Windows 7 update breaks VMware View

BYOD gets harder if IT has to test all the patches before they're installed

If your company is a little more advanced than most in the user's-choice device-selection department, you might be reading this from an iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone or other non-PC computing device connected to your work computers via virtualized desktop software from Citrix Systems.

If all that is true of you except the last part – you use VMware View rather than Citrix XenDesktop – you're probably reading this on a non-virtualized laptop. Or you're surfing the Web while your colleagues in IT try to figure out why you can't connect directly using your VMware View client.

The reason is that Microsoft distributed a routine security and bug patch Tuesday that broke your VMware View client.

Here's VMware's bloodless KnowledgeBase article on it.

Here's a little more interesting writeup on how to unbreak the client by uninstalling the patch.

Here's a warning from Gartner's Chris Wolf that BYOD shifts a big chunk of an end-user base out of the self-service category and into the test-and-deploy category.

Right now most companies set Windows Update to Automatic on most end-user computers. That way most of the Windows PC automatically get all the bug-fix and security patches downloaded and installed as soon as they're available from Microsoft, without IT having to install anything.

Servers in the data center, on the other hand, only get patched by hand, after they're researched, downloaded and tested for days or weeks by sysadmins who have learned by experience to be very suspicious of anything that will "fix" a server that's currently working.

Nothing breaks a machine you depend on faster than a trivial change to make good performance into better.

(That's data-center superstition, but if you don't believe it, stop your car on a lonely stretch of highway, late at night in the middle of winter and pour a bottle of "performance booster" into your oil or gas. Make sure you have warm clothes, food and water in the trunk. Maybe an emergency radio.

Don't make any changes to the radio.)

If Microsoft is going to be distributing patches that break virtualization clients, IT might find itself in the position of having to vet, test and remotely install every patch Microsoft distributes. Rather than just testing patches for one server, or all the servers of a certain make and configuration, end-user support will have to test patches for every phone, tablet or other form factor in use within the company.

There goes the BYO part of BYOD, or at least the self-service part of it.

Hopefully this event will serve as a reminder for BYOD planning to include a contingency plan and remediation methodology for dealing with large-scale BYOD client failures," Wolf blogs.

Sure, with BYOD, the user is supposed to “support” their own device in theory. However,if hundreds or thousands of users can’t connect to their apps, it becomes IT’s support problem, like it or not.

Am I overreacting? What do you think?

No, Chris, I don't think so. The blog works, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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