Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 3 - Some interesting developments

First thing this morning my new 2GB flash drive arrived. After removing 7 screws, there was just 1 chip to remove and replace and I was done. XP embedded was already installed on it, so it was like having a brand new unit. To get started, all I had to do was install my Cisco VPN client. This took a total of 15 minutes. (It would have taken 10, but I had to re-download the VPN software.) Now, I have 1.5 GB of space on the X90.

I still need to re-attempt the installation of my Blackberry drivers and the Sprint SmartView software. I didn't have time today.

I faced a few new challenges today.

First was when the View Manager stopped responding. The View Manager is used connect my client to my VM. I could ping the View Manager and RDP into it, but my SSL connection was refused every time I tried to connect to my desktop. The View Manager is not required to maintain a connection to a desktop, but it is required to initiate the connection.

So what happens is the View Manager goes down? Ironically enough, a couple of my engineers were playing around in the lab with a solution to this very problem and were the cause of my problem. They had created a 2nd View Manager and were configuring one of our Cisco ACE load balancers to handle the front end traffic. In doing this, they disabled the SSL options for testing purposes.

Their idea, which I haven't been able to test yet, is that the ACE load balancer would balance the VDI work load between multiple View Managers. Users would be given the URL or IP address of the ACE to use as in the View Client. The ACE would then determine which of the View Managers to connect the user to. This could prove to be very useful when their are a lot of users trying to connect to simultaneaously. Once they realized I was down, they quickly re-enabled SSL for me and I was back and working again.

The second challenge, turned out to be less of a challenge than I had thought. The Wyse TCX Multimedia extension does a great job with AVI, WMV, and MPG movies, but not so well with flash media. I found this out when someone send me a link to a funny video on YouTube. The video performance was very choppy. I can live without YouTube for 30 days, but this is the time of year when I need to retake all of my EMC accreditations. I need to pass 4 tests, but to do that, I need to watch roughly 13 videos. Flash based videos. The nice thing is that these EMC videos are not very fancy, so any performance issues went unnoticed. I also realized after that fact, that I didn't reinstall my TCX extentions after changing out the flash drive. I'll be interested in seeing how much of a performance improvement I get when I get these installed again.

The third challenge came when it came to transfering files from my USB flash drive to my VM. The TCX USB Virtualizer allows me to plug a USB device into the X90 and have it appear as if I had attached it directly into my virtual desktop. I had a large folder full of files (roughly 600MB) that I needed to copy from a USB drive to my VM. This took around 15 minutes which isn't that bad considering that my Comcast Internet connection is only 1MB upload and the fact that I'm going through a VPN.

Tonight I'm going to re-install my TCX extensions and try to play some YouTube videos. I'm also going to see if I can find some options for optimizing my graphical performance.

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