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Chris Gleeson

SmartPE environment, no mouse control in VM

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Hi there,

Just starting the trial period to see if this is something that will work in our environment before purchasing, on paper seems good, it's the gotchas we are trying to work out. We virtualize everything, and for testing purposes I'd like to use VMs to ensure that everything is working. I'll skip the "not being able to have VMware Tools" in the image which makes it impossible to mouse control the gold image, so I'm leaving them until the image is built, and then removing, rebooting, exporting the VMDK from vSphere and then capturing from there so I can at least get an image. 

Unfortunately after creating boot media and starting a new VM up using that so the SmartPE environment loads, it's mouse only. Cannot use the keyboard to navigate between the options of "capture an image", "deploy an image" etc and the mouse control is crazy. Tried differen things such as using VMware Workstation to attach to the console, using the VMware Web Console etc, but it's uncontrollable. I did on one change by madly clicking and moving the mouse very slightly each time get into the Deploy an image, but as I am testing deploying from cloud I was never able to successfully click into the folder that the image was stored and download. Surely it cannot be impossible to test this on a VM environment? If it can only be tested on physical hardware then it's a non-starter, our EI deployment team does a fair bit of telecommuting and if we can't work on this remotely then we can't work on it at all.

And why not, lets get back to the "no VMware tools" in the image as you won't let me capture it. We are looking at a replacement for VMware Mirage, and the gold image there is kept in vSphere, with the VMware Tools installed, and that image gets captured and pushed. Nothing stops us (or you including as an option) of adding a script post-deployment to uninstall any instance of VMware tools if it is required. It's like the option for no snapshots. I'm not going to leave my image builders in the lurch of not being able to roll back from any mistakes, of course I'm going to use snapshots, and of course I'm going to deploy the gold image in vSphere so it can be backed up. This is not a terrible burden, except that to capture a machine with snapshots from what I've read I have to use the SmartPE environment and do the capture from there. Great.. except I can't because it's a mouse-only application and you don't have the VMware Tools in the SmartPE environment so I can't capture that way.

There must be something simple I'm missing and can't find because I'm not reading documentation thoroughly, and unfortunately the getting started videos seems to be of the "click this, this, this and this" which is great if there are no issues, if the environment the customer is using is exceptionally simple and only like the one in the video.

Sorry for the overly long message, been a long two days trying to get a working option to show for Monday and there's clearly great technology here, but getting to it and using it safely (e.g. snapshots, central images, testing in VM environments) is seeming to be a tad frustrating.

Thanks

Chris

 

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After much Googling and experimentation I've been able to get a usable experience in both the SmartPE VM and the Win10 gold image without VMware tools, namely after creating the Windows 10 x64 VM in vSphere using the default settings VMware supplies, go back into the VM Settings and add a USB Hub. It's not a totally smooth mouse experience but it is usable and I'm finally able to deploy images as well as capture them.

Hooray! Now to put this baby through it's paces!

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Hi Chris,

Glad to hear you found a solution! We've definitely heard this sort of feedback from users before; particularly if they are attempting to administer the VM remotely. This is unfortunately a tricky issue - by design, SmartDeploy images are intended to be hardware-independent, and the VMWare Tools (or similar utilities on other virtualization platforms) contain virtual device drivers that can interfere with capture, sysprep, and deployment to physical systems. As a result, it's generally best to build and administer your VM without making use of these utilities - but in a pinch, you can always use them, but remove them prior to capture. This can also be tricky (due to the checks we build in to Capture Wizard to ensure they're completely removed), but please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or issues.

You can reach us at support@smartdeploy.com, or at 1-888-7DEPLOY (option 2). 

Glenn
SmartDeploy Support

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Chris, what VM software are you using? I am loving Oracle's VirtualBox. It is SO much nicer than VMWare Player. You can duplicate images if you create more than 1.

Chris, this product is worth the money. My team and I love the functionality of this software and how easy it is to maintain images and driver packs.

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Hi Aaron,

Thanks for post, am using vSphere 6.5. I don't wish to use VMware Player or Virtualbox as then the image is stored on the image builder's workstation. I much prefer to have the image stored centrally on my infrastructure so that it's backed up, sits on redundant disk and compute and leverages the security and reliability we've already established. 

Adding a USB controller to the VM allowed mouse control to start working when running without any VMware Tools, which was good enough to be able to capture and deploy images, so that part is all sorted out now.

Thanks

Chris

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Chris, I understand. We don't have vSphere and what I am using is a desktop (HP ProDesk 600 G4 DM) to build my VMs, then building the images in SmartDeploy Client and then copying them to the server. I dont want to use our server to build the VMs because its so slow and limited to 2 cores and cant use more than 4GB of ram.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions on SmartDeploy.

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