I’ve been waiting to deploy Project Octopus for the best part of 18 months… I’m still actively running the Octopus Beta and for my personal use/internal testing and it’s lived up to expectation for the most. There have been a number of bugs identified and general limitations with the Beta release builds, but all in all it does the job. I was a little frustrated with the time to market for the initial GA of the product, and even more so when it was incorporated into the Horizon Suite of products. Feel VMware has missed getting to a key part of the market with DropBox like clones popping up everywhere of late.

Having just gone through my first deployment of the Horizon Workspace vApp (…and failed) …put together with the fact there isn’t much on the internet in terms of walkthroughs, I thought a blog post would be handy. This won’t be a HA scaled out deployment as I only need to support 100-500 internal users for the moment, but the on-line docs do touch on Advanced Configuration tasks.

There is quiet a bit to the deployment, so this post will only touch on the key points and any additional items the docs don’t cover clearly. While starting to write out this post it became clear this would need to be a multi-parter…in this part I’ll go through initial DNS configuration requirements, deploying the Horizon Workspace vApp and going through the initial configuration wizard.

Initial Design Action Items:

Reading through the online docs the key takeaway is that you need to get your DNS right…that is, allocate the vApp VM IP addresses and ensure the reverse IP’s match up. You also need to think about the FQDN for internal and external access.

FQDN: xx.horizon.domain.com -> (split DNS employed relative to the vCenter/ESX environment to ensure internal and external access is achieved without the VM’s having to route publicly)

 Caution: After you deploy, you cannot change the Horizon Workspace FQDN.

This was the mistake I made which meant I had to redeploy the vApp and get the FQDN right. When it came time for me to publish the gateway-va externally the external host name redirected the the FQDN specified during setup which I configured as an internal address.

Deploy The vApp:

Once you download and acquire the OFV from the VMware Download page, deploying the vApp is straight forward, however one thing to point out is that you need to ensure you have a vCenter Datacenter IP Pool configured so that the vAPP can correctly allocate IP/DNS settings to the VM’s. The OVF deployment screen below, warns you about that.


I had a previous IP Pool setup for my vCOP’s install, but there wasn’t a requirement to populate the DNS settings. That part is critical for this setup to be successful as the vApp will use these settings to configure DNS on the VM’s…without it, the initial configuration will fail due to a DNS lookup error when the configurator VA tries it’s first lookup against the VA IPs. You will need to restart the VA if any errors are detected.


Initial Configuration:

Once the vApp has been deployed you should only have the configurator-va powered on. (do not power on the other VA’s). Log into the vCenter console for the configurator-va and go through the initial Configuration Wizard.


Once enter is pressed the wizard kicks off the the DNS checks mentioned above are executed. You are then prompted to enter in the root password to all VA’s in the vApp (this also becomes you default login password). From there you enter in your SMTP relay, Workspace FQDN and vCenter credentials.


From this point the wizard goes through and configures the remains VA’s, allocates the root password throughout the different systems and creates the SSL certificate services. This process can take up to 30-40 minutes depending on the your underlying storage. Viewing the process through vCenter you can see a summary of what’s taking place…interestingly (similar to vCloud Director managed VM’s) the VA’s management is taken over by the configurator-va and through that all the wizard actions take place.


Once complete you are presented with the message below and you are ready to continue configuring Horizon Workspace from the configurator-va web console.



Part 2 will follow and run through setting up initial Horizon Workspaces users, groups, services and policies.