The central part of any Horizon View environment is the Connection Server. Without at least one of these, there would be no virtual desktops to connect to. And while this component lives up to it’s name by terminating connections and authenticating users who are accessing View desktops, it does much more.
Some of the other things that a Connection Server does are:
- Run the View Administrator web application that is used for managing a Horizon View environment
- Host the ADLS (LDAP) database that contains all of the information about the Horizon View environment
- Works with vCenter and View Composer to create, update, and delete desktops from the environment
As I mentioned in Part five, there are two types of Connections Servers – Standard and Replica. Functionally, Standard Connection Servers and Replica Connection Servers are the same. They all contain an up-to-date copy of the View ADLS database and authenticate users to desktops. Replica Connection Servers are essentially full partners with a Standard Server.
The only real difference between Standard and Replica servers is that a Standard Server needs to be installed and configured before you can add Replica Connection Servers. Replica servers must be partnered with a Standard server, and a Standard Connection Server can be partnered with multiple Replica Servers.
Two Standard Connection Servers cannot be partnered with each other, however, and if you install two of them side by side, you will end up with two separate Horizon View environments.
View Connection Server Requirements
What requirements do my servers need to meet in order to install the View Connection Server software on them? The hardware requirements are:
- Windows Server 2008 R2 (SP1 supported)
- 1 vCPU
- 4GB RAM
- Static IP Address
The recommended hardware for a Connection Server is:
- 4 vCPUs
- 10GB of RAM if running 50 or more virtual desktops
While there are no special hardware requirements, there are a number of little “gotchas.” Some of these are:
- Unlike other View Components, Connection Servers must be joined to a Server 2003 or Server 2008 domain.
- The Connection Server can’t be installed on a domain controller
- The Connection Server can’t be installed on any server that has the Terminal Services/Remote Desktop Services role installed
- The Connection Server must be installed with an AD user account
Installing A Standard View Connection Server
Since this Connection Server is going into a brand new Horizon View environment, the first server that will need to be installed is a Standard Connection Server. The steps for installing the Connection Server are:
1. Double-click the installer to launch the Connection Server setup. Click Next to start.
2. Accept the license agreement.
3. The next screen gives you the option to change the installation directory by clicking the Change button. For this installation, we’ll be installing to the default location, so click Next.
4. Select View Standard Server and click Next.
5. Enter a data recovery password and a password hint/reminder. Then click Next.
Note: The data recovery password is used in the event that you need to restore a Connection Server LDAP database from backup. Keep this password in a safe place. For more information about the recovery process, please see KB 2036145.
6. The View Installer will give you the option to automatically configure the Windows Firewall for View. Click Next to allow the installer to set up the Windows Firewall. If you do not want the installer to configure the firewall, you will need to configure these rules manually after installation.
Note: It is not recommended to disable the Windows Firewall, especially if you plan to use View Security Servers with your Connection Servers. When the firewall is turned on, traffic between the Security Server and the Connection Server is secured with IPSEC.
7. Configure the users or groups that will have Administrator rights in Horizon View. The two options that are presented are to name an Active Directory user or security group or to use the local Administrators group on the Connection Server.
8. If you wish to participate in the Customer Experience Program, check the box and provide some data about your organization. Otherwise click Next to continue.
9. Click Install to finish the installation.
10. Click finish to close the installer.
Note: If your system is configured with less than 10GB of RAM, you will see a warning that limited memory is available.
Although Composer and a Connection Server are installed, there is still some configuration work that needs to be done before Horizon View is ready for users to connect to virtual desktops. The next couple of posts in this series will cover how to configure Horizon View and set up desktop templates that will be used for linked-clone desktops.