Horizon 7 is the latest version of VMware’s virtual desktop product. In a previous post I talked about what was new in version 7 but I thought it was about time I got my hands dirty and had a go at installing it.
If you’ve ever installed any previous versions it’s not a great deal different, but the good news is, it’s still very simple to get up and running. It’s also got a non disruptive upgrade process.
What you’ll need:
1 or more Windows servers for the connection server component
1 Windows server for the View Composer component
1 Windows server for View Composer SQL (optional)
Administrator access to your domain
Administrator access to vCenter
View Composer Installation
- Log into the View composer windows server and run the view composer setup as an administrator. On the welcome screen, click ‘next’.
- Click the button to accept the EULA and click ‘next’.
- If you want to change the install path select ‘change’, otherwise, just click ‘next’ to continue.
- The View Composer installation requires an SQL database. You can either install SQL locally on this server or use a remote SQL server. Whichever you choose to do you must first create an empty database in SQL and give permissions to the view composer service user
- Once you’ve completed these steps, click the ODBC DSN Setup, and create an ODBC connection to your database under the ‘system DSN’ tab. Once complete and tested, click ‘ok’
- Back on the database selection screen, enter the ODBC alias name and enter the username and password of the account you granted database permissions to, then click ‘next’.
- Leave the SOAP port settings as default and choose which certificate you want to use. I’m leaving the default settings.
- Now we’ve completed these configuration steps, click ‘install’ to start the installation.
- Monitor the progress of the installation
- Depending on the user you’re logged in as, you may receive this error. It’s because you’re logged in as a user other than the view composer account and the account doesnt have rights to start the service. If you do receive this, open services.msc and edit the service properties and set the service to run as the view composer user. You should now be able to manually start the service. Once you’ve done this, come back to the error and click ‘retry’. Now it should detect the service is running and should continue.
- The installation should now show as running.
- Once the installation is complete, click ‘finish’
- Finally you will be prompted to reboot the server.
Connection Server Installation
- Log into the view connection server and run the connection server executable as a local administrator. On the Welcome screen, click ‘next’
- Click on the button to accept the EULA, and click ‘next’.
- Now you can choose an alternate location for your install if you wish by clicking ‘change’. If you’re happy with the default, click ‘next’
- Here you can choose the type of install. To summarise, Standard server is for your first connection server, Replica is for any subsequent connection servers, Security is for your DMZ gateway and Enrollment is a new option for doing True SSO with VMware Identity manager. For this install, select ‘Standard’ and then if you’re happy to use ipv4, click ‘next’.
- The install will continue for a few seconds.
- You’ll then be asked to enter a recovery password and reminder. Enter these and click ‘next’.
- Choose whether you want the install to configure your windows firewall or not. If you select configure, the install will populate all the necessary roles. If you don’t use the windows firewall you can choose the second option, then click ‘next’.
- Now you must choose a group to populate the Horizon administrators group. You can either choose the server local admins group, or you can specify a domain group. Once you’ve done one of these, click ‘next’.
- Select whether you want to participate in the user experience improvement program and click ‘next’
- On the next screen, click ‘install’ to begin the installation.
- The install itself will take a few mins.
- Once it completes, you get an option to view the readme or not, then click ‘finish’.
- Thats the connection server installation done. If you now open a web browser and go to https://connectionservername/admin, you should see the admin login page below. Enter an account thats a member of the admins group you specified during the install and click ‘login’.
- Once logged in you should see the Horizon dashboard. It may look a little daunting if you havent used it before but lets start with the simple stuff. Click the ‘edit license’ button in the top left corner.
- Once you’ve added your license key, it should look like the entry below.
- Next, click ‘servers’ in the left hand menu. The first thing we need to do in this section is specify the vCenter server. Click the ‘add’ button.
- In the new wizard that appears, enter the details for your vCenter server. You can also amend a number of settings below if you feel necessary. My advice is leave these as defaults for now as you can always come back and edit them later.
- If you receive a warning about the vCenter certificate, click the view button and accept the certificate.
- Here you can choose whether to use View Composer or not. If you choose to configure it, enter hte details and click ‘next’ to continue.
- Now you must specify the domains you want view composer to be able to use. Enter the domains by clicking ‘add’ and entering the details, then click ‘next’
- On the storage screen you can specify some storage settings. I would advice checking both boxes and then clicking ‘next’
- Check the selected settings in the summary screen and click ‘finish’
- Back on the main dashboard you should now be able to see the vCenter server in the list. Ensure that the colums to the right have green ticks in
- If you want to use the new Instant clones functionality, click on ‘instant clone domain admins’ on the left hand menu, and click ‘add’ at the top.
- Add the details for an admin in the domain and click ‘ok’. You will notice a limitation here in that whereas view composer will allow you provision machines in multiple different domains, instant clones only supports a single domain administrator account.
- Once back on the main dashboard you should see the instant clones admin in the list.
- Click on ‘event configuration’ at the bottom of the left hand menu, and click the ‘edit’ button
- Here you must enter the details of the events database. Before you can complete this section you must have created an empty database and you must have created an SQL user and delegated permissions. The events database only supports SQL authentication and not windows. Once you’ve completed these steps, click ‘ok’ If your database and permissions are ok the window should close.
- You should now be taken back to the dashboard where you should see a screen like the one below.
- On the right hand side, next to the events database settings you’ll see syslog settings. Click the ‘edit’ buttton to add a syslog server. Enter the address of your syslog or Log Insight server and click ‘ok’
- You should now see the entry in the box below
Horizon Agent Installation
- Now we’ve installed the server components we need to set up a desktop to deploy. Once you have your Windows desktop build in place with the latest version of the tools installed, we are ready to install the Horizon 7 agent. Run the agent installer and on the welcome screen, click ‘next’
- Click the button to accept to accept the EULA and click ‘next’
- Select whether you want to use IPv4 or 6 and click ‘next’
- Here is the interesting bit. You have the chance here to select which components are installed. You have an important choice to make here and that is whether to use View Composer or Instant Clones. Unfortunately you cannot install both (if you try you’ll get an error like below) so pick the one you’re going to use. If at a later time you want to change you just need to modify the install. Decide which you’re going to use and click ‘next’
- This is the error you’ll see if you try to install both features
- On the install screen, click ‘install’
- You’ll see the progress of the install until it completes
- Once the install is complete, click ‘finish’
- You’ll be prompted to reboot the server to complete the install.
- Once the reboot has completed, use vCenter web console to create a snapshot of the server. This will be used in the provisioning process.
Creating a desktop pool
- Now we’ve got all the installs done, lets set up a desktop pool. As it’s one of the new Horizon 7 features, i’m going to show you how to do this using instant clones. To begin with, click on ‘desktop pools’ in the left hand menu.
- First you have to select the type of pool. Click ‘automated desktop pool’ and click ‘next’
- Next, you have to choose whether you want a dedicated or floating assignments. Select ‘floating’ and click ‘next’
- This step is key. Here you can choose to use either full clones, view composer or instant clones to create your desktops. Click Instant clones and select the vCenter server underneath, then click ‘next’
- Enter a pool ID, this is just a name to identify it. Click ‘next’
- Here you can make various changes to the pool settings, including the protocol selection. Once you’ve selected your required settings, click ‘next’
- On the provisioning settings screen, give your pool a naming convention and remember numbers will be appended onto the end. You also need to specify the pool size, then click ‘next’
- There are some VSAN options here which will be greyed out if you aren’t using it. Click ‘next’
- This is the screen where we select the machine we are going to use as the gold image. Click ‘browse’ to the right or ‘parent VM’
- Horizon will look in vCenter for candidates that can be gold images. Select the ones you want and click ‘ok’
- Repeat the process but this time for the snapshot by clicking the ‘browse’ button. Horizon will search vCenter for any snapshots on the selected VM. Select the snapshot you want to use and click ‘ok’
- Click ‘browse’ next to VM location and pick a vCenter folder to create your VMs in, then click ‘ok’
- ‘Click browse’ next to cluster and pick the cluster to run the pool on and click ‘ok’
- Repeat for resource pool. Select the one you want to use and click ‘ok’
- Lastly, click browse next to datastores, and check the box next to all the datastores you want desktops to be provisioned on, then click ‘ok’
- It should look something like this when you’re done. Click ‘next’
- On the guest customisation screen, you can choose the domain to provision to and select the AD folder the desktops will be created in. You can also select scripts to run after desktop creation. These scripts should be placed in the gold image. Click ‘next’
- You should see all the settings you’ve selected in a summary screen. Click ‘finish’
- Back in the Horizon portal you should see your pool in the list.
- Switching over to vCenter, keep your eye on the recent tasks pane. You should see some cloning tasks kick off.
- A refresh of vCenter should also reveal some template machines are being created.
- Once templates are created, you’ll see some replicas are created.
- Give it some time and eventually you should see something like this. There should be a single template, a replica for each datastore and a parent for each host and each datastore. The parents should power on and you should see the instant clone process create new desktops and power them on.
- Now that the pool is created and we have deployed some desktops, the last bit before users can access is to grant them access to it. In order to do this first of all click on ‘ desktop pools’ on the left hand menu and then click on the pool you wand to entitle users on, then click the ‘entitlements’ button and ‘add entitlement’
- When the new window appears, click the ‘add’ button
- Another window will open allowing you to search for users and/or groups in the directory. Type something in the name field and click ‘find’
- Results for the search should be returned. Pick either a single name or multiples by holding down the shift key, and click ‘ok’
- You should see the names you selected appearing in the list. Once you’ve added all the users you want to add click ‘ok’
Thats it. Your entitled users should now be able to access their desktops by using either the Horizon clicent, or (if youve enabled it in the pool settings) the web client.