Horizon View

VMware Horizon Make Replica Connection Server Standard

In most architecture, you never want to have a “single” of anything. You want to make sure you have multiple resources to perform a certain role in case you have one of those resources fail for some reason. This is true with VMware Horizon. As most who have any experience with VMware Horizon know, you want to have multiple connection servers installed so that if one of your connection servers goes down, you have another connection server that can serve the purpose of getting users connected to their end-user desktops. A question can come up, though – how do you promote the replica server to a standard server? Let’s explore the topic – VMware Horizon make replica connection server standard.

What is the Horizon Connection Server Replica and how does it work?

Horizon Connection Servers function in a high-availability and load balancing configuration when there are multiple Connection Servers provisioned. Multiple Connection Servers replicate data between them using an AD LDS LDAP configuration. When a change is made in one instance (Connection Server AD LDS), these changes are replicated to the other Connection Servers.

Additionally, if a Connection Server instance fails, the other instances in the group continue to function. After the failed instance is brought back up, the changes are replicated back to the server. You will see the AD LDS instance installed on each Connection Server listed in the programs and features.

Below are the Programs and Features from a Windows Server 2019 VMware Horizon Connection Server. You will see the AD LDS Instance VMwareVDMDS entry listed.

AD-LDS-instance-installed-on-Horizon-Connection-Server
AD LDS instance installed on Horizon Connection Server

VMware Horizon Make Replica Connection Server Standard

The question arises, what steps need to be taken to make a VMware Horizon Replica Connection Server a standard Connection Server or master connection server?

VMware Horizon does a good job at handling failures when they arise, including the Connection Server. The only difference between the standard server and the replica Connection Servers is the FSMO role holder for LDAP operations.

How do you check and see which Connection Server owns the role of the schema master? You can do this using the LDP utility.

Finding the FSMO Role Holder

It is fairly straightforward to find the schema owner using the LDP utility. Launch LDP.exe. The below instructions follow what is documented in the official VMware KB article:

Initiate a new connection from the LDP utility.

Creating-a-connection-in-LDP
Creating a connection in LDP

I am on the Horizon Connection Server itself, so I am choosing to connect to the loopback address 127.0.0.1.

Connect-to-the-local-LDP-instance
Connect to the local LDP instance

Next, you need to bind the credentials for accessing LDAP.

Click-to-Bind-a-username-for-connecting-to-the-local-LDP-instance
Click to Bind a username for connecting to the local LDP instance

Most likely, you will be able to Bind as currently logged on user.

Choose-the-user-to-bind-for-permissions
Choose the user to bind for permissions

Select Tree under the View menu.

Select-Tree-View
Select Tree View

Select the Schema entry under the Tree View dialog box.

Select-the-Schema-object
Select the Schema object

You will see the server that is listed as the FSMO role owner in the output. Below, HZCON02 is a dead connection server that is offline.

FSMO-Role-Owner-in-VMware-Horizon
FSMO Role Owner in VMware Horizon

Seizing the FSMO Roles

If something bad happens in the Horizon environment where the FSMO role is assigned to a Connection Server that no longer exists, you need to go in and seize the role from the Connection Server.

This often happens when someone removes a Connection Server replica server from the cluster incorrectly without stopping replication. The process to seize the FSMO roles is fairly easy. If you have done this with an Active Directory server, the process feels very similar.

Seizing-the-FSMO-Roles-in-a-VMware-Horizon-Connection-Server
Seizing the FSMO Roles in a VMware Horizon Connection Server

As you can see below, the FSMO roles are now assigned to HZCON01.

After-seizing-FSMO-roles-from-the-dead-Connection-Server
After seizing FSMO roles from the dead Connection Server

Properly stop replication before removing a Connection Server

Before you uninstall a VMware Horizon Connection Server, you want to properly stop replication from replicating changes to the server you intend to remove. This is a simple command that you run from another Connection Server.

  • vdmadmin -S -r -s <connection_server_to_remove>

Once you have ran the command, you are safe to uninstall the Connection Server installation.

Wrapping Up

VMware Horizon Make Replica Connection Server Standard is a fairly straightforward process once you understand the pieces and parts of how the connection servers communicate. You always want to have multiple Connection Servers as this allows for redundancy and load balancing of connections. If you have a Connection Server go down for whatever reason, you will still have a Connection Server up and running to service connection requests.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at Virtualizationhowto.com and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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