Mindmap – Part 2 – Managing Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

21 Jan

This blog post is in continuation of my part 1 – Mindmap – Part 1 – Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) – Quick start guide to virtual desktop/applications | AskAresh where we look at deploying the AVD solution. In this post, I want to share my learnings with you all around the management and #Day2 aspects of AVD. We shall take a look into the following topics:

  • Mind map – Managing Azure Virtual Desktop
    • Scale Out – Add extra Host (VM) to the Host Pools
    • Lifecycle – Update your Master Image – Shared Image Gallery aka Azure compute galleries
    • Drain the old Session Host VM
    • Automatically Power ON the Session host Virtual Machines
    • Monitoring Azure Virtual Desktop

Mindmap for Managing Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

I have managed to document all the high-level steps involved in managing the AVD on an ongoing basis. The idea here is that the mindmap acts as an excellent visual representation of what to do during ongoing maintenance activities. You can figure out in advance the requirements/steps and pre-requisites.

Disclaimer – This guide is a get you started guide, and the production management may vary. Please make sure you always reference Microsoft documentation. Here is the PDF version if you would like to download and zoom in (Don’t stress your eyes!) –

I hope you will find this helpful information on your Managing Azure Virtual Desktop journey. Please let me know if I have missed any steps in the mindmap, and I will be happy to update the post.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

VMware Community Podcast #584 – Guest Speaker on Azure VMware Solution Deployment & Networking Guidance Mindmap

9 Dec

On Dec 8th 2021 I got the oppurtunity to come to the VMware Community Podcast as a guest speaker and talk about my previously written blog post – Mindmap – Azure VMware Solution – Guidance on Deployment and Networking | AskAresh. I am told my blog post was trending among VMware Social Media feeds 🙂

It was an honour to come and speak at the podcast with host Eric L Nielsen and co-host Matt Langguth. A treat to watch and speak live, and catch-up on the signature Eric’s introduction of “Across the nation or around the world” and the “color of the bay”. The entire overall experience on the podcast was outstanding and I hope to come back again soon. Following is the Audio/Video version on Youtube the podcast is available on leading platform such as Apple, Google, Spotify etc.

I hope you find our conversation useful and feel free to revert if you have further questions.

Thanks,
Aresh

Script/API – Delete Orphaned Writable Volumes from VMware App Volumes Manager

10 Nov

Often within the VMware App Volumes Manager (AVM), Writable Volumes will show up as Status – Orphaned. Let’s take a look at the following topics:

  • What is Orphaned Writable Volumes?
  • Script to delete them from the App Volumes Managers

What is Orphaned Writable Volumes?

App Volumes Manager is integrated with Microsoft Active Directory (AD), and it’s in continuous synchronization. Whenever an end-user account gets disabled into the AD during the next sync activity of App Volumes Manager, it will mark the writable volumes with Writable Status = Orphaned.

Now in the ideal world, these accounts have been disabled and should be okay to delete? Maybe, if you don’t have the obligation of data retention, then you are ready to delete them. If you need to retain them, keep them as-is for compliance purposes.

Script to delete them for App Volumes Manager

Before we talk about the script, the deletion is very straightforward within the App Volumes Manager. Select the volumes with Status = Orphaned and select the Delete button. However, when you have to do the same against multiple POD, which becomes challenging, and as always, if it’s not automated, there is the scope of human error.

Pre-requisites

  • You need the App Volumes Manager URL
  • You need the username and password of the App Volumes Manager
  • You need to enter y/Y to proceed further with the deletion
  • The script was tested on PowerShell V5.x with App Volumes Manager version 2.18.10 (The logic will be the same however, the API call for App Volumes 4.x will be different)
###########################################################################
# Get List of Wrtiable Volumes from AppVolumes Manager for Status=Orphaned
# Delete the Orphaned Wrtiable Volumes
# You need username and password for the App Volumes Manager
# Author - Aresh Sarkari (Twitter - @askaresh)
# Version - V5.0
###########################################################################

#App Volumes Manager Name or IP Address
$AVManager = "https://avm001.askaresh.local"

# Run at the start of each script to import the credentials
$RESTAPIUser = "domain\username"
$RESTAPIPassword = "enteryourpassword"

#Ignore cert errors
add-type @"
    using System.Net;
    using System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates;
    public class TrustAllCertsPolicy : ICertificatePolicy {
        public bool CheckValidationResult(
            ServicePoint srvPoint, X509Certificate certificate,
            WebRequest request, int certificateProblem) {
            return true;
        }
    }
"@
[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::CertificatePolicy = New-Object TrustAllCertsPolicy
[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.SecurityProtocolType]'Ssl3,Tls,Tls11,Tls12'

#Login AV Manager Body
$body = @{
    username = “$RESTAPIUser"
    password = “$RESTAPIPassword”
}

#Login API call to the AV Manager
Invoke-RestMethod -SessionVariable DaLogin -Method Post -Uri "$AVManager/cv_api/sessions” -Body $body

#Get the list of Writbale Volumes from the AV Manager
$output = Invoke-RestMethod -WebSession $DaLogin -Method Get -Uri "$AVManager/cv_api/writables" -ContentType "application/json"

#Selecting the WV with status Orphaned into a variable
$WVouput = $output.datastores.writable_volumes | Select-Object id, owner_name, owner_upn, title, status | Where-Object {[string]$_.status -match "Orphaned"}

#Output on the console (Validate carefully before proceeding ahead)
$WVouput | Format-Table | Out-String | % {Write-Host $_}

#Confirmation logic to proceed with the deletion
$confirmation = Read-Host -Prompt "Are you Sure You Want To Proceed with the deletion:" 
if ($confirmation -match "[yY]" ) {
    # proceed

# The WV Deletion API call only looks for IDs. We are filtering the ids only
$WVOutputIDs = $WVouput.id

#Looping to delete each Writable Volumes via its ID
foreach ($WVOutputIDss in $WVOutputIDs) {

# Writable Volumes deletion Parameters body
$jsonbody = @{
    bg = "0"
    volumes = "$WVOutputIDss"
} | ConvertTo-Json

#API call to delete the Wrtiable Volumes
#We are using Invoke-webrequest for getting the Content of the deletion (Success) in oneline
$WVdeletecall = Invoke-WebRequest -WebSession $DaLogin -Method Post -Uri "$AVManager/cv_api/volumes/delete_writable" -Body $jsonbody -ContentType "application/json"

}

#Dig into the exception to get the Response details.
Write-Host $WVdeletecall.StatusCode
Write-Host $WVdeletecall.StatusDescription
Write-Host $WVdeletecall.Content

}

GitHub scripts/del-writablevolume-status-orphaned at master · askaresh/scripts (github.com)

Observations

  • When you run the script, it will identify all the end-users with Status = Orphaned. If you like, you can copy and paste the output in an editior (Notepad++) to verify the output.
  • Once you press y/Y it will go ahead and delete the Orphaned writable volumes.

I hope you will find this script useful to bulk delete orphaned Writable Volumes in App Volumes Manager. A small request if you further enhance the script or make it more creative, I hope you can share it back with me?

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

Mindmap – Part 1 – Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) – Quick start guide to virtual desktop/applications

1 Nov

I have been learning Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) from the awesome book DaaS – The Complete Guide: A Step-by-Step Guide on deploying Desktop-as-a-Service solutions from Microsoft, Nutanix, Citrix, VMware, Accops. I want to share my learnings with you all, and in this post, we shall take a look into the following topics:

  • Mind map for Azure Virtual Desktop – Getting started
    • Getting started with Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)
    • Deployment – Pre-requisites for AVD
    • Master Images – (Windows 10 Multi-Session, Windows 10 1909 Enterprise or Windows Server 2019 DC)
    • Template and Shared Image Gallery
    • Host Pools
    • Application Groups
    • Workspaces
    • Windows Desktop Client
  • Quick Start Links

Mindmap for Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) – Getting started

Managed to put together a mindmap on the AVD getting started from zero to a working desktop or application. The idea here is the mindmap acts as an excellent visual representation of what to do during pre-requisites, deployment and you can figure out in advance the requirements/steps and pre-requisites.

Azure Virtual Desktop

Disclaimer – This guide is a get you started guide, and the production settings and configuration might be different. Please make sure you change the settings appropriate for production workloads. Here is the PDF version if you would like to download and zoom in (Don’t stress your eyes!) –

Change log

  • The Mindmap was last updated on 21st Jan 2022 with lots of changes!

The intention here is to get you quickly started on Azure Virtual Desktop Solution:

DescriptionLinks
Azure Virtual Desktop OverviewWhat is Azure Virtual Desktop? – Azure | Microsoft Docs
Azure Virtual Desktop technical (ARM-based model) deployment walkthrough. (Christiaan Brinkhoff)Azure Virtual Desktop technical (ARM-based model) deployment walkthrough. It covers all you need to know and beyond! | christiaanbrinkhoff.com – Sharing Cloud and Virtualization Knowledge
AVD Zero to Hero (YouTube – I am IT Geek)Series 5: Episode 1 – AVD Zero to Hero Introduction – YouTube (Playlist)
AVD PowerShellAzure Virtual Desktop PowerShell – Azure | Microsoft Docs
AVD PricingAzure Virtual Desktop | Microsoft Azure

I hope you will find this helpful information on your Azure Virtual Desktop journey. Please let me know if I have missed any steps in the mindmap, or reference links, and I will be happy to update the post.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

Script/API – Horizon Reach – Get consolidated Horizon Farms/Desktops pools – Name Health, Image and Snapshot information

27 Oct

Horizon Reach is a potent tool, and Andrew Morgan has put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to develope it. What suprises me is why isnt this fling included into the Horizon product? We haven’t gathered here to talk about the product management and roadmap aspects 😉

Horizon Reach fling aggregates all the various Horizon POD information into its database. Typically, running Horizon API calls or Horizon Powershell modules might have to run them against individual pods to fetch information about that POD. The beauty with Horizon Reach is it aggregates all the information, we can write scripts/API calls to request information from there instead of writing Horizon POD specific scripts.

Let’s take a look at the following information from the Horizon Reach fling:

  • What API’s are available with Horizon Reach?
  • What all options are available to interact with Horizon Reach API?
  • Script – Get a consolidated list of Horizon Farm details (Display the Name, Base Image details, Snapshot Version, Health and If provisioning is enabled)
    • Note the above can also be fetched using the old Horizon Powershell modules but trust me it’s pretty tricky to run a foreach loop for every object on the SOAP method.
  • Script – Get a consolidated list of Horizon Desktop Pools details (Display the Name, Base Image details, Snapshot Version, Health and If provisioning is enabled)

What API’s are avilable with Horizon Reach?

After you have installed the Horizon Reach fling, go to the following URL to check out all the avilable API’s. Its the UI Swagger interface to simplify and understand each calls.

URL https://horzonreach.domain:9443/swagger/index.html

What all options are avilable to interact with Horizon Reach API?

You can interact with the API with your preffered method such as Powershell or Postman or something else.

Postman https://horzonreach.domain:9443/swagger/v1/swagger.json (You will be able to import all the Horizon Reach API as a collection within Postman)

Powershell – You can use the built-in modules of Invoke-RestMethod or Invoke-WebRequest method to interact with Horizon Reach API.

Scripts to get consolidated Horizon Farms/Desktops information

Pre-requsites:

  • You need the Horizon Reach Server URL
  • You need the password of the Horizon Reach Server
  • The script provides you with the details of all Horizon PODs in your setup.
  • The script was tested on PowerShell V5.x
#Horizon Reach Server Name or IP Address
$HZReachServer = "https://horizonreach.domain:9443"

#Ignore the self signed cert errors
add-type @"
    using System.Net;
    using System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates;
    public class TrustAllCertsPolicy : ICertificatePolicy {
        public bool CheckValidationResult(
            ServicePoint srvPoint, X509Certificate certificate,
            WebRequest request, int certificateProblem) {
            return true;
        }
    }
"@
[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::CertificatePolicy = New-Object TrustAllCertsPolicy
[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.SecurityProtocolType]'Ssl3,Tls,Tls11,Tls12'


#API Call to make the intial connection to the Horizon Reach Server##
$HZReachLogonAPIcall = "$HZReachServer`/api/Logon"

#The body payload that comprises of the login API request
$body = @{
    username = "administrator"
    password = "enteryourpassword"
} | ConvertTo-Json

$HZReachlogin = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -uri $HZReachLogonAPIcall -Body $body -ContentType "application/json"

#Header along with the JWT token is now saved for future API calls
#You need to call this header in all subsequent calls as it has the token
$Headers = @{ Authorization = "Bearer $($HZReachlogin.jwt)" }

#API Call to fetch the consolidated (as many pods you have) Horizon Farm information##
$HZReachFarms = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Get -uri "$HZReachServer/api/Farms" -Headers $Headers -ContentType "application/json" -UseBasicParsing | Format-Table -Property displayname, baseimage, snapshot, enabled, health, isProvisioningEnabled

Write-Output $HZReachFarms

#API Call to fetch the consolidated (as many pods you have) Horizon desktop pool information##
$HZReachPools = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Get -uri "$HZReachServer/api/pools" -Headers $Headers -ContentType "application/json" -UseBasicParsing | Format-Table -Property displayname, baseimage, snapshot, enabled, healthDetail, isProvisioningEnabled

Write-Output $HZReachPools

GitHub scripts/HorizonReach-Farms-Pools-Info at master · askaresh/scripts (github.com)

Observations:

  • Farm Output:
  • Desktop Pool Output:
  • The following information (Display Name, Snapshot, Base Image, Health, Provisioning Mode) is pulled using the above scripts. I was much interested to see the snapshot versions of each Farms/Pools along with Health and provisioning status. Feel free to extract whatever details you are looking for there are plenty of other properties.

I hope you will find this script useful to fetch helpful information from Horizon Reach. A small request if you further enhance the script or make it more creative, I hope you can share it back with me?

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

Explorer.exe keeps crashing every 3 seconds in Windows 10

19 Oct

It was patch Tuesday time, and we were implementing the Windows 10 1909 Oct October 12, 2021—KB5006667 (OS Build 18363.1854) patch to our base images which are used for VMware Horizon VDI. During our validations, we started noticing the strange behaviour of Explorer.exe crashing and desktop becoming completely unusable.

Update 16th Nov 2021 – The explorer.exe crashing issue is now resolved in November 9, 2021—KB5007189 (OS Build 18362.1916) (microsoft.com)

Issue

The Windows explorer.exe keeps crashing within the virtual desktop of Windows 10 1909. The virtual desktop is entirely unusable. The only way to see the Event Viewer or anything is by using Horizon Client – Options – Send Ctrl + Alt + Del command within the virtual desktop and then opening up the Task Manager.

Cause

Provided by Microsoft – The explorer is trying to update feeds content, and there is a NULL value due to this bug that is causing explorer to crash.

Resolution

We tried performing various steps of un-install and re-installing the patch etc.. However, nothing worked, and we ended up working with Microsoft and seemed like it was a known issue, and they provided us with the following fix:

Option 1 – Registry – Disable News and Interest

Open regedit.exe on the golden image or

 Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Feeds\
 REG_DWORD name: ShellFeedsTaskbarViewMode
 Value: 2

Option 2 – GPO – Disable News and Interest

To access the policy for news and interests on the taskbar, on a device that has installed Administrative Templates (.admx) for Windows 10 October 2020 Update (20H2) – v2.0 ADMX file Feeds.admx is newly added, and we can retrieve it from the below .admx file:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > News and interests > News and interests on the taskbar > Select Disabled

Note – I suspect this fix might be applicable to other Windows 10 versions.

I hope you will find these steps helpful to resolve explorer.exe crashing issue and don’t have to go down the path of troubleshooting the issue.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari



Mindmap – Azure VMware Solution – Guidance on Deployment and Networking

12 Oct

I have been trying out the Azure VMware Solution (AVS) on the VMware HOL and going through the techzone documentation. In this post, we shall take a look into these topics:

  • Mindmap – Steps for AVS Deployment and Networking
  • Quick Start Links
  • Optional – Deploy AVS via Azure Resource Manager Templates

Mindmap for AVS Deployment/Networking

Managed to put together a mindmap on the AVS deployment and networking steps of the service. The idea here is the mindmap acts like an excellent visual representation of what to do during deployment and you can figure out in advance the requirements/steps and pre-requisites.

Azure VMware Solution

Here is the PDF version if you would like to download and zoom-in

Quick Start Links

The intention here is to get you quickly started on Azure VMware Solution:

DescriptionLinks
AVS TechzoneAzure VMware Solution | VMware
AVS Hands-on LabAzure VMware Solution Hands-on Labs | VMware
AVS PricingPricing – Azure VMware Solution | Microsoft Azure
AVS (Microsoft Doco)Azure VMware Solution documentation – Azure VMware Solution | Microsoft Docs
AVS Logical DiagramAzure VMware Solution Logical Design
Useful Links

Optional – Deploying AVS using Azure Resource Manager

We can also deploy the AVS solution via PowerShell and using the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template. The advantage here is you have slightly more advanced options that are not available via the GUI. (E.g. You can set the desired password for vCenter and NSX)

{
  "type": "Microsoft.AVS/privateClouds",
  "apiVersion": "2021-06-01",
  "name": "AE-1-AVS-01",
  "location": "Australia East",
  "tags": {
    "Billing": "IT",
    "Department": "IT"
  },
  "sku": {
    "name": "AV36"
  },
  "properties": {
    "circuit": {},
    "identitySources": [
      {
        "alias": "string",
        "baseGroupDN": "string",
        "baseUserDN": "string",
        "domain": "string",
        "name": "string",
        "password": "string",
        "primaryServer": "string",
        "secondaryServer": "string",
        "ssl": "string",
        "username": "string"
      }
    ],
    "internet": "string",
    "managementCluster": {
      "clusterSize": "3"
    },
    "networkBlock": "10.19.0.0/22",
    "nsxtPassword": "yourchoicepassword",
    "vcenterPassword": "yourchoicepassword"
  }
}

I hope you will find this helpful information on your AVS journey. Please let me know if I have missed any steps in the mindmap or reference links and I will be happy to update the post.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

SAML Authentication Flow – Azure Active Directory and VMware Workspace ONE Access

28 Sep

Many blogs discuss and show in detail how to integrate the Azure Active Directory (AAD) with VMware Workspace ONE Access (WoA) as a 3rd party IDP, and the following are my top post on that topic:

However, in this blog post, I would like to shed more light on the SAML Authentication Flow between the Azure Active Directory (Identity Provider) and VMware Workspace ONE Access (Service Provider). When designing the WoA and AAD integration, the below flow helped me understand what is happening behind the scenes, and I thought of sharing my knowledge with you all.

  • SAML Authentication Flow
  • AuthnRequest
  • Issuer
  • NameIDPolicy
  • RequestAuthnContext
  • SAML Response that AAD sends to WoA

#ProTip – I use a Chrome/Edge extension called SAML-tracer to inspect the SAML responses back and forth within the browser.

SAML Authentication Flow

The diagram below describes the single sign-on sequence. The VMware Workspace ONE Access (the service provider) uses an HTTP Redirect binding to pass an AuthnRequest (authentication request) element to Azure AD (the 3rd party identity provider in case of WoA). Azure AD then uses an HTTP post binding to post a Response element to the cloud service.

SAML Authentication Flow – AAD and WoA
S. No.Description Flow
1.End-user tries to access the VMware Workspace ONE Access portal
2.VMware Workspace ONE Access finds the identity provider to authenticate the user
3.VMware Workspace ONE Access generates a SAML 2.0 AuthnRequest and redirects the user’s browser to the Azure AD SAML single sign-on URL
4.If the end-user is not signed in, Azure AD authenticates the user using multi-factor authentication & generates a SAML token
5.Azure AD posts the SAML response to the WoA application via the user’s browser
6.VMware Workspace ONE Access verifies the SAML Response
7.VMware Workspace ONE Access completes the end-user sign-in and presents the desktop/app entitlements

Note – I have randomly created the GUID within the XML response just for demonstration purposes.

AuthnRequest

To request a end-user authentication, from WoA portal send an AuthnRequest element to Azure AD.  Following is the SAML SAML 2.0 AuthnRequest from WoA portal:

<samlp:AuthnRequest xmlns:samlp="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol"
                    AssertionConsumerServiceURL="https://askaresh.com/SAAS/auth/saml/response"
                    Destination="https://login.microsoftonline.com/adsadas-2312asdasd-asdasda-2312asdda/saml2"
                    ForceAuthn="false"
                    ID="_sdasdwqezxdasdasd2313asdas"
                    IssueInstant="2021-08-04T00:24:08.092Z"
                    ProtocolBinding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-POST"
                    ProviderName="askaresh.com"
                    Version="2.0"
                    >
 
</samlp:AuthnRequest>

Issuer

The Issuer element in an AuthnRequest must exactly match one of the ServicePrincipalNames in the cloud service in Azure AD. Typically, this is set to the App ID URI that is specified during application registration. (When the Enterprise Application is created under AAD portal)

<saml:Issuer xmlns:saml="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:assertion">https://askaresh.com/SAAS/API/1.0/GET/metadata/sp.xml</saml:Issuer>

NameIDPolicy

This element requests a particular name ID format in the response and is optional in AuthnRequest elements sent to Azure AD. A NameIdPolicy element looks like the following from WoA portal:

<samlp:NameIDPolicy AllowCreate="false"
                        Format="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress"/>

RequestAuthnContext

The RequestedAuthnContext element specifies the desired authentication methods. It is optional in AuthnRequest elements sent to Azure AD. Azure AD supports AuthnContextClassRef values snippet from WoA portal:

<samlp:RequestedAuthnContext>
    <saml:AuthnContextClassRef xmlns:saml="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:assertion">urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:Password</saml:AuthnContextClassRef>
</samlp:RequestedAuthnContext>

SAML Response AAD sends to WoA portal (Step 5-6)

The SAML Repsonse that AAD sends back to WoA portal:

<samlp:Response xmlns:samlp="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol"
                ID="_2132sdasdasdas-asdasd-aeeqwq-adsa"
                Version="2.0"
                IssueInstant="2021-08-04T02:39:06.365Z"
                Destination="https://askaresh.com/SAAS/auth/saml/response"
                InResponseTo="_ad123123213qws12312asa1"
                >
    <Issuer xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:assertion">https://sts.windows.net/se13edsadsadasdasdasd2342342dasdas/</Issuer>
    <samlp:Status>
        <samlp:StatusCode Value="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:status:Success" />
    </samlp:Status>
    <Assertion xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:assertion"
               ID="_324sadasdsa-adsa-asd1312-adsasdas"
               IssueInstant="2021-08-04T02:39:06.365Z"
               Version="2.0"
               >
        <Issuer>https://sts.windows.net/123asdasdas-adsa-asdsad-asdsad-4523213432asd/</Issuer>
        <Signature xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/09/xmldsig#">
            <SignedInfo>
                <CanonicalizationMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2001/10/xml-exc-c14n#" />
                <SignatureMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmldsig-more#rsa-sha256" />
                <Reference URI="#_54fb024a-f2f0-4495-99c7-f47e3fd37701">
                    <Transforms>
                        <Transform Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/09/xmldsig#enveloped-signature" />
                        <Transform Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2001/10/xml-exc-c14n#" />
                    </Transforms>
                    <DigestMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#sha256" />
                    <DigestValue>3213asdasdase3432sdsadasd2342432423675=</DigestValue>
                </Reference>
            </SignedInfo>
            <SignatureValue>SIGNATUREDATA==</SignatureValue>
            <KeyInfo>
                <X509Data>
                    <X509Certificate>CERTDATA==</X509Certificate>
                </X509Data>
            </KeyInfo>
        </Signature>
        <Subject>
            <NameID Format="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress">aresh@askaresh.com</NameID>
            <SubjectConfirmation Method="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:cm:bearer">
                <SubjectConfirmationData InResponseTo="_aasdwqewqsadsadasdsa-asdasd-asdasd"
                                         NotOnOrAfter="2021-08-04T03:39:04.318Z"
                                         Recipient="https://askaresh.com/SAAS/auth/saml/response"
                                         />
            </SubjectConfirmation>
        </Subject>
        <Conditions NotBefore="2021-08-04T02:34:04.318Z"
                    NotOnOrAfter="2021-08-04T03:39:04.318Z"
                    >
            <AudienceRestriction>
                <Audience>https://askaresh.com/SAAS/API/1.0/GET/metadata/sp.xml</Audience>
            </AudienceRestriction>
        </Conditions>
        <AttributeStatement>
            <Attribute Name="http://schemas.microsoft.com/identity/claims/tenantid">
                <AttributeValue>adsad1-adsasdsa-adasdasd-adasdsa-12321321</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
            <Attribute Name="http://schemas.microsoft.com/identity/claims/objectidentifier">
                <AttributeValue>123dsfssdfw12312asdasdadasdxsas21s</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
            <Attribute Name="http://schemas.microsoft.com/identity/claims/identityprovider">
                <AttributeValue>https://sts.windows.net/131sdfsdfsdfsdcs13123123dsfsdfsdfxcr21e23rwadsadsa/</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
            <Attribute Name="http://schemas.microsoft.com/claims/authnmethodsreferences">
                <AttributeValue>http://schemas.microsoft.com/ws/2008/06/identity/authenticationmethod/password</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
            <Attribute Name="email">
                <AttributeValue>aresh@askaresh.com</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
            <Attribute Name="ExternalID">
                <AttributeValue>8711aaae-b7b3-4202-8faf-f2408ffd7cf9</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
            <Attribute Name="userName">
                <AttributeValue>aresh@askaresh.com</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
            <Attribute Name="userPrincipalName">
                <AttributeValue>aresh@askaresh.com</AttributeValue>
            </Attribute>
        </AttributeStatement>
        <AuthnStatement AuthnInstant="2021-08-04T02:38:59.239Z"
                        SessionIndex="_123123-adsasdsa-ad213123dsaasdsa"
                        >
            <AuthnContext>
                <AuthnContextClassRef>urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:Password</AuthnContextClassRef>
            </AuthnContext>
        </AuthnStatement>
    </Assertion>
</samlp:Response>

Reference Link

The above flow I learnt from an excellent Microsoft page – Azure Single Sign On SAML Protocol – Microsoft identity platform | Microsoft Docs. Without this article, it wouldn’t have been possible to understand this under the hood.

I hope you will find the above information helpful in your journey with AAD/WoA. A small request if you see any scope of improvisation or refinements. I hope you can share it back with me?

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

VMware EUC stack upgrade – Legacy? or Modernizing? or Middleground?

14 Sep

It was that time of the year to perform a VMware End-User Computing (EUC) stack upgrade on the environment, and I thought of sharing the overall thought process and decisions made along the way. It will be interesting to share with others who might be in a similar situation or process of developing their upgrade/migration strategies. In this post, we shall take a look into these topics:

  • Current versions of the VMware EUC Stack
  • What version numbers did we upgrade/migrated to?
  • Why did we migrate to these versions?
  • Wishlist (Someone Listening?)
  • Valuable links to reference during upgrade/migration

Current versions of the VMware EUC Stack

  • VMware Horizon 7.11 (Connection Server/Agents)
  • VMware Horizon Client 5.5
  • VMware App Volumes 2.18.1.x Manager/VMware App Volumes 2.18.5 Agent version
  • VMware Workspace ONE Access 20.01/Connector 1903 (Not in scope for the upgrade)
  • VMware Dynamic Environment Manager 9.10
  • VMware Unified Access Gateway 3.10

What versions numbers did we upgrade/migrated to?

  • VMware Horizon 7.13.1 (Connection Server/Agents)
  • VMware Horizon Client 5.5.2
  • VMware App Volumes 2.18.10.10 (Manager/Agents)
  • VMware Dynamic Environment Manager 2103
  • VMware Unified Access Gateway 2103.1

Why did we migrate to these versions?

The obvious question everyone might ask is the latest versions are Horizon 8.x and App Volumes 4.x why are you picking older versions for the upgrade? The short answer is the limitations and trade-off, and the following matrix tries to uncover in more detail.

Note – Not all customers might fall under the limitation category, or the limiting feature/functionality could be different in your case. By no means this should be your defacto reasons. Make sure to evaluate your situation and create a matrix to make a data-driven decision. If the project is greenfield/no-limitations applied, it’s a no-brainer to opt for the latest product releases.

ProductUpgrade DecisionVerison of Choice
VMware Horizon++ We had all the boxes ticked from a feature/functionality standpoint to be able to upgrade/migrate to Horizon 8.x version. (Instant Clones, Printing, UAG etc.). Infact everything worked well in the development environment
++ The latest vROPS Horizon Adapter 1.2/Horizon 8.x version doesn’t include the built-in Horizon reports. We use the reporting feature for all sorts of custom reporting on Horizon PODs. The older version of vROPS Horizon Adapter 6.7.1/Horizon 7.x has all the existing metrics and reporting available but doesn’t include support for Horizon 8.x on the support matrix
++ The no reporting on the Horizon Adapter 1.2 + limited metrics on RDSH limited our ability to move to the latest version of Horizon 8.x. Once the built-in reports\metrics and guidance is made available, we shall jump onto the latest version (n-1)
Horizon 7.13.1
VMware App Volumes++ Lack of Writable Volumes (UIA+Profile and UIA) migrations from 2.18.x to 4.x. Need official guidance or tool/script/guidance to upgrade all the wrtiable of the 2.18.x environment to 4.x. I am sure alot of enterprise customers will have plenty of Writable Volumes to migrate and don’t have the flexibility to start from scratch on a new version
++ VMware AppStack Migration fling is the perfect migration utility to migrate AppStacks 2.18.x to 4.x need something similar for Writable Volumes
App Volumes 2.18.10.10
VMware Dynamic Environment Manager++ This was the only piece of software that didn’t have interoperability or upgrade complexity. The obvious choice was to upgrade to the latest (n-1)DEM 2103
VMware Unified Access Gateway++ The appliance has no interoperability issues with Horizon 7.13.1 or upgrade complexity. The obvious choice was to upgrade to the latest (n-1)UAG 2103.1
Upgrade Decision Matrix

The above stack provides us with the required General Availability support until Q2 FY2022 and beyond.

Wishlist

I am looking forward to vROPS Horizon Adapter XX to include the built-in Horizon Reports/Additional Metrics for RDSH in the new version or provide detailed guidance on creating meaningful reports in future releases. Additionally, the App Volumes team releases tools and advice on migrating 4000’s+ Writable Volumes from 2.18.x to 4.x. Once the above is released, I plan to upgrade to the branch of Horizon 8.x and App Volumes 4.x releases version numbers.

Valuable links to reference during upgrades

Here is the cheat sheet for all the useful links to review and formulate an upgrade plan:

DescriptionLinks
VMware Product Interoperability MatrixProduct Interoperability Matrix (vmware.com)
Product DocumentationVMware Horizon Documentation
VMware App Volumes Documentation
VMware Dynamic Environment Manager (Formerly Known as VMware User Environment Manager) Documentation
Techzone Migrating Legacy Horizon Components to Modern Alternatives

View Composer –> Instant Clones
Security Server –> UAG
Persona –> DEM
Persistent Disk – FSLogix
Modernizing VDI for a New Horizon | VMware
App Volumes Upgrade considerationsVMware App Volumes 4 Installation and Upgrade Considerations | VMware
Fling Migrate App Volumes AppStack from 2.18.x to 4.xApp Volumes Migration Utility | VMware Flings
Supported Windows 10 versions based on Horizon AgentSupported versions of Windows 10 on Horizon Agent Including All VDI Clones (Full Clones, Instant Clones, and Linked Clones on Horizon 7) (2149393) (vmware.com)
VMware EUC Stack Agent OrderAgent installation order for Horizon View, Dynamic Environment Manager, and App Volumes (2118048) (vmware.com)
Supported Windows 10 versions based on App Volumes AgentVMware App Volumes and Microsoft Windows 10 Support
VMware Product Lifecycle – End of LifeProduct Lifecycle Matrix (vmware.com)
Reference Material

I hope you will find the above information useful in your enterprise upgrade/migrate strategy for VMware EUC Stack. I would love to hear your strategy and similar situations limiting your ability to migrate to the latest and greatest versions.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari

VMware App Volumes upgrade from 2.18.1 to 2.18.10 – Startup Failure – Unable to start App Volumes Manager

13 Sep

While upgrading from VMware App Volumes 2.18.1 to 2.18.10.10 version, the upgrade installer completes successfully. However, when you load the App Volumes Manager portal, you get the following error message – Startup Failure – Unable to start App Volumes Manager – Migrations are pending. To resolve this issue, run bin/rails db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production

Startup Failure

Cause

Upon quickly checking the App Volumes computer account (<Domain>\<MachineName>$ within SQL Server was missing the db_onwer permissions. Obviously, that caused the above error post-migration.

Note – This is a very corner case and not expected to see along on most of the App Volumes Migration/Upgrade scenarios. If you did come across one now you know how to remediate.

Resolution

Step 1 – Adding the missing db_owner permission back to the App Volumes Manager computer security account within SQL Server Management Studio

Step 2 – As the db:migration didn’t complete during the upgrade, we need to re-run the following command on the App Volumes Manager server. Open the CMD and change directory to the following path – C:\Program Files (x86)\CloudVolumes\Manager\ruby\bin and run the following command:

bundle exec rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production

You should see the following output:

Command Output

Step 3 – Restart the App Volumes Manager service, and now you will see the login page of the App Volumes Manager.

The mystery remains how did that permission go missing as the additional App Volumes Manager account had retained the db_owner role. But none the less the above steps came in handy with help from VMware support – Suman Rout luckily, has seen a similar issue before.

Lesson Learnt

  • Create a pre-upgrade task item on checking to making sure all the App Volumes Manager computer accounts within the SQL Server have the db_owner permissions.

I hope you will find these steps helpful to resolve missing SQL permissions causing upgrade issues during the App Volumes migration from 2.18.x to 2.18.10.10.

Thanks,
Aresh Sarkari