Horizon 7.x: How to configure Horizon Client air-gapped network download


Once the Connection Server is installed, we can access the Connection Server at https://<Server FQDN>. On this page, there are two options to access the Horizon environment.

  • VMware Horizon HTML Access 

This option basically allows to connect a Horizon desktop pools and published applications using  web browser as a client (HTML5), no additional installation or plug-ins are required.

  • Install VMware Horizon Client

This option re-directs users to the VMware download portal to download the appropriate Horizon Client Installer.

Locally installed Horizon Client performance is better and feature rich than that of HTML5 browser as client. Native clients use protocol like PCoIP, Blast and RDP.

Redirecting end users to VMware download portal for downloading Horizon Client might not be a good choice as it can create confusion for end users as to which version to download.

So, how this is a challenge?

Let’s assume that a business user needs to install the native Horizon client on his windows system in order to access the VDI. So here are few challenges that we may face.

  • One of the challenge would be, if your infrastructure is configured for air gapped networks, your redirection request for user might not be completed successfully.
  • Even if Internet connectivity is not a problem, another concern is, will user be able to make decision about correct version of horizon client and bits? Not every user is going to be tech savvy and this might lead to user confusion and frustration.
  • Also, user might be connecting from remote location may be due to business travel and not in the office premise, so helping remote user in this situation will require some extra efforts.

So How do we handle this?

To overcome these challenges, as a Horizon administrators we will change the way how user gets the horizon client installer.

Basically an administrator can download the required version of the Horizon client as per infrastructure requirement and store it on the Connection Server for end users to download. So when user clicks on download client link as shown below.

Instead of redirecting to VMware download portal, user will get the installer from local Connection server. As in image below, if you notice the download URL, its local server and the local path that we define where installer is stored on connection server

This is done by modifying the Horizon Connection Server settings to use the local repository for client downloads instead of web redirection.

Procedure

  • Download the required piece of software for horizon client. I will be using version 5.1 in this example.
  • Navigate to download folder and locate the downloaded horizon client installer file.
  • Copy or move the installer file.
  • Navigate to, ‘c:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\broker\webapp‘ and create a directory. I created this downloads folder here in this case.
  • Paste the installer file in this directory.
  • Now, we need to configure our server to use this installer and path where it is stored.
  • Open Notepad with Run as administrator.
  • Click File menu and then click open. Make sure you set the file types as All files (*.*) in Open window.
  • Navigate to, c:\ProgramData\VMware\VDM\portal and open the file named portal-links-html-access,properties
  • Once the file is open, locate the entry of client platform and bits.
  • We need to replace this entry with custom path. In my case its,
    • link.win64-downloads/VMware-Horizon-Client-5.1.0-14045148.exe
    • if you remember, we had created this downloads folder earlier in the steps.
    • Technically we just replace Url to local folder name and installer file name
  • Save the file and close it.
    • (By the way, you can notice that entries are available for all different platforms of client. Select as per requirement. I used windows for example)
  • Now, we need to stop and start View web component service. Go to services.msc and restart the service.
  • Once done. go ahead and test it now if it works as expected.

Cheers folks!!!!

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