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VMware Horizon Workspace Essentials

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Manage and deliver a secure, unified workspace to embrace any time, any place, anywhere access to corporate apps, data, and virtual desktops securely from any device with this book and ebook

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by Joel Lindberg Peter Björk Peter von Oven | March 2014 | Enterprise Articles

In this article by Michael Larkin, author of VMware Horizon Workspace Essentials, we will cover the basic installation and configuration of Horizon Workspace 1.5. After making sure all the prerequisites are in place, we can now deploy the Horizon Workspace vApp.

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

In this article, we will cover the following key subjects:

  • Horizon Workspace Architecture Overview
  • Designing a solution
  • Sizing guidelines
  • vApp deployment
  • Step-by-step configuration
  • Install Certificates
  • Setting up Kerberos Single Sign-On (SSO)

Reading this article will provide you with an introduction to the solution, and also provides you with useful reference points throughout the book that will help you install, configure, and manage a Horizon Workspace deployment. A few things are out of scope for this article, such as setting up vSphere, configuring HA, and using certificates. We will assume that the core infrastructure is already in place.

We start by looking at the solution architecture and then how to size a deployment, based on best practice, and suitable to meet the requirements of your end users. Next we will cover the preparation steps in vCenter and then deploy the Horizon Workspace vApp.

There are then two steps to installation and configuration. First we will guide you through the initial command-line-based setup and then finally the web-based Setup Wizard. Each section is described in easy to follow steps, and shown in detail using actual screenshots of our lab deployment.

So let's get started with the architecture overview.

The Horizon Workspace architecture

The following diagram shows a more detailed view of how the architecture fits together:

The Horizon Workspace sizing guide

We have already discussed that Horizon Workspace is made up of five virtual appliances. However, for production environments, you will need to deploy multiple instances to provide for high availability, offer load balancing, and support the number of users that you need in your environment.

For a Proof of Concept (POC) or pilot deployment, this is of less importance.

Sizing the Horizon Workspace virtual appliances

The following diagram shows the maximum number of users that each appliance can accommodate. Using these maximum values, you can calculate the number of appliances that you need to deploy.

For example, if you had 6,000 users in your environment, you would need to deploy a single connector-va appliance, three gateway-va appliances, one service-va appliance, seven data-va appliances, and a single configurator-va appliance. Please note that data-va should be sized using N+1. The first data-va appliance should never contain any user data. For high availability, you may want to use two connector-va appliances and two service-va appliances.

Sizing for Preview services

If you plan to use a Microsoft Preview Server, this needs to be sized based on the requirements shown in the following diagram:

If we use our previous example of 6,000 users, then to use Microsoft Preview, you would require a total of six Microsoft Preview Servers.

The Horizon Workspace database

You have a few options for the database.

For a POC or pilot environment, you can use the internal database functionality. In a production deployment, you would use an external database option, using either VMware PostgreSQL or Oracle 11g. This allows you to have a highly available and protected database.

The VMware recommendation is PostgreSQL, and the following diagram details the sizing information for the Horizon Workspace database:

External access and load balancing considerations

In a production environment, high availability, redundancy, and external access is a core requirement. This needs planning and configuration.

For a POC or pilot deployment, this is usually not of high importance but should be something to be aware of.

To achieve high availability and redundancy, a load balancer is required in front of the gateway-va and the connector-va appliances that are used for Kerberos (Windows authentication).

If external access is required, then typically you will also need a load balancer in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This is detailed in the diagram at the beginning of this article.

It is not supported to place gateway-va appliances in the DMZ.

For more detailed information about load balancing, please visit the following guide:


In this article, we had an overview of the Horizon Workspace architecture. We made sure that all the prerequisites are in place before we deploy the Horizon Workspace vApp. This article covers the basic sizing, configuration, and the installation of Horizon Workspace 1.5.

Resources for Article:

Further resources on this subject:

VMware Horizon Workspace Essentials Manage and deliver a secure, unified workspace to embrace any time, any place, anywhere access to corporate apps, data, and virtual desktops securely from any device with this book and ebook
Published: March 2014
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About the Author :

Joel Lindberg

Joel Lindberg has 20 years' experience in the IT industry in various positions and is currently working at VMware as a Senior Systems Engineer specializing in end-user computing solutions. He has spoken at VMworld several times and is an active member and moderator on the VMware user communities. Joel interacts with customers, partners, and vendors, and has been involved in many successful customer projects. You can follow him on Twitter (@viewgeek).

Joel lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his family.

Peter Björk

Peter Björk has many years' experience in VMware Horizon Workspace and ThinApp. He started out working with Thinstall, and continued after VMware acquired the product in 2008, renaming it ThinApp. Peter supports Horizon Workspace and ThinApp in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. As a teacher, Peter has educated many ThinApp packagers around the world. Peter lives in Sweden with his wife and two kids, a boy and a girl. Peter Björk is very active on the VMware community pages and the official VMware Workspace and ThinApp blogs. You can follow Peter on Twitter (@thepeb) to get the latest ThinApp and Workspace news.

Peter Björk published his first book, VMware ThinApp 4.7 Essentials, Packt Publishing, in 2012.

Peter von Oven

Peter von Oven is an experienced technical consultant and has spent the last 20 years of his IT career working with customers and partners in designing technology solutions aimed at delivering true business value. During his career, Peter has been involved in numerous large-scale enterprise projects and deployments, presented at key IT events, and has worked in senior pre-sales roles for some of the giants of IT. Over the last eight years, Peter has focused his skills and experience within the end user computing market, and today he leads the End User Computing Pre Sales team at VMware in the UK&I, tasked with delivering the next generation of end-user computing and workforce mobility solutions.

Peter got his first taste for writing last year while assisting with some of the chapters in the book Building End-User Computing Solutions with VMware View, Lulu, and got the writing bug. He went on to write his own book, VMware Horizon Mirage Essentials, Packt Publishing, which was published in December 2013.

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