Horizon 6.0.1 Upgrade Experience

Lsat weekend, I upgraded my Horizon View environment to Horizon 6.0.1.  I wanted to do this upgrade to take a look at the expanded printing support that VMware added in this minor release.

The major improvement included in the Horizon 6.0.1 release is support for virtual printing and location-based printing for Windows Server 2008 R2-based desktops and RDSH-hosted published applications. 

The upgrade isn’t too difficult, and prior to starting it, you should review the compatibility matrix and read the release notes and the directions for patching Horizon 6.

My home lab environment were I performed the upgrade only has one Connection Server and one Security Server.  The steps may be different if you have multiple Connection and Security Servers.

Prerequisites

Horizon 6.0.1 has all of the same prerequisites as Horizon 6.0 as well as support for vSphere 5.5 Update 2.

Upgrade Order

The order for upgrading the Horizon components is:

  1. Composer
  2. Connection Servers
  3. Security Servers
  4. Agents
  5. Clients

Prior to upgrading the Horizon server-side components, you should take a snapshot of the server and perform a database backup.

Upgrading Horizon Composer

The first component that needs to be upgraded is Composer.  Prior to upgrading Composer, you will need to take a snapshot of the server and do a database backup.

The upgrade is essentially installing the new version over the old version.  During the upgrade process, you will be prompted for the name of the ODBC DSN connection, database username, and password that were used during the first install.  If you’re using a custom SSL certificate, you’ll need to select it when asked about certificates.

Upgrading the Horizon Connection Server

Once Composer has been upgraded, the next component that needs to be upgraded is the Connection Server.  The steps for this upgrade are fairly simple.

  1. Snapshot the Connection Server
  2. Run the Installer
  3. Click next all the way through to complete the upgrade

Although it is not required, I prefer to reboot the server after the upgrade completes.

Upgrading the Horizon Security Server

The documentation doesn’t mention much about patching Security Servers, so I treated it the same as doing an upgrade.  The process for upgrading a Security Server are much more involved than the process for upgrading a Connection Server, and there are a few extra steps that need to be taken to successfully complete the upgrade. 

Prior to upgrading Horizon, you will need to log into log into View Administrator and complete two tasks in the server section.  The first task is to set a pairing password that will be used when pairing the Security Server to a Connection Server.  The installer will ask for one when you do the upgrade.  This can be set under View Configuration –> Servers –> Connection Servers by highlighting the Connection Server that the Security Server is paired with and selecting More Commands –> Specify Security Server Pairing Password.

The other task that needs to be done before the upgrade is installed is to reset the IPSEC tunneling information.  VMware recommends using IPSEC for all communications between the Connection Server and Security Server.  The IPSEC security settings can be reset by going to View Configuration –> Servers –> Security Servers , selecting the Security Server, and going to More Commands –> Prepare to Upgrade or Reinstallation…

Once you’ve completed these two steps, you will need to log into the Security Server and run the installation package.  When you run the installer, you will be asked for the Connection Server that you’re pairing with and the pairing password.  You will also need to reconfirm the URLs and IPs that the security server uses.  You do not need to remove the existing Security Server before installing the upgrade – you can install it right on top of the existing Security Server instance.

Although it is not required, I prefer to reboot the server after the upgrade completes.

Horizon Agent Upgrade

Once all the server components have been upgraded, the Horizon Agent will need to be upgraded on all full clone desktops and templates, linked clone master images, and RDS servers. 

If you plan to do an upgrade of your ESXi hosts, there is a preferred upgrade order for VMware Tools and the Horizon Agent.  VMware Tools should be upgraded before the Horizon Agent.  If it is not done in that order, the VMware tools install will replace some drivers that the Horizon Agent installs, and you will have to reinstall or repair the Horizon Agent.

Horizon Client

The Horizon Client is usually the last item that gets updated in the environment.  The latest client should be downloaded from the VMware site or from the mobile device app store.

Clients aren’t necessarily tied to a specific version of Horizon.  The latest client can usually be used with an older version of Horizon.  The reverse isn’t always true, and improvements to the PCoIP protocol or other features may not be available when using an older client after an upgrade.

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