View Composer is what allows you to provision and manage Linked Clone virtual machines in your Horizon View environment. Linked Clones provide storage savings by sharing a common virtual disk called a replica.
View Composer is an optional feature, and even less of an option with the new Instant Clone capability of View 7. I will be testing Instant Clone in a future post, but want composer to base line my testing against. View Composer can be installed on the same machine as vCenter or on its own machine. For a small environment co-installing it with vCenter is fine, but for a large scale deployment you will want to dedicate a machine for View Composer. In my lab I used the vCenter Server Appliance so I have no choice but to dedicate a separate VM for Composer to run on. Composer also requires a database. Full requirements and sizing can be found here.
Horizon View Composer 7 Install
To start I have already downloaded the View Composer 7.0 installation and placed it on the desktop of my Composer virtual machine. The VM is a Windows 2012 R2 joined to my lab domain. For the installation I am logged in using a domain service account I created for all my View related installs. Select the executable and right-click to then select Run as administrator.
I had UAC enabled on my server so I was prompted with the following message. Select Yes, if prompted.
Select the radio button for I accept the terms in the license agreement (A). Click Next (B).
You can then change the default installation directory if you wish. I chose to leave it as the default. Click Next.
Next, the ODBC connection to the database needs to be configured. Your screen will not be filled out as my screenshot shows below. For now click ODBC DSN Setup…
The following assumes you have already created and made a database available. I have already configured a SQL Express database that happens to be locally installed on the same VM as Composer. Composer supports several configuration for a database including SQL and Oracle as outlined here
From the ODBC Data Source Administrator > System DSN click Add…
Select SQL Server Native Client 11.0 (A). My database is locally installed so the driver was already there. You may need to download the appropriate driver for your SQL server. Depending on your version of database you may require a different driver version as well. Click Finish (B).
Give your data source a name (A) and description (B). I make the name reflect the service it is used for, in this case View7_Composer. In the Server field (C) enter the SQL server FQDN. In my example it is the local server. Click Next (D).
For authentication I chose to use SQL authentication. For me this keeps it simpler since I already set up a SQL user for the Events Database. I can use that account for all View related databases. To use a SQL account select the radio button for SQL authentication (A). Then enter the SQL user account and password. Click Next (B).
Be sure to change the default database to the one you created (A). Ensure the checkbox is selected for Change the default database to: and then locate your database (B). I called mine View7_Comp. Click Next (C).
Leave the defaults on the below screen. Click Finish.
On the setup configuration window click Test Data Source to ensure your able to communicate with the database.
You should receive the message Tests Completed Successfully! As you see below. Click OK.
Click Ok again. You will now see your new System DSN name and information. Click OK.
Enter the information based on what you just configured for the View Composer DB. In the first box the name needs to match the DSN name you created in the previous set of steps (A). Then enter the username and password for the proper database authentication (B&C). I had set up SQL authentication so I entered the local SQL account for the composer database owner. Click Next (D).
I have no need to change the default SOAP port so I leave it as the default. Click Next.
The install takes about a minute to complete. When it completes click Finish.
It will then prompt you to reboot the system. Click YES if you can reboot now, otherwise be sure you reboot the system continuing the configuration of Composer.
After the reboot, composer should be all ready to go. The best way to check is to check that the service is running.
Configuring View Composer 7 with Horizon View 7
From the View Administrator we can add the Composer server to the configuration.
Navigate to View Configuration > Servers > vCenter Servers (A)
Right-click the vCenter server and select Edit (B).
Under View Composer Server Settings click on Edit…
Now change the radio button to Standalone View Composer Server (A). If you installed Composer on the same server as vCenter simply select View Composer co-installed with vCenter Server.
For the standalone install we need to enter the server name for where composer is installed as well as the username and password for an administrator account on that server. In this case I used the same service account I used to install composer.
Based on your type of install it is best to review the user account permissions for each type of configuration. They can be found here and here. By using the same account that already has vCenter access I do not need to modify anything else. For a locked down environment you may want to dedicate a specific user account for Composer.
Under Domains click on Verify Server Information.
Since we still have the self-signed certificates in by default the following message pops up. Click View Certificate.
Click Accept to allow the self signed certificate.
Here you need to define the domain where View Composer will deploy the linked-clone desktops. It is best practice to create a user account with only the specific AD permissions required by composer. For example, this account is used to add and remove virtual machines from the domain. The permissions can be found here. Click OK once you enter the necessary domain information.
If you need to deploy VMs to multiple domains you can follow the previous step to define additional domains. Once complete click OK.
View Composer is now ready be used. A pool of Linked Clone VMs can now be created.