VMware Horizon View 5.2 Home Lab: Installing View Composer Server

It is the successor of my previous blog post on “Setting Up VMware Horizon View 5.2 Home Lab”. There I spoke about different components required to set up View Lab and also discussed on how to set up View Connection Server. Here I will show how to set up a View Composer Server. Out of all the components, I guess this is slightly tricky. I have seen most of the novices face issue in setting up a Composer Server correctly.

As told before, View Composer can be installed either on:

A) Windows Server based vCenter Server if you have that installed already in your lab.


B) A Dedicated VM/Physical Server if you want separate the View Composer from the vCenter. Also in the case if you use the vCenter Server Appliance in your environment, you will need a dedicated Composer Server. In my home lab, it is the second case: I use a vCenter Server Appliance.

To setup and use View Composer, you will also need Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle Database. I have gone with Microsoft SQL Server. You have a choice of setting up a dedicated SQL/Oracle Server or go with SQL/Oracle Express Edition. Express Edition is a small scale database installed on any server and eliminates the hassle of creating and maintaining a dedicated database server. Express edition is used mainly for lab or POC purpose. In my case I have gone with a SQL Express Edition installed on a View Composer Server. If you already have a Windows based vCenter Server, you can install the View Composer software and also install the SQL Express Edition there. It is better to use SQL Server 2008 Express Edition, however you can also use SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with SP3. In my case I have gone with SQL 2005 Express Edition with SP3.

Why There is a need of Database (SQL or Oracle) with Composer Server?

View Composer does not include any database of it’s own but it needs some kind of database to store some important informations related to:

AD connections | vCenter Server Connections | Linked Clones | Replicas that are created when desktop pools are created.

Just a word of caution that you for each instance of View Composer Server, you need a separate Composer Database. Let’s now go towards installing Composer and Database interconnecting them.

Step 1. Database Server Installation

Composer Server Installation:

Deploy a new VM from the Windows Server 2008 R2 Template. Give it a static IP, host name (say “View-Composer”) and join it to the lab AD Domain. Reboot and login with Domain Administrator account.

Download and install Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition from http://www.microsoft.com/en-sg/download/details.aspx?id=21844. I chose to do a full installation of all the components.

After that you need to download the SQL Express Service Pack. I have installed SP3, you can go for SP4 as well. Here is the link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-sg/download/details.aspx?id=14752

Now that you have installed the SQL Express Edition on the Composer Server, it’s time to configure the database.

You need to configure the database now.

Go to Start->All Programs->Microsoft SQL Server 2005->SQL Server Management Studio

Login to Management Studio with IP: in the “Server Name” field and authentication as “Windows Authentication”

Go to the “Databases” section. Right click and create a new database. Give it a name say “ViewComposer”

Now you need to create an ODBC Connection to allow the View Composer Application to connect to this newly created database called “ViewComposer”

Go to Start->All Programs->Administrative Tools->Data Sources (ODBC)

Go to the “System DSN” tab there. You need to create a new System Data Source.

Click on “Add” and select “SQL Native Client” and double click it.

In the Data Source Name put “ViewComposer” and on the server put “View-Composer” and click “Next”

In the next screen select “With Integrated Windows Authentication”

[Note: If you have a SQL Server installed on the same server as Composer Server then it is okay to go with Integrated Windows Authentication. Otherwise if you have a dedicated a SQL Server, you must chose SQL Server Authentication. Or else it will not work]

Make sure the checkbox is selected on “Connect to SQL Server to obtain default settings…” and click on “Next”

In the next screen select “Change the default database to” and choose “ViewComposer” and click on “Next” and then click on “Finish”

In the next screen click on “Test Data Source” and make sure it gives you result “TEST COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY”.  If it doesn’t give you this, then there is some problem with the ODBC connection or SQL Server. The click on “Next” and “OK”.

Now you are ready to install the Composer Server software.

Install the Composer Server Software (with filename: “VMware-viewcomposer-5.2.0-983460.exe”) on the same server by executing the file name mentioned. It will take some time to get the “Next” button enabled. Be patient.

In the DSN information screen provide the DSN name as “ViewComposer”and provide Domain Administrator credentials on the DSN authentication screen.

Accept the default settings and finish the installation.

It completes the View Composer Server installation.

Next we will move to initial configuration of VMware Horizon View 5.2. Additionally we will also see how to setup and configure View Security, Transfer and Replica Servers…

Stay tuned…

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