Disabling a Workspace module in VMware Horizon Workspace 1.x

After installing Horizon Workspace you have to activate modules with a green button in the homepage of administration.

If you activate one by mistake though you have no way to deactivate it.

In KB2056300 there is a procedure which explains how to deactivate modules:

 

If a browser interface to the PostgreSQL database is available:

  1. Open a browser and connect to the PostgreSQL database.
  2. Connect to https://DatabaseServer:8443.
  3. Log in using your credentials.
  4. Expand the databases (on the left side of the screen).
  5. Select saas.
  6. Click Enter SQL.
  7. Paste the appropriate script in the SQL Script. For a list of scripts, see below.
  8. Click Execute.

If browser access to the PostgreSQL database is not available:

Log into the Appliance or virtual machine where the PostgreSQL database is installed as root.

su postgres

cd /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/bin

./psql saas

Type in the appropriate script line from the list below and end it with a ; (semicolon)

/q

Scripts

  • To disable the View module, run this query:

    update saas.”Module” set “enabled”=FALSE where “moduleName”=’View’

  • To disable Web Applications module, run this query:

    update saas.”Module” set “enabled”=FALSE where “moduleName”=’SaaS’

  • To disable the Mobile module, run this query:

    update saas.”Module” set “enabled”=FALSE where “moduleName”=’Mobile’

  • To disable ThinApp packages module, run the following query:

    update saas.”Module” set “enabled”=FALSE where “moduleName”=’ThinApp’

 

Accessing Horizon Workspace as non-AD administrator

It can be useful to know how to access administration when we can’t using standard Active Directory users.

Try following URL for non-AD admin access:

https://horizon.corp.local/SAAS/login/0
username: admin
password: password you set during deployment

Reasons why you want to do that vary but it can happen that your AD users lose their admin rights or maybe you messed up moving in your LDAP path your admin user outside the configured scope in Horizon Workspace.

I found this tip in the community, as usual. Enjoy.

How to upgrade Horizon Workspace 1.0 to 1.5

Since a new version of Horizon Workspace came out I’ve been curious about differences and improvements, so i upgraded it to version 1.5.

I have to say that, besides some differences here and there in the look and feel and the new functionality to manage VMware Ready Android devices, I have already found a nice improvement in the way you mount the NFS store in the data-va because finally the procedure simply works and there’s no need of crazy workarounds. I also suspect that they improved a lot the way you change self-signed certificates compared to what it used to be; more on this when i will have tested it.

Note: You can only upgrade if you have completed the setup procedure and you have a fully functional environment.

All commands need to be run from the configurator-va, just as usual, so let’s SSH into it, then:

su -
/usr/local/horizon/lib/menu/updatemgr.hzn check

You should get this output:

Image

As you can see it won’t recognize my vPostgres and this is normal. Since I’ve started this series of posts about Horizon Workspace installing the external database on vPostgres i also added the VM to the VApp to make sure it starts for first and stop for last. The first time i tried to upgrade i decided to ignore this error and went ahead with the upgrade which failed and left my Horizon Workspace installation in an unusable state so i reverted the snapshots, removed the vPostgres from the VApp and rerun the command and i could see no issue at that point.

Before going on and since it’s been so useful for me, i will show you how to snapshot all your VMs in the VApp at once so you can revert if you need. Since you might have more than just 5 VMs i like to use PowerCLI to take over this kind of task simply because it’s faster than working around the GUI:

Get-VApp Horizon-Workspace | Get-VM | New-Snapshot -Name "UpgradeHorizon" -Description "Horizon Workspace upgrade from version 1.0 to 1.5" -Memory -Quiesce -Confirm:$false -RunAsync

Given that you didn’t change the default name of the VApp (Horizon-Workspace) this will snapshot all the VMs included in it.

In the vSphere client you should see this:

Image

Once they are all completed we can go back to the configurator-va and start the upgrade with peace of mind:

/usr/local/horizon/lib/menu/updatemgr.hzn update

Now you should see a whole lot of downloading and installing. In my lab it took about 40 minutes for the whole procedure.

When the upgrade is done you have to shutdown and restart the VApp; since i still have the PowerCLI open i used it:

Stop-VApp -VApp Horizon-Workspace -Confirm:$false
Start-VApp -VApp Horizon-Workspace -Confirm:$false

You shouldn’t start it again until it’s stopped, so in order to see the status of the command i’ve omitted “RunAsync”.

Now check that your Horizon Workspace environment still works then you can check again for updates to see the current status:

Image

That looks al good, now you just have to remember to update your preview binaries in the data-va if you used the LibreOffice preview because there’s a new version, just do as usual.

If you’re happy with the result you can remove the snapshots we created earlier:

Get-VApp Horizon-Workspace | Get-VM | Get-SnapShot | Where { $_.Name.Contains("ToolsUpgrade") } | Remove-Snapshot -RemoveChildren -Confirm:$false -RunAsync

In my case i also had to put back the vPostgres VM in the VApp.

That’s pretty much it.

DISCLAIMER: PowerCLI is a powerful tool and should not be used to throw in some commands without understanding the effects. Before running PowerCLI commands in your production environment always test them and adjust them for your situation. I take no responsibility if you don’t test things out yourself first and your Horizon Workspace gets broken.

UPDATE: In the release notes it is clearly stated that in the documentation there are missing steps in case you have multiple service-va VMs. Please refer to the Horizon Workspace 1.5 release notes for the additional steps.

How to enable SSH root access in Horizon Workspace Virtual Machines

If you followed my previous posts you know how often and how useful is to SSH into a virtual appliance in Horizon Workspace and most of the time the commands you issue need to be run as ‘root’.

By default root access is not allowed via SSH and in order to get ‘root’ prompt you have to SSH as the user ‘sshuser’ with the same password as ‘root’ and then run:

su -



This can be annoying in particular using SCP to copy files because you are limited to ‘sshuser’ home directory and this force us to log back in as ‘root’ again to move the files we just copies.

In actuality there is a way to enable ‘root’ access straight from SSH to make things faster.

WARNING: I’M DESCRIBING THIS PROCEDURE FOR THE SAKE OF LEARNING BUT BY NO MEANS I SUGGEST TO DO THIS IN PRODUCTION BECAUSE IT WILL MOST LIKELY VIOLATE YOUR SECURITY POLICY.

  1. Connect to each VA console via vSphere Client or WebClient
  2. Select “Login” and enter as “root”
  3. vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  4. Find “PermitRootLogin”
  5. Change “PermitRootLogin” from “no” to “yes” and save the file
  6. service sshd restart

The “/etc/ssh/sshd_config” file should look like this:

#HostKeys for protocol version 2
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key

# Lifetime and size of ephemeral version 1 server key
#KeyRegenerationInterval 1h
#ServerKeyBits 1024

# Logging
# obsoletes QuietMode and FascistLogging
#SyslogFacility AUTH
#LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:

#LoginGraceTime 2m
PermitRootLogin yes	# default is no
#StrictModes yes
#MaxAuthTries 6
#MaxSessions 10

#RSAAuthentication yes
#PubkeyAuthentication yes

Now you can log in as ‘root’ directly from SSH.

Configuring redundancy for Horizon Workspace Virtual Machines aka How To Scale Horizon Workspace

Horizon Workspace can scale to many thousands of users, but obviously you are going to need more than just the mere default setup with 5 virtual machines if you want to get there.

As an example let’s take VMware own internal implementation for 13.000+ users so we can see how does Horizon Workspace scale:

  • 1x Configurator VA is used. 2vCPU, 2G Memory
  • 6x Connector VA is used. 2 vCPU, 4G Memory
  • 4x Gateway VA is used: 2 vCPU, 8G Memory
  • 2x Service VA is used: 2vCPU, 6G Memory (1 for HA)
  • 11x Data VA is used: 6 vCPU, 32G Memory
  • 2x Postgres Server is used: 4 vCPU, 4G Memory (1 for replication)
  • 3x MS Office Preview Server: 4vCPU, 4G Memory

VMware Architectural Diagram

As you can see most components can scale to many units, except the configurator-va. The configurator-va is a single point of administration when it comes to configuring your Horizon Workspace environment and it cannot be redundant.

Note: If you intend to increase the capacity of your Horizon Workspace virtual machines don’t forget to adjust the java heap size for improved performance.

In order to add a new virtual machine of any type, you must log in to the configurator-va virtual machine as root user and run the following command:

hznAdminTool addvm –type="VMType" --ip="new VM ip address"


This command can be executed only after the Horizon Workspace setup has been fully completed and you have tested that the solution is working.

The new virtual machines will have to follow the same requirements regarding IP addresses as the base virtual machines. For an overview of these requirements check “How to install Horizon Workspace using an external database”.

For Connector and Data virtual machines, this command creates the new virtual machine by cloning a base snapshot of the original virtual machine of the same type. The base snapshot is captured for all virtual machines during the initial deployment. The command fails if the base snapshot does not exist.

For service and gateway virtual machines, this command creates the new virtual machine by cloning the current virtual machine snapshot.

Let’s dig into details about having multiple instance of each type of virtual machine.

Note: The following commands, unless specified otherwise, must be executed on the configurator-va.

Multiple gateway-va
Companies can deploy multiple gateway-va in order to distribute load on more than one virtual machine thus providing both redundancy and scalability for this role. This is usually the first role that you want to make redundant since it’s the entry point for all users.

The specific command to add a gateway-va is as follows:

hznAdminTool addvm –type=GATEWAY --ip="new VM ip address"


Multiple service-va
You might want to add another service-va for the same reasons of the gateway-va.

Note: In order to add more service-va you must be using and external database.

The specific command to add a service-va is as follows:

hznAdminTool addvm –type=APPLICATION_MANAGER -- ip="new VM ip address"


Now connect to https://ConfiguratorHostname, open the System Information page and note how both the old and new service-va are listed and also how the new service-va is in maintenance mode. Before proceeding verify that the virtual machine was added correctly by checking the IP address.

We are going to need to open some firewall ports on all service-va, as referral for the coming configs use these:

iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -s "OTHER_service_va_IP" -p tcp --dport
9300:9400 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -o eth0 -s "OTHER_service_va_IP" -p tcp --sport
9300:9400 -m state --state ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -s "OTHER_service_va_IP" -p udp --dport
54328 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -o eth0 -s "OTHER_service_va_IP" -p udp --sport
54328 -m state --state ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

Now we need to do the following to open firewall ports:

  • Run hznAdminTool listvms command to list service-va virtual machines.
  • Write down only the service-va virtual machine IP addresses.
  • Log in to the service-va virtual machine for IP address1 as root and go to the console.
  • Run the iptables command and use IP address2 as the value for the “OTHER_service_va_IP” parameter.
  • Log in to the service-va virtual machine for IP address2 as root and go to the console.
  • Run the iptables command and use IP address1 as the value for the “OTHER_service_va_IP” parameter value.

Next we need to run the following commands on all service-va:

service elasticsearch stop
hznAdminTool configureElasticSearch -ES_MULTICAST_ENABLED true service elasticsearch start
service elasticsearch status


And run the following commands only on the new service-va:

service rabbitmq-server stop
service elasticsearch stop
rm /var/run/rabbitmq/pid
rm /var/run/rabbitmq/lock
rm /var/run/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.pid
rm /var/lock/subsys/elasticsearch
rm -R /db/rabbitmq/data/*
rm -R /db/elasticsearch/*
service rabbitmq-server start
service rabbitmq-server status
rabbitmqctl stop_app
rabbitmqctl force_reset
rabbitmqctl start_app
hznAdminTool configureElasticSearch -ES_MULTICAST_ENABLED true service elasticsearch start
service elasticsearch status

Finally go to https://ConfiguratorHostname/cfg and click “Exit Maintenance Mode” on the newly added service-va. The Configurator updates all the gateway-va virtual machines and starts sending requests to the new
service-va virtual machine as well.

Multiple connector-va
Creating multiple connector-va will allow you to reduce traffic and reduce downtime. Other than that, creating multiple connector-va will enable you to use multiple means of authentication such as Active Directory user and password, RSA SecurID passcode or Kerberos-based Windows authentication. To enable multiple forms of authentication, you must set up multiple connector-va virtual machines.

Image

Depending on the type of authentication, you deploy a new connector-va in a different way. This subject will require a new post by itself but you can find details now in the Horizon Workspace Documentation Center.

Multiple data-va
User accounts are provisioned to a specific data-va virtual machine that handles their file activity. It is recommended that each data-va virtual machine serve no more than 1000 users, so you need to scale if you have more than that. When you add a new data-va virtual machine, the new data-va virtual machine automatically becomes available from the default COS host pool. The host pool for other classes of service that are created displays the new data-va virtual machine, but it is not enabled in that COS. To use a new data-va virtual machine in the other classes of service, the administrator must modify the COS and enable the data-va virtual machine.

The first data-va virtual machine in the Horizon Workspace configuration is the master node. This node contains the metadata for the data-va virtual machine user accounts. If you create additional data-va virtual machines, these data-va virtual machines are file stores only. When the master node is down, users cannot log in to their data accounts.

You can configure the host pool in the COS to use specific data-va virtual machines. In this way, you can manage where accounts are provisioned. For example, you add a second data-va virtual machine because disk space on the first data-va virtual machine is low. You do not want the first data-va virtual machine to be provisioned with any more new accounts once you have added the second node. From the Horizon Workspace Administrator Web interface, edit each COS to select the new data-va virtual machine in the Host Pool and deselect the other data-va virtual machine.

The specific command to add a data-va is as follows:

hznAdminTool addvm –type=DATA --ip="new VM ip address"


Note: Don’t forget to configure preview on each data-va.

Now the new data-va is in maintenance mode, to complete adding a new data-va do the following:

  • Restart each existing data-va
  • Log in to each data-va virtual machine as the root user to generate ssh keys
  • Reboot each data-va

The on each data-va:

su - zimbra
/opt/zimbra/.ssh/authorized_keys/zmupdateauthkeys
/etc/rc.d/memcached restart

Now go to https://ConfiguratorHostname and click “Exit Maintenance Mode”.

The new data-va virtual machine is ready to use.

Update: In Horizon Workspace 1.5 the base snapshot of the data-va is not used anymore to create other data-va. In order to create more data-va you have to create a “New datava-template Virtual Machine”.

Disclaimer: In this article i pasted parts of the official documentation.

Configuring data-va Preview

When using files in your Horizon Workspace Data section you can have a nice preview of the most common file types, like Microsoft Office, PDF, Text Files and such.

File previews can be generated in 2 ways:

  • Using LibreOffice Preview: File previews are generated on the data-va. This is a free option.
  • Using Microsoft Windows Preview: You can use this method to have a Microsoft Windows server act as a preview server. It requires Microsoft Office licenses.

Even if with the second option gives you the best compatibility, i go for the first option 99% of the times.

Enabling the LibreOffice Preview is a piece of cake: just ssh to the data-va, get a root prompt and then type:

cd /opt/zimbra/libexec
./libreoffice-installer.sh

This will download and install the software altogether. If you want to see progress of the process just do the following:

tail -f /tmp/libreoffice.download.txt

Once the process is complete do the following to apply the change:

su - zimbra
zmmailboxdctl restart

Now you should be able to use preview in Horizon Workspace.

Note: Password protected Microsoft Office documents cannot be previewed.

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