VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers

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VMware Horizon 8 has landed as general availability today per the blog post from VMware here. VMware Horizon 8 represents an evolution of the VMware Horizon product. In fact, VMware is rebranding the product now to simply “VMware Horizon”. The versions from this point forward will be in the form of VMware Horizon YYMM. VMware Horizon 8 is also known as “VMware Horizon 2006”. However, I guess that VMware is keeping the Horizon 8 branding as this is what everyone was expecting for the next release. I wanted to get the new version in the home lab. I decided to start with my VMware Horizon Connection servers. In this post we will take a look at the VMware Horizon 8 upgrade connection servers to take a look at upgrading to Horizon 2006.

Before you upgrade to VMware Horizon 8 Connection Servers

With this release, there are definitely some things to take note of. These are the following:

  • View Composer and View Composer Linked Clones and persistent disks are deprecated with the VMware Horizon 8 2006 release. VMware makes note the components are still included with VMware Horizon 8, however, they do not recommend starting any new environments with Composer and linked clones.
  • VMware Horizon 2006 is all about instant clones

There is an order of operations to get up and running with the VMware Horizon 8 2006 upgrade. This is as follows:

  • Uninstall unsupported components (Composer, etc)
  • Upgrade the Horizon Client Software
  • Backup your VMware Horizon Connection Server configuration – if you are running a replicated group (which you should be) you can grab a copy of the configuration from one server out of the replicated group
  • Take the Horizon Connection Server you are starting with out of your load balancer service so you can perform maintenance
  • Upgrade the VMware Horizon Connection Servers
  • Upgrade Windows Terminal Servers to Windows Server 2012 R2 or later and install RDS role
  • Upgrade the Horizon Agents in your environment across your physical and virtual machines
  • Use newly upgraded virtual machine desktop sources to create new upgraded pools
  • Cloud pod architecture has its own set of instructions

Horizon 8 Connection Servers in Replicated Group

Perform the following on only one server:

  • Take a snapshot of the VMs
  • Document all of your settings, take a screenshot if necessary
  • Use the vmdexport.exe utility to backup the Horizon LDAP

On both servers:

  • Verify system requirements and prerequisites
Operating SystemEditions Supported in Horizon 8 2006
Windows Server 2012 R2Standard (64-bit) Datacenter (64-bit)
Windows Server 2016Standard (64-bit) Datacenter (64-bit)
Windows Server 2019Standard (64-bit) Datacenter (64-bit)

The following Active Directory levels are supported:

Microsoft AD Domain Functional LevelsSupported in Horizon 8 2006
Windows Server 2012R2Supported
Windows Server 2016Supported
Windows Server 2019Supported
  • Document IP address and computer names of the Horizon Connection Servers
  • Open Horizon Console and document all the settings that are specific for the instance

Backup before upgrading to VMware Horizon 8 Connection Servers

For my lab environment, I simply placed a quick snapshot on both my VMware Horizon Connection Server 7.12 VMs before kicking off the installation of VMware Horizon 8 2006.

Snapshot-of-VMware-Horizon-Connection-Servers-before-Horizon-8-2006-upgrade VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Snapshot of VMware Horizon Connection Servers before Horizon 8 2006 upgrade

In addition, if you want to take a backup using the Horizon backup tool, you can do this also. Login to the Horizon Console and choose Settings > Servers > Connection Servers > Backup Now

Backup-the-VMware-Horizon-Connection-Server-through-the-Horizon-Console VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Backup the VMware Horizon Connection Server through the Horizon Console

VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers

Let’s take a look at the walkthrough of the actual VMware Horizon 8 connection server upgrade to see how this looks. First of all, download the latest VMware Horizon Connection Server available from VMware:

Note the new 2006 designation for VMware Horizon 8.

Downloading-the-new-VMware-Horizon-8-Connection-Server VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Downloading the new VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server

As you can see below, the details of the new Horizon 8 Connection Server (2006). The file size is 303.24 MB.

Horizon-8-Connection-Server-file-size VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Horizon 8 Connection Server file size

Let’s now take a look at running the installer/upgrade. After kicking off the VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server executable, you will be presented with a newly updated installer with the new styling of the rebranded Horizon.

Beginning-the-VMware-Horizon-8-Connection-Server-installation VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Beginning the VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server installation

Pretty standard stuff here, accept the EULA.

Accept-the-EULA VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Accept the EULA

Choose your CEIP options if you want to participate.

Choose-CEIP-configuration-settings VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Choose CEIP configuration settings

At this point, you are ready to hit the Install button and begin the installation/upgrade of VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server.

Ready-to-begin-the-upgrade-to-VMware-Horizon-8-Connection-Server VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Ready to begin the upgrade to VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server

After just a few moments, the installer will complete after upgrading files and starting services. Click Finish.

Upgrade-to-VMware-Horizon-8-Connection-Server-completes-successfully VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Upgrade to VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server completes successfully

After finishing out the installation/upgrade of VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server, you can login to the new Horizon Console HTML5 interface with new styling.

New-VMware-Horizon-8-Connection-Server-Admin-Console-login-styling VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
New VMware Horizon 8 Connection Server Admin Console login styling

After logging into the Horizon Console, you can see an even sleeker and more updated interface than the previous Horizon 7 release.

After running the “installer” on my existing VMware Horizon 7.12 Connection Servers, all of the previous data and configuration was brought across as expected. I didn’t see any issues with the environment after finishing out the upgrade.

After-logging-into-the-new-VMware-Horizon-8-admin-Console VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
After logging into the new VMware Horizon 8 admin Console

One other detail you will need to give attention to after upgrading to VMware Horizon 8 is licensing. Since this is a new family of VMware Horizon, the VMware Horizon 7 licensing will not work after the upgrade. You will need to enter your VMware Horizon 8 2006 licensing to activate to activate Horizon in your environment after the upgrade.

Enter-your-VMware-Horizon-8-license-to-activate-your-newly-upgraded-Connection-Servers VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers
Enter your VMware Horizon 8 license to activate your newly upgraded Connection Servers

Wrapping up

The process for VMware Horizon 8 Upgrade Connection Servers is a straightforward process that requires you do some pre-work to make sure the environment meets the requirements as set forth by VMware for the new VMware Horizon 8 2006 version.

VMware has definitely made some noticeable changes to the look and branding of VMware Horizon from this release forward and incorporating some great new capabilities and benefits into the product. Stay tuned for more Horizon 8 2006 coverage!

StarWind VSAN