vExpert Pro Announcement

vExpert Pro Announcement

So yesterday a very special announcement came out and I am very honour to be one of the selected VPRO’s for the vExpert sub program of which the reasoning behind the program can be found here http://blogs.vmware.com/vexpert/2018/10/10/vmware-vexpert-pro-program-launch/

I am fully aware this has caused some noise amongst the community, I know for myself anyway all I would love to achieve from this program is being able to spark/ignite the passion of someone out there and get them into the vCommunity.

The reason I say this is I know around a decade ago I would have been the very silent type sneaking into a conference or community event like a VMUG and barely would have interacted with anyone as I was stupidly shy. That is one thing the community has provided me is the ability to open up and actually not be afraid to speak to people. The whole concept of doing speeches I will cover in another post!

So firstly I certainly would not be here if it was for the continued support of my fellow co-hosts on the OpenTechCast and some of them were the spark of all this passion that got me here today.

There are also some other special mentions of which they know but the London VMUG crew new and previous, with a special mention to Jane Rimmer as her phase of ‘you won’t know if you don’t throw your hat in the ring’ is still with me today. I still refer to that if I doubt myself in any applications for things or even roles over the last few years as you will never know if you don’t try.

There are also others who might not know it but I also look up to and aspire even from our brief chats but to name a few Erik Bussink, Andy Nash, Rob Bishop, Mike England, Ryan Harris, Angelo Luciani, Eric Wright, vmiss33 and I have to mention Ariel Sanchez as it was his kind email that got me engaged when I first became a vExpert.

Also a few key others who I believe had some belief in me and their guidance is why I am pushing myself harder this year are Rebecca Fitzhugh, René van den Bedem, Chris Porter, Kyle Jenner

Again it’s so hard to name everyone and I am sure I have missed people and it is not supposed to be that way but in this the point I am trying to make is the community is a powerful thing. Every single little interaction with others and colleagues in the past help you grow and if I can assist, help or mentor someone I will. Sometimes it just that first conversation or belief that drives the passion.

I of course can not forget to thank the hard work from Corey, Elsa, Valdecir, Julia, Katie and Erik who have all helped me along the way.

The other thing that I think stops people is the have the expectation that you have to be an expert in everything especially VMware and every discipline. Please do not think this, I can assure you this is not the case and yes there are plenty of experts out there in some of the specialisms but that is what makes this group great. If you have no idea ask someone! I have also found sometimes being a generalist is better as this can work well and help build bridges. I am by no means a networking expert or a SQL expert but if I can sit these people down and explain to them how the hypervisor works along with the storage background I have (unless you are running VSAN of course) you have a chance to get everyone on the same page especially when you are having issues with your systems.

So finally take that first step by say Hi to someone new at your next event or even try doing a presentation to your peers. Also if you do want a chat if you are worried about your first talk do feel free to reach out as I know for myself along with others we would happily help guide you.

 

#vAllStars 2018

#vAllStars 2018

So this year at VMworld I was very fortunate to be part of the Rubrik #vAllStars 2018. I think this is a great thing and was great to see them win yet another best in show. A full list of people included can be found here. I certainly love some of the comical ones!

Below are some great tweets about the event

 

I have also been made aware these are coming the VMworld in Barcelona so I cannot wait to get a physical copy of my card and also get some of my peers to sign theirs to collect. I also hope to work out what each of the colours may mean if there is anything to that too!

It was great to see myself and quite a few new people to the deck but I wonder if like others I can get on it next year too!

If you want yours signed for any reason catch me at VMworld or even at a local VMUG or tech event.

Installing Adobe Creative Cloud with VMware AirWatch

Installing Adobe Creative Cloud with VMware AirWatch

So this week I have been playing with AirWatch (AKA WorkSpace One) and the latest version. I have been slowly working on fully automated MacOS build and I came across a bit of a snag with deploying some of the application or rather to my surprise, AirWatch could do apps that are not in the App Store.

One main application I have always had issues with is Adobe and getting this to package nicely has always been a pain down for various reasons. I did try and see if this would work with AirWatch natively and well it doesn’t but thankfully digging into some of their code it appears at the time of writing this they are using a Munki backend of which I am quite familiar with. In essence, it’s like SCCM for Windows.

The first point I need to make is I am offering this advice assuming you are correctly licensed for Creative Cloud and you take the relevant steps to ensure it only goes to the intended users despite them needing a registered email to activate the software.

If you want to learn more about AirWatch I am going to be doing a series of posts to complment this one or head over here for more information

TLDR:- Basically you need to create a managed package as the self-service isn’t signed and Apple Gatekeeper blocks this (a few hours wasted here). This then also caused the install to fail in a managed package but you also need to make this a managed install for it to work. Hopefully I can do a video guide soon

TLDR2:- I want to keep working on this and see if I can just get the Creative Cloud App so it reduces the install size

One of the first steps to do is generate the installer for Creative Cloud. You can do this by logging into https://adminconsole.adobe.com/ and selecting Packages at the top.

Once in here select create a package and select Managed package.

Select all the options you need within here such as locale

From here select Photoshop, I know this one works and to be fair most people using the cloud apps will need this. I did try Adobe Reader but again for some reason the install would fail

In this next screen it will confirm the application selected. Use a name that will be displayed on AirWatch, for example, I used Adobe Cloud to make it obvious to my users. It appears that you cannot change this in the main console which would be a nice feature to see in the future.

Once the package has built, download this if it doesn’t start automatically. You will now need the VMware AirWatch Admin Assistant which you can get here.  Open this and then drag you Adobe Cloud Install PKG file that is in the build folder of your download from Adobe

The application will sit there for a little while whilst it process the PKG file depending on its size as you may want to push the whole suite. Once it completes it should ask you to reveal this in finder

You should now see a folder with your application name, go into this and it usually has the please edit me at the end

In here you will find a .plist file you need to open this up in an editor and change the unattended_install value to true , I am using Xcode that allows me to select yes. At this stage, you could rename the DMG file and plist to something nicer reflecting this in here but it’s always best to test this as is first

Now due to the size limitation of 200mb at the time of writing this you need to upload the DMG that is within the same folder to a web server you clients can see. I would suggest protecting this still by HTTPS if you can and ensure you have this URL for the next step. In your AirWatch console select Apps & Books from the left and then Native. Within the sub window select App Application

Within this window select upload

In this window select Link and paste the in the URL to your web server hosting this file, select save and continue on the previous window

On the next window we need to upload the plist file you modified so the App Store knows how to install your app, do this by hitting choose file and then locate the file. Once done you will be back at the add application screen and select continue

You should now see the following screen and if possible at this point I add an icon so it doesn’t get the standard AirWatch icon. Fill in your categories and also and other details the like description you want and hit save and assign.

In this screen this selects which users will get the application shown in the app store, Press add assignment and fill in the details you want. I have selected All Devices just for demonstration purposes but do this to a group licensed for Adobe

I have found a bug on this next screen especially on Safari but select the radio button and then save and publish otherwise the assignment may not be saved.

You should now see a list of users this may affect if they are already in the correct groups and press publish

From here head back to the users machine and see if the application now exists, select Install and then confirm the installation

The icon should then change and this next bit can take some time depending on your web server and network

Eventually, this should go green and state installed. If you head into the users application folder you should now see Photoshop and the Creative Cloud Launcher where they can sign in for more applications

Android Enrolment on VMware AirWatch

Android Enrolment on VMware AirWatch

So I am going to be honest as many of you know I use Apple devices most the time just down to their simplicity and integrations but recently I have had the chance to use the latest version of AirWatch and a newer based Android Device.

The enrolment process is not quite as slick as iOS where it forces the user to enrol with your companies deployment but it can be as simple as a few taps (7 plus a few more) and a scan of a QR code. You may find as an IT department you still enrol users devices anyway so this won’t bother you that users may try and skip this step. At a guess I am sure some vendors will catch up and have a portal similar to Apple DEP before long.

The actual term for this in the Android world is called “Work Managed” but you will need to ensure you have your Google for Work set up before you do this or you won’t be able to push any applications to the device. This can also negate the need for the Google Play store on the device and your users needing separate accounts or everyone sharing a department account. I will do a separate post on the Android at Work as this also offers some great features.

But back to the enrolment, its as simple as open the box, pop the SIM in the phone, power it on. From here tap ‘Welcome’ 7 times and this will then take you to a hidden screen. Join the WiFi to save data if you wish and then this will download a QR reader. You will need to generate your own code using this guide from here and I found leaving the username password as it was caused the agent to get confused then ask me for that users credentials so I didn’t have to create unique codes. I used this website to generate my QR code

I used my top level group ID as when the user authenticates this should override this if they are in other smart groups. You can easily find this by going to the top of your organisation and then hovering over the name for a moment and this box will appear

Once you have added a user if you have your profiles and apps set up they should start streaming down to the device. I do certainly like the fact Boxer can be setup to auto configure from the user who enrolled and all they then need to put in is their password to start getting their emails. This is also quite nice if you wish to offer a BYOD or let user have their personal account on their phone as the in built client can then provided segregation.

The hidden power of doing it this way is when the user leaves despite being a good or bad leaver if the device is reset you can get back into it as the device is managed by the organisation. I have seen many devices been handed back into IT that have personal Google account on of which we can then not reactivate the device easily without the leavers details.

If you want to learn more about AirWatch I am going to be doing a series of posts or head over here for more information

VRDCEX – VR Datacenter Game

VRDCEX – VR Datacenter Game

So early this week as I made aware of a new addition to VRDCEX and its a gameification update, and Oh boy is it fun! I took some time to get something up as well my first attempt nearly involved in a light fixture being removed! I think this is mainly down to the way the depth perception happens with the Mixed reality headsets

So just as a major tip for anyone with an Oculus there is a tiny ‘hack’ that allows for better 3D awareness. Put one sensor directly in front of you and one behind. Restart the calibration in the Oculus setup and it will say they should be at 45 degree angles but just hit proceed. When you have to align the PC just do this to the front sensor. Ideally you should have a 3rd sensor but I have found this seems to work OK for this and a few other games. I found that before I did this, during the gameplay the headset would spin rapidly. This obviously make its harder and I ended up dropping VMs or throwing them in the wrong place.

So you can this game version from here https://github.com/vmware/vr-dc-ex/releases/tag/Game

So my highest score so far is 298 and a shame as I dropped one of the last few VMs and would have broke the 300 mark. I tried again a few times even with the setup above and I just couldnt do it! I must have peaked on my 3rd attempt but did average around the 260 mark.

You can see my high score here!

 

 

A-head in the clouds, a little RBD2 pre thoughts post

A-head in the clouds, a little RBD2 pre thoughts post

So in preparation for Ravello Bloggers Day #2 tomorrow I thought I would write up a quick blog post and its crazy to think I can do this 11,582m up in the clouds, ironically what tomorrow is all about. There is good reason why I selected the picture for my post and that is the clouds and landscape are amazing on our planet (as I glanced out the window writing this) and the same can be said out the technology too but as engineers,architects & even humans do we even stop to marvel in either of their beauties?

Before I waffle I have to thank John, Kat & Amy along with the rest of their team for letting be be a delegate and having this great opportunity! I feel rather honoured to be able to do this and to be in a room full of great minds!

We are all now so used to be connected 24/7 and able to communicate worldwide (or even in the sky) within the blink of an eye do but we ever consider how all of this is possible and even what about all the legacy systems that may well be holding up this amazing platform

I know first-hand from this week I have already experienced in my new role asking different questions than I usually would. How does this scale, can I do this as code or even infrastructure as code even down to how can I back that state up or even its residing data. Much like my last point we expect data everywhere now and we want easy access no VPNs or multiple credentials and let’s be fair AD domains are still the easiest single sign on for users but how do we extend all our traditional services to our users.

My one prime example is a file server as this seems to have come up several times, yes we could implement things like Microsoft Teams/OneDrive or Citrix ShareFile but you will still get users that will want their home folder and their drive letters no matter how hard you try to escape this for at least a few years yet. I know some of this is business process but then what about our apps some of these just aren’t going to change overnight and use storage such as S3.

I think even if I wanted to deploy this in the cloud even somewhat traditionally I would certainly have more than one cloud and then have them connected in some form. Then the question is how well are my apps going to run up there or does this cause a licensing nightmare. Again, I am still speaking with some vendors now and they still have a server client approach with HTML or web based on the way. Does that then mean I need to push my clients to the cloud or just an element and deliver this as a seamless remote application with RDS, Citrix or VMware Horizon.

I know myself along with the company want to adopt a cloud first approach but are we able to tackle all of our day to day challenges yet or do we just have to think cleverly.

I can only speak for myself, but I am truly excited to see what the team have achieved over the last year of somethings I may have missed. I know I will certainly be digging more into the lift and shift as this is a great way to cuddle our legacy apps and maybe even edge cases like SAP or JAVA apps. It would also be great to get a better understanding of how we can now back up their bare metal offerings and if any further hypervisors may be officially support. I know have seen some great VMware and Nutanix posts out there but it would be great to see what they think of this. A great DIY custom albeit not officially supported VMware cloud maybe?