VMware Horizon 7 Series – Part 2 – Horizon Composer

For who is approaching Horizion for the first time, it’s important to know that Horizon View provides a great desktop pool feature known as linked-clone desktops: in short a linked-clone is small efficient desktop made from a snapshot of a parent VM known as a gold image. All the files and software on the gold image at the point of a snapshot are available on each linked-clone desktop at a fraction of the size of a full desktop image. Changes made the gold image do not affect the linked-clones unless a new snapshot is taken and the linked-clone desktops are recomposed.

To provide this function a Composer server is required, this provides the automation and database required to deploy linked-clone desktop pools. Its worth noting that starting from Horizon 7 instant-clone desktop pools are available with the correct Horizon View license which doesn’t require a Composer Server.

The following post will illustrate the deployment steps for Horizon Composer

Database Connection

The Composer Server requires a database, see the documentation for what databases are supported. I am using a remote SQL Server 2012 instance. First create a new database and add a logon account. I set up a Windows service account in AD and added that as the owner of the database.

  1. Create a new ODBC connection and point to the relevant SQL instance. Remember to install SQL native client.
  2. On the System DSN tab, click Add h7comp00
  3. Enter the name ViewComposer for the DSN and enter the SQL server name. Click Nex h7comp01
  4. I am logged in as the service account so I will be using Windows Authentication h7comp02
  5. Change the default database to the newly created composer database and complete the wizard h7comp03
  6. Test the connection and hopefully it should connect successfully.

Composer setup

Don’t install on Horizon Connection Server: View Composer cannot be installed on the Horizon Connection Server. They must be separate machines. View Composer is typically installed on vCenter server if less than 1,000 linked clones.

Extra Memory for vCenter: If you install View Composer on a vCenter server, VMware recommends adding 8 GB of RAM to the server.

vCenter Service Account: if you install View Composer on a vCenter server, login as the same account that was used to install vCenter.

Internet access for CRL checking: If the View Composer server does not have Internet access, see VMware 2081888 Installing Horizon View Composer fails with the error: Error 1920 Service VMware Horizon View Composer (svid) failed to start

If you will install View Composer on a standalone server (not on vCenter), Horizon 7 Connection Server will need a service account with administrator permissions on the View Composer server. Add your View Composer Service Account to the local Administrators group.

  1. Run VMware-viewcomposer-7.0.1.exe
  2. In the Welcome to the Installation Wizard for VMware Horizon 7 Composer page, click Nexth7comp05
  3. In the License Agreement page, select I accept the terms and click Nexth7comp06
  4. In the Destination Folder page, click Next h7comp07
  5. In the Database Information page, enter the name of the ODBC DSN. h7comp08
  6. Choose the SOAP port and leave the certificates for now; I will show you how to change them at the end. You can install the certificate now and the installer will use the one you install or change it post deployment h7comp09
  7. In the Ready to Install the Program page, click Install h7comp10
  8. In the Installer Completed page, click Finishh7comp11
  9. Click Yes when asked to restart the computer.h7comp12

Replacing Composer Certificate

  1. Stop the VMware Horizon 7 Composer service.
  2. Open the MMC Certificates snap-in. Open your Certificate Authority-signed certificate and on the Detailstab note the Thumbprint.
  3. Run an elevated Command Prompt
  4. Go to the directory to C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware View Composer.
  5. Run the following command: sviconfig -operation=ReplaceCertificate -Delete=false
  6. Select your Certificate Authority-signed certificate. Use the thumbprint to verify h7comp13
  7. Start the VMware Horizon 7 Composer service



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