VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 1 connection server

With the recent update of the entire EUC suite from VMware I thought it would be a good time to revisit the install process for Horizon 6. Yes it used to be called VMware View, then it was Horizon View and now it’s just Horizon 6. Why? well because it is no longer just VDI. Horizon 6 is now a product that offers VDI, Application presentation and Hosted shared desktops both via RDS from Microsoft. This is a big advancement by VMware and welcomed by anyone that cares about EUC.

This is what drove me to revisit the install of Horizon. With these added features there will be many changes and I wanted to build a comprehensive post series that covers what it takes to get the product up and running.

Other posts in this Horizon series.

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 2 security server

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 3 SSL certificates

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 4 configuring RDS pool

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 5 setting up RDS desktops

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 6 setting up RDS applications

 

Installing the first connection server

Step 1: You will need to provision a Windows Server 2008R2 or 2012R2 server to install Horizon 6 onto. The product will definitely not install on the non-R2 versions of these, this comes from someone picking the wrong VM template the first time.

Step 2: If you have not already then you need to download the install files for Horizon 6. For this walkthrough you will only need the connection broker install file, but I would recommend you grab all the files that you will need for your build. This includes the View agents, GPO files and others.

Step 3: Copy the installer to the server that you will be using for the install and run the installer. The app starts with a familiar look the product version is shown in the lower left of the window letting us know its version 6.0.

horizon6-install-1

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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VMware announces Horizon 6 suite and my thoughts

Yesterday VMware introduced Horizon Suite 6 to the world. This was a surprise to many and a long time coming for others. For myself personally I am pretty excited about the news, I’ve been a critic of VMware for a long time now on their weak spots in the EUC space. You can read more about them in this post, I was candid and ruffled more than a few feathers. The good news is I am looking forward to being able to revisit that comparison this summer once the new features are out and I’ve had some time to work with them.

The number of updates are pretty long in this release and I will attempt to cover them all and add some color around many of the topics.

New Horizon Suite licensing

With the release of Horizon 6 VMware also announced some updates to the licensing options. There is the familiar Horizon View Standard option which is basically the old View Premier edition. It is a concurrent user (CCU) licensing model by default. There is now two Horizon Suite editions the Advanced and Enterprise.

The Horizon Advanced is very similar to the previous version of Horizon Suite licensing except for the following items. First the price has been lowed by $50 per named user which is nice. The second is a subtraction in that vCOPs for View is not included in this level. But the biggest addition is the availability to Application Virtualization, in this new license you are getting the new RDSH application presentation as part of View and Workspace. Oh and don’t forget the addition of VSAN as a storage option for desktops. I think this is a compelling package but will likely lean towards the Enterprise level with adds the Monitoring and automation features.

horizon6-licensing

Horizon 6 licensing

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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VMware updates Horizon Workspace to 1.5 what does that mean

Today VMware announced that it has updated Horizon Workspace to version 1.5 and it is available for immediate download. I have been waiting for this update for a bit now and was eagerly waiting to see what would be included in the update.

To keep things simple I have pasted the list of updates and new features below. After that I will offer my feedback on the ones that I feel are most important.

The following information describes some of the enhancements available in this release of Horizon Workspace:

  • Management of VMware® Ready™ Android Devices. Added Android container management for VMware Ready devices.
  • Oracle Support. Added Oracle and Oracle RAC as supported databases.
  • Unified Policies. Made changes to the policy framework for consistency and flexibility. Added a policy previewer.
  • Localized Support. Support for French, German, Japanese and Simplified Chinese localizations.
  • Change in VMware® ThinApp™ licensing tracking. Added per-device licensing support for ThinApp packages.
  • Customizable Getting Started Guide. A Word template with graphics that you can use to create a customized Horizon Workspace getting started guide to meet the unique needs of your end users. See the Getting Started ZIP file.
  • Numerous Bug Fixes. Improved the stability, performance, and scale of Horizon Workspace by implementing a variety of bug fixes.

 

Horizon Workspace Feedback

 

Management of Android Devices – This is VMware’s first official release of a mobile management offering. They have now gotten some of the cellular carries to sign up with their approach and are supporting a modest amount of popular Android phones. I’m glad to see this finally get released will have to get some extensive testing with the solution before I decided if I like the approach or not.

Oracle Support – This I am glad to see, now if they can bring SQL support more people will be happy. The initial Workspace release only support PostgreSQL databases. For production builds it is not recommended to use the local PostgreSQL database that is part of the virtual appliance, this meant customers would have to stand up their own database servers. Since most corporate customers do not typically use PostgreSQL this was a complaint that was commonly voiced.

Bug Fixes – I have not yet read through the bug fix list but being a 1.0 release there was room for improvement. Lets hope that the product continues to mature quickly.

 

What I still want to see from Horizon Workspace

 

As someone that is a big VMware supporter I am often one to complain when I feel that they are not hitting the mark on something. Below are a few things that I feel they need to improve or add to the Workspace offering.

XenApp integration – This is something that was talked about at VMworld 2012 and has yet to make it into the product a year later. This is the ability to take existing XenApp packaged applications and present them via the Workspace portal, to allow your users a single place to access their applications.

Application Presentation – Forget the XenApp integration, it is a nice to have, but I think the ability to present applications directly to an endpoint is a gaping hole in VMware’s offering. This was OK in the past but as both VMware and Citrix advance their EUC offerings this is killing VMware.

Mobile Management – Finally glad to see part of the mobile offering make it into the 1.5 release, but this is only a partial and immature offering. I am still unsure about how I feel about VMware trying to develop something this late in the mobile game. This puts them behind others in the market place and I’m not sure how fast they can improve their offering to close the gaps.

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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My VMware Horizon Suite presentation from Chicago VMUG June 2013

On June 5, 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to present a session at the Chicago VMUG meeting. There was a very good turn out for the meeting. Around 180 users registered and around 100 people in the room for the presentations. I was asked to present a session on VMware Horizon Suite, the End User Computing (EUC) offering that is getting a ton of press from VMware and media. This is right up my alley as I work as an Architect for a Ahead VMware partner in Chicago and Horizon is on fire as of late. There have been a large number of requests for briefings and consulting services in this space since Horizon was announced.

During the session I focused on the separate parts that make up the Horizon Suite and what was new with each of the products. Since most people are pretty familiar with at least the base functions of View the sessions mostly covered what cool things View 5.2 brings to the table. The Mirage and Workspace parts of the presentation focused more on educating people in whole about the products since these are either new products or not widely understood by most customers. The session prompted some great questions from the audience which is always a good sign that people are listening and interested.

Later in the day myself, Chris Wahl, Eric Shanks and Nimble storage sat on a panel that took open questions from the audience. During this session there was a large amount of interest in the Horizon Suite which lead to more great questions from the attendees. Overall the VMUG meeting was a great day and I enjoy helping the the Chicago VMUG and when available its always fun to present a session.

You can view my presentation from the session by grabbing a PDF version from here.

If you want to learn more about the Chicago VMUG or find out about meetings or connect with the leaders visit the Chicago VMUG Blog.

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Things VMware Horizon Suite needs to improve on and you should be aware of

After working with VMware Horizon Suite for the past couple of months I have found a number of items that I was kind of surprised or bummed to find out. So I am putting together a list of things that people should be aware of and a few things that I hope get updated in the next release.

Also I would like to offer help on future releases with shaking out some of these issues. Myself and teammates have seen a bunch of installs in EUC space and can offer some great feedback. I have participated in many VMware Beta programs, but I think by the Beta stage they are only going to fix major issues. Some of these items make me thing that some of these teams don’t work with end users much.

Things to be aware of:

  1. App viability in workspace port. The workspace portal looks at the device your are using and will present apps that your device is capable of running. This makes sense, so it won’t show mobile apps to my Macbook and won’t show it ThinApps either. Now the confusing part is if I’m on a Windows desktop and look at the Workspace portal to view my applications, it will not show me the ThinApps assigned to me unless I have the workspace agent installed. So if I want to look from my laptop rather than my View desktop it looks like I have no apps assigned. While I can see that they are probably not showing them since I wont be able to launch them. But it does confuse users.
  2. When looking at the desktop pools you are entitled to in workspace the default behavior when clicking on a pool is to launch the desktop via the Blast protocol. To get the option to connect with PCoIP and a better user experience the user must right click the pool icon and choose connect with View client. This is not clear to users and they are just going to connect using Blast and this will cause support requests. The behavior should be reversed or prompt people to choose when clicking on the pool.
  3. Once you fully link Workspace and View with SAML you loose the ability to open the View client and connect directly to a desktop. You must authenticate with workspace and then open desktop from there. This one is more of a heads up, but I kind of expected to still be able to open the View client directly and that it would authenticate with workspace or view directly.

Things to improve on:

  1. There is almost no documentation on setting up workspace SSO with SaaS based applications. I know the product is pretty new and the community has not had time to generate the helpful content that many have grown to rely on. But it would be helpful if VMware would have generated guides on how to setup all or some of the SaaS apps that are in the supported list. (Update) You can find some of this information if you go back to the Horizon Application Manager 1.5 documentation for the previous product.
  2. The process to replace the default security certificates for the vApp is not documented. When replacing them so that we were not using the default certs, one of the team members had to rely on past experiences and had to dig through old 2011 forum posts to find the password to the keystore in the appliance to get the cert loaded. This is something that is increasingly important due to all the web based consoles on VMware products.

Overall I am very impressed with the Horizon suite of products from VMware. I think having them in a suite for licensing and integration is great and hope they continue to improve them quickly. I do have high expectations for VMware and get disappointed when things do not live up to them.

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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My wishlist for a VMware EUC suite to be created

After talking to a number of customers about the vCloud suite lately and my normal EUC projects I have come to the conclusion that I would like to see VMware offer a Suite of products around their desktop related offerings. I think that this would be desirable for many reasons.

Would be great to see VMware offer the ability within a suite of offering per socket licensing for these EUC products. This would allow companies to design their View deployments to scale very dense helping reduce the licensing costs. I’m sure there will be resistance to this type of licensing since many of these products lend themselves to a per user type of cost.

I have compiled a list of products below that could be offered in two different EUC Suites. The Standard Suite offering customers the ability to implement solid VDI designs with the Enterprise Suite offering customers the ability to utilize the pending full suite of VMware desktop offerings.

VMware EUC Enterprise Suite

  • VMware View Premier
  • vCOps for View
  • Horizon Suite (Application Manager, Data and Mobile)
  • Mirage

VMware EUC Standard Suite

  • VMware View Premier
  • vCOps for View
  • Horizon Application Manager

 

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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