VMware Horizon and RDSH Applications

One of the big new features of View 6 is the ability to use Terminal Server… err… I mean Remote Desktop Session Host RemoteApp applications.  As you’ve probably seen, the application presentation is pretty slick, behaving very much like natively installed applications even though they’re running on a server in the datacenter.  This allows for neat little tricks like launching Windows applications on an Android device.  In the demonstrations, this feature is just about always paired with Workspace 2.0, showing those RDSH applications in the Workspace 2.0 launchpad.

It isn’t really clear from the marketing that’s going on, but RDSH application support is a View 6 feature, not a Workspace 2 feature.  When you want to present a RemoteApp, you must register the RDSH server in View and create an Application Pool.  From there, you can optionally tie it into Workspace or you can just launch it directly from the View Client – your choice.  So, how do you install your RDSH and present your first RemoteApp?

Well, you start by following VMware’s guide.  If you’re working with a 2008 r2 server, this guide is probably all that you need.  It’s a pretty straightforward process… but if you’re working with 2012 or 2012 r2, there’s a few extra steps that you’re going to need to go through.  In 2012, Microsoft assumes that you’re going to be setting up their whole RDSH infrastructure, which includes its own Connection Server/Gateway infrastructure that we just don’t need.  We’ve already got View serving that role in the environment.  So, here’s a KB article that describes installing just the components that you want for View + RDSH.

What’s more, the 4th section of the VMware instructions tell you to go to Administrative Tools > Remote Desktop Services and launch Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration.  On your 2012 server, you’re going to have a real hard time finding that tool… as it doesn’t exist.  The configuration that we need to make is to restrict users to a single session on the Terminal Server… err… Remote Desktop Session Host, which is required for the View integration.  Fortunately, that is the default setting on a 2012 server, so you can safely skip that step.  If you’d like to verify that setting, the easiest way is to open up regedit and check out the following key:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\fSingleSessionPerUser

Verify that it is set to 1.

Once those steps are done, you can basically just follow the VMware instructions to complete the process.  Install the View Agent on the 2012 server, which will prompt you for information about your View Connection Servers.  Completing that process will register the server as a RDS Host, which will allow you to create a Farm and then an Application Pool.  Have fun!


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