Horizon 7 – Composer Server Deployment

Horizon View provides a great desktop pool feature known as linked-clone desktops, in short a linked-clone is small efficient desktop made from a snapshot of a parent VM known as a gold image.  All the files and software on the gold image at the point of a snapshot are available on each linked-clone desktop at a fraction of the size of a full desktop image.  Changes made the gold image do not affect the linked-clones unless a new snapshot is taken and the linked-clone desktops are recomposed.

To provide this function a Composer server is required, this provides the automation and database required to deploy linked-clone desktop pools.  Its worth noting in Horizon 7 instant-clone desktop pools are available with the correct Horizon View license which doesn’t require a Composer Server.  The following will illustrate the deployment steps.

Horizon 7 documentation can be found here

To deploy a Connection Server see here

First deploy a Windows server, if its 2012 R2 make sure the .NET 3.5 feature is enabled



The Composer Server requires a database, see the documentation for what databases are supported.  I am using a SQL Express instance on the Composer Server.  First create a new database and add a logon account.  I have setup a Windows service account in AD and added that as the owner of the database

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Create a new ODBC connection and point to the relevant SQL instance.


I am logged in as the service account so I will be using Windows Authentication


Change the default database to the newly created composer database and complete the wizard

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Test the connection and hopefully it should connect successfully.  If it doesnt make sure the SQL Server Native Client is the correct version for your SQL instance and make sure the user account used to connect with has the correct permissions


Download the composer media from the VMware portal and run the installer.


Run the set up and choose the install location

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Choose the newly created ODBC connection with the service account details.  Choose the SOAP port and leave the certificates for now I will show you how to change them at the end.  You can install the certificate now and the installer will use the one you install or change it post deployment

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Now the installer will install and try to start the service, by default the service account will not have rights to start services.  Make sure the account has the required permissions


Leave this window open and open services.msc find Horizon 7 Composer service and add the service account into the Log On properties.


Go back to the installer and continue, the wizard should now complete


If like me you want to add the certificate post deployment its straight forward enough to do.  Request a certificate from the CA as with any Windows server and install it.  Once installed open a command prompt on the Composer server and change directory to the install path.  Run the following

>sviconfig -operation=ReplaceCertificate -Delete=false

Then select the required certificate from the list


Restart the services and thats it.  I now need to add the Composer server to View.  Open the View Admin page – View Configuration – Servers – Add vCenter Server.  Add the vCenter details with an account that has the relevant permissions


Configure the Composer settings to match the above Composer Server configuration


Once connected add a View Composer Domain and account and add the Storage Settings

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Once complete you can create new linked-clone desktop pools.


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