VMware Horizon 7.3.1 and Horizon Client 4.6 released

VMware has released VMware Horizon 7.3.1 and Horizon Client 4.6! With this new release, Horizon 7.3 enhances key platform features, including Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business, VMware Instant Clone Technology and the Horizon Help Desk Tool.

Many new items have been introduced, such as HTML5 video redirection support for the Chrome browser and the ability to configure Windows Start menu shortcuts for desktop and application pools using the Horizon Administrator console. As always, you can count on increased operating system support for virtual desktops and clients.

Here is an overview of the new features:

VMware Horizon 7.3 Server Enhancements

Horizon Help Desk Tool

  • Displays application process resources with reset control
  • Role-based access control for help desk staff
  • Activity logging for help desk staff
  • Displays Horizon Client information
  • Granular logon time metrics
  • Blast Extreme display protocol metrics

Instant Clone Technology

  • Instant-clone desktops can now use dedicated assignment to preserve the hostname, IP address and MAC address of a user’s desktop
  • Windows Server OS is now supported for desktop use
  • Instant clones are now compatible with Storage DRS (sDRS)
  • If there are no internal VMs in all four internal folders created in vSphere Web Client, these folders are unprotected, and you can delete them
  • IcUnprotect.cmd utility can now unprotect or delete template, replica or parent VMs or folders from vSphere hosts

Windows Start Menu Shortcuts Created Using the Admin Console

  • Create shortcuts to Horizon 7 resources:
    • Published applications
    • Desktops
    • Global entitlements

Cloud Pod Architecture Scale

  • Total session limit is increased to 140,000
  • The site limit is now seven

VMware Horizon Apps

  • This update makes Horizon Apps easier to use and allows the administrator to restrict entitlements
  • Restrict access to desktop and application pools from specific client machines

Resiliency for Monitoring

  • If the event database shuts down, Horizon administrator maintains an audit trail of the events that occur before and after the event database shutdown

Database Support

  • Always-On Availability Groups feature for Microsoft SQL Server 2014

ADMX Templates

  • Additional GPO settings for ThinPrint printer filtering, HTML5 redirection and enforcement of desktop wallpaper settings

Remote Experience

Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business

  • Multiparty audio and video conferencing
  • Horizon 7 RDSH support
    • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Forward Error Correction (FEC)
  • Quality of Experience (QOE) metrics
  • Customized ringtones
  • Call park and pickup
  • E911 (Enhanced 911) support, to allow the location of the mobile caller to be known to the call receiver
  • USB desktop-tethering support
  • Horizon Client for Linux support for the following Linux distributions:
    • Ubuntu 12.04 (32-bit)
    • Ubuntu 14.04 (32 & 64-bit)
    • Ubuntu 16.04 (64-bit)
    • RHEL 6.9/CentOS 6.x (64-bit)
    • RHEL 7.3 (64-bit)
    • SLED12 SP2 (64-bit)

Additional NVIDIA GRID vGPU Support

  • Support for the Tesla P40 graphics card from NVIDIA

HTML5 Video Redirection

  • View HTML 5 video from a Chrome browser and have video redirected to the client endpoint for smoother and more efficient video playback

Performance Counter Improvements

  • Windows agent PerfMon counters improvements for Blast Extreme sessions: imaging, audio, client-drive redirection (CDR), USB and virtual printing

Linux Virtual Desktops

  • KDE support: Besides RHEL/CentOS 6.x, the KDE GUI is now supported on RHEL/CentOS 7.x, Ubuntu 14.04/16.04 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP4
  • MATE  interface is now supported on Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 16.04
  • Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport is now supported for Linux desktops
  • vGPU hardware H.264 encoder support has been added

USB Redirection

  • USB redirection is supported in nested mode

ThinPrint Filtering

  • Administrators can filter out printers that should not be redirected

Horizon Client 4.6 Updates

Security Update

  • All clients have been updated to use SHA-2 to prevent SHA-1 collision attacks

Session Pre-launch

  • Session pre-launch is now extended to both Horizon Client for macOS and Horizon Client for Windows

Apteligent

  • Integration of Apteligent crash log

Blast Extreme

  • Improvements in Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport mode for iOS and macOS
  • User can change Blast Extreme settings without having to disconnect

Horizon Client 4.6 for Windows

  • Support for UNC path with CDR

Horizon Client 4.6 for macOS

  • Support for macOS Sierra and macOS High Sierra
  • Selective monitor support
  • Norwegian keyboard support

Horizon Client 4.6 for iOS

  • CDR support with drag and drop of files in split view
  • iOS split keyboard enhancement
  • iOS UI updates

Horizon Client 4.6 for Android

  • Android Oreo support
  • Manage the Horizon server list with VMware AirWatch
  • Simple shortcuts
  • External mouse enhancements
  • Real-Time Audio-Video (RTAV) support for Android and Chrome OS

Horizon Client 4.6 for Linux

  • Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport support

Horizon Client 4.6 for Windows 10 UWP

  • Network recovery improvements

Horizon HTML Access 4.6

  • HTML Access for Android with a revised UI
  • Customization of HTML Access page

Horizon Help Desk Tool

The Horizon Help Desk Tool provides a troubleshooting interface for the help desk that is installed by default on Connection Servers. To access the Horizon Help Desk Tool, navigate to https://<CS_FQDN>/helpdesk, where <CS_FQDN> is the fully qualified domain name of the Connection Server, or click the Help Desk button in the Horizon Administrator console.

The Help Desk Tool was introduced in Horizon 7.2 and has been greatly expanded upon in the Horizon 7.3 release.

Help Desktop Tool features with Horizon 7.2:

  • Virtual machine metrics
  • Remote assistance
  • Session control (restart, logoff, reset, and disconnect)
  • Sending messages

Additional features with Horizon 7.3:

  • Display application process resources with reset control
  • Role-based access control for help desk staff
  • Activity logging for help desk staff
  • Granular login time metrics
  • Display Horizon Client information

User Session Details

The user session details appear on the Details tab when you click a user name in the Computer Name option on the Sessions tab. You can view details for Horizon Client, the VDI desktop or RDSH-published desktop, CPU and memory stats, and many other details.

  • Client version
  • Unified Access Gateway name and IP address
  • Logon breakdown (client to broker):
    • Brokering
    • GPO load
    • Profile load
    • Interactive
    • Authentication

Blast Extreme Metrics

Blast extreme metrics that have been added include estimated bandwidth (uplink), packet loss, and transmitted and received traffic counters for imaging, audio, and CDR.

Note the following behavior:

  • The text-based counters do not auto-update in the dashboard. Close and reopen the session details to refresh the information.
  • The counters for transmitted and received traffic counters are accumulative from the point the session is queried/polled.

Blast Extreme Metrics for a Windows 10 Virtual Desktop Session

Display and Reset Application Processes and Resources

This new feature provides help desk staff with a granular option to resolve problematic processes without affecting the entire user session, similar to Windows Task Manager. The session processes appear on the Processes tab when you click a user name in the Computer Name option on the Sessions tab. For each user session, you can view additional details about CPU- and memory-related processes to diagnose issues.

Role-based Access Control and Custom Roles

You can assign the following predefined administrator roles to Horizon Help Desk Tool administrators to delegate the troubleshooting tasks between administrator users:

  • Help Desk Administrator
  • Help Desk Administrator (Read Only)

You can also create custom roles by assigning the Manage Help Desk (Read Only) privilege along with any other privileges based on the Help Desk Administrator role or Help Desk Administrator (Read Only) role.

Members of the Help Desk Administrators (Read Only) role do not have access to following controls; in fact, functions such as Log Off and Reset are not presented in the user interface.

Watch this brief demonstration video of the Horizon Help Desk Tool to see it in action:

Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business

You can now make optimized audio and video calls with Skype for Business inside a virtual desktop without negatively affecting the virtual infrastructure and overloading the network.

All media processing takes place on the client machine instead of in the virtual desktop during a Skype audio and video call.

New support with many expanded features for the Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business can be found in Horizon 7.3 and Client 4.6.

New Features

Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business offers the following supported features:

System Requirements

The following table outlines the system requirements for the new release:

Supported Clients

The following table provides the list of support Horizon clients:

Start Menu Shortcuts Configured Through the Admin Console

This feature improves the user experience by adding desktop and application shortcuts to the Start menu of Windows client devices.

You can use Horizon Administrator to create shortcuts for the following types of Horizon 7 resources:

  • Published applications
  • Desktops
  • Global entitlements

Shortcuts appear in the Windows Start menu and are configured by IT. Shortcuts can be categorized into folders.

Users can choose at login whether to have shortcuts added to the Start menu on their Windows endpoint device.

Watch this brief demonstration video of the new Desktop and Apps Shortcuts feature to see it in action:

Dedicated Desktop Support for Instant Clones

Upon the initial release of instant clones in Horizon 7, we supported floating desktop pools and assignments only. Further investments have been made to Instant Clone Technology that add support for dedicated desktop pools. Fixed assignments and entitlements of users to instant-clone machines is now provided as part of Horizon 7.3.

Dedicated instant-clone desktop assignment means that there is a 1:1 relationship between users and desktops. Once an end user is assigned to a desktop, they will consistently receive access to the same desktop and corresponding virtual machine. This feature is important for apps that require a consistent hostname, IP address, or MAC address to function properly.

Note: Persistent disks are not supported. Fixed assignments to desktops does not mean persistence for changes. Any changes that the user makes to the desktop while in-session will not be preserved after logoff, which is similar to how a floating desktop pool works. With dedicated assignment, when the user logs out, a resync operation on the master image retains the VM name, IP address, and MAC address.

Support for the Tesla P40 Graphics Card from NVIDIA

VMware has expanded NVIDIA GRID support with Tesla P40 GPU cards in Horizon 7.3.

HTML5 Video Redirection

This feature provides the ability to take the HTML5 video from a Chrome (version 58 or higher) browser inside a Windows VDI or RDSH system and redirect it to Windows clients. This feature uses Blast Extreme or PCoIP side channels along with a Chrome extension.

The redirected video is overlaid on the client and is enabled as well as managed using GPO settings.

Benefits include:

  • Supports generic sites such as YouTube, without requiring a server-side plugin.
  • Provides smooth video playback comparable to the native experience of playing video inside a browser on the local client system.
  • Reduces data center network traffic and CPU utilization on the vSphere infrastructure hosts.

Improved USB Redirection with User Environment Manager

The default User Environment Manager timeout value has been increased. This change ensures that the USB redirection Smart Policy takes effect even when the login process takes longer than expected.

With Horizon Client 4.6, the User Environment Manager timeout value is configured only on the agent and is sent from the agent to the client.

You can now bypass User Environment Manager control of USB redirection by setting a registry key on the agent machine (VDI desktop or RDSH server). This change ensures that smart card SSO works on Teradici zero clients. Note: Requires a restart.

HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\Agent\USB uemFlags (REG_DWORD 1)

Blast Extreme Performance Counter Improvements

The Windows Agent PerfMon counters for the Blast Extreme protocol have been improved to update at a constant rate and to be even more accurate.

Counters include:

  • Imaging
  • Audio
  • CDR
  • USB
  • Virtual printing

Linux Virtual Desktops

Features and functions for Horizon 7 for Linux virtual desktops have been expanded:

  • KDE support – Besides RHEL/CentOS 6.x, the KDE GUI is now supported on RHEL/CentOS 7.x, Ubuntu 14.04/16.04, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP4.
  • Support for the MATE interface on Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 16.04.
  • Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport support.
  • vGPU hardware H.264 encoder support.

USB Redirection Support in Nested Mode

The USB redirection feature is now supported when you use Horizon Client in nested mode. When using nesting–for example, when opening RDSH applications from a VDI desktop–you can now redirect USB devices from the client device to the first virtualization layer and then redirect the same USB device to the second virtualization layer (that is, nested session).

Filtering Redirected Printers

You can now create a filter to specify the printers that should not be redirected with ThinPrint. A new GPO ADMX template (vmd_printing_agent.admx) has been added to enable this functionality.

By default, the rule permits all client printers to be redirected.

  • Supported attributes:
    • PrinterName
    • DriverName
    • VendorName
  • Supported operators:
    • AND
    • OR
    • NOT
  • Supported searching pattern is a regular expression.

Blast Extreme Improvements in CPU Usage

Now even lower CPU usage is achieved with adaptive Forward Error Correction algorithms. This clever mechanism decides how to handle error correction, lowering CPU usage within virtual desktop machines as well as on client endpoint devices.

Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport Side Channel

New support has been added for Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport side channels for USB and CDR communications. Once enabled, TCP port 32111 for USB traffic does not need to be opened, and USB traffic uses a side channel. This feature is supported for both virtual desktops and RDS hosts.

  • Feature is turned off by default.
  • Enable the feature through a registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\Config\UdpAuxiliaryFlowsEnabled 1

Entitlement Restrictions Based on Machine Name

This feature allows IT administrators to restrict access to published applications and desktops based on both client computer and user. With client restrictions for RDSH, it is now possible to check AD security groups for specific computer names. Users only have access to desktops and apps when both the user and the client machine are entitled. For this release, the feature is supported only for Windows clients and works with global entitlements.

Pre-Launch Improvements

Pre-launch provides the ability to launch an empty (application-less) session when connecting to the Connection Server. The feature is now also available to Windows clients, in addition to macOS.

Also, it is no longer necessary to manually make changes to the client settings. You can configure automatic reconnection.

Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport Mode for iOS and macOS

With prior client releases, users were required to configure their Blast Extreme settings before they connected to the Connection Server. After a connection was established, the options to change the Blast Extreme setting—which included H.264, Poor, Typical, and Excellent—were unavailable.

With this release, users can change the network condition setting from Excellent to Typical or the reverse while inflight to sessions. Doing so also changes the protocol connection type between TCP (for Excellent) and UDP (for Typical).

Note: End users will not be able to change the network condition setting if Poor is selected before establishing a session connection.

Horizon Client for Windows

Horizon Client 4.6 updates include:

  • Additional command-line options for the new client installer – When silently installing the Windows client, using the /s flag, you can now also set:
    • REMOVE-SerialPort,Scanner – Removes the serial port, scanner, or both.
    • DESKTOP_SHORTCUT-0 – Installs without a desktop shortcut.
    • STARTMENU_SHORTCUT-0 – Installs without a Start menu shortcut.

  • Support for UNC paths with client drive redirection (CDR):
    • Allows remote applications to access files from a network location on the client machine. Each location gets its own drive letter inside the remote application or VDI desktop.
    • Folders residing on UNC paths can now be redirected with CDR, and get their own drive letter inside the session, just as any other shared folder.

Horizon Client for macOS

Horizon Client 4.6 updates include:

  • Apple macOS High Sierra day 0 support.
  • Users can select which monitors to use for VDI sessions and which to use for the local system.
  • Norwegian keyboard support and mappings are now available

Horizon Client for iOS

Horizon Client 4.6 updates include:

  • iOS 11 support
  • iOS split keyboard update – Removes the middle area in the split keyboard for a better view of the desktop
  • New dialog box for easy connection to a Swiftpoint Mouse

Horizon Client for Android

Horizon Client 4.6 updates include:

  • Android 8.0 Oreo support.
  • Server URL configuration – Allows administrators to configure a list of Connection Servers and a default Connection Server on Android devices managed by VMware AirWatch.

Android and Chrome OS Client Updates

Horizon Client 4.6 for Android and Horizon Client 4.6 for Chrome OS updates include:

  • Simple shortcuts – Users can right-click any application or desktop to add a shortcut to the home screen.
  • Webcam redirection – Integrated webcams on an Android device or a Chromebook are now available for redirection using the Real-Time Audio-Video (RTAV) feature.

HTML Access

HTML Access 4.6 updates include:

  • HTML Access on Android devices – Though HTML Access has fewer features than the native Horizon Client, it allows you to use remote desktops and published applications without installing software.
  • HTML Access page customization – Administrators can customize graphics and text and have those customizations persist through future upgrades.

Horizon Client for Linux

Horizon Client 4.6 updates include:

  • Support for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B devices:
    • ThinLinx operating system (TLXOS) or Stratodesk NoTouch operating system
    • Supported Horizon Client features include:
  • Blast Extreme
  • USB redirection
  • 264 decoding
  • 8000Hz and 16000Hz audio-in sample rate
  • RHEL/CentOS 7.4 support

Horizon Client for Windows 10 UWP

Horizon Client 4.6 updates include:

  • Network recovery improvements – Clients can recover from temporary network loss (up to 2 minutes). This feature was already available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, and is now available for Windows 10 UWP.
    • Automatically reconnects Blast Extreme sessions
    • Reduces re-authentication prompts

We are excited about these new features in Horizon 7.3.1 and the Horizon Client 4.6.  We hope that you will give them a try.

You can download it here.

Some handy URL for SQL Maintenance

2 Handy SQL Scripts

ForceDatabaseOffline:
USE master
GO
ALTER DATABASE YourDatabaseName
SET OFFLINE WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE
GO

ShowOpenConnections:
SELECT
    DB_NAME(dbid) as DBName,
    COUNT(dbid) as NumberOfConnections,
    loginame as LoginName
FROM
    sys.sysprocesses
WHERE
    dbid > 0
GROUP BY
    dbid, loginame
;

The Tool that is love is SP_Blitz
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QAL9itupMA

Do need to do some SQL Maintenance, i have for you some handy URLs:
https://ola.hallengren.com/
https://www.brentozar.com/

Azure AD Connect Adds Support for Windows Server 2016 and SQL 2016

If you’re a customer who uses Azure Active Directory Connect, you’ll want to know that Microsoft just released version 1.1.343.0, which adds support for Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 and fixes some bugs.

Improvements:
– Added support for installing Azure AD Connect on Windows Server 2016 standard or better.
– Added support for using SQL Server 2016 as the remote database for Azure AD Connect.
– Added support for managing AD FS 2016 using Azure AD Connect.

Fixed issues:
– Sometimes, installing Azure AD Connect fails because it is unable to create a local service account whose password meets the level of complexity specified by the organization’s password policy.
– Fixed an issue where join rules are not re-evaluated when an object in the connector space simultaneously becomes out-of-scope for one join rule and become in-scope for another. This can happen if you have two or more join rules whose join conditions are mutually exclusive.
– Fixed an issue where inbound synchronization rules (from Azure AD) which do not contain join rules are not processed if they have lower precedence values than those containing join rules.

Keeping WSUS Happy using PowerShell

Some time ago i found a great WSUS cleanup script. I used this at my demo lab and customer sites. WSUS need a little help Winking smile

  • Someone need to deny all patches that are superseeded, this does not happen automatically.
  • Someone needs to cleanup old content, computers, patches and such, this does not happen automatically.
  • Someone needs to care for the database, this does not happen automatically.

https://github.com/DeploymentBunny/Files/tree/master/Tools/Invoke-WSUSMaint

image

The script will do the following

Connect to a database

you might need to change this in the script.

#For Windows Internal Database, use $WSUSDB = ‘\\.\pipe\MICROSOFT##WID\tsql\query’
#For SQL Express, use $WSUSDB = ‘\\.\pipe\MSSQL$SQLEXPRESS\sql\query’

Get the Superseeded Updates

Here is the Posh that fixes that:

$SuperSeededUpdates = Get-WsusUpdate -Approval AnyExceptDeclined -Classification All -Status Any | Where-Object -Property UpdatesSupersedingThisUpdate -NE -Value ‘None’ -Verbose
$SuperSeededUpdates | Deny-WsusUpdate –Verbose

Cleanup WSUS

We run each step sepratly, however, you can change that and run everything in one line…

Cleanup the DB

Last part runs sqlcmd using a .SQL file from MSFT Gallery, and yes, you can download and install the PowerShell tools for SQL and use that instead. Most of your customers dont have thoose tools installed, so sqlcmd.exe it is

Source: https://deploymentbunny.com/2016/02/03/working-in-the-datacenter-keeping-wsus-happy-using-powershell/

Skype for Business 2015 Planning Tool

The Skype for Business Team released Skype for Business 2015 Planning Tool. This tool asks you a series of questions about your organization and the features that you are interested in. The planning tool will then use your answers to recommend a topology based on the tested Skype for Business 2015 user model.
Your organization may have a different user model. If so, you should adjust the recommended topology as necessary to fit your organization’s needs.
What’s in the Planning Tool for Skype for Business 2015?

  • The Planning Tool now allow user to have up to 10 sites, including central site and disaster recovery site
  • The Planning Tool offers capacity guidance for Skype for Business Server 2015 new and updated features listed below.
  • You can answer the questions about these features in the Planning Tool, and then the suggested topology will contain information for those features, e.g hardware, network, DNS, certificate, IP, etc, according to the Skype for Business 2015 user model.
    • Persistent Chat
    • Archiving with Exchange integration
    • Mobility
    • Multi-view Video
    • SQL AlwaysOn
    • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
    • Office Web Apps
    • Exchange Mailbox
  • Skype for Business Server Planning Tool 2015 allows you to specify IPv6 IP addresses
  • Planning Tool identifies the IP conflicts across sites in the suggest topology. You can then choose to show or hide IP conflict in the topology
  • Planning Tool offers more user-friendly FQDN/IP/Port editing dialog
  • Planning Tool updates the suggested hardware requirements, DNS, and certificates with Skype for Business Server 2015 changes
  • Planning Tool updates the planning steps and deployment steps with Skype for Business Server 2015 changes
  • Planning Tool offers better support for accessibility requirements
  • Skype for Business Server Planning Tool 2015 offers improved export of Visio and Excel files. An exported Visio file matches the suggested topology diagram in the Planning Tool as well
  • Planning Tool no longer supports the following features:
    • Virtualized server design
    • Export the Planning Tool file to Topology Builder

Get it: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50357

Source

Exchange Administrator’s toolkit

There are lots of tools for Exchange Server available, you can find most of them at the Exchange Server Wiki (some of the tools listed are for previous versions of Exchange).

Here is a short selection from the vast collection available:

MAP Toolkit 8.0 Beta released

The MAP Toolkit team announced that MAP Toolkit 8.0 beta is available. MAP Toolkit 8.0 beta has rich feature set to plan and prepare your environment to adopt next wave of Microsoft products and cloud services. The MAP Toolkit has readiness assessments that range from desktop to cloud — Windows 8 to Windows Azure.

The MAP Toolkit 8.0 Beta program is open for general testing today and you need to register to download and try MAP Toolkit 8.0 beta in your environment as you prepare your IT infrastructure to evaluate and deploy the latest Microsoft products and cloud services.

MAP Toolkit 8.0 Beta is available for download here

MAP Toolkit 8.0 has completely revamped modern user interface, which provides easy and clear access to assessment scenarios supported in MAP Toolkit and assessment summaries and results. If you have used a prior version of the MAP Toolkit, you will find MAP Toolkit 8.0 much easier and simpler to navigate, find and run assessment scenarios you are interested and review the assessment results.

image

Following are some of the key assessment scenarios in the MAP Toolkit 8.0:

Windows Server 2012 Readiness

MAP 8.0 Beta assesses the readiness of your IT infrastructure for deploying Windows Server 2012. This assessment includes detailed and actionable recommendations indicating which machines meet Windows Server 2012 system requirements and which may need hardware updates. A comprehensive inventory of servers, operating systems, workloads, devices, and server roles is included to help in your planning efforts.

Windows 8 Readiness Assessment

MAP 8.0 Beta assesses the readiness of your IT environment for a Windows 8 deployment. This assessment evaluates your existing hardware against the recommended system requirements for Windows 8. It provides recommendations detailing which machines meet the requirements and which may need hardware upgrades.

Office 2013 and Office 365 Readiness Assessments

MAP 8.0 Beta assesses readiness for Office 2013 and provides an in-depth assessment of client desktops for upgrading or migration. It also offers support for Office 365 features such as web apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, or full Office 365 client support.

Windows Azure Virtual Machines Migration Recommendation

MAP 8.0 Beta performs a comprehensive assessment of Windows Server and Linux machines to determine if a migration to Windows Azure Virtual Machines is possible. The toolkit then offers suggested changes to prepare the machines for migration. Key features help you reduce the operating costs of hosting on-premise servers as well as estimating the required size and monthly network and storage usage required to migrate on-premise Windows and Linux servers to Windows Azure Virtual Machines using the data from the environment.

Software usage assessment for Lync

MAP 8.0 Beta’s Lync Enterprise and Usage Tracking feature counts the number of Lync Enterprise/Plus users as well as device activities for determining the number of required client access licenses (CAL). For Lync 2010, MAP provides a server inventory and software usage by device and user for Lync Standard features. MAP’s updated Software Usage Tracking feature provides consistent software usage reports for key Microsoft products including Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center, Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP), and Lync.

Starting today, beta program will be open for six weeks and will end on Dec 14th, 2012. You can participate in beta by downloading and running MAP Toolkit 8.0 beta in your environment.

MAP Toolkit 8.0 Beta is available for download here

Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 7.0 Now Available

Get ready for Windows Server 2012 with the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 7.0. The latest version of the MAP Toolkit adds several new planning scenarios that help you build for the future with agility and focus while lowering the cost of delivering IT. Download MAP 7.0 and begin planning your server deployments today!

New capabilities allow you to:

· Understand your readiness to deploy Windows Server 2012 in your environment

· Determine Windows 8 readiness. For more info, see this blog post.

· Investigate how Windows Server and System Center can manage your heterogeneous environment through VMware migration and Linux server virtualization assessments

· Size your desktop virtualization needs for both Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and session-based virtualization using Remote Desktop Services. For more information, see these blog posts.

· Ready your information platform for the cloud with the SQL Server 2012 discovery and migration assessment. For more info, see this blog post.

· Evaluate your licensing needs with usage tracking for Lync 2010, active users and devices, SQL Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012. For more information, see this blog post.

Download MAP 7.0 now from
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?&id=7826

VM Advanced ISO. Free Tools For Advanced Tasks

Kendrick Coleman has compiled a CD with FREE TOOLS for virtual machines within your VMware environment. All of the tools in this package were pooled together for performing advanced tasks to optimize performance, reclaim lost space, and clean up your virtual machine.

CURRENT VERSION = 0.8

Without further ado here is what is packaged in VM Advanced v0.8 (510MB):

  • FoxitPortablePDF
  • 01 – P2V Clean-up
    • 01 – Resolution Resize
    • 02 – HP ProLiant Cleaner
    • 03 – Remove Non Present Devices
      04 – Rename Local Area Connection
    • 05 – Network Settings
    • 06 – Dell Cleanup
  • 02 – Hal Upgrade-Downgrade
    • 01 – HAL_Toggle <- UPDATED
  • 03 – Partition Alignment
    • 02 – mbrtools (only how-to is provided) <-REMOVED, Use UBERAlign
    • 04 – Paragon Alignment Tool 2.0 (free tool for limited time but cannot distribute within ISO) <-REMOVED, Use UBERAlign
  • 03 – VDI Performance
    • 01 – VM Check Partition Alignment
    • 02 – Aligning VMDK Partition For Template
    • 03 – Quest Desktop Optimizer
  • 04 – Reclaim Space
    • 01 – SDelete
  • 05 – Analysis
    • 01 – IOPS w/ IOmeter
    • 02 – LoadStorm
    • 03 – NetworkPerformance
      • 01-  iperf
      • 02 – PSTools <- New
  • 06 – SysprepFiles
    • 01 – vCenterSysprep
    • 02 – vCloudSysprep
  • 07 – Virtual Router
    • FreeSCO
  • 08 – Floppies
    • 01 – LSI_Logic_Parallel_WinXP_x86
    • 02 – Bus_LogicParallel_WinXP_x86

  • 09 – vSphere Client
  • 10 – Security
    • 01 – Angry IP Scanner
    • 02 – Blues Port Scanner
    • 03 – NetworkActiv PortScanner
    • 04 – PuTTY
    • 05 – HijackThis
  • 11 – SQL Native Client
    • 01 – SQL Native Client
  • 12 – ISO Creation <- New
    • 01 -Folder2Iso

Download Here:
VM Advanced v0.8 ISO

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 – RTM

A couple of hours ago, Microsoft released MDT 2012

In contains numerous bug fixes as well as support for SCCM 2007 and SCCM 2012.

Improvements for All MDT Technologies

The MDT improvements that affect all MDT technologies, which are discussed in a subsequent section, are as follows:

  • Support for upgrading from previous versions of MDT
  • Integration with security and compliance templates generated by Microsoft Security Compliance Manager (SCM) version 2.0
  • Run Windows PowerShell™ scripts within an MDT task sequence
  • Create partitions to support best practice recommendations for deployment of BitLocker® Drive Encryption
  • Automatically configure participation in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) and Windows Error Reporting (WER)
  • Guidance that describes how to use Microsoft SQL Server® 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) for all database needs within MDT
Improvements for LTI Deployments

MDT includes the following improvements for LTI deployments:

  • Support for Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server 8 Beta. Note: The deployment of Windows Server 8 Beta roles and features using the Install Roles and Features task sequence action is not supported.
  • Support for the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK). Note: Currently, the Windows ADK is only supported for deploying Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows 7 in lab environments, not in production environments.

Windows ADK requires the Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.0. If not already installed, the Windows ADK installation installs the Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.0. For more information, see Introduction to the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit.

  • Monitoring of LTI deployment process. MDT includes the new LTI monitoring feature that allows you to perform centralized monitoring of LTI deployments in the Monitoring node in the Deployment Workbench.
  • Deployment of Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE). Windows RE helps users troubleshoot and recover from startup-related problems on their computers.
  • Deployment of Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT).
  • Deployment to computers that use the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).
  • Deployment to computers that require the new globally unique identifier (GUID) Partition Table (GPT) format.
  • Deployment to virtual hard disks (VHDs) for native boot.
  • Support for Windows Thin PC.
  • Support for Windows Embedded POSReady 7.
  • Add local administrator accounts.
  • Deployment Wizard user experience improvements.
Improvements for Configuration Manager Deployments

MDT includes the following improvements for MDT deployments with Configuration Manager 2012 or Configuration Manager 2007 R3:

  • Support for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. MDT includes support for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager for ZTI and UDI deployments
  • Support for new application model in Configuration Manager 2012.
  • Support for the user device affinity feature in Configuration Manager 2012.
  • Support for prestart command files.
  • Support for automatically starting a specific task sequence.
  • UDI Wizard user experience improvements.
  • The UDI Wizard has been completely revised to improve user experience.
  • UDI Wizard Designer user experience improvements.
  • The UDI Wizard Designer UI has been improved to make configuring the UDI Wizard even easier than previous versions.
  • Support for enabling BitLocker in UDI.
  • Support for MDT Replace Computer deployment scenario.
  • Localization of UDI Wizard.
  • Guidance for customizing UDI.
  • Upgrade tasks sequences created in Configuration Manager 2007 to Configuration Manager 2012.
  • Guidance for Configuration Manager 2007 R3.

Read more and download it from here 

Special thanks to Mikael Nystrom