Horizon View Composer Server

VMware View Composer is a component of VMware Horizon View, which provides rapid deployment, linked clones. With help of composer, you can create linked clones which provides 50% to 90% reduction in storage requirements for virtual desktops.My previous post was bout Horizon View Connection Server 7.5  and In this post I will be explaining about view composer and its installation procedure  . Both are correlated you need Connection Server to use the composer and composer required for provision linked clones from connection server .

Also you can manage desktop pools by creating golden image, which is master OS that share a common virtual disk. All cloned desktops linked to the master image and can be patched or updated through simply updating the master image. Moreover, any actions like patching or modification of cloned desktops will not affect users’ settings, data, or applications.

Working Scenario of Composer

As I mentioned above from the golden image or parent virtual machine, you will be taking snapshot of that VM, then deploy desktops from the snapshot. Composer will create replica from the snapshot which is thin provisioned mode of the Parent VM and that will be used for desktops.Desktops created as linked clone, which implemented with a delta disk “linked” to the replica disk and all the change that happens to the desktop are stored will be on the delta disk.

Supported Operating Systems

Operating System Version Edition
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 64-bit Standard
Windows Server 2012 R2 64-bit Standard
Windows Server 2016 64-bit Standard

Minimum and Recommended Hardware Configuration

Hardware Component Required Recommended
Processor 1.4 GHz or faster Intel 64 or AMD 64 processor with 2 CPUs 2GHz or faster and 4 CPUs
Networking One or more 10/100Mbps network interface cards (NICs) 1Gbps NICs
Memory 4GB RAM or higher 8GB RAM or higher for deployments of 50 or more remote desktops
Disk space 40GB 60GB

Note :- Based on number VDI systems you have to provide more resources to composer server


Firewall Ports Details

You have to refer  VMware KB  article to under stand the port requirements  and note that composer will have communication to connection server and VMware infrastructure .

Important Points to be checked before installation

  • Fully Updated Windows Operating System with  4.6.1or later Installed Server
  • Each vCenter Server requires its own View Composer. There’s a one-to-one mapping.
  • View Composer cannot be installed on a Horizon 7 Connection Server.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 with no service pack no longer supported.
  • View Composer requires an SQL database ( Composer DB) to store data.
  • Events database to record information from Horizon Connection Server about Horizon events , optional .
  • Each Composer instance must have its own View Composer database and this data base shouldn’t be shared with Multiple View Composer servers.
  • Composer Supports Oracle 12c , 11g or SQL database , For details check Interoperability Matrix
  • Composer database must be available to View Composer server
  • Horizon view license to install and use the View Composer feature.
  • Microsoft KMS with Volume Licensing  to provide required license for linked clone VMs in Desktop  Pools
  • Active Directory Availability with a OU, Groups and required GPO for Horizon View setup , Reference
  • SSL certificate that is signed by a Certificate Authority (CA)
  • vCenter Access with Provisioning Privilege
  • DNS for name resolution and DHCP server for support linked clone network connectivity
  • Follow Best Practice for Configure VMware Infrastructure for Composer.
  • Any Horizon 7 component, including Connection Server, security server, Horizon Agent, or Horizon Client  should not be installed on the machine on which you intend to install View Composer.
  • Required a DSN which is configured from ODBC  wizard and you have to enter this information while installing  the View Composer service.
  • View Composer server should not have any applications that use Windows SSL libraries that require SSL version 2 (SSLv2) provided through the Microsoft Secure Channel (Schannel) security package. The View Composer installer disables SSLv2 on the Microsoft Schannel. Applications such as Tomcat, which uses Java SSL, or Apache, which uses OpenSSL, are not affected by this constraint.
  • Composer installation required a user with administrator privileges on the system.
  • Refer VMware Community Page

Composer Server Deployment

 View Composer is used to deploy linked-clone desktop pools  and Install this you should have a valid license.

Login to the Composer Server and Navigate the Composer  Server Software and Launch the installer

Click Next

Accept the EULA to continue and Click Next

Change the installation directory if applicable or use the default as shows below and  Click Next

Enter the DSN with credentials details used while it was creating from ODBC , Incase if DSN not created you can use ODBC DSN setup  option to create

In this post I am creating DSN from same window or you can create DSN from ODBC Option by following below steps

Navigate to  System DSN  Tab and Click Add 

Add the Data Base Name , Description and Data Base sever name or IP  and Click Next

Use the credentials ( SQL or Windows) which has access to data base and click Next

Change the default database to Composer DB from drop-down menu which you are planning to use for Horizon Composer and click Next  , then finish in text where you can test connectivity  from Composer to DB .

Select the Test Data Source option to do connectivity test and click ok to navigate to DSN Tab.

You can View the Created System DSN and click OK to Exit

Add the details you have used to create system DSN and Click Next

Composer Port Settings page will appears and default port 18443 will there and you can create or choose a valid certificate which is available on the  server by Use an existing SSL certificate and select the certificate. Click Next.

Certificate will show in next page and click OK to continue

Click Next to Install start the installation

Once Completed the installation Click finish

After the installation completed server required Reboot and  you have to Click Yes when asked to restart the computer on the pop-up .

Note :- If you are accessing the composer through remote desktop manager for the installation of the Composer session will be disconnected and if its is virtual machine you have reboot the server by login to console , and if it is physical server you have to perform this through remote management console / remote cli option .

Additional Information

You have to create proper backup schedule of the Composer Data base , incase composer server crashed  you don’t have to have be panic .Only new new  provisioning  will not work and existing pool will be working fine ,  after rebuilding or recreating new composer server you can map/restore the database from backup composer server will having all details with previous configuration .

Backup of database is very important because Composer database stores information about connections and components that are used by View Composer :

  • vCenter Server connections

  • Active Directory connections

  • Linked-clone desktops that are deployed by View Composer

  • Replicas that are created by View Composer

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