Horizon View 5.3 Part 7 – Installing View Composer

In my last post, I talked about the requirements for Horizon View Composer.  In this post, I’ll be going through the steps to install Composer and configure the database that Composer uses.

In the last post, I mentioned that the Composer installation can either be co-located with the vCenter server or be installed on a separate Windows Server.  My lab uses the Linux-based vCenter Virtual Appliance, so Composer must be installed on a separate Windows server.  I will also be using a SQL Server 2008 R2 Express instance that is installed on the Composer Server.  Although this setup will support Windows Authentication, I will be using SQL Authentication.

Configuring the View Service Account


Edit: June 16th, 2014: This step was not initially part of the instructions, but a comment by Mike on Part 9 and some additional testing showed that I missed this step.  I apologize for the error.

In Step 4, you configured a service account that will be used by Horizon View.  This account needs to be added to the local administrator group on your View Composer server.  If you do not add this account to the Local Administrator group, you will receive a generic error message.

Configuring the Composer Database

Before Composer can be installed, a blank database must be configured on your SQL Server.  The steps to configure the database are:

1. Log into your database server and open SQL Server Management Studio.2014-01-04_22-20-17

2. Log in as a user with administrator rights on SQL Server.

3. Create a new SQL Login by expanding Security –> Logins.  Right click on Logins and select New Login.2014-01-04_22-21-46

4. Enter a login name such as viewComposerDB or viewComposerUser, select SQL Server Authentication, and enter a password twice.  You may also need to disable Enforce Password Expiration or Enforce Password Policy depending on your environment.  Click OK to create the account.  Note: Check with your DBA on password policy settings.2014-01-04_22-23-50

5. After the SQL login is created, you need to create an empty database.  To create the database, right click on the database folder and select New Database.2014-01-04_22-19-58

6. In the database name field, enter a name such as viewComposer.  This will be the name of the database.  To select an owner for the database, click on the … button and search for the database user account you created above.  Click OK to create the database.


You will have a blank database that you can use for View Composer after you click OK.

Creating the ODBC Data Source

Unfortunately, the Composer installer does not create the ODBC Data Source driver as part of the Composer installation, and this is something that will need to be created by hand before Composer can be successfully installed.  The View Composer database doesn’t require any special settings in the ODBC setup, so this step is pretty easy.

Note: The ODBC DSN setup can be launched from within the installer, but I prefer to create the data source before starting the installer.  The steps for creating the data source are the same whether you launch the ODBC setup from the start menu or in the installer.

1. Go to Start –> Administrative Tools –> Data Sources (ODBC)


2. Click on the System DSN tab.

3. Click Add.


4. Select SQL Server Native Client 10.0 and click Finish.  This will launch the wizard that will guide you through setting up the data source.


Note: The SQL Server Native Client is not installed by default. If you are connecting to a database on another server, you will need to download and install the native client for SQL Server 2008 R2 from Microsoft (direct download link). 

5. When the Create a New Data Source wizard launches, you will need to enter a name for the data source, a description, and the name of the SQL Server that the database resides on.  If you have multiple instances on your SQL Server, it should be entered as ServerName\InstanceName.  Click next to continue.


6. Select SQL Server Authentication.  Enter your SQL Server username and password that you created above.  Optional: Check the Connect to SQL Server to obtain default settings box to retrieve the default settings from the server.  Click Next to continue.


7. Change the default database to the viewComposer database that you created above.  Click Next to continue.


8. Click Test Data Source to verify that your settings are correct.


9. If your database settings are correct, you will see the windows below.  If you do not see the TESTS COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY, verify that you have entered the correct username and password and that your login has the appropriate permissions on the database object.  Click OK to return to the previous window.


10. Click OK to close the Data Source Administrator and return to the desktop.


Installing View Composer

Now that the database stuff is done, we can finally install View Composer.

1. Launch the View Composer installer. Click next on the first screen.


2. Enter the name of the data source that you created on the top line, and enter the SQL username and password on the two lines beneath it.


3, Enter the port that Composer will use for communicating with the View Connection servers and vCenter.  The default is 18443.


Note:  You may need to open port 18443 in the system firewall.

Note: If an SSL Certificate was installed on this server, I could select to use it with Composer at this step.  Configuring Composer and other View components with SSL certificates will be covered later in this series.

4. Click install to finish the Composer installation.


5. When the installation has completed, you will be prompted to restart the server.


At this point, Composer is installed in your environment.  There isn’t much we can do with it yet, though, because a Connection Server is required to configure both Composer and vCenter within a Horizon View environment.

And that is what I’ll be covering the next few posts – setting up the first View Connection Server in the environment.

3 thoughts on “Horizon View 5.3 Part 7 – Installing View Composer

  1. Thanks for this blog Sean, very handy! I did have an issue creating the DSN and having it seen by the View Composer installation, in the end I had to login as a local administrator only and then right-click and Run as Administrator. Then the install could see the manually created DSN and/or use the button during the install one to set it up. I’ll be following through the rest of your posts as I setup my alpha test, thanks again!

    • Chris,

      Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t run across that particular issue when setting up the DSN for Composer, but I will keep an eye out for it.

      I’m glad that you’re finding this series useful. If there is anything else that you’d like to see, or if you have any questions, please let me know.

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