VSAN 6.2, Horizon 7 and much more….

So the last few weeks have been exciting. VMware released vSphere 6.0 U2, which includes VSAN 6.2! VMware last week released Horizon 7 which adds a plethora of new and much sought after features! VMware also released a new Fling on Monday which is an HTML5 vSphere Web Client which is likely to be released as a fully supported client in the next major release of vSphere.

First order of business was to get 6.0 U2 installed. The vCenter upgrade went well. The host upgrades went well. Everything was great until I started the VSAN disk format upgrades. It’s well documented now but there were some issues with the following error stream.

Failed to realign following Virtual SAN objects: be9aa152-5bae-c9b2-d859-0017a4770001, c50dc656-25e3-56ec-f252-0017a4770008, 8870a152-c758-fff610a9-0017a4770001, due to being locked or lack of vmdk descriptor file, which requires manual fix.

This as it turns out is related to a CBT bug. Find the VMware KB article here.

I resolved it by identifying the VMs with issues and shutting them down during the upgrade. With that all done, I was now on vCenter 6.0 U2, ESXi 6.0 U2 and VSAN 6.2!

The next few days followed some performance tuning, playing with vRealize and just generally getting everything happy.

On to the latest announcement, VMware released Horizon 7 last week. So, downloaded that and started setting everything up. I’m preparing for the VCAP6-DTM so I didn’t want to interrupt my Horizon 6 environment so I just built a separate set of servers for 7. Composer server, composer DB, connection servers all deployed nicely. I cloned my master images from my Horizon 6 environment so that I didn’t have to rebuild anything there.

The feature from Horizon 7 that I am most interested in is Instant Clones. I’m really interested in the Blast Extreme changeover but that is nothing too new. The new firewall changes are here.

Back to Instant Clones. This took me a while to get up and running. I wanted to try and see how much I could stress my storage out and still have it working. I ended up modifying the Horizon 7 policies for VSAN the same way I had to for 6. By default VMware Horizon deploys VSAN storage polices setting the FTT, stripe width, cache, etc. I changed the stripe width from 1 to 3 which took my clone times down from 64 minutes to 33 minutes.

How do instant clones work? Not great yet. There is a limit of 2 monitors, no persona management, no 3D, etc. Here is a list of the things that aren’t supported yet;

In Horizon 7.0, instant clones have certain restrictions:
Single-user desktops only. RDS hosts are not supported.
Floating user assignment only. Users are assigned random desktops from the pool.
Instant-clone desktops cannot have persistent disks. Users can use VMware App Volumes to store
persistent data. For more information about App Volumes, see
https://www.vmware.com/products/appvolumes
Virtual Volumes and VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array Integration) native NFS snapshots are not
supported.
Sysprep is not available for desktop customization.
Windows 7 and Windows 10 are supported but not Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.
PowerCLI is not supported.
Local datastores are not supported.
IPv6 is not supported.
Instant clones cannot reuse pre-existing computer accounts in Active Directory.
Persona Management is not available.
3D rendering is not available.
You cannot specify a minimum number of ready (provisioned) machines during instant clone
maintenance operations. This feature is not needed because the high speed of creating instant clones
means that some machines are always available even during maintenance operations.

It’s a long list. Persona management is a big killer for me. Local datastores are next on my “big deal” list.

It also seems like they don’t perform as well. They noticeably perform worse than my linked clones with the same configuration.

This is why we test and this is why we don’t deploy brand new stuff in production.

VMware UEM 9 released as well. It’s not on my list right now but probably in the summer.

More updates to come.