Horizon View – How to create a Manual Desktop Pool

This is the most simple of pools that you can create. It requires a Desktop VM that has the Horizon view agent installed. It doesn’t really matter if its Windows or Linux as long as the Desktops are built and ready to go.

Before anybody asks, there are a few legitimate reasons that you’d want to have a manual pool. The most obvious be that the company security policy is that all Desktops need to be deployed from a central location such as a RedHat satellite server.

  1. Connect to your View Connection Server https://<connection_server>/admin with an account that has administrator permission.
  2. Expand Category and select Desktop Pools.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Select Manual Desktop Pool and click Next.
  5. Select Dedicated . Its up to you whether you select Enable Automatic Assignment. All it does is automatically assign a user to a free desktop, which will be a permanent assignment. Click Next.
  6. Select vCenter virtual machines. Click Next.
  7. Select your vCenter and clict Next.
  8. Fill in a name for the ID and a Display name. While you can change the display name, teh ID name won’t change. 
  9. In this page there a quite a lot of options you can configure, I’ll break them down in a later post but for now select HTML Access as this will allow us to connect to the desktop using a browser and click Next
  10. Select the VM’s you’d like to add to the pool, click Add and click Next.
  11. Click Next
  12.  Select Entitle Users After this wizard Finishes to add users. `This will allow you to add users after the wizard finishes. Not necessary but a bit of a time saver. Click Finish.
  13.  Once you’ve finished the New Pool wizard the entitlements wizard opens if you’ve selected it in the previous step. Click Add.
  14. In the Name/User name box type the name of the group or user you’d like to add and click find. Once it appears, select it and click OK. In production environments you’d usually add an AD group rather than an individual user. This allows for greater flexibility and monitoring.
  15. To entitle other groups or users click add or if you are finished click close.

Testing our new pool.

  1. Log out of your Connection server and connect back to the server but this time without the /admin. just https://connection_server; Log back in as a regular user that is entitled to the Desktop pool
  2.  Click VMware Horizon HTML Access.
  3.  Enter in your username and password, and click Login. 
  4.  Select the pool you created earlier. In my case I called it Manual_01. 
  5.  If everything went according to plan you’ll now have access to your VM.  

Troubleshooting:

  • If you experience issues connecting via the web interface go back and have a look at step 9, did you tick the box to enable HTML access?
  • Can you connect using the full client?
  • Check the firewall on the Desktop OS. The agent on the desktop needs to speak to the connection server on port 4001.
  • Is the View agent installed?

We’ve created a very basic pool. Next few posts will look whats needed to create an automated Desktop pool using both Windows and Linux. We’ll also look at optimizing the Widows Desktop, including various design and storage considerations,  As well as discussing the various options available in the Desktop Pool wizard.

Horizon View – How to install the Linux Desktop agent.

In the previous post we looked at joining the Linux desktop to an Active Directory domain. While its not necessary for Linux desktop to be domain members I feel it should be done if a domain is available.

As before we’ll be focusing on two business ready distro’s; Centos 7.X (RHEL) and Ubuntu 18.04 (LTS). We’ll get the correct dependencies setup, and the agents installed.

To begin I have deployed CentOS 7, with a GUI (Gnome) and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. VM’s. Both VM’s are fully patched and running the latest available official kernels as of 16/11/18. A local user has been created during install time called viewuser01. The VM’s are called centosdt-01 and ubuntudt-01 respectively. Static IP’s have been assigned. Ubuntu is running the GNOME desktop and CentOS is running KDE.

In addition I would recommend you go and take a look at this page System Requirements For Horizon 7 for Linux.

Ubuntu:

Only certain desktop environments are supported in Ubuntu and unity is not one of them. VMware have written a kb detailing how to change the desktop in Ubuntu:  KB2151294.  Since I’m using 18.04 LTS its not an issue as the default desktop is Gnome.

  1. Open a terminal and run the following to update and install dependencies. Note that you’ll be asked to choose a display manager, choose lightdm:
  2.  sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get -y upgrade
    sudo apt-get -y install open-vm-tools python python-dbus python-gobject lightdm 
  3. Reboot (might not be strictly necessary but if there is a kernel update its a good idea),
  4. Download or copy across the VMware Linux agent. (Currently VMware-horizonagent-linux-x86_64-7.6.0-9857537.tar.gz)
  5. Open a terminal and locate the downloaded agent. Usually in /home/<user>/Downloads/.
  6. Unpack the file.
  7.  tar zxvf VMware-horizonagent-linux-x86_64-7.6.0-9857537.tar.gz 
  8. Change into the unpacked directory
  9.  cd VMware-horizonagent-linux-x86_64-7.6.0-9857537 
  10. Run the installer, type y to accept the EULA
  11.  sudo sh ./install_viewagent.sh 
  12. Reboot your VM
 sudo reboot 

Ubuntu is configured and ready to go.

CentOS:

It’s usually easier to get dependancies resolved in CentOS and CentOS is “aware” its running as a VM and will usually have the open VMtools installed.

  1. Open a terminal, switch to root and run the following to update and install dependencies.
  2.  yum -y update
    yum -y install glibc
  3. Reboot (might not be strictly necessary but if there is a kernel update its a good idea),
  4. Download or copy across the VMware Linux agent. (Currently VMware-horizonagent-linux-x86_64-7.6.0-9857537.tar.gz)
  5. Open a terminal and locate the downloaded agent. Usually in /home/<user>/Downloads/.
  6. Unpack the file.
  7.  tar zxvf VMware-horizonagent-linux-x86_64-7.6.0-9857537.tar.gz 
  8. Change into the unpacked directory
  9.  cd VMware-horizonagent-linux-x86_64-7.6.0-9857537 
  10. Run the installer, type y to accept the EULA
  11.  sh ./install_viewagent.sh 
  12. Add a Firewall rule so that the agent can talk to the Connection server
  13.  firewall-cmd --add-port=4001/tcp --permanent
  14. Reboot your VM
  15. reboot 

    CentOS is configured and ready to go.

VCP-DTM 2018 Exam and My Studies 2V0-51.18

One of the reasons I’ve been a bit lax posing new content is that I’ve busy spending my free time (what little of it there is) studying for the VCP-DTM exam, the 2V0-51.18 to be exact. VCP-DTM is the certification. I’ve been involved in a View deployment at work and  since I’ve been working with the tech a fair bit over the last few months I though “why not?”.

There are three exams currently offered for Horizon View:

  • 2VO 51.18 – VCP-DTM 2018
  • 2V0-751 – VCP7-DTM
  • 2V0-651 – VCP6-DTM

The 2VO 51.18 is the latest and fits into VMware’s new Certification naming. There is a bit of a write up about it here.

The main notable difference between the 751 and 51.18 exams is that the requirement for Mirage is missing from the latter and the exam preparation guide clearly states that it is focused on Horizon View 7.5 and related products. So get the preparation guide and use that as your base to get going.

Studying – The Lab:

So first and foremost was my trusty lab. I am fortunate enough to have a fairly beefy workstation with 64GB RAM, running ESXi. This allowed me to run quite a few infrastructure VM’s and 4 or 5 desktops. While a machine of this spec isn’t strictly necessary, you will need a lab of some kind.

When you start looking at whats needed it can look like a lot of infra is needed but it doesn’t all need to be running at the same time. You can get away with only one running desktop as you test the different deployment types. The Composer server is more than happy to run on the same VM as the SQL Express install and once the VCSA is deployed you can shave off some of the RAM. vROPS, Identity Manager, App Volumes and User Manager don’t need to be up and running all the time or even together. If this is internal, turn off the UAG as soon as you’re done with it.

Much of this can be run in VMware workstation but you will need an ESXi server at some stage to deploy desktops onto.

Study – The Hands on Labs.

This resource from VMware is amazing. Its also free. Some of the Horizon Requirements I wasn’t familiar with at all, so this helped. I went in and did a search for Horizon 7.1 and did them inline with the Official Study guide. “HOL-1951-01-VWS – VMware Workspace ONE – Getting Started” isn’t strictly needed (but still worth doing) but I would strongly recommend the first two modules of “HOL-1951-03-VWS – VMware Workspace ONE – Advanced Topics” as it covers “Identity Manager”.

Studying – The Videos:

The most popular videos are the ones Greg Shields has created on Plural sight called VMware Horizon 7 Desktop and Mobility (VCP7-DTM). These are well presented and you can follow along in your Lab and have been collected into a learning path.

There are also a bunch on the official VMware YouTube channel which are worth watching.

While attending a class is a great experience, I do often prefer video study. I can work at my own pace, jump back and forwards as it suits me.

Studying – Reading Material:

To be honest I didn’t find any really up-to-date books on 7.5, which was a bit disappointing.

It was mostly going through the official material and blogs. The release notes and Architecture Planning Docs I found good, and I bounced quite a lot from these into the other official documentation

This blog post on the network ports is quite interesting too.

A very notable blog (much better than is one) is by Carl Stalhood over at www.carlstalhood.com. Its really well formatted and kept current.

The Exam Experience:

The exam itself is 59 questions over 105 minutes. Its not easy, I give it that.

I arrived just in time and after the usual round of stuffing my stuff into lockers, form signing, photos, and checking of pockets, was rushed through into the exam room. 59 questions later (several of those flagged) and I got the popup stating that I’d passed. I don’t particularly enjoy sitting for tests but I really enjoy that moment.

Exam tips:

Arrive about 15 minutes early and bring photo ID. First and foremost, nobody is out to trick you, but you are being tested to a high standard. Always make sure you read the questions carefully and in full. The questions are usually always clear and concise, and even if you don’t know the answer you can sometimes work out what what answer is not. It’s easy to get rattled during any kind of test, if you are not sure of your answer mark it for review and come back to it once you’ve gotten to the end.

If you decide to go for this exam, good luck!

Horizon View Connection Server – Install and basic setup 2/2.

Got the install done and now on to the setup. We’re going to look at doing 4 bits of config and 1 check:

  1. Check the certificate is recognised.
  2. Licensing your install
  3. Connecting to a vSphere server.
  4. Configuring the events Database
  5. Adding a syslog server.

Before you begin any of the below login to your Connection server https://<full_server_name>/

 

Licensing your install

  1. On the right hand panel labelled Inventory.
    1. Expand View Configuration.
    2. Select Product Licensing and Usage
    3. Click Edit License…
  2. Enter in your serial number and click OK.
  3. Your license info should now be shown.

Configuring the events DB

  1. On the right hand panel labelled Inventory.
    1. Expand View Configuration.
    2. Select Event Configuration
    3. Click Edit…
  2. To see how to create the events database here is a previous post where we looked at creating the events database using SQL Express. Fill in the details that you used to create the database.
  3. If the connection is successful you’ll see the following:

 

Connecting to the vCentre Server Server

  1. On the right hand panel labelled Inventory.
    1. Expand View Configuration.
    2. Select Servers.
    3. Click Add…
  2. Enter in the details of the VCSA and a user that has the correct privileges. For most medium sized deployments the default Advenced Settings will be fine. Generally speaking you need to determine how much connection traffic your environment will receive and how the storage will cope.
  3. This warning will pop up if you are using the default certificates generated by the VCSA. Click View Certificate…
  4. Click Accept…
  5. Select Do not use View Composer (we’ll do this later) and click Next.
  6. Select Reclaim VM disk space and Enable View Storage Accelerator and click Next. Changing the Default host cache size can help with storage acceleration but will take the memory away from the host that it dedicates to VM’s and use it for storage caching.
  7. A final check your selected options, if all looks good click finish.
  8. If the connection is established successfully then you see the VCSA added to the vCenter Servers tab.

So now we’re configured and ready to go, except for the vRealise and Log Insight server which well add as we build them out. The next post will look at installing the bits needed for connecting to a Windows Desktop as well as putting together the first pool.

Horizon View Connection Server – Install and basic setup 1/2.

Apologies to the three people who read this blog regularly,  The last month has been very busy.

So far we have configured a Root CA, and imported a certificate into what will become our first connection server, and a setup a SQL database. Now we are ready to install and do a basic setup our first connection server.

Installing the Horizon View Connection server.

  1. Connect to the server you will be using as your connection server.
  2. Copy across the installer and double click to run.
  3. Click Yes. To accept the UAC warning.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select “I accept the terms in the license agreement” and click Next.
  6. Here you can change the installation location if you prefer. Click Next.
  7. On the Installation Options window:
    1. Select Horizon 7 Standard Server as the install.
    2. Select  “Install HTML Access”, this is technically not necessary but I would recommend it.
    3. Select the IP protocol you use. IPv4 would be the most common I expect
    4. Click Next.
  8. Enter in a password for Data Recovery and a hint if you prefer. Click Next.
  9. Select whichever is appropriate for your environment, bearing in mind that most companies will have the servers firewall controlled via GPO. So check with your Windows and Security guys. In this case I want the firewall of this server to be configured automatically. Click Next.
  10. Select whether you’d like the local Administrators Group to have Admin rights to view. This can be changed later but I generally prefer not to from the start. Click Next
  11. Choose whether you want to join the VMware Customer Experience Program or not. If your company policy allows it I would recommend you do. Click Next.
  12. Click Install.
  13. Once the installer is done, click Finish.

Now we have the Horizon View Connection Server installed which can be verified by going to http://<your_full_server_address>/admin.

In part 2 we’ll get the basic config done. Adding a vCenter server, connecting to the events DB and licensing your install.

 

Preparing for Horizon View – Connection Server Certificate.

Doing a straight forward install of the connection server is fairly easy. its mostly next-next-next. However since we are trying to do this deployment as close to prod as possible we want to get a certificate installed from the root CA we setup in an earlier post.

Post deployment task- Certificate install.

The instructions below are to be run on server you’re intending to install the Horizon view connection server on.

  1. Click on the windows icon, type mmc and select it to start the mmc.
  2. Accept the security warning.
  3. Click file then Add/Remove Snap-in.
  4. Select Certificates -> Add -> OK.
  5.  Select Computer Account -> Next.
  6. Select Local Computer -> Finish.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Expand Certificates, Right Click on Personal -> All Tasks -> Request New Certificate…
  9. Click Next.
  10. Highlight Active Directory Enrolment Policy and click Next.
  11. Check Computer, expand the Details and click Properties.
  12. Type vdm in Friendly name  and select Private Key.
  13. Expand  Key Options and select Make private key exportable. Select Certification Authority.
  14. Make sure the correct certificate authority is chosen anf click Apply.
  15. Click Enroll.
  16. Once the certificate has been issued click Finish.

Once the certificate has been installed you’ll see a new folder under Personal called Certificates. In there you’ll find the certificate issued by the root CA.

Preparing for Horizon View – If using SQLExpress

Quick Post

As a database SQL Express is pretty good. It has size restrictions built in but it is a full working MSSQL database engine and works quite well with Horizon View, although not supported at all.

To be able to connect to it from another server, one running the Horizon View connection server for example, you’ll need to enable TCP connections.

  1. Start the SQL Server Configuration Manager.
  2. Click yes
  3. Expand SQL Server Network Configuration, Select Protocals for SQLEXPRESS, Right click Enable. Once the status reads enabled, right click again and select Properties.
  4. In the entry for the IP address of the server switch Active to Yes.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the window and under IPALL set the TCP Port to 1433.
  6. Restart the Server

This and allowing incoming connections through the firewall got me connected and using the events logging in the Horizon View Connection Server.

Preparing for Horizon View – Setting up the Database – 2 of 2

Part of this Horizon view deployment will be to have the connection server logging its events and a configured view composer server. For this we’ll need two databases.

While I am working with the Express version of MSSQL, the following steps will also apply to other versions of MSSQL (excluding the Linux version). In a production environment you definitively will want to run either standard or enterprise. There is also the developer edition, which is a full featured version for testing and development only.

One quick change before we begin:

  1. Start the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.
  2. Select Connect to login.
  3. Right click the server name and select Properties.
  4. Select Security and change the Authentication mode to SQL Server and Windows Authentication Mode and click OK.
  5. Click OK. While you can restart the service to get the new security changes to apply, I usually just reboot the server.

 

Setting up the Horizon View Events Database and creating the user.

  1. Start the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.
  2. Select Connect to login.
  3. Expand the instance, right click on Database and select New Database…
  4. Give the database a name. I chose ViewEvent.
  5. Select Options and make sure the options match the attachment below and click OK.
  6. Expend Security, right click Logins, and select New Login…
  7. Type in  a name for your user (I used ViewEvent). Select SQL Server authentication and type in a password. Unselect Enforce password policy. Change the Default database to ViewEvent or whatever you named you database in step 4.
  8. Select User Mapping. Select the database you created above and in the bottom pane select db_owner.
  9. Click OK and we’ve successfully created the Events database and user. Now onto the composer DB.

 

Setting up the Horizon View Composer Database and creating the user.

  1. Start the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.
  2. Select Connect to login.
  3. Expand the instance, right click on Database and select New Database…
  4. Give the database a name. I chose ViewComposer.
  5. Select Options and make sure the options match the attachment below and click OK.
  6. Expend Security, right click Logins, and select New Login…
  7. Type in  a name for your user (I used viewcomp). Select SQL Server authentication and type in a password. Unselect Enforce password policy. Change the Default database to ViewComp or whatever you named you database in step 4.
  8. Select User Mapping. Select the database you created above and in the bottom pane select db_owner.
  9. Click OK and we’ve successfully created the Composer database and user.

In this part we’ve created the two main DB’s we’ll need for view. So just something to note. In this setup I have used SQL accounts for the databases however in most prod environments that would most likely be heavily discouraged. If you do choose to go down the domain account route then you don’t need to change the authentication mode.