StarWind webinars on Hyper-V & on Software-Defined Storage Architecture

StarWind Software has two webinars planned:

  • New Microsoft Storage Best Practices for Hyper-V & SQL Server: SMB 3.0 and Scale-Out File Servers
  • Software-Defined Storage Architecture: Optimizing Business Value and Minimizing Risk in Microsoft/VMware Storage Strategies

Microsoft Storage Best Practices_FB2

New Microsoft Storage Best Practices for Hyper-V & SQL Server: SMB 3.0 and Scale-Out File Servers

Tuesday, September 16, 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT
Featured Speaker: Greg Schulz, Founder, StorageIO

What is the trick to supporting growth for your Microsoft environment without breaking your budget, or causing performance problems? Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) is the Microsoft solution for enabling a flexible, scalable resilient data infrastructure supporting Windows, Hyper-V and SQL Server environments.
Attend this webinar with Greg Schulz, Founder of Server and StorageIO to learn how to scale with stability of Microsoft SOFS environments including:

  • Explore SOFS issues, challenges and opportunities
  • Scaling SOFS with flexibility and resiliency
  • Leverage RAM and flash SSD as a write-back cache
  • Server side PCIe, SAS and SATA storage options
  • Stretch your budget further using less hardware
  • Flexible networking with your server and storage
  • Boosting performance and increasing flash SSD life
  • Reduce your data footprint impact with deduplication

Link for registration: http://w.on24.com/r.htm?e=844957&s=1&k=A5630C9D2A97320C3C6BD7724D8E2A74&partnerref=starwind

The other webinar is:

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Live Webinar: Software-Defined Storage Architecture: Optimizing Business Value and Minimizing Risk in Microsoft/VMware Storage Strategies

Tuesday, September 24, 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT
Featured Speaker: Jon Toigo, Toigo Partners International

Sifting through the marketing hype from VMware and Microsoft regarding their “server-side software-defined storage models” can be almost as challenging as understanding the underlying technical issues that software-defined storage seeks to solve. What is needed is a clear headed analysis of the storage challenges created by virtual server computing, the benefits and limitations of competing software-defined approaches to addressing them, and what alternatives exist that might provide highly available and scalable storage capacity in a business-savvy way.

In this webinar, storage expert Jon Toigo:

  • Provides a brief retrospective on the drivers of software-defined storage
  • Delivers a snapshot of the current approaches of the leading hypervisor vendors for delivering SDS architecture
  • Identifies the key requirements that have yet to be met

Special Offer: Attend the webinar and get a chance to win FREE 6-month NFR license key for StarWind Virtual SAN!

Link for registration: http://virtualizationreview.com/webcasts/2014/09/starwind-software-defined-storage-architecture.aspx?partnerref=sw5

 

VMware ThinApp 5.1 released

VMware released at September 9 ThinApp 5.1

VMware ThinApp 5.1 is the latest version of ThinApp. This release has the following enhancements.

Release notes are here 

ThinApp is part of the VMware Horizon Suite. Download here

ThinApp Package Management

In earlier versions of ThinApp, to change some specific Package.ini parameters, you had to first make those changes in the configuration file, save the file, and rebuild the package. Using the new ThinApp package management feature, you can dynamically reconfigure the attributes of deployed ThinApp packages at runtime. ThinApp Package management helps IT administrators manage ThinApp packages and define group policy for each package. Each package to be managed must have an associated group policy defined using its inventory name.

When you install ThinApp 5.1, a new folder named Policy is created in the installation directory. This folder contains tools and templates for managing ThinApp packages and contains the following files:

  • AppPolicy.exe
  • README.TXT
  • ThinAppBase.adml
  • ThinAppBase.admx
  • ThinAppGeneric.adml
  • ThinAppGeneric.admx

ThinApp selects the policy precedence when you rebuild a package and deploy it. If a package is managed by a group policy, ThinApp gives precedence to the policy over its Package.ini configuration.

Group Policy Administrative Templates

ThinApp 5.1, introduces the group policy administrative template (ADMX/ADML) files. With these template files you can reconfigure group policy settings for applications that were packaged by ThinApp. The GPO files work on domain controllers that run in the following environments:

  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012

Administrative Template files contain markup language that is used to describe a registry-based Group Policy. The administrative files are divided into language-neutral (.admx files) and language-specific resources (.adml files), available to all Group Policy administrators. These factors allow Group Policy tools to adjust the user interface according to the administrator’s configured language.

Reconfiguring Attributes of Deployed ThinApp Packages

In addition to ThinDirect, with ThinApp 5.1 you can now reconfigure or manage the following attributes of a deployed package:

  • AppSync
  • AppLink
  • Entry-Point Shortcuts

Note: To know how to reconfigure these package attributes, see the ThinApp 5.1 User’s Guide.

ThinDirect

In ThinApp 5.1, the following enhancements have been made to the ThinDirect plug-in:

    • Support for the update of ThinDirect settings at specified time intervals

In ThinApp 5.1, the ThinDirect functionality has been enhanced to periodically poll for the ThinDirect setting changes. Since, the ThinDirect settings are now detected dynamically, the user need not restart the browser to view the updated changes.

    • Support for dynamic changes to Thindirect via ADM

In ThinApp 5.1, you can use ThinDirect.ADM file to manage the thindirect enabled firefox.

    • Support for Overriding the Thindirect settings through GPO

In ThinApp installation directory, locate the Thindirect.admx andThinDirect.adml files. Use these files to manage the settings for ThinDirect feature by defining a group policy object. If the Thindirect feature is defined through the GPO, these settings would override the text file (thindirect.txt) based redirection.

    • Support for Redirection between two virtual browsers

ThinApp 5.1 supports redirection between two virtual browsers.

    • Support for Thindirect in Mozilla Firefox

In ThinApp 5.1, ThinDirect has been enhanced to work with Mozilla Firefox version 22 and later. In earlier versions of ThinApp, ThinDirect was limited to Internet Explorer.

New Package.ini Parameter Introduced

ThinApp 5.1 introduces the SandboxWindowClassName parameter. When you set theSandboxWindowClassName=1 you can sandbox or isolate the application defined window class names created and used within the ThinApp package.

Extracting an existing ThinApp project to a system

ThinApp 5.1 allows you to extract an existing ThinApp project to a capture and build operating system by using snapshot.exe and snapshot64.exe commands.

Pre-requisites
Before you extract an existing ThinApp project to a capture and build operating system, ensure that the following conditions are met:

  • Verify that the architecture and type of the captured operating system is the same as that of deployed operating system.
  • Perform the extraction of an existing ThinApp project on a clean capture and build machine.
  • Ensure that the user profile in the existing virtual project is the same as that of the capture and build machine.

ThinApp 5.1 has the following command line options to extract existing projects to capture and build operating systems.

  • snapshot.exe: Is used to extract an existing ThinApp project to a capture and build 32-bit operating system
  • snapshot64.exe: Is used to extract an existing ThinApp project to a capture and build 64-bit operating system

Note: To know more about the process for extracting existing ThinApp packages, see the ThinApp 5.1 User’s Guide.

MAPI Support

ThinApp 5.1 supports the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) on the following Microsoft Windows platforms:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8 32-bit
  • Windows 8 64-bit
  • Windows 8.1 32-bit
  • Windows 8.1 64-bit

ThinApp 5.1 provides the DefaultEmailProgram option in Package.ini to register a virtual email client as the host’s default email program. You have to enable this option to register the default email program. The Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) is not supported on Windows XP x86 operating system. For more information, see KB artilce2087898.

Support for Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11

ThinApp 5.1 supports Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11 only on the Windows 7 operating system.

Support for Windows 8.1

ThinApp 5.1 works on the Windows 8.1 August update (Update 2).

For additional information about ThinApp 5.1, visit the following Web site:

VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.8 released

VMware released Site Recovery Manager 5.8 at September 9.

An overview of some of the new features and enhancements. There are quite a few more.

  • Integrated into the vSphere web client
  • can use the built in vPostgress database
  • enhanced IP customization
  • Enhanced reporting – This version of vSphere Replication introduces a new reporting dashboard that provides summary reports of vSphere Replication usage. Administrators now have better visibility into their replication environment, simplifying management and reducing downtime.
  • Interoperability with VCHS-DR service and SRM – The prior release, version 5.6, added functionality to support replicating VMs to the vCloud Hybrid Service (VCHS) but was not supported with SRM. This release allows customers to replicate workloads to VCHS while also supporting orchestration of other workloads via SRM. Note that SRM cannot be used with vSphere Replication for orchestrated disaster recovery to VCHS.
  • 5x the scale of protection – IT organizations can set up recovery plans scalable up to 5,000 virtual machines per vCenter Server using array-based replication to enable enterprise-level protection–five times larger than with previous limits.
  • Enhanced self-service – New integrations will offer customers self-service access to provision predefined disaster recovery protection tiers to new VMs via blueprints in vCloud Automation Center when using array-based replication.

Derek Seaman has some more new features listed in his blog.

The Site Recovery Manager 5.8 release notes are here 

Download Site Recovery Manager 5.8 here.
Datasheet here

VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.1 released

At September 9 VMware released VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.1 (vCAC) for download.

What is new:

  • Now supports Windows Server 2012 SP1 R2 (.NET 4.5.1).
  • Improvements in Reporting.
    IaaS Chargeback by Allocated Resource by Group report displays cost for blueprint, CPU, memory, storage, days, and totals.
  • Enhancements for Puppet  integration
    Provides actions for puppet-based deployments
    Enables Windows support for puppet applications
    Enables support up to Puppet Enterprise 3.2.3 and Puppet Open Source 3.6.2
    and more
  • Enhanced Interfaces for accessing Automation Services
    vCloud Automation Center has number of interfaces that can be used to request and manage vCAC’s infrastructure, application and custom IT services from existing service catalogs and application. In Q2, VMware delivered a VCO plug-in library of workflows for requesting and managing VCAC Services. With this release we have enhanced our API. Simplifying it to make it more verb oriented and easier to use. Now with a single API call you can accomplish what previously took multiple API calls. In addition we have added a command Line Interface and Java SDK.
  • New and Updated vCenter Orchestrator Workflows
    vCenter Orchestrator is the preferred approach for adapting and extending vCloud Automation Center. In the last 6 months VMware and our partners have enhanced or extended over 20 different vCenter Orchestrator plug-ins. Containing hundreds of new workflows that can be used to integrate multi-vendor components from Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Afore Solutions, Acronis, BT Diamond HP EMC, F5 HDS, Infoblox, Intigua and others.
  • Enhanced Integration with VMware vCloud Suite Components
    ITBM Standard Edition allows companies to compare the costs of their vCAC based private cloud Services with equivalent services in Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure allowing companies to make better choices of where they place specific workloads. New in this release users can now compare private cloud costs against VMware Hybrid Cloud Service (vCHS). In addition all ITBM Standard reporting is now vCAC organizationally aware. Reports can now be aggregated by Tenant, Business Group and other vCAC policy constructs.

An overview of all the enhancements can be found here.
Documentation here 

Download vCAC 6.1  here

More info in the blog of Christiaan Roeleveld here.

vSphere 5.5 Update 2 & vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2 Released

At September 9 VMware released vSphere 5.5 Update 2 and vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2.

More info and download here 

What’s new in vSphere 5.5 Update ?

  • Support for hosts with 6TB of RAM – vSphere 5.5 Update 2 starts to support hosts with 6TB of RAM.
  • VMware vShield Endpoint Thin Agent as VMware Tools Guest Introspection plugin – The vShield Endpoint driver bundled with VMware Tools is now called Guest Introspection.
  • vCenter Server database support: vCenter Server now supports the following external databases: Oracle 12c, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1and Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • vCloud Hybrid Service: The vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) introduces a new container, Hybrid Cloud Service, on the vSphere Web Client home page. The Hybrid Cloud Service container contains the vCHS installer and the new vCloud Connector installer.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program: The vSphere customer experience improvement program is introduced to collect configuration data for vSphere and transmit weekly to VMware for analysis in understanding the usage and improving the product. For more details, see the vSphere Documentation Center.
  • Resolved Issues – This release delivers a number of bug fixes that have been documented in the Release Notes

Product Support Notices

  • vSphere Web Client: Starting with vSphere 5.5 Update 2, Windows XP and Windows Vista are not supported as vSphere Client Operating System. You can find the complete list of operating system supported by vSphere Web Client in the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • vSphere Web Client: Because Linux platforms are no longer supported by Adobe Flash, vSphere Web Client is not supported on the Linux OS. Third party browsers that add support for Adobe Flash on the Linux desktop OS might continue to function.
  • VMware vCenter Server Appliance: In vSphere 5.5, the VMware vCenter Server Appliance meets high-governance compliance standards through the enforcement of the DISA Security Technical Information Guidelines (STIG). Before you deploy VMware vCenter Server Appliance, see the VMware Hardened Virtual Appliance Operations Guide for information about the new security deployment standards and to ensure successful operations.
  • vCenter Server database: vSphere 5.5 removes support for IBM DB2 as the vCenter Server database.
  • VMware Tools: Beginning with vSphere 5.5, all information about how to install and configure VMware Tools in vSphere is merged with the other vSphere documentation. For information about using VMware Tools in vSphere, see the vSphere documentation. Installing and Configuring VMware Tools is not relevant to vSphere 5.5 and later.
  • vSphere Data Protection: vSphere Data Protection 5.1 is not compatible with vSphere 5.5 because of a change in the way vSphere Web Client operates. vSphere Data Protection 5.1 users who upgrade to vSphere 5.5 must also update vSphere Data Protection to continue using vSphere Data Protection.
  • Interoperability Matrix: Check out supported databases, host OS, upgrade paths in the matrix

 

What’s New in vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2

More info and download here

    • vCenter Server database support: vCenter Server now supports the following external databases:
      • Oracle 12c. Important: For pre-requisite requirements, see KB 2079443.
      • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1
      • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
    • vCloud Hybrid Service: The vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) introduces a new container, Hybrid Cloud Service, on the vSphere Web Client home page. The Hybrid Cloud Service container contains the vCHS installer and the new vCloud Connector installer.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program: The vSphere customer experience improvement program is introduced to collect configuration data for vSphere and transmit weekly to VMware for analysis in understanding the usage and improving the product. For more details, see the vSphere Documentation Center.