Desktop Performance Analytics Takes a Step Forward

Performance and scale testing of virtual desktop infrastructures has always been a challenge.  The known standard has been the testing suite from LoginVSI, and today they released their 4.0 product.  I have used LoginVSI quote a bit in the past and was given the opportunity to try a pre release of the product and I have to say that as always it has not disappointed.  I thought about a nice long description but they provided a nice bullet list that I did not have to write, so heres the plagiarism part of my post.

  • Improved ease of installation

The test image footprint of Login VSI has been reduced by almost 90%. This makes the tool not only easier to install, but also easier to integrate and deploy. Centralization of management, updates and logging makes the use of Login VSI more efficient than ever. Direct Desktop Launch (DDL) mode enables large-scale testing with minimal infrastructure.

  • Improved ease of test creation

The new intuitive and workflow oriented user interface of Login VSI 4.0 offers step-by-step test creation and wizard based test configuration for all important brokers and languages. The new workload editor introduces a new meta language which makes the customization of workloads very transparent and efficient. The new benchmarking mode enforces strict testing standards, providing industry standard results that are objective, comparable and repeatable.

  • Improved test realism

The duration of the standard workloads has been increased from 14 to 48 minutes loops. Also the way in which segments and applications start has been improved to better reflect real world user behaviour. The datasets used in the workloads now offer 1000 different documents per type, more and larger websites, and a video library in every format, all to ensure a real world variety in data usage. The execution of the workloads is improved through the introduction of phasing, allowing for real world production user scenarios.

  • Improved test insight

The new dashboard offers real-time test feedback, including progress, launched and active sessions, elapsed time and time left of the test in progress. The industry standard index VSImax has been further refined, enriching scalability results (max number of users), with objective baseline performance results (independent of tested load). Automated reporting with out of the box report ready graphs for all used settings, response times, and other data enhances the level, and choice, of information generated by the Login VSI analyzer.

Heres a nice gallery of screenshots for you as well..

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VMworld Session Voting is Open

vmworld smallThe time has come again to beg and plead for votes to present at the annual VMware User Conference VMworld.  Each year thousand of people submit abstracts to speak with less than 200 sessions being available.  I have had the good fortune to speak at lots of VMware User Conferences and numerous other conferences but not VMworld so please take a few minutes and vote for my sessions.  Just go to VMworld.com and click on the link in the middle to vote for sessions.  You will need a VMworld.com account but those are free.  Then click the filer options and type “Letschin” into the keyword box.  Heres what you should see

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 3.50.43 PM

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Big Data comes to niche sports even

I got to spend this past saturday checking out two brand new professional sports teams in DC.  I spend lots of my free nights and weekends playing Ultimate Frisbee and was very excited to go to not one but 2 professional ultimate frisbee games this past weekend.  The day started with the DC Breeze vs. the Toronto Rush in the AUDL. Then the nightcap was the DC Current vs. the Philadelphia Spinners in the MLU.  This second game was where the big data comes in.  I had not really thought about how much a professional ultimate team might want to look at statistics.  I assumed, they tracked who scored and how many fouls a player committed.  I found out that they actually are tracking even more.  A few friends were hired on as statisticians for the Current game.  The data points being collected was amazing.  For those of you who have never seen a high level Ultimate Frisbee game, the action is non stop and very similar to watching a soccer game.  This is a pretty cool highlight video. One of my friends had the job of writing down every player number for every pass.  Another friend had to click on a virtual field and show where every pass landed.  All of these data points have to be combined and then dug through right now by the team coaches.  The goal is to collect enough data and then determine what stats they really want and then have someone code how to calculate all the info.

Product Review: Ultimate Addons Waterproof Motorcycle Case and Mount for iPhone 4s

After picking up a bluetooth helmet for the Triumph, I decided it would be nice if I had a way to mount my phone and keep it charged.  As we know when using bluetooth and GPS the battery dies very quickly.  I wanted to use the iMoto App as well.   I had not had much luck finding a mount that would fit really well.  I did talk to the team at TELFERIZER.COM who were extrememly nice and gave me some great options.  I am not very patient and figured since I found this one on Amazon i would order it and if it sucked I could always return it.

The kit is reasonably priced compared to the options out there at $60 plus shipping.  I was a little disappointed it did not qualify for Prime shipping but I did find out it came from Great Britian. First off heres the link to the one I bought.Ultimate Addons Metal U-Bolt Motorcycle Bike Waterproof Tough Case Handlebar Mount for Apple iPhone 5
I chose to expedite the shipping, it seemed for an extra $10 the difference between 18-21 business days and 1-3 was worth it.  And it really was 1-3.  It shipped the day after I ordered it and I got it within 2 days of then.  Very efficient.  On tot he product.

Pros:

  • Nice Waterproof case
  • Allows for the iphone to be plugged in while riding (more on this in the cons)
  • Mounts in place of one of the screws that hole the handlebars.  This was not very clear ont he amazon ad.  The pictures show the ram mount style but from the description I was concerned I would get a handlebar mount which loops around the circular bar.  That would not fit well on the Sprint ST.
  • Clear and touch sensitive front that does not seem to add glare to the screen
  • Seems to hold very securely.  I did stop and go traffic and over 80 mph and it did not budge.
  • It comes with a layard that I attached just as the extra level of security

Cons:

  • To wire in the iPhone it is a hard mount with a very large switch.  I think i can hide the switch but it is not very convenient.
  • To run the included iphone cable into the case, I will have to put a slight cut into the rubber casing.  There is a whole but not large enough to fit the iphone adapter through.
  • It will not work if your phone has a case.  I just drop my case in my jacket pocket so this is not a downside for me.

Here are a few pics of it installed.


photo 4From the left showing the case and the mount near the handl

photo 2
Looking Down from the seat over the tank

photo 3
The weirdest angle but this is between the windshield and the handlebars

photo 1

The iMoto App after a quick ride

My New Blog section… Motorcycle Riding

So this is a bit of a departure from my normal posts but I have decided that I can review things from my other hobbies as well as work.  I have been an avid motorcycle rider for the past few years.  Since I made a deal with my wife that if we got a garage, I got a motorcycle.  Worked out pretty well.  I started with a Kawasaki Vulcan 750 about 7 years ago and had it for just about 3 years.  Then I decided to upgrade and just wanted something comfortable to ride for a few hours yet sporty enough to live in downtown DC with.  I found a 2001 Triumph Sprint ST.

Triumph-Nats ParkI had been riding with the same HJC CL15 helmet I bought initially but decided this year it was time for something new.  I really wanted something with a built in sun visor, full face, and with bluetooth.  Well that is a little harder to find than one might think.  I happen to walk into the CycleGear in Laurel, MD just to check out the selection and found the Bilt Techno Bluetooth.  I have scoured the web and cant seem to find this helmet, only the Bilt Freedom that I think the discontinued   I had seen mixed reviews on the Bilt stuff but since it was the only helmet I could find with everything I wanted… I went with the matte black. The Techno Bluetooth comes in Gloss Black, White, and a Matte Black.  The helmet uses a standard micro USB to charge. There is a boom mic and while I did not want to use it for the phone it was not an option without.  It does auto answer the phone after 2 rings.  Kind of a convenient feature if you do plan to use it for the phone.  With left hand controls it is very easy to change songs and the volume.

helmet2

**Update : CycleGear has done a video review of the Techno Bluetooth as well.  It is here

**Update 2: CycleGear just sent an email out announcing the Bilt Helmet that is normally $319.99 for $159.99.  Nice for me is after contacting their Customer Service I was told they offer a 30 day price match guarantee and to just stop by the store and they will do the adjustment.  Way to go CycleGear.  That is a great move.

My Old School Nintendo Setup to demo VDI at VMware PEX

Those of you that got to make it out to the VMware Partner Exchange probably got to see the demo in the Nexenta Booth.

Alot of the common social media geeks around virtualization got to swing by.  Chris Wahl from WahlNetworks included.  This was not an overly complex demo, but I wanted something fun to show off VDI sessions.  Using the real time performance metrics that are shown in NexentaVSA for View, we can actually see the systems running.

The install was rather easy, with one caveat.  VMware View does not recognize the Classic USB NES Controller for PC that we picked up from Amazon.

The great part is on the Lenovo Thinkpad I was using as a client I can make just a quick registry change and View will recognize.  This process is detailed here, very similar to restricting access, this allows you to add unknown USB devices to share to your View session.

The hardware was not very intense for the servers.  A couple Dell 1950 running ESX5.1 and using a Supermicro server with Nexenta installed as shared storage presenting 1 TB of NFS storage.  For the VDI hosts I put in 2 Cisco UCS C200 M2.  By adding in a single STEC ZeusIOP and a single spinning disk to house the desktops, and 96 GB of RAM we are able to build a rather robust VDI setup.  Allowing for about 100 desktops all being deployed with NexentaVSA for View..

By adding in the JNes Nintendo Emulator to the Windows 7 base images and VMware View Linked Clones, we have our own mini arcade.

 

End of Year SMB Tech Survey

Every year we see survey results posted by Gartner and just about every known trade rag that says what the next year will hold.  What will be hot, and what will be relegated to the trash bin.

This year , I haver been asked to pass along a survey to my readers in conjunction with Ivy Worldwide.  I vy is a social media firm that I have worked with for the past few years.  The great part of the survey is that I get to publisht he results right here when I get them back, not just from my readers but from readers of many blogs around the world, but also you get a chance to win $250.  Who doesn’t like free money?

Click ont he graphic to be taken to the survey and i look forward to sharing the results.

SMB Survey

Top 25 Autocorrects of 2012

Last year I was able to grab the Top 25 Autocorrects from www.damnyouautocorrect.com to share with friends that could not view it. This year I went through and found some of my favorites. There are always tons of lists each year so hopefully you enjoy. Bear in mind this is PG-13 at a minimum so do not read in public or if you are under age.

If you missed last years, click here

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2012: the year that storage died

Sure the title was meant to be inflammatory, but at the same time I am seeing one of the most dramatic shifts in enterprise storage in the last 10 years. Some history would probably help here. I began my career in IT 15 years ago, in 1997 major companies ran their entire businesses on either a mainframe or a midrange system and green screens ruled the world. We barely had email, and it was surely not a collaboration suite. At the time, I was a systems admin and spent days and often nights working with the large direct attached storage systems for either the mid range or the windows environments. We slowly moved into shared storage, often for a single system. Our exchange server had a shared set of disks for the cluster, same goes for SQL, but we didn’t dare move the mid range systems(as/400 at the time) to a shared storage solution. Around 2001, I was insistent with my management that we should have a shared solution for both open systems (windows and Linux) and our iSeries but got amazing pushback. The more we virtualized the more traction I was able to get. Probably helped that many of the mid range systems were being replaced by monolithic sun and windows boxes, the IBM purists had less traction. About this same time, you saw IBM itself start to transform itself into a services and software company, the move that Sun never realized it needed to do. With the vast growth of virtualization, came the rise of EMC and then startups like NetApp. Over the next 5 years you would see shared storage become the go to accepted platform. As our data growth has exploded so has the size of the arrays we use to store the massive amounts of data
So if we have massive data growth, how can I say that storage has died? The answer is simple, I can’t, but what I can say os that the way we address storage has changed. We are reverting back to the direct attached storage days, with a few exceptions. In the direct attached days, the big reason for keeping the drives local was that the data was all controlled by the software. Software defined storage, just no one called it that. Today we are seeing the same back to software defined storage. The major cloud players have all found that users want the choice of where they data goes. VCloud Director now has storage profiles. OpenStack had already let you have tiers of storage. Object based storage is leading a way to move data between entities without the need for a set structure. Hadoop and Gluster are saying that the data does not matter and you should concentrate on how we process the data.
So where does that leave us? We need to look at hardware vendors right? After all they control the drives and we want to make sure our data integrity stays high and we can control where we place our data. I argue that we should be only looking at the hardware vendors to give us a place to put data but not a way to control it. The software defined storage of today allows for me to add data integrity, portability, and speed with what ever hardware I want. We have 4TB drives spinning faster than most personal computer drives, solid state drives that will give us 5 year warranties and in sizes approaching a TB. Now we need the likes of HP, Dell, and IBM to press on the manufacturers, the Sanmina and Quantas among others to produce for density, and environmental factors. HP announced with the Gen8 servers that their hardware RAID controllers on their servers could hold more disk and process at a faster speed. But what about when I want to control the data? Where is my dumb JBOD at density? Dell has started to trend towards higher density with the 3020 60 drive JBOD. Well almost, they say you have to have the 3260 to manage the JBOD. Seems like a conflict to me.
If we can start to get all our data controlled by software, on the hardware we want, with the best density rates we can keep moving forward to a point when storage as we know it may very well die.

Finally talking out my side project. vCloud and VDI in a Box

Over the past few weeks, I have been working on a side project with one of the Nexenta partners to prepare for the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco this week. The partner Cirracore based in Atlanta works with Equinix and Telx pretty heavily and offers a few managed private and public cloud solutions. One of these solutions is based on the Intel Modular Server Chassis(IMS). If you have not checked out this chassis, it is probably one of the most engineered but least publicized piece of hardware I have seen in years. First to give you an Idea of what the chassis is made of, then two solutions we release this week, vCloud in a Box and VDI/SMB in a Box. Read more

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