your OWA is giving you the dreaded 404 treatment try this: Open IIS Manager and delete the OWA virtual directory. Next you will need to open the Exchange Management Shell. Enter in the following command and press enter afterwards: New-OWAVirtualDirectory -OwaVersion:Exchange2007 -Name "OWA" .

That will rebuild / recreate the OWA virtual directory and start accepting client requests immediately. Please note that this recreates the OWA virtual directory under Default Web Site, not under SBS Web Applications like a default SBS / Exchange 2K7 install.

Hopefully, this one liner will save you some trouble.


The Beauty of Being Hardware Agnostic

We can all agree that virtualization has numerous benefits. One of the obvious benefits is that virtualization makes systems hardware agnostic. This is one of my favorite features of going virtual. I am responsible for the network operations of many businesses and being able to forget about hardware compatibilities on the OS level is a major advantage.

We experienced the benefits of this ourselves today while upgrading one of our servers. We added additional RAM and changed CPUs. The memory was no surprise, it is rarely an issue. When it is, it is a hardware issue not an OS one. CPU swaps are generally more complex. I have seen many Windows systems become unstable after increasing or decreasing the number of processors/cores.

So when we got the chance to upgrade one of our ESXi servers from two dual core processors over to two quad cores we had to test it. In true anticlimactic fashion everything worked perfectly. The VMware server booted flawlessly and now shows the additional cores and RAM.

So if you can get your hands on upgrade parts or new servers all together, go for it!

*Update* We have since bumped the server up to 32GB of RAM, great stuff. We plan to upgrade the CPU’s again in the near future. It just keeps getting better.


Breath a little life into your Small Business Server

This one seems like an obvious one, but I will post it anyways. Chances are that you have deployed and/or maintain Windows 2003 Small Business Server. Many small businesses purchased SBS during “the good times” of 2003-2008.

Due to the licensing restrictions imposed on the product by Microsoft, these servers are always one boxed. That is to say that they have too many servers and services on the same hardware. Most of these systems are reaching their end of life and are running slower than ever.

These 32bit boxes are usually maxed on RAM (4GB) and are starving for more. Lately I have been auditing the list of installed applications and removing as needed. The memory hog is usually some SQL server running even though it isn’t in use. Take into account Backup Exec, WSUS, SBS Monitoring, and Sharepoint and you begin to see where all that RAM is going. Almost all of my clients have been moved over to a managed services platform which handles Windows Updates and system monitoring. That takes out two standard SQL databases/instances right off the bat.

So the long story short is this: Reevaluate the needs of your aging servers and get more from them by removing obsolete tools.