Think IPM

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

VMware 6 : Unable to connect to the MKS: Internal Error

Almost EVERY SINGLE time I see this error, it’s DNS related.  When I ran into it tonight, I immediately thought I had fat fingered the DNS entries in the VMware vCenter Appliance Deployment wizard. 
This became an interesting chicken and egg scenario – I needed to check my DNS settings on the Console but of course, couldn’t get a console for the VM!  Doh!
Fortunately, I had enabled SSH when deploying the vCenter Appliance (Something I will continue to ALWAYS do!).  A quick putty over to the vCenter VM and everything looked fine…  What gives?
Image result for crumpled up paperTime to search the VMware Knowledge Base.  After some searching, I ran across this:
In this particular project, I was migrating hosts from a Windows based vCenter to a vCenter Appliance and apparently when I migrated the existing hosts over to the new vCenter Appliance, some certs got borked.
Quick Fix: vMotion EVERYTHING from one host to the next and everything was back to normal.  Whew!
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Monday, November 16, 2015

VMware View 6.2 XP Support issues.

image Recently, I was working with a client on an upgrade to their VMware View environment. We were upgrading from View 5.2 to 6.2. A nice jump in versions that was hopefully going to go pretty painlessly. The majority of the machines were Windows 7 machines with a sprinkling of Windows XP machines that for various support reasons were pretty critical to a select few people. Once we had the outage window, we moved to begin upgrading the View infrastructure servers. All went good but when recomposing the XP pool, none of the Virtual Machines were registering with the Brokers. On the broker screens, I was receiving errors complaining about network communications:

No network communication between the View Agent and Connection Server. Please verify that the virtual desktop can ping the Connection Server via the FQDN

After your normal troubleshooting based on this catch all KB Article,  I came across this gem in the release notes regarding XP support:

Supportability of Windows XP and Windows Vista guest operating systems as desktop virtual machines
The versions of View Agent that ship with Horizon 6 (version 6.1) and later releases do not support Windows XP and Windows Vista desktops. The Horizon 6 (version 6.1) servers will work with Windows XP and Windows Vista desktops if you continue to use the older View Agent 6.0.2. The older agent, of course, does not offer all of the features of the new agent.

Unfortunately, rolling back the Agent version on the images still not allow the XP VMs to register with the Brokers.  In the inventory screens, the agent versions were still showing up as unknown.

I was starting to give up hope.   Fortunately with some unreproducible Google-fu, I came across this KB article that saved the day.

How to change a Horizon 6 version 6.1 environment from Enhanced message security mode to Enabled security mode

Apparently, after 6.1, there were some changes in the way that the Desktop Agents communicated to the Brokers that were not supported by the older 5.x agents.  In order to enable communications between the older agents and the newer brokers, some ADSI hacks had to be made.  This basically dumbed down the communications to allow the agents to communicate and more importantly register with the brokers.

A quick reboot of the Brokers and the older XP VMs were registering successfully with the Brokers.  I still don’t remember how I managed to come across this needle in the Knowledge Base Haystack but I figured I’d write a quick blog post about it so I don’t forget it. :)

Enjoy enabling your user base to hang on to their XP machines for just a little bit longer!

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Easy Hotfix list for Microsoft TS/RDS patching

Image result for listTracking down patches is a pain in the ASCII.  You want to keep your servers up to date but digging through endless Google searches to find relevant KB articles for each operating system is no fun. 

Aaron Silber feels your pain and sent over this handy-dandy table that takes you to the Microsoft pages of updates available on TS/RDS.

Terminal Services (Remote Desktop   Services) in Windows Server 2008

KB 2312539

Remote Desktop Services (Terminal   Services) on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

KB 2601888

Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server   2012

KB 2821526

Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server   2012 R2

KB 2933664

That’s quite the treat for Halloween! Thanks Aaron!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

VMworld 2015 Recap

image VMworld 2015 is over. The US conference is done and everyone is getting ready for VMworld Europe coming in October. If you were like me and didn't attend VMworld in San Francisco but still want to know a little bit about what went down, then this post is for you. :)

Cloud Cloud Cloud. You knew it without even going but VMware has a lot to say about cloud! Whether it was VMware Cloud Air or the Site Recovery Manager Air, VMware is ready to bridge your VMs into it's cloud based hypervisors. Moving between local based hosts and the cloud based vSphere implementations is getting easier and more cost compelling (Global vMotions Anyone?). Leveraging a vCloud Air based Site Recovery Manager Air to test your disaster recovery plans is becoming a reality. Bridging private and public clouds is going to require some pretty fancy networking!

Enter the NSX. It was everywhere at VMworld. It is being positioned as the gateway to and from the clouds. Security on the NSX was a high point in most of the sessions. Security is not one of these things that should be bolt on but thought of from the very beginning. VMware promised NSX was developed with internet security in mind. I expect to run into more and more NSX implementations at client sites as vSphere 6.x is rolled out at clients.

And there was lots of vSphere 6 stuff. With the exception of missing Update Manager, the vCenter appliance is looking great. Once VMware pushes Update Manager into the appliance, I don't see myself recommending a Windows based vCenter anymore. I love what VMware is doing with their appliances.

Horizon View was on display (subtle NVIDIA pun!) as well. End user computing in general. Whether you are running View or Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp, VMware wants to be a part of the puzzle. If you are running full blown Horizon or just Citrix XA/XD, VMware thinks App Volumes and Immidio for Profiles has a place in the solution. Citrix is pushing for VMware View take-outs but I don't think it is going to be as cut and dry as it looks. I think the View solution is a solid platform and holds its own against competitors.

There were tons and tons more cool things like Project Enzo and the NVIDIA GRiD vGPU but these were the high level topics that caught my eye talking to colleagues.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Citrix and SQL always On Designs.

Image result for pros and consChris Hahn put together a quick PROs & CONs list to using SQL Always On for Citrix instead of SQL mirroring.

A lot of clients have been asking about SQL Always On with new Citrix designs.  A couple points on the PROs / CONs vs. SQL mirroring.

  • Don’t have to set mirror database configuration on clients.
  • Not applicable for Citrix yet, but Always On supports reading the DB from any node of the Availability group.  With SQL Mirroring you can only read from active node.
  • Faster failover than mirroring, if SQL nodes are in single subnet.

  • Requires Enterprise Edition which is much more expensive than the Standard edition required for Mirroring.
  • If you are failing over across sites / subnets, failover times will probably be slower than mirroring.  If the application supports the multi-subnet failover SQL connection string, then both subnet IPs register in DNS and the app attempts connection to all IPs in parallel for the fastest failover times.  Very few apps support this though, so the legacy mode is to not register all IPs in DNS, and have clustering change IP at failover.  Then you have to wait for DNS changes to propagate during a failover.  This is much slower than failover with traditional mirroring.
  • Not all applications support Always On, particularly the multi-subnet failover option.  Mirroring has been around for a long time and has much broader support.

Some additional information related to the subject can be found here:

Multi-Subnet failover connection string can be configured for XenDesktop Databases and there is a handy script to configure this -

Multi-Subnet failover option is still not supported for PVS -

SQL connection timeouts

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