Great flings and a contest!

When you heard about VMware flings for the first time (if ever) you probably wondered what this is: Flings are short-term projects that VMware engineers work on - supposedly in their spare time, just for fun -, and they result in software that is not officially supported by VMware, but serve a specific purpose and address challenges that you might have when using VMware products - in a very handy way. They are published by VMware Labs that also do some very interesting academic research and publications.

Good examples for flings are the VMware Tools for Nested ESXi and the ESXi MAC learning dvFilter. And recently two new great flings were published that caught my attention.


Confession: I have not only been a VMware admin for many years, but - even longer - a Citrix admin working with XenApp (and its predecessor products way back to Citrix Winframe in the 1990s). In contrast to the younger VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) technology it enables the use of server based (instead of workstation based) desktop sessions for delivering applications to end users.

We all had to wait for a long time until VMware extended its VDI product View (now: Horizon) to also include session brokering to Windows RDS (Remote Desktop Session) hosts. With Horizon 6 we finally have a compelling competitor to Citrix's XenApp!

The XenApp2Horizon fling aims at customers who want to migrate from Citrix XenApp (supported versions: 6.5, 6.0 and 5.0) to VMware Horizon View 6 and helps them to automate the procedure of creating new farms and the equivalents of the Citrix published applications and desktops in View. I have not yet tried it, but if it works as advertised then it will be a great help for customers who plan or think about such a migration, and VMware made a very smart move by publishing this fling ;-)

PowerActions for vSphere Web Client

Just like the legacy vSphere Client the unbeloved Web Client is also extensible through plugins. The PowerActions for vSphere Web Client fling is such a plugin and it enables you to run custom PowerCLI scripts from the objects' (VMs, hosts, etc.) context menus. This opens endless possibilities to integrate all the automation scripts that you (or someone else from the community) has already developed (or will develop in the future) into the Web Client.

I strongly recommend trying this out, but please be sure to carefully read the system requirements and the comments on the fling page: Only Powershell 2.0 and .NET Framework 4.0 are supported, and in some cases there seem to be issues and workarounds needed to get this installed and running.

The Fling Contest 2014

Do you have a good idea for a new fling that could help you (and others) to solve a challenge that you have with VMware products? Then have a look at this year's fling contest and submit your idea there!

And while you are there please vote for the idea that I submitted: A GUI for PowerCLI ImageBuilder. If you are a regular reader of my blog then you may know that I promised to developed exactly this myself a while ago - as an extension to my ESXi-Customizer-PS script. These days it's challenging for me to find the time to to this, but - no worries - I have not yet given up this plan, so even if my idea does not win there is still a good chance that we will see this become a reality one day ;-)

The Fling Contest will be open until November 14th. The winner will be awarded with a free ticket to next year's VMworld, and he will be picked by a jury. So it will not necessarily be the idea that gets the most votes, but I'm sure that this will have some sort of influence on the jury's decision. Have fun browsing the contest entries, and good luck to anyone who submitted an idea!

This post first appeared on the VMware Front Experience Blog and was written by Andreas Peetz. Follow him on Twitter to keep up to date with what he posts.

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