Friday, February 12, 2016

Upgrading a Horizon View Environment

The below links assume a Horizon 5.x environment. The same general process should be followed for Horizon 6 using the appropriate documentation.

Some prerequisites that I would highly recommend before performing any actual upgrades are:

1)      Perform an end-to-end backup of your environment (
2)      Review the Network Port Requirements for View: ( // Be sure to also review the network section of the install guide for any new ports that might have changed in the target version of View.

In a VMware View environment, your order of operations for a complete upgrade will likely look similar to this (with page references in the View Upgrade Guide below):

1. Connection Server / Security Server (page 34 / 39)
2. vCenter / Update Manager / Composer (page 40 / 25)
3. Hosts (page 45)
4. VMware Tools / Virtual Machine Hardware (page 46)
5. View Agents (page 47)
6. View Client (page 51)
7. Distributed Switches and Datastores (found in vSphere Networking Guide, page 28 and vSphere Storage Guide page 143, respectively)
Documentation for Reference:

VMware View Upgrade Guide (5.2/5.3 shared the same docs)

Horizon View 5.3.5 Release Notes

Keeping a vSphere environment up to date (generic order of events)

vSphere Upgrade Guide (for vCenter, VUM, and ESXi)

vSphere Networking Guide

vSphere Storage Guide

For a complete list of VMware Horizon View Documents, Best Practices, and Notes, please bookmark the Documentation Center link here:

I hope you've found this post helpful! Let me know in the comments. Good luck!


  1. Thanks for a good guide, however, I would like to just make one clearification and that is that composer should be upgraded first. That is before the connection servers.

  2. Thanks for the link CJ! Though Composer is listed first, it actually doesn't matter in the grand scheme and here's why: It's recommended to upgrade all servers at the same time (in a single change window) so to avoid incompatibility. With Composer's provisioning disabled, and the Brokers being offline during the upgrade, the upgrades are virtually unrelated. I've upgraded lots of View environments and never found it to be an issue doing one before the other.

  3. Thanks for your reply! I have allways done upgrades with composer first so I have no experience in upgrading composer after the connection servers but I am happy that both ways work and that Horizon View is so forgiving in the upgrade path. Something that I have been stuggling with is the best way to do the connection server upgrades. What really is the hardest decision for me and customers is how to do snapshots. If we shut down all connection servers at the same time and snapshot them when they are powered off then we have a really fast restore procedure in case something goes wrong (which never happened to me so far) but we do get some down time for the VDI services where users cant connect or power on desktops. The other way to do it is to snapshot one connection server when powered on and rely on that snapshot and then delete the other connection servers and have the single one replicate the ADLDS database to the new servers. What is your take on that? :) BR CJ

  4. Great question. VMware Support always recommends planning to perform a View environment upgrade during an outage window. I would always inform users of downtime while servers are being upgraded. That being said, there are a few BC/DR methods that may work.

    I talk about backing up and restoring a View environment here ( but you hit on a good point - if you have even 1 good Broker and ADAM database copy, you can build out an entire replicated Pod pretty quickly by installing/reinstalling new replicas. Cleaning a replicated Pod is pretty easy by following the steps in Furthermore recovering with backup data is also discussed in

    All that being said, during the upgrade process, I wouldn't rely on just the snapshots taken prior to the upgrade. Those are nice to have, but aren't always reliable in every scenario. This is where having good (and multiple) ADAM database backups are useful.

  5. Yes, I agree and make sure that the recovery password is known! :)


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