NVIDIA Releases Updates to NVIDIA GRID GPU line!

Today, NVIDIA announced some updates to the  line of NVIDIA GRID GPU’s for VDI. I continue to see the use cases increase for GPU’s in VDI so great to see these new releases. The increase in user density is one of the key considerations customers always ask; how many users per server/GPU? Great to see the users density continue to increase!

Here are some details from todays launch webinar and my key takeaways;

  • renamed vWorkstation license version to Quadro Virtual Data Center Workstation Software (Quadro vDWS)
  • newer P40 & P6 GPU’s do NOT have 512MB profile (min is 1Gb)
  • a new license server will be released; 5.0
  • 50% more vGPU per physical GPU (improves density!)
  • updated/newer monitoring and insight integration into VMware vRealize Operations and 3rd party’s, i.e. Liquidware Labs, Lakeside, ControlUp, eGInnovations, etc..

Updated NVIDIA GRID line:

You can see press release here.

Dell Wyse ThinOS – “Invalid Digital Signature” Message

Issue: When attempting to downgrade ThinOS firmware from version 8.4.x to earlier versions, i.e. 8.3.x, 8.2.x, etc.. you may get the following message, “Invalid Digital Signature”.

Resolution: In order to rollback the version of firmware you need to add the following parameter to your wnos.ini configuration file or WMS/CCM configuration.

VerifySignature=no

Note: This will need to be added on a line starting with, “autoload=x”

For example: autoload=1 VerifySignature=no

See v8.4 INI guide for further details here.

More details on VerifySignature= parameter from the 8.4 release notes:

“The option VerifySignature specifies to verify the signature or not when updating the firmware and/or packages. It is introduced in 8.4 and later to make sure the security and integrity of the firmware and packages. If set VerifySignature to no, it will not check the signature so that to downgrade the firmware and/or packages which did not support signature. The default is yes.”

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Windows Embedded Security – Threat Defense | Dell Data Protection

When looking at Windows Embedded devices people often ask about options to further secure them. In many cases, the devices are only used to access virtual desktops and the thought is often, since it’s essentially a kiosk, i.e. not running email locally, browser, etc.., then I have a limited attack surface. Although the Windows foot print on the client is smaller than a full Windows build there is still value in looking to further secure the endpoint regardless how it is used.

One thing I always suggest to customers is to check directly with their existing A/V vendor for what they have for support on Windows Embedded as some have specific solutions for it and some do not.

Dell has recently integrated it’s Dell Data Protection products into the Dell virtual desktops portfolio, specifically 2 solutions;

The one I am highlighting here is Dell Data Protection | Threat Defense for Windows thin clients. You can see a great demo of the solution below. When looking at further securing your Windows embedded thin clients this solution may be worth a look.

Introduction to VMware NSX & VDI

nsx

In my quest to learn a bit more about VMware NSX for Horizon virtual desktops I came across a few great resources I wanted to share. If your not familiar with VMware NSX you can get a good overview of this network & security solution here: VMware NSX for VDI. In order to further secure virtual desktops, NSX allows you to create rules and policies that are VM & user centric to control various levels of access to the users VM.

A lot has been talked about whether VDI is inherently more secure than a physical PC environment and the opinions vary. A great post a few years ago was hotly debated on this topic on BrianMadden.com and is worth a read.

vdi_security
BrianMadden.com

However you look at it, the industry is evolving to help further secure virtual desktop environment’s and VMware NSX is one solution to help in that area.

A great overview of the solution is below. Another deep dive that I thought was great can be found here.

Wyse ThinOS Fails to Auto Create Printer when using Citrix Universal Print Driver

Issue:

Wyse ThinOS fails to auto-create local/USB printers using the Citrix Universal Print Driver when connecting to XenApp 7.8 on Windows Server 2008 or 2012 servers.

The issue occurs if the local Wyse ThinOS printer “identification” field is set to use the “PCL5” driver which ThinOS is set to use by default. On Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 servers running Citrix XenApp 7.8, and other versions, they do not have the specific PCL5 driver, “HP Color LaserJet 4500 PCL 5”, installed by default. This specific HP driver is the PCL5 driver that the Citrix Universal Print driver uses and is not installed by defaults so it needs to be manually installed.

Resolution:

The required Windows PCL5 driver that the Citrix UPD leverages, “HP Color LaserJet 4500 PCL 5”, needs to be manually installed on the Windows Server 2008 or 2012 servers. Citrix identifies this issue in the following CTX article:

CTX140208 – Non-Windows Clients may not Autocreate Printers on Windows Server 2012 using the Citrix UPD

“As non-windows clients do not support EMF or XPS drivers, they will attempt to use PS or PCL drivers. In Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012, PCL5c, PCL4, and PS drivers may not be installed by default. To install them, launch the Print Server Properties window and click Windows Driver Update.”

The default Citrix UPD drivers are the following and the PCL5c is the one generally missing:

PS driver HP Color LaserJet 2800 Series PS
PCL4 driver HP LaserJet Series II
PCL5c driver HP Color LaserJet 4500 PCL 5

Details:

By default, the server does not have the “HP Color LaserJet 4500 PCL 5” installed as shown under print server properties. As shown in the registry, the Citrix UPD uses this driver to map the PCL5c driver and since its missing, auto creation from ThinOS fails.


By default, Wyse ThinOS is set to use a PCL5 driver under “Printer Identification” field so when the printer is auto created it attempts to map to the PCL5 driver on the server which is missing so auto creation fails.


By default, the Citrix UPD is set to “Use universal printing only if requested driver is unavailable” and the UPD driver preference order is set to; EMF;XMS;PCL5c;PCL4;PS.

As noted above, “non-windows clients do not support EMF or XPS” so the first driver it attempts to use is PCL5c which is not installed by default so auto creation from Wyse ThinOS PCL5 fails. If Wyse ThinOS “Printer Identification” was set to use PCL4 or PS then auto creation would succeed as those 2 drivers are installed by default.


This issue and resolution is also documented in the following PDF Technote – Wyse ThinOS and Citrix UPD Fails to Autocreate Printers.

Citrix and Skype for Business on Wyse ThinOS

One of the great new features in the release of Skype for Business on Citrix XenDesktop is the ability to use a non-Windows, Wyse ThinOS, endpoint as the client device to support new Skype features. Previously, you were limited to using a Windows endpoint running a full Windows PC or Windows Embedded thin client.

More importantly, your able to leverage the power of the Citrix Real Time Media Engine (RTME) which is embedded in the Wyse ThinOS for audio/video offload. This allows the client to offload rendering from the server VM onto the client leveraging the client CPU/memory to process audio/video. This freeing of VM resources allow greater server/desktop density and better performance as local client resources are also being used.

The key benefit of leveraging the RTME support is you eliminate the traditional VDI hair-pinning of the unified communications audio/video traffic which would route all the audio/video traffic through the virtual machines as illustrated below.

This is very well illustrated in below video.

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NVIDIA GRID 2.0 Licensing Demystified!

NVIDIA_GRID

In getting ramped up on the NVIDIA GRID 2.0 licensing changes I’ve come across a few good resources including a great video explaining the procurement of the software & licenses. I’ve also summarized a list of other helpful GRID 2.0 resources that I’ve come across that I wanted to share and hope you find helpful!

Great video explaining GRID 2.0 licensing

NVIDIA GRID 2.0 Options

NVIDIA GRID 2.0 Getting Started Quick Start Guide

Index of NVIDIA GRID Resources