Horizon View 5.3 Part 9 – Configuring your View Environment For The First Time

In the last couple of posts, the first Connection Server and View Composer were installed in the environment.  Now it’s time to start configuring them.

Horizon View is primarily managed from the View Administrator web-based management interface.  This interface is based on Adobe Flex, so you will need a Flash-enabled web browser.  I hope that this is something that will be addressed in an upcoming version so that View can be managed from a mobile device.

In order to get View up and running, a few tasks need to be accomplished.  These tasks include applying a license key to the environment and telling Horizon View which vCenter Server and View Composer we will be using.  We will also want to set up an events database to record a variety of events within the environment such as logons, logoffs, and errors in the environment.

Logging into View Administrator

Before anything can be configured, though, we need to first log into Horizon View Administrator.  As I mentioned above, you will need to have Adobe Flash installed and enabled in your web browser.

The web browsers that VMware supports are:

  • Internet Explorer 8 or later (on Windows 8, IE is only supported in Desktop Mode)
  • FIrefox 6 or later

Although it is not officially supported, I have never had an issue with View Administrator when using Google Chrome.

To log in, take the following steps:

1. Open your web browser.

2. Navigate to https://<FQDN of connection server>/admin

3. Log in with the Administrator Account you designated (or with an account that is a member of the administrator group you selected) when you installed the Connection Server.

1. Login

4. After you log in, you will be prompted for a View License key.

2. License pt 1

Note:  The license keys are retrieved from your MyVMware site.  If you do not input a license key, you will not be able to connect to View Desktops after they are provisioned.  You can add or change a license key later under View Configuration –> Product Licensing and Usage.

5. Click Edit License.  Paste your license key from the MyVMware site into the license key box and click OK.

3. License pt 2

6. After your license key is installed, the LIcensing area will show when your license expires and the features that are licensed in your deployment.

4. License pt 3

Configuring vCenter and View Composer

The next task that needs to be accomplished is configuring the vCenter and View Composer server information.  Without a vCenter, the Horizon View environment will not be able to provision full clone desktops or perform power operations.  Composer is required for linked clones.

There are two Active Directory service accounts that are required during this step.  Please check out Part 4 to get more details on the requirements for these accounts.

The steps for configuring the View environment for talking to vCenter and Composer are:

1. Under View Configuration, select Servers.

5. Servers

2. The vCenter Servers tab is already selected for us.  Click the Add button.

6. Server Tabs

3. Enter the following information and then click Next to continue:

  • Server Name: Server fully-qualified domain name
  • Username: Domain User Account with access to vCenter entered as username@domain.name. Please see Part 4 for the permissions requirements for this account.
  • Password: Password for the domain user account.

7. vcenter

Note: The Advanced Settings control the number of concurrent Horizon View operations that vCenter will perform.  It is not recommended to change these.

4. Select the View Composer option for your environment and click Next:

  • Do Not Use View Composer: View Composer is not installed anywhere in the environment.  Linked-Clone desktops will not be available.
  • View Composer is co-installed with vCenter Server: The View Composer server is installed on the vCenter Server.  No additional configuration is necessary.
  • Standalone View Composer Server: View Composer is installed on a separate server, and you will need to provide the server address, username, and password to access this instance.

Edit – June 16th, 2014: The service account that you use with the Standalone View Composer should be the Active Directory service account that you created in Step 4.   This account should be added to the Administrator group on your View Composer server.

8. composer

5. If you are using View Composer and the server has a self-signed certificate installed, you will see the warning below.  Click View Certificate.

9. Composer Cert 1

Note: Installing signed SSL Certificates will be covered later in this series.

6. Click Accept to import the certificate.

10. Composer Cert 2

7. View Composer performs operations against Active Directory. Composer needs to know which domains to work with and the credentials to use.  Click Add to add a domain.

11. Add Domains 1

Note: If you are working in a multi-domain or multi-forest environment, and/or planning to use a resource domain, you only need to add the domains and credentials where desktops will be created.

8. Enter the full domain name, username (in domain\username format) and password for the service account with permissions to perform Active Directory operations.

12. Add Domains 2

Note:  Please see Part 4 for the View Composer service account requirements.

9. The next tab will allow you to configure advanced storage settings such as View Storage Accelerator.  Click Next to continue.

13. Storage Accelerator

10. Review the settings and click finish.

14. Summary

Configuring the Horizon View Events Database

The last thing that we need to configure is the Horizon View Events Database.  As the name implies, the Events Database is a repository for events that happen with the View environment.  Some examples of events that are recorded include logon and logoff activity and Composer errors.

The Events Database requires a Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle database server, and it should be installed on an existing production database server.  For this write-up, I installed it on the Composer server where I had an instance of SQL Server Express.

There are two parts to configuring the events database.  The first part, creating the database and the database user, needs to be done in SQL Server Management Studio before the event database can be configured in View Administrator.

To set up the database, follow these steps:

1. Open SQL Server Management Studio and log in with an account that has permissions to create users and databases.

2. Expand Security –> Logins.

3. Right-click on Logins and Select New Login…

1. Create New User 1

4. Enter the SQL Login Name and Password and then click OK.

2. Create New User 2

5. Expand Databases.

6. Right-click on Databases and select New Database.

7. Enter the database name.  Select the database user that you created above as the database owner.  Click OK to create the database.

3. Create View Events Database

Now that the database is set up, we need to configure Horizon View to use it.  There is no need to create a ODBC DSN for the Events Database.  The setup is done through the View Administrator management console.

After we have logged into the View Administrator using the steps above, we need to complete the following steps:

1. In the View Configuration section, select Event Configuration.

4. Event Configuration

2. In the Event Database section, click Edit.

5. View Events Database Section

3. Enter the following information to set up the connection:

  • Database Server (if not installed to the default instance, enter as servername\instance)
  • Database Type
  • Port
  • Database name
  • Username
  • Password
  • Table Prefix (not needed unless you have multiple Connection Server environments that use the same events database – IE large “pod” environments)

6. Edit Events Database Settings

Note: The only SQL Server instance that uses port 1433 is the default instance.  Named instances use dynamic port assignment that assigns a random port number to the service upon startup.  If the Events database is installed to a named instance, it will need to have a static port number.  You can set up SQL Server to listen on a static port by using this TechNet article.  For the above example, I assigned the port 1433 to the Composer instance since I will not have a named instance on that server.

If you do not configure a static port assignment and try to connect to a named instance on port 1433, you may receive the error below.

7a. Bad Username or Password

5. If setup is successful, you should see a screen similar to the one below.  At this point, you can change your event retention settings by editing the event settings.

7b. Success!

What’s Next

This is the ninth part of the series. Now that the Event Database, vCenter, and Composer are set up, Horizon View is basically configured.  There are a few more things that we need to do, though.  Those are:

  • Create SSL Certificates for all of our servers
  • Create a Windows 8.1 Desktop Template
  • Create our first desktop pool
  • Overview of Desktop Pool Maintenance Operations

After that, there are a few features that I want to cover:

  • Configuring a Security Server for remote access
  • Using Windows Server 2008 R2 desktops with Horizon View
  • Using Horizon View to broker access to Microsoft Terminal Servers
  • Load Balancing Horizon View Environments
  • Automating Horizon View Environments
  • Setting Up VMware Blast for HTML5 access to desktops

5 thoughts on “Horizon View 5.3 Part 9 – Configuring your View Environment For The First Time

  1. I am having trouble following these instructions to connect to the Composer. It just returns “Error while attempting to connect to View Composer”. It’s not clear which account we should be using at which step. So far by following along we’ve created two service accounts and a SQL account — none of these work. I also don’t see where the Composer service account created in Part 4 is actually used.

    • Is your SQL database on your composer server or on a separate box? If so, you need to use a SQL Server account with database owner permissions.

      Are TCP connections enabled in SQL?

      • I misread your comment initially. The account you use for the composer service should be the one that you created in Part 4.

        Did you open the firewall ports on your composer server, and is the composer service running?

  2. Yep, the ports are open. For now I’ve worked around it by adding the Composer service account to the local Administrators group on the Composer server. Should this be necessary?

    • Hi Mike.

      I ran into this same issue tonight while trying to rebuild my View environment after rebuilding my lab. Unfortunately, your workaround seems to be a step that I missed in my directions. I will be updating the guide shortly to include this step.

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