How to install Horizon Workspace using an external database

In the previous posts we’ve taken care of all the preparation steps so now we should be ready to get down to business and install Horizon Workspace.

First of all download the Horizon Workspace OVA from the VMware website and get a product key; trial is good if you didn’t purchase one yet and it should be ok for proof-of-concept.

Once you have the OVA file you can import it in vCenter using the usual “Deploy OVF from template” menu.

While we wait for the upload to complete we need to create records in our DNS server for every virtual appliance. Here’s how i configured mine in my lab:			cofigurator.vsphere.lab			service01.vsphere.lab			connector01.vsphere.lab			data01.vsphere.lab		        gateway01.vsphere.lab

You also need to create PTR records, if you have a Windows based DNS this can be done simply by selecting a flag while creating A records:


Note: You must have created the reverse zone in DNS before using this flag. Otherwise you can manually create PTR records in the reverse zone.

Go through the wizard, once you get to setting up the network for the virtual appliances fill gateway, DNS, subnet mask and pick a port group:

Ova network

If you followed previous posts you should have no problems filling up all the information. Make sure all virtual appliances are on the same network segment.

Now let’s assign IP addresses to different virtual appliances according to the DNS records we created:

Ova network 2

During setup the name of the virtual appliances will be assigned based on reverse lookup query of every IP address so it’s important to also to create PTR records because A records are not used for DNS reverse lookups and if they are missing the setup process will fail.
In my case i don’t have a specific timezone for my country but since i live in GMT+1 i can choose Paris. If you don’t know what to choose or make the wrong choice here you can change it later on and you will also have more options to choose from.

In case you want to change the timezone later, just finish the whole setup and before starting configuration ssh to all VAs, get ‘root’ prompt and run these commands:

rm /etc/localtime
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Rome /etc/localtime

The date command in the beginning and end are useful to see if the operation was successful.

Note: When you get to the end of the wizard remember to check the flag so that the vApp is powered on after deployment.

After the deployment you’ll notice that only the configurator-va will be powered on as this is where we will setup the whole Horizon Workspace solution, so let’s start by connecting to the console of the configurator-va with the vSphere Client or Web Client as you prefer. You will be asked to press enter to start setup and here is where your DNS reverse records will be checked:

Config 1

Make sure there is correspondence between what you see here and the names and IP addresses you wanted to assign. If everything is correct you can confirm and go ahead; you will be asked for ‘root’ password do be assigned to all Vas plus a bunch of settings we described when we compiled the checklist in previous posts:

Config 2

The interesting thing to note here is that the suggested FQDN would be the same name of the gateway that we set in the DNS records, but we want to put this out on the internet so we are choosing “”.

Remember: the FQDN cannot be changed after deployment. The only supported option to change it is redeploying the whole thing from scratch.

Note: You need to use a valid SMTP server or setup will stop.

After answering to all questions, which include SMTP and vCenter parameters, you will see quite a few things happening:

  • turning on and preparing VMs
  • setting root passwords
  • setting timesync
  • generating self-signed ssl certificated
  • setting workspace FQDN
  • configuring virtual appliances firewalls
  • starting webapps

Grab something to drink, make phone calls… this takes a while. At the end you will be instructed to press enter and connect to the configurator-va via HTTPS.

Config 4

Admin user is a local user that can access the configurator appliance in case of problems, but it’s not the Horizon Workspace administrator.

Fill up licensing details and click “Next”.

In the Database Connection Setup let’s pick the External Database option and use the vPostgres instance we created earlier:


click “Next”:

Db 1

Error while testing DB connection. I/O error:; nested exception is

Now, this is where it gets interesting!
We get an error, so we must have made some mistake in the vPostgres database… well, no we didn’t. The problem here is that the configurator-va doesn’t know the host “” because we didn’t create an A record for it in the DNS, so add it then try again:

Db 2

Error while testing DB connection. I/O error: No route to host; nested exception is No route to host

Ok, another error, we must have made a mistake. ACTUALLY NO. I pointed the Workspace record to the Load Balancer as suggested in the documentation but the setup doesn’t like this choice. After a while i figured it’s because in this phase we need to point it to the gateway-va ip address so it can correctly recognize itself, so go change the workspace record in DNS and try again:

Db 5

Error creating admin user. hostname in certificate didn’t match: !=

Crap. Error again. A different one.
I know it doesn’t look like it but we are making progresses here.
At this point i understood why the setup wanted me to use the gateway-va FQDN as Workspace FQDN. Our problem now is that the “” hostname doesn’t match with the common name of the certificate that has been generated for the gateway-va which in my case it “gateway01.vsphere.lab”, but we need something that can be used outside on the internet so what do we do now?

I found the solution in the VMTN communities which are always a great resource. First let’s connect to the configurator-va with the user ‘sshuser’ with the same password we chose for ‘root’ during setup, type “su -” and insert the ‘root’ password and once we have the “#” prompt the do the following:

cd /usr/local/horizon/lib/menu/secure
./wizardssl.hzn --makesslcert gateway-va 'workspace FQDN'

In my case:

cd /usr/local/horizon/lib/menu/secure
./wizardssl.hzn --makesslcert gateway-va

Now all certificates are generated again and pushed to all virtual appliances, but the gateway-va certificate will match to the Workspace FQDN, so now we should be set, let’s try again:

Db 3

Whooa! Finally. You don’t know how much it took me to figure this out. No really, stop guessing. You don’t WANT to know.
Another option i could think of is to configure the load balancer before setting up Horizon Workspace, and point “” record to it but it think it’s not practical to set up a load balancer if the application is not up yet because you would have no way to test it.

In other words what i do is:

  • standard setup
  • set internet FQDN as Workspace FQDN
  • temporary point Workspace FQDN to gateway-va
  • recreate certificates
  • complete setup

Later on we will complete the job configuring load balancers, changing DNS entries to point at them and generating new certificates that are not self-signed so all pieces fall into place. More on these activities in later posts.

Now it’s time to configure Active Directory integration:


Configure using your Active Directory LDAP structure.

The user ‘workspace’ is a user i created earlier in Active Directory and that is the user that will function as Horizon Workspace admin.

Click “Next”.

Accept defaults for user mapping.

Click “Next”.

Let’s discover the users:


Note: If you see an error tab it’s most likely because you didn’t compile fields Name, Last Name and Email for all users.

Now selecting groups:


Click “Add” next to the Active Directory groups that you want to add to the Horizon Workspace.

For SSL certificates just leave defaults and click “Next”.

In the “Select Modules” page enable all modules but the View module and click “Next”.


Click “Go to Horizon Workspace” and in the login screen use the credentials you’ve set during setup:


Note: The password was set on the user when it has been created in Active Directory.

You should get here:

Login 1

Congrats! You’ve setup Horizon Workspace and in the coming posts we will complete the job installing load balancers, taking care of SSL Certificates and so on.


One Response to How to install Horizon Workspace using an external database

  1. Pingback: How to deal with Horizon Workspace 1.5 FQDN and certificates | MyVirtuaLife.Net

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