The Horizon series took a hiatus over the last few weeks so I could prepare for VMworld. If you haven’t done so, you can check out the VMworld content at in the VMworld Content library. I highly recommend you do – there is a lot of good Horizon content in there.
We’re going to pick up right where we left off after Part 7 and start configuring our deployed connection servers.
Now that the Connection Server has been set up, it’s time to configure to work with vCenter to provision and manage desktops and RDSH servers.
Logging into the Horizon Administrator
Before anything can be configured, though, we need to first log into the Horizon Administrator management interface. Horizon now uses an HTML5-based management interface, so it can be accessed from any modern web browser.
Prior to Horizon 2006, the main interface was built on Adobe Flex, which required Adobe Flash to be installed on any machine that you planned to use to administer Horizon. The HTML5 interface was introduced during the Horizon 7 lifecycle, and it reached feature parity within the last year.
In Horizon 2006, the Flash-based console has been removed, and the HTML5 console is now the only administrator console. This makes it easier to perform administrative tasks in Horizon as you don’t need to install Flash or jump through hoops to get it temporarily enabled for a website.
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.
4. After you log in, you will be prompted for a license key.
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 desktops or published applications after they are provisioned. You can add or change a license key later under View Configuration –> Product Licensing and Usage. If you are using Horizon Universal or Horizon Subscription license, you will not have a license key. Licensing is handled by a cloud service through the Cloud Connector appliance.
5. Click Edit License. Paste your license key from the MyVMware site into the license key box and click OK.
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.
Configuring Horizon for the First Time
Once you’ve logged in and configured your license, you can start setting up the Horizon environment. In this step, the Connection Server will be configured to talk to vCenter and Composer.
1. Expand View Configuration and select Servers.
2. Select the vCenter Servers tab and select Add…
3, Enter your vCenter server information. The service account that you use in this section should be the vCenter Service Account that you created in Part 6. Do not change anything in the Advanced Settings section.
Note: If you are using vCenter 5.5 or later, the username should be entered in User Principal Name format – username@fqdn.
4. If you have not updated the certificates on your vCenter Server, you will receive an Invalid Certificate Warning. Click View Certificate to view and accept the certificate.
Note: Old screenshot.
Note: Steps 5-8 refers to Horizon Composer. Composer is deprecated in Horizon 2006, and it will be removed in a future version. It is mainly here to support migrations from Horizon 7 to Horizon 8. If you are starting a new project, please use Instant Clones instead of Composer and Linked Clones, and do not configure Composer when integrating Horizon with vCenter.
These steps are included for completeness, and they may be required in some instances where you are adding a new vCenter to an existing environment. I will be using old screenshots for this section.
5. Select the View Composer option that you plan to use with this vCenter. The options are:
A. Do not use View Composer – View Composer and Linked Clones will not be available for desktop pools that use this vCenter.
B. View Composer is co-installed with vCenter Server – View Composer is installed on the vCenter Server, and the vCenter Server credentials entered on the previous screen will be used for connecting. This option is only available with the Windows vCenter Server. (Note: This option should not be used as vCenter is now distributed as a virtual appliance and Composer runs on Windows Server.)
C. Standalone View Composer Server – View Composer is installed on a standalone Windows Server, and credentials will be required to connect to the Composer instance. This option will work with both the Windows vCenter Server and the vCenter Server virtual appliance.
Note: The account credentials used to connect to the View Composer server must have local administrator rights on the machine where Composer is installed. If they account does not have local administrator rights, you will get an error that you cannot connect.
6. If Composer is using an untrusted SSL certificate, you will receive a prompt that the certificate is invalid. Click View Certificate and then accept.
For more information on installing a trusted certificate on your Composer server, please see Part 5.
7. The next step is to set up the Active Directory domains that Composer will connect to when provisioning desktops. Click Add to add a new domain.
8. Enter the domain name, user account with rights to Active Directory, and the password and click OK. The user account used for this step should be the account that was set up in Part 6.
Once all the domains have been added, click Next to continue.
9. The next step is to configure the advanced storage settings used by Horizon. The two options to select on this screen are:
- Reclaim VM Disk Space – Allows Horizon to reclaim disk space allocated to linked-clone virtual machines.
- Enable View Storage Accelerator – View Storage Accelerator is a RAMDISK cache that can be used to offload some storage requests to the local system. Regenerating the cache can impact IO operations on the storage array, and maintenance blackout windows can be configured to avoid a long train of witnesses. The max cache size is 2GB.
After you have made your selections, click Next to continue.
10. Review the settings and click finish.
Configuring the Horizon Events Database
The last thing that we need to configure is the Horizon 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.
Part 6 described the steps for creating the database and the database user account.
1. In the View Configuration section, select Event Configuration.
2. In the Event Database section, click Edit.
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
- Database name
- Table Prefix (not needed unless you have multiple Connection Server environments that use the same events database – IE large “pod” environments)
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 an error that the server is not reachable.
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.
6. To edit the event retention settings, click Edit. Select the length of time that you want events to be shown in View Administrator and classified as new. Then click OK for the change to take effect.
After completing these steps, your Horizon environment should be licensed, connected to your vCenter, and the event database should be configured. At this point, you are ready to create your parent image and deploy your first desktop pool. We’ll cover those steps in the next post.