The articles below delve into the wonderful energy saving world that is Virtualization. For the uninitiated Virtualization is the art of running multiple operating systems on a single item of physical hardware (commonly a server).

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series 10ZiG 5818v Review

In this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the all new 10ZiG 5818v Thin Client.

Recently released and coming with Intel Atom D2550 CPU this thin client sets its self apart from others with the introduction of Windows Embedded 8 (WE8).

WE8 is essentially a cut down version of Windows 8 that is focused on devices that have limited storage space and are designed to fill a single role (like digital signage players, connectivity to Remote Desktop Services Farms and connectivity to VDI like Citrix VDI-in-a-Box).

Through this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the hardware of the thin client, the WE8 operating system including the tweaks 10ZiG have made to it as well as the performance of the thin client when connected to VDI sessions.

After unboxing and powering on my first impressions of the 5818v have been very positive particularly around

  • UEFI boot with a boot time of around 25s
  • The low power consumption
  • The array of ports
  • The robustness of design

Continue reading

As anyone who reads my blog knows I am a strong advocate for VDI techonlogies particulary Citrix VDI-in-a-Box which has the key advantage of being able to use local storage (which is great for SSDs!).

As part of this I’m now happy to report that Citrix has used my old workplace (a medium secondary school in Oxfordshire) as a case study site and that the case study can be seen here.

Even in this modern world of HTML5 there is still a very strong case for Flash Video playback (after all its still the option of choice on YouTube), the only problem is when you play flash video inside a Virtual Desktop session (VDI) the servers CPU can quickly be chewed up and so ruin the experience for everyone.

The simple fix here is to use Citrix HDX Flash redirection and a compatible thin client like the 10ZiG 8848c (Linux powered) or any number of the Windows Embedded Standard options out there.
In this situation the flash video is rendered on the thin clients processor and with more powerful (but power efficant) CPUs becoming available in thin clients all the time you can expect a nice smooth video playback on your endpoint device without hammering the servers CPU.

Its a long shot that many people will have this issue but hey why not!

If you have one of the uber new AMD FX Processors (e.g. the 6 core 6100BE) and have tried to run a Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual machine on it you may have seen this error message.

An error occurred while attempting to start the selected virtual machine(s).

‘<VM name>’ could not initialize.

The virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running.

The cause of this issue is well documented in Microsoft KB 2568088 (link), the short version is the newer AMD CPUs have a feature called AVX included that Hyper-V does not like very much.

As such you can sort this issue out by running the command bcdedit /set xsavedisable 1 at a elevated command prompt.

Just make sure you restart your PC after and boom you will be able to run your virtual machines again!

If you have ever tried to boot a VirtualBox VM into PXE (Microsoft WDS/MDT based) using the default Intel PRO/1000MT Desktop adapter you may have seen the error message

FATAL: Could not read from the boot medium! System halted.

The simple solution to this problem (and to get you booting into WDS) is to install the VirtualBox extension pack which can be found on the same download page as the VirtualBox installer (link).

This extension pack includes the required files for boot to continue normaly, a few screen shots are shown below detailing what you need to do.

So you’ve got your shiny new System Centre 2012 Virtual Machine Manager install up and running, Virtual Hosts are running, you’ve done P2V migrations of a few old machines all during the while you are watching the ‘Evaluation Version – xyz days remaining’ ticker counting down.

So where do I put this product key?

You may think its in settings, but that would be too obvious Microsoft instead have decided to hide it in File (blue button top left) and then in About, once in the About dialogue box you will see a nice big button that says Enter Product Key – from there on in you are on your own! (or just follow the screen shots below)

A little while ago the guys at Axel let me borrow one of their M80 thin clients to try out with Citrix VDI-in-a-Box and also Microsoft RDS (Server 2008 R2) and I’m happy to say I can easily see this as a good thin client to use in the office although I have my reservations about use in classroom.

This review takes a look at some things that wern’t in the video (also makes some corrections to the video) and should help to give you a better overview of what the Axel M80 thin client can do. Continue reading

One of the wonderful things about Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V is that any driver that was written for Windows 7 will also run in Server 2008 R2! As such its very easy to take any Window 7 compatible PC (with a processor that can do hardware assisted virtualization like the AMD A and FX series) and turn it into a Citrix VDI-in-a-Box proof of concept (POC).

In the video below you can see me doing just that with a HP 6465b notebook (AMD A6 powered) which has been enhanced with a OCZ Agility 3 SSD.

Read on as well for a list of parts that cost less than £265 (exVAT)  that you could use to run your own proof of concept for 3-4 VDI users! Continue reading

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

Currently our VDI setup is only used in the Library and so we very rarely max out the usage on our server, however ealier today I spotted that we had 19 of our 20 VDI clients in use, by in use thats students logged in actively engaging with their computers.

I couldn’t resist checking up on the performance stats and shall we say………WOW……….less than 0.4 on the disk que length at all times and the response time never went above 2ms during average use (about 12-36MB/s) and only hit 9ms when the IO bursted to 84MB/s!

Screen shots can be seen below-