The VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) Holodeck Toolkit is designed to provide a scalable, repeatable way to deploy nested Cloud Foundation hands-on environments directly on VMware ESXi hosts. These environments are ideal for multi-team hands on exercises exploring the capabilities of utilitizing VCF to deliver a Customer Managed VMware Cloud.
Delivering labs in a nested environment solves several challenges with delivering hands-on for a product like VCF, including:
Reduced hardware requirements: When operating in a physical environment, VCF requires four vSAN Ready Nodes for the management domain, and additional hosts for adding clusters or workload domains. In a nested environment, the same four to eight hosts are easily virtualized to run on a single ESXi host.
Self-contained services: The Holodeck Toolkit configuration provides common infrastructure services, such as NTP, DNS, AD, Certificate Services and DHCP within the environment, removing the need to rely on datacenter provided services during testing. Each environment needs a single external IP.
Isolated networking. The Holodeck Toolkit configuration removes the need for VLAN and BGP connections in the customer network early in the testing phase.
Isolation between environments. Each Holodeck deployment is completely self-contained. This avoids conflicts with existing network configurations and allows for the deployment of multiple nested environments on same hardware or datacenter with no concerns for overlap.
Multiple VCF deployments on a single VMware ESXi host with sufficient capacity. A typical VCF Standard Architecture deployment of four node management domain and four node VI workload domain, plus add on such as VMware vRealize Automation requires approximately 20 CPU cores, 512GB memory and 2.5TB disk.
Automation and repeatability. The deployment of nested VCF environments is almost completely hands-off, and easily repeatable using configuration files. A typical deployment takes less than 3 hours, with less than 15 min keyboard time.
Nested Environment Overview
The “VLC Holodeck Standard Main 1.3” configuration is a nested VMware Cloud Foundation configuration used as the baseline for several Private Cloud operation and consumption lab exercises created by the Cloud Foundation Technical Marketing team. The Holodeck standard “VLC-Holo-Site-1” is the primary configuration deployed. The optional VLC-Holo-Site-2 can be deployed at any time later within a Pod. VLC-Holo-Site-1 configuration matches the lab configuration in the VCF Hands-On Lab HOL-2246 and the nested configuration in the VCF Experience program run on the VMware Lab Platform.
Each Pod on a Holodeck deployment runs an identical nested configuration. A pod can be deployed with a standalone VLC-Holo-Site-1 configuration, or with both VLC-Holo-Site-1 and VLC-Holo-Site-2 configurations active. Separation of the pods and between sites within a pod is handled at the VMware vSphere Standard Switch (VSS) level. Each Holodeck pod connects to a unique VSS and Port Group per site. A VMware vSphere Port Group is configured on each VSS and configured as a VLAN trunk.
Components on the port group to use VLAN tagging to isolate communications between nested VLANs. This removes the need to have physical VLANs plumbed to the ESXi host to support nested labs.
When the Holo-Site-2 configuration is deployed it uses a second VSS and Port Group for isolation from Holo-Site-1
The VLC Holodeck configuration customizes the VCF Cloud Builder Virtual Machine to provide several support services within the pod to remove the requirement for specific customer side services. A Cloud Builder VM is deployed per Site to provide the following within the pod:
DNS (local to Site1 and Site2 within the pod, acts as forwarder)
NTP (local to Site1 and Site2 within the pod)
DHCP (local to Site1 and Site2 within the pod)
L3 TOR for vMotion, vSAN, Management, Host TEP and Edge TEP networks within each site
BGP peer from VLC Tier 0 NSX Application Virtual Network (AVN) Edge (Provides connectivity into NSX overlay networks from the lab console)
The figure below shows a logical view of the VLC-Holo-Site-1 configuration within a Holodeck Pod. The Site-1 configuration uses DNS domain vcf.sddc.lab.
Figure 1: Holodeck Nested Diagram
The Holodeck package also provides a preconfigured Photon OS VM, called “Holo-Router”, that functions as a virtualized router for the base environment. This VM allows for connecting the nested environment to the external world. The Holo-Router is configured to forward any Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP) traffic to the nested jump host, known as the Holo-Console, which is deployed within the pod.
The user interface to the nested VCF environment is via a Windows Server 2019 “Holo-Console” virtual machine. Holo-Console provides a place to manage the internal nested environment like a system administrators desktop in a datacenter. Holo-Console is used to run the VLC package to deploy the nested VCF instance inside the pod. Holo-Console VM’s are deployed from a custom-built ISO that configures the following
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Desktop Experience with:
Active directory domain “vcf.holo.lab”
DNS Forwarder to Cloud Builder
Certificate Server, Web Enrollment and VMware certificate template
IP, Subnet, Gateway, DNS and VLAN configured for deployment as Holo-Console
Firewall and IE Enhanced security disabled
SDDC Commander custom desktop deployed
Additional software packages deployed and configured
Google Chrome with Holodeck bookmarks
VMware Power Validated Solutions
PuTTY SSH client
Additional software packages copied to Holo-Console for later use
VMware Cloud Foundation 4.5 Cloud Builder OVA to C:\CloudBuilder
VCF Lab Constructor 4.5.1 with dual site Holodeck configuration
VMware vRealize Automation 8.10 Easy Installer
The figure below shows the virtual machines running on the physical ESXi host to deliver a Holodeck Pod called “Holo-A”. Notice an instance of Holo-Console, Holo-Router, Cloud Builder and four nested ESXi hosts. They all communicate over the VLC-A-PG Port Group
Figure 2: Holodeck Nested Hosts
Adding a second site adds an additional instance of Cloud Builder and additional nested ESXi hosts. VLC-Holo-Site-2 connects to the second internal leg of the Holo-Router on VLAN 20. Network access from the Holo-Console to VLC-Holo-Site-2 is via Holo-Router.
The figure below shows a logical view of the VLC-Holo-Site-2 configuration within a Holodeck Pod. The Site-2 configuration uses DNS domain vcf2.sddc.lab
Figure 3: Holodeck Site-2 Diagram
Accessing the Holodeck Environment
User access to the Holodeck pod is via the Holo-Console. Access to Holo-Console is available via two paths:
Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connection to the external IP of the Holo-Router. Holo-Router is configured to forward all RDP traffic to the instance of Holo-Console inside the pod.
VMware is announcing vSphere 6.7, the latest release of the industry-leading virtualization and cloud platform. vSphere 6.7 is the efficient and secure platform for hybrid clouds, fueling digital transformation by delivering simple and efficient management at scale, comprehensive built-in security, a universal application platform, and seamless hybrid cloud experience.
vSphere 6.7 delivers key capabilities to enable IT organizations address the following notable trends that are putting new demands on their IT infrastructure:
Explosive growth in quantity and variety of applications, from business critical apps to new intelligent workloads.
Rapid growth of hybrid cloud environments and use cases.
On-premises data centers growing and expanding globally, including at the Edge.
Security of infrastructure and applications attaining paramount importance.
Let’s take a look at some of the key capabilities in vSphere 6.7:
Simple and Efficient Management, at Scale
vSphere 6.7 builds on the technological innovation delivered by vSphere 6.5, and elevates the customer experience to an entirely new level. It provides exceptional management simplicity, operational efficiency, and faster time to market, all at scale.
vSphere 6.7 delivers an exceptional experience for the user with an enhancedvCenter Server Appliance (vCSA). It introduces several new APIs that improve the efficiency and experience to deploy vCenter, to deploy multiple vCenters based on a template, to make management of vCenter Server Appliance significantly easier, as well as for backup and restore. It also significantly simplifies the vCenter Server topology through vCenter with embedded platform services controller in enhanced linked mode, enabling customers to link multiple vCenters and have seamless visibility across the environment without the need for an external platform services controller or load balancers.
Moreover, with vSphere 6.7 vCSA delivers phenomenal performance improvements (all metrics compared at cluster scale limits, versus vSphere 6.5):
2X faster performance in vCenter operations per second
These performance improvements ensure a blazing fast experience for vSphere users, and deliver significant value, as well as time and cost savings in a variety of use cases, such as VDI, Scale-out apps, Big Data, HPC, DevOps, distributed cloud native apps, etc.
vSphere 6.7 improves efficiency at scale when updating ESXi hosts, significantly reducing maintenance time by eliminating one of two reboots normally required for major version upgrades (Single Reboot). In addition to that, vSphere Quick Boot is a new innovation that restarts the ESXi hypervisor without rebooting the physical host, skipping time-consuming hardware initialization.
Another key component that allows vSphere 6.7 to deliver a simplified and efficient experience is the graphical user interface itself. The HTML5-based vSphere Client provides a modern user interface experience that is both responsive and easy to use. With vSphere 6.7, it includes added functionality to support not only the typical workflows customers need but also other key functionality like managing NSX, vSAN, VUM as well as third-party components.
Comprehensive Built-In Security
vSphere 6.7 builds on the security capabilities in vSphere 6.5 and leverages its unique position as the hypervisor to offer comprehensive security that starts at the core, via an operationally simple policy-driven model.
vSphere 6.7 adds support for Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 hardware devices and also introduces Virtual TPM 2.0, significantly enhancing protection and assuring integrity for both the hypervisor and the guest operating system. This capability helps prevent VMs and hosts from being tampered with, prevents the loading of unauthorized components and enables guest operating system security features security teams are asking for.
Data encryption was introduced with vSphere 6.5 and very well received. With vSphere 6.7, VM Encryption is further enhanced and more operationally simple to manage. vSphere 6.7 simplifies workflows for VM Encryption, designed to protect data at rest and in motion, making it as easy as a right-click while also increasing the security posture of encrypting the VM and giving the user a greater degree of control to protect against unauthorized data access.
vSphere 6.7 also enhances protection for data in motion by enabling encrypted vMotion across different vCenterinstances as well as versions, making it easy to securely conduct data center migrations, move data across a hybrid cloud environment (between on-premises and public cloud), or across geographically distributed data centers.
vSphere 6.7 introduces support for the entire range of Microsoft’s Virtualization Based Security technologies. This is a result of close collaboration between VMware and Microsoft to ensure Windows VMs on vSphere support in-guest security features while continuing to run performant and secure on the vSphere platform.
vSphere 6.7 delivers comprehensive built-in security and is the heart of a secure SDDC. It has deep integration and works seamlessly with other VMware products such as vSAN, NSX and vRealize Suite to provide a complete security model for the data center.
Universal Application Platform
vSphere 6.7 is a universal application platform that supports new workloads (including 3D Graphics, Big Data, HPC, Machine Learning, In-Memory, and Cloud-Native) as well as existing mission critical applications. It also supports and leverages some of the latest hardware innovations in the industry, delivering exceptional performance for a variety of workloads.
vSphere 6.7 further enhances the support and capabilities introduced for GPUs through VMware’s collaboration with Nvidia, by virtualizing Nvidia GPUs even for non-VDI and non-general-purpose-computing use cases such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and more. With enhancements to Nvidia GRID™ vGPU technology in vSphere 6.7, instead of having to power off workloads running on GPUs, customers can simply suspend and resume those VMs, allowing for better lifecycle management of the underlying host and significantly reducing disruption for end-users. VMware continues to invest in this area, with the goal of bringing the full vSphere experience to GPUs in future releases.
vSphere 6.7 continues to showcase VMware’s technological leadership and fruitful collaboration with our key partners by adding support for a key industry innovation poised to have a dramatic impact on the landscape, which is persistent memory. With vSphere Persistent Memory, customers using supported hardware modules, such as those available from Dell-EMC and HPE, can leverage them either as super-fast storage with high IOPS, or expose them to the guest operating system as non-volatile memory. This will significantly enhance performance of the OS as well as applications across a variety of use cases, making existing applications faster and more performant and enabling customers to create new high-performance applications that can leverage vSphere Persistent Memory.
Seamless Hybrid Cloud Experience
With the fast adoption of vSphere-based public clouds through VMware Cloud Provider Program partners, VMware Cloud on AWS, as well as other public cloud providers, VMware is committed to delivering a seamless hybrid cloud experience for customers.
vSphere 6.7 introduces vCenter Server Hybrid Linked Mode, which makes it easy and simple for customers to have unified visibility and manageability across an on-premises vSphere environment running on one version and a vSphere-based public cloud environment, such as VMware Cloud on AWS, running on a different version of vSphere. This ensures that the fast pace of innovation and introduction of new capabilities in vSphere-based public clouds does not force the customer to constantly update and upgrade their on-premises vSphere environment.
vSphere 6.7 also introduces Cross-Cloud Cold and Hot Migration, further enhancing the ease of management across and enabling a seamless and non-disruptive hybrid cloud experience for customers.
As virtual machines migrate between different data centers or from an on-premises data center to the cloud and back, they likely move across different CPU types. vSphere 6.7 delivers a new capability that is key for the hybrid cloud, called Per-VM EVC. Per-VM EVC enables the EVC (Enhanced vMotion Compatibility) mode to become an attribute of the VM rather than the specific processor generation it happens to be booted on in the cluster. This allows for seamless migration across different CPUs by persisting the EVC mode per-VM during migrations across clusters and during power cycles.
Previously, vSphere 6.0 introduced provisioning between vCenter instances. This is often called “cross-vCenter provisioning.” The use of two vCenter instances introduces the possibility that the instances are on different release versions. vSphere 6.7 enables customers to use different vCenter versions while allowing cross-vCenter, mixed-version provisioning operations (vMotion, Full Clone and cold migrate) to continue seamlessly. This is especially useful for customers leveraging VMware Cloud on AWS as part of their hybrid cloud.
As the ideal, efficient, secure universal platform for hybrid cloud, supporting new and existing applications, serving the needs of IT and the business, vSphere 6.7 reinforces your investment in VMware. vSphere 6.7 is one of the core components of VMware’s SDDC and a fundamental building block of your cloud strategy. With vSphere 6.7, you can now run, manage, connect, and secure your applications in a common operating environment, across your hybrid cloud.
This article only touched upon the key highlights of this release, but there are many more new features. To learn more about vSphere 6.7, please see the following resources.
[Tool] Issue fix – Switching to another tab loses all unsaved changes
[Tool] Enhancement – Simplify user interaction in Template Editor. Now editing template no longer requires repeated Update button click. Mac style editing is applied (Automatically save changes along with edit)
For those of you not aware of this tool it is used to optimise Windows 7/8/2008/2012/10 for Horizon View deployments and it performs the following actions:
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:
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
Always-On Availability Groups feature for Microsoft SQL Server 2014
Additional GPO settings for ThinPrint printer filtering, HTML5 redirection and enforcement of desktop wallpaper settings
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
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 is supported in nested mode
Administrators can filter out printers that should not be redirected
Horizon Client 4.6 Updates
All clients have been updated to use SHA-2 to prevent SHA-1 collision attacks
Session pre-launch is now extended to both Horizon Client for macOS and Horizon Client for Windows
Integration of Apteligent crash log
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
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
Session control (restart, logoff, reset, and disconnect)
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.
Unified Access Gateway name and IP address
Logon breakdown (client to broker):
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.
Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business offers the following supported features:
The following table outlines the system requirements for the new release:
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:
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.
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.
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 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 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 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:
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.
IIS Crypto is a free tool that gives administrators the ability to enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows Server 2008, 2012 and 2016. It also lets you reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites offered by IIS, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website.
– Single click to secure your website using best practices – Create custom templates that can be saved and run on multiple servers – Stop DROWN, logjam, FREAK, POODLE and BEAST attacks – Disable weak protocols and ciphers such as SSL 2.0, 3.0 and MD5 – Enable TLS 1.1 and 1.2 – Enable forward secrecy – Reorder cipher suites – Built in Best Practices, PCI, PCI 3.1 and FIPS 140-2 templates – Site scanner to test your configuration – Command line version
For those of you who have started deploying Windows 10 1607, you might notice a change in the behavior of the Windows Update agent for PCs that are configured to pull updates from WSUS. Instead of pulling the updates from WSUS, PCs may start grabbing them from peers on your network, leveraging the Delivery Optimization service for referrals to other PCs that have already obtained the content. This change should generally help reduce the amount of network traffic being generated for both quality (monthly) updates and feature updates, offloading that traffic from the WSUS server. It will add some additional traffic between each client PC and the Delivery Optimization service on the internet, as it has to talk to this internet-only service in order to get a list of peers.
If the Windows Update agent can’t talk to the Delivery Optimization service (due to firewall or proxy configurations), or if there are no peers able to provide the content, it will then go ahead and grab the content from the WSUS server.
There is a new Group Policy setting available if you want to disable this behavior, e.g. because you are already using BranchCache for peer-to-peer sharing. To do this, you need to set the “Download Mode” policy under “Computer Configuration –> Administrative Templates –> Windows Components –> Delivery Optimization” to specify “Bypass” mode, which will result in the client always using BITS to transfer the content from WSUS (with BranchCache jumping in to provide the peer-to-peer capabilities through its integration with BITS):
This will show you how to configure your environment for BitLocker, the disk volume encryption built into Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Pro, using MDT. BitLocker in Windows 10 has two requirements in regard to an operating system deployment:
A protector, which can either be stored in the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip, or stored as a password.
To configure your environment for BitLocker, you will need to do the following:
Configure Active Directory for BitLocker.
Download the various BitLocker scripts and tools.
Configure the rules (CustomSettings.ini) for BitLocker.
Configure Active Directory for BitLocker
To enable BitLocker to store the recovery key and TPM information in Active Directory, you need to create a Group Policy for it in Active Directory. For this section, we are running Windows Server 2012 R2, so you do not need to extend the Schema. You do, however, need to set the appropriate permissions in Active Directory.
Depending on the Active Directory Schema version, you might need to update the Schema before you can store BitLocker information in Active Directory.
In Windows Server 2012 R2 (as well as in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012), you have access to the BitLocker Drive Encryption Administration Utilities features, which will help you manage BitLocker. When you install the features, the BitLocker Active Directory Recovery Password Viewer is included, and it extends Active Directory Users and Computers with BitLocker Recovery information.
Figure 2. The BitLocker Recovery information on a computer object in the contoso.com domain.
Add the BitLocker Drive Encryption Administration Utilities
The BitLocker Drive Encryption Administration Utilities are added as features via Server Manager (or Windows PowerShell):
On DC01, log on as CONTOSO\Administrator, and, using Server Manager, click Add roles and features.
On the Before you begin page, click Next.
On the Select installation type page, select Role-based or feature-based installation, and click Next.
On the Select destination server page, select DC01.contoso.com and click Next.
On the Select server roles page, click Next.
On the Select features page, expand Remote Server Administration Tools, expand Feature Administration Tools, select the following features, and then click Next:
Enable the Turn on TPM backup to Active Directory Domain Services policy.
(Don’t forget to disable Secure Boot & Enable the secure boot again after deployment is succes vol!!)
Set permissions in Active Directory for BitLocker
In addition to the Group Policy created previously, you need to configure permissions in Active Directory to be able to store the TPM recovery information. In these steps, we assume you have downloaded the Add-TPMSelfWriteACE.vbs script from Microsoft to C:\Setup\Scripts on DC01.
On DC01, start an elevated PowerShell prompt (run as Administrator).
Configure the permissions by running the following command:
Figure 4. Running the Add-TPMSelfWriteACE.vbs script on DC01.
Add BIOS configuration tools from Dell, HP, and Lenovo
If you want to automate enabling the TPM chip as part of the deployment process, you need to download the vendor tools and add them to your task sequences, either directly or in a script wrapper.
Add tools from Dell
The Dell tools are available via the Dell Client Configuration Toolkit (CCTK). The executable file from Dell is named cctk.exe. Here is a sample command to enable TPM and set a BIOS password using the cctk.exe tool:
cctk.exe --tpm=on --valsetuppwd=Password1234
Add tools from HP
The HP tools are part of HP System Software Manager. The executable file from HP is named BiosConfigUtility.exe. This utility uses a configuration file for the BIOS settings. Here is a sample command to enable TPM and set a BIOS password using the BiosConfigUtility.exe tool:
And the sample content of the TPMEnable.REPSET file:
Activate Embedded Security On Next Boot
Embedded Security Activation Policy
F1 to Boot
Allow user to reject
Embedded Security Device Availability
Add tools from Lenovo
The Lenovo tools are a set of VBScripts available as part of the Lenovo BIOS Setup using Windows Management Instrumentation Deployment Guide. Lenovo also provides a separate download of the scripts. Here is a sample command to enable TPM using the Lenovo tools: