On June 20th the latest version of Horizon was released, namely Horizon 7.2. The highlights of this release include the added Horizon Help Desk tool, and general availability of Skype for Business enhancements in the Horizon environment to enable Horizon users to use Skype in a production environment. You can for example find the VMware Virtualization Pack for Skype in the Horizon Agent installer.

Both features are what organizations often asked about, so it is good that these are included in this release. Other somewhat important are the usual upgrade release updates, scale and product interoperability improvements. As expected and delivered, nothing fancy here.

Helpdesk Login

As some form of support tooling, insights and shadowing was a long feature requests for a lot of Horizon customers (and I do mean a lot) I want to go a bit in the details of the Horizon Help Desk tool while looking at Horizon 7.2. If you want some more information or background from VMware read this blog post: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2017/06/new-vmware-horizon-help-desk-tool.html.

Next to actually having the helpdesk functionality, and this is awesome: No flash is required for the Horizon Help Desk Tool! The helpdesk functionality is presented in a HTML5 interface. Boom Hulk Smash Awesomeness. Now go and replace that Horizon admin console with the same in the next release. And integrate those tools somewhat more than just opening a link. Pretty please.

Do note that this version of the Horizon Help Desk Tool does not support Linux Desktops. But I have yet to encounter Linux Desktops at one of my Horizon customers.

How do we get the Helpdesk functionality?

Well it’s included in the Horizon 7.2 release and thus in those installer bits. No separate download. If you have installed the connection server you already should have it. Go to https://connectionserver/helpdesk and you will be able to enter Active Directory user account credentials. You can also click the Help Desk link in the top of the Horizon Administrator Console, this will open a new window to the Help Desk console and pass the credentials. Another console? Yes unfortunately another one. Hopefully we see some long-awaited integration a bit closer in the future….Anyhow, for now we have to work with this.

If the Help desk user has the appropriate permissions to Horizon (see a bit further down in this blog post) you should be able to logon. And if the Horizon environment is licensed with Horizon Enterprise or Horizon Apps Advanced edition you should to be able to get even further. If not, you will get the following error and be stopped when trying to logon.

Not Licensed

We will also need to have an event database configured where Horizon is storing information about the Horizon 7 environment. If there will be nothing to show except for an error on desktop and application assignments for the users.

If you would like to see the view logon timing segments (and who wouldn’t want to see logon details), you need to prepare the connection server instances by enabling the timing profiles on the instances. You will need to run the following command on the connection server:

vdmadmin -I -timingProfiler -enable [-server {ip/server}].

In the Horizon Help Desk Tool there is real-time to up to 15 minutes of collected metric data, and you might also want to see some other metric data of importance. The amount of metric that is visible in the Help Desk Tool will not be enough to determine all possible issues with desktops or use for root cause analysis. However for first aid overview this will help your support guys and gals significantly. The Horizon Help Desk tool is meant as an extension to vRealize Operations Manager for Horizon and not as a replacement.

Check Origin

Like we have with remotely accessing the admin console for Horizon Help Desk this seems to be needed as well.

If not changed I continuously get the “Authentication failed, invalid domain, username or password. Please try again” error. Checked for username case-sensitive (the Horizon Help Desktop tool is case-sensitive), typos and all. If you haven’t you will need to do the CheckOrigin in the locked.properties file if you would remotely access the tool set.

Add checkOrigin=false to the locked.Properties file in C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\sslgateway\conf\

If the file does not exist create it (watch the view settings in explorer, locked.properties.txt will not work). Restart the connection service and you will be able to use this setting.

Permissions

Current you are required to have a user with the Administrator role assigned. Is that something that is really necessary, well yes currently if you want to have the functionality of the Horizon Help Desk. But it is a far over the top permission requirement for first line helpdesk support roles. IMHO this can pose more of a problem then a solution as the admin console is rather easy to find and havoc can be wreaked easily there. But let say this is a first iteration of the tool.

What you can do is create a specific role for the help desk and let that role have only the required permissions on a set of objects (via Access Group):

Needed privileges: Console Interaction, Manage Machine (with this one you also get Manage Reboot Operations and Manage Sessions).

Add an Access Group and place the required Pools in that Access Group. Add your helpdesk users to this environment with role and Access Group. This should contain the havoc a little bit.

Note: if you happen to want Workspace ONE, vIDM will only sync the root/ Access Group.

Using Horizon Help Desk

The interface is straightforward. After login you can search for the user that is having difficulties, as there is no other reason to call support, and check the entitlements and sessions of the user.

OpenSession

You can then drill down into specific session details for example: client details, display protocol information, logon time, session state, state duration and much more. Or you can do the following actions: Send a message, launch Microsoft Remote Assistance for help in the session, disconnect or reset the desktop.

Open Session Details

Help about the Horizon Help Desk

The documentation link from Horizon Help Desk points to the Horizon 7 document center. Here you will miss some documentation as Horizon Helpdesk is not included in that version. You can use the following link in the mean time: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-7/7.2/com.vmware.horizon-view.administration.doc/GUID-256CFA52-E742-4A3F-8F3E-6DE9CEDE5272.html. That will put you straight in the troubleshooting – Using Horizon Help Desk Tool in the documentation center.

Upgrading to Horizon 7.2

You can follow the procedure that I have highlighted in my Horizon 7.1 upgrade procedure. Find that one here: https://pascalswereld.nl/2017/03/18/euc-can-i-kick-it-upgrading-to-horizon-7-1/.

– Enjoy your Horizon 7.2!

Sources: vmware.com

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