VMware View – Objective 1.1 Install View Composer


  • Identify minimum hardware and software requirements for installation
  • Describe Composer database and connectivity
  • Describe Composer service and dependencies
  • Navigate View Composer installation wizard

Hardware Requirements

View Composer must be installed on the same server as vCenter which rules out the vCenter Server Appliance.

Operating System Requirements

vCenter 4.0 Update 3 or Higher Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise with no service pack or service pack one.

vCenter 4.1 Update 1 or Higher Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise with no service pack or service pack one.

vCenter 5.0 or Higher Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise with no service pack or service pack one.


View Composer requires a SQL database or Oracle database.  For SQL this can be 2005 or 2008 and for Oracle both 10g or 11g can be used.   Both can be on the same instance as the vCenter database.  The database stores data related to:

  • vCenter Server connections
  • Active Directory connections
  • Linked Clone desktops
  • Replicas created by View Composer

Note, that each View Composer service must have it’s own database.

View Composer Installation

Before we install View Composer, it’s probably a good idea to recap what View Composer does.  It’s probably the main reason that makes View so viable, essentially it provides linked clone functionality.  You have a ‘parent VM disk’ which is read only, from this desktops are created using snapshots with very minor differences such as Computer Name and Active Directory GUID.

If we think about this, it gives us some unique advantages which are:

  • Storage requirements decrease (not from an IOPS perspective)
  • Quick desktop deployment as each linked clone only starts at 32MB in size difference from the parent rather than needing to copy the whole 10 or 20 GB VMDK.
  • Easier patch management by updating your ‘golden image/template’ with new patches, then point the parent image at the new snapshot.

The VMware View Composer Server needs to be downloaded from here.  As at the time of this blog post the most recent version is VMware-viewcomposer-3.0.0-691993.exe

For this installation, I’m using SQL 2008 Express, I have created a database called ViewComposer and service.vmware has DBO rights.  If you are unsure on how to do this, I wrote a guide which can be found here under SQL Configuration.

Launch the View Composer installer on your vCenter Server and click Next

View Composer 1

Accept the EULA and click Next

View Composer 2

Choose the installation location, in most setups I tend to leave this as the default.

View Composer 3

Now we need to enter the Data Source Name (DSN) details, click on ODBC DSN Setup

View Composer 4

Select System DSN and then Add

View Composer 5

Select SQL Server Native Client 10.0 and click Finish

View Composer 6

Enter the Name, Description and the SQL Server you want to connect to and hit Next.

View Composer 7

TOP TIP: If using SQL Express, go into services.msc and find SQL* and it will tell you the instance name.   In my case it’s VIM_SQLEXP

We are going to roll ‘With Integrated Windows Authentication’, so click Next

View Composer 8

Select ‘Change the default database to:’ and choose your View Composer database.

View Composer 9

Lastly click on Finish

View Composer 10

Give the connection and test and hopefully you get success!

View Composer 11

Back to the Database Information screen and enter in all the credentials.  I’m using my service.vmware account for connectivity to the View Composer database.  I strongly suggest you have a service account rather than using an administrator account.

View Composer 12

View Composer uses SOAP and uses the Port 18443 for this.  As no SSL Certificates are installed on my vCenter Server, View Composer will create an SSL.  So all we have to do is click Next

View Composer 13

Finally, we click Install and watch the magic happen.

View Composer 14

All done, click Finish

View Composer 15

Dang, we need to reboot vCenter.  In a production environment, this is key, so you may want to advise the client before hand, saving you having to wait around twiddling your thumbs!

View Composer 16

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