First things first
Thanks to Scott Sauer (@ssauer) and John Blessing (@vTrooper) for holding down the fort here at Virtual Insanity while I’ve been finishing up some unfinished projects and preparing for the VCDX Design Exam (which I take later this month). One of Scott’s posts actually won a vSphere blog contest. Nice work Scott! These two guys are becoming pretty good friends of mine here in the Cincinnati area, so hopefully I can convince them to keep the content flowin’.
An itch I couldn’t scratch
I’ve mentioned here on this blog, at least once or twice, that I “eat the dog food” and actually run my primary XP desktop as a VMware View image. Since the conversion almost a year ago, everything has been running pretty well with only a few minor bumps along the way. And with the recent addition of PCoIP, I can’t imaging ever going back.
But there was one little reoccurring problem I was having for which I couldn’t seem to find an answer. It wasn’t a show stopper of an issue, but it was just an “itch I couldn’t scratch,” if you know what I mean. And the problem went something like this …
- Inside my desktop VM I have a Cisco VPN client, necessary for a secure connection back to corporate HQ in Palo Alto, CA.
- When connecting to my desktop with the VPN client inside the VM inactive, I had no issue.
- However, if I disconnect from my desktop while the VPN session was active, then I couldn’t reconnect to my desktop via VMware View.
The reason? The broker was sending me the new IP address of the Cisco VPN Adapter, which is an IP address on the VPN, and an IP address my local computer didn’t know about.
Now, if I were to log off instead of disconnect from my desktop, this would terminate the VPN session and therefore wouldn’t be a problem. But who wants to log off every time? More often than not, I have things open on my desktop (e.g. half written emails, documents, browsers with many many open tabs, etc.) that I don’t want to bother saving and closing every time I step away from the computer. And really the bigger issue is with unintentional disconnects that result from local power/network/OS issues.
I tried all sorts of things to fix this. Among other thins, I tried …
- Reordering the NICs, hoping the broker was just grabbing the first NIC.
- Poking around the broker and agent install files, hoping to find a way to force the IP address.
- I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling the View agent and the Cisco client, hoping the order of installation might do the trick (admittedly, this was a random shot in the dark)
But nothing seemed to work. So until recently, to reconnect I would have to connect directly to my desktop via RDP, or connect to the console via the VMware Infrastructure Client, then disconnect the Cisco VPN and then reconnect via the View client.
See what I mean? Not a show stopper, but man what a pain in the butt!
Well I found a way around this with a handy new addition to the Command Line Tool in View4. Check out page 12 of the Command Line Tool for View Manager titled “Override IP Address.” On the broker from a DOS prompt, in the c:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\bin directory, execute the following …
vdmadmin.exe –A –d <desktop name> –m <machine name> –override –i hostname
The “desktop name” is the name of the VM in the broker. The “machine name” is the name of the VM in vCenter. It’s likely they’ll be the same, but they don’t have to be and in fact, in my case they weren’t the same. The “hostname” can be either a FQDN or an IP address. Oh, and I can tell you that all parameters must be present or the command won’t execute.
But that was all there was too it. Now I can disconnect and reconnect to my desktop, regardless of the state of my VPN client.