A key part of the VMware Horizon View infrastructure is the Connection Server. Learn about the requirements and how to install Connection Server.

The Connection Server brokers connections from the end users coming in from the Horizon View Client to the backend virtual machines (VMs) in the connection pools. The connection server provides the portal where you can configure the desktop pools, vCenter Server connection, Composer Server connection, Remote Desktop Server (RDS) farms, policies, monitoring, ThinApp configuration, and other components. What are the steps involved in installing and configuring the VMware Horizon View Connection Server?

Requirements ^

The first thing we want to look at before installing the View Connection Server is the documented requirements from VMware. We can break down the requirements for VMware Horizon View into the following prerequisites:

  • Hardware requirements
  • Supported operating systems
  • Software requirements
  • Network requirements for replicas

Hardware requirements

You can meet the server hardware requirements by installing VMware Horizon View Connection Server on either physical hardware or on a VM that meets specific hardware requirements as follows for Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit, Windows Server 2012 R2 64-bit, or Windows Server 2016 64-bit:

  • At least a Pentium 4 2.0 GHz processor or higher (4 CPUs/vCPUs recommended)
  • At least a 100 Mpbs network interface card (NIC), with a 1 Gbps NIC recommended
  • 4 GB RAM or higher, with at least 10 GB RAM for more than 50 desktops

Supported operating systems ^

VMware Horizon View supports the following server operating systems for installation:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit with SP1 (Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter)
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 64-bit (Standard or Datacenter)
  • Windows Server 2016 64-bit (Standard or Datacenter)

Error received after launching the Connection Server installer on an unsupported OS

Software requirements ^

VMware has a great tool to verify its product interoperability and check system requirements called the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.

For example, searching for "VMware Horizon 7," "7.3.0" as the Solution and choosing "VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)" as the Platform/Solution yields the following results. This screen shows the specific ESXi versions compatible with Horizon 7.3.0.

VMware product interoperability matrix

VMware product interoperability matrix

Network requirements for replicas ^

You can configure VMware Horizon View Connection Servers with "replica" servers that in the end are exact copies of the Connection Server. Typically, the network requirements for Horizon Connection Servers include connecting the servers or replicas with a high-speed LAN connection between them, usually 1 Gbps or higher. Latency between the servers can cause issues with connectivity, replication, and so on.

VMware has a provision for replicating Connection Server instances over a WAN by using what they call a Cloud Pod Architecture. Using the Cloud Pod Architecture, you can link 25 pods to provide a geographically spanned desktop brokering and management environment.

Installation ^

After provisioning a supported platform and operating system for the Horizon View Connection Server installation, we are ready to pull down its install file. The setup file is a lightweight download of around 233 MB for Horizon View 7.3 Connection Server.

Downloading the Connection Server installation from VMware

Downloading the Connection Server installation from VMware

The installation itself is a very straightforward "Next, Next, Finish" process with a couple of items to pay attention to.

Horizon View Connection Server installation wizard

Horizon View Connection Server installation wizard

Accept the end-user license agreement (EULA) to move forward.

EULA acceptance

EULA acceptance

Next, select the destination folder for the installation binaries. Most will be fine keeping the default installation directory.

VMware Horizon 7 Connection Server installation directory

VMware Horizon 7 Connection Server installation directory

On the installation options screen, there are a few things to make note of here. If this is the first Connection Server in the environment, make sure to choose the Horizon 7 Standard Server. Also, you can choose whether or not you want to Install HTML Access. This option allows end users to connect to their desktops via a web browser. Finally, choose the IP protocol version used in your environment.

Configuring Connection Server install, HTML Access, and IP protocol type

Configuring Connection Server install, HTML Access, and IP protocol type

Enter a Data Recovery password and an (optional) password reminder. Use this if you need to restore Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) database backups.

Horizon View Connection Server Data Recovery password

Horizon View Connection Server Data Recovery password

The Connection Server firewall configuration allows you to configure the needed firewall exceptions automatically. The installation wizard description shows the firewall exceptions.

Horizon View Connection Server Windows firewall exceptions

Horizon View Connection Server Windows firewall exceptions

The Initial Horizon 7 Administrators configuration allows us to scope the Horizon View administration to an AD group we want to have the ability to administer the Horizon View environment.

Configure Horizon View administrators

Configure Horizon View administrators

Next, we can choose whether or not to join the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).

VMware CEIP options

VMware CEIP options

Finally, we are ready to install Horizon View Connection Server. Unfortunately, the installer does not summarize the installation options, so if you think anything is in error or needs rechecking, you will need to use the Back button to check or change any options.

The installer is ready to begin the Horizon View Connection Server installation

Installation proceeds, copying files and adding roles

Installation proceeds, copying files and adding roles

The Horizon View Connection Server installation is successful. We can choose to read the release notes for the installed version.

Horizon View Connection Server installation successful

Horizon View Connection Server installation successful

It is also a good idea even after receiving the Installer Completed message to check the Windows services on the Horizon View Connection Server to make sure the services started successfully.

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Open Windows services and verify Horizon View Connection Server services are running

Open Windows services and verify Horizon View Connection Server services are running

Concluding thoughts ^

The VMware Horizon View Connection Server installation is straightforward and intuitive. This product is the cornerstone infrastructure software component among the Horizon View server-side infrastructure. It provides the key components in configuring the Horizon View environment for end users as well as the connection point for end users to be able to connect to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) resources.

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