In previous posts of this series, we have discussed the role of the Horizon View Connection Server as well as the Horizon View Composer Server. Each plays a key role in being able to provision a VMware Horizon virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in its simplest form. We need the Connection Server to serve the purpose of being able to broker connections from the end users coming into the VDI as well as make connections to the VMware vSphere vCenter Server infrastructure.
The Horizon View Composer Server is the component that allows us to take advantage of the latest cloning technologies including the linked clone desktops and the new instant clones. Now let's take a look at making the vCenter Server connections and provisioning our first desktop pool for connecting end users to the Horizon VDI infrastructure.
The first step to creating a Horizon View Desktop Pool is configuring the connection to vCenter Server. Let's look at the configuration process in making the connection via vCenter to the VMware vSphere infrastructure.
After logging into the Horizon Administrator console, we need to navigate to the View Configuration > Servers configuration page. On the vCenter Servers tab, click the Add… button to begin the Add vCenter Server connection wizard.
On the VC Information screen, we enter in the details of the vCenter server address as well as credentials to connect to vCenter. There are also configurables in the Advanced Settings section for setting operational limits on concurrent operations and so on.
After hitting Next on the VC Information screen, if using a self-signed certificate in vCenter, it will present you with the Invalid Certificate Detected dialog box. Click the View Certificate button to view the thumbprint on the certificate. You have to click the button to get the option to accept the certificate.
The certificate displays on the Certificate Information screen. Click the Accept button.
On the next configuration screen, View Composer, we can configure View Composer Settings. View Composer is the Horizon component that allows using the newest cloning technology such as linked clones and instant clones. This configures the vCenter connection to be aware of and use Horizon Composer.
With Horizon Composer, if we are using the self-signed default certificate, we will see the Invalid Certificate Detected dialog box as we saw making the connection to vCenter. Click the View Certificate button to display the certificate fingerprint to accept.
Click the Accept button on the Certificate Information screen.
On the View Composer Domains screen, you have the ability to add View Composer domains. Using View Composer gives you the ability to add computer accounts for linked-clone machines in Active Directory automatically with the cloning process. Adding the Composer domains on this screen makes the connection with your Microsoft Active Directory infrastructure.
When you click Add, it brings up the Add Domain dialog box. Enter the fully qualified domain name as well as credentials to connect to Active Directory. The user making the connection needs the Create Computer Objects, Delete Computer Objects, and Write All Properties permissions.
After entering the credentials, you will see the Active Directory domain added to the list of View Composer domains.
Next, we configure the Storage settings of the vCenter connection. There are a couple of checkboxes on this screen to make note of.
- Reclaim VM disk space: Starting with vSphere 5.x and higher, you can configure virtual machines to use a space-efficient disk format that supports reclamation of unused disk space. As noted, this option reclaims unused disk space on each virtual machine and uses a threshold to initiate the space-reclamation process.
- Enable View Storage Accelerator: You can configure ESXi hosts to cache virtual machine disk data, which improves performance during I/O storms such as when many machines power on and run anti-virus scans at once. Hosts read the common data blocks from caches instead of reading the OS from disks.
After configuring the Storage settings, we make it to the Ready to Complete screen. Make sure to review the information on the screen and go back to correct any issues before completing the configuration.
After clicking Finish, you will see the vCenter Server listed on your vCenter Servers configuration screen.
There are several configuration items involved with integrating VMware Horizon servers into an existing vSphere environment. As shown in the post, the process to connect VMware Horizon to vCenter Server is fairly straightforward. We should make note of a few configuration items including Horizon Composer configuration as well as composer domains.
Additionally, storage acceleration and space reclamation are items we can use to tweak the performance of the underlying Horizon storage subsystem. Once we have the connection to vCenter Server in place along with a "gold image" workstation in general terms, we are ready to begin creating and configuring Horizon desktop pools.