VMware Horizon View – Help Desk Tool

On 20 JUN 2017, VMware released VMware Horizon 7.2. Amongst other new features, a Help Desk Tool is released. This help desk tool is a HTML5 capable web application which gives you the ability to get the status of Horizon 7 user sessions and to perform troubleshooting and maintenance operations.

The requirements for the help desk tool are:

  • Horizon 7.2 Enterprise or Horizon 7.2 Apps Advanced edition
  • An Horizon Event database needs to be set up
  • Administrator role to log in to the Horizon help desk tool
  • The timing profiler needs to be enabled on each connection server to be able to see logon segments information

  • The Horizon 7.2 agent needs to be installed in the VDI to be able to see session details. If the agent is not up-to-date you will only be able to Restart, Log Off or Reset the VDI:

As an administrator you can launch the helpdesk tool by clicking on the link “Help Desk” in the upper right corner of the New administrator page or by launching directly the URL https://<viewserver_url>/helpdesk

When clicking on the “Help Desk” link in the Horizon View administrators console, you are logged in automatically with the userID/password you used to log in to the Horizon View administrator console. When you are using the direct URL https://<viewserver_url>/helpdesk you will be presented with a logon screen

Once logged in you can search for the user who is requesting help

When you click on the user ID, you will see al the resources this user is using and is entitled to

The “State” displays information regarding the state of the desktop or application session:

  • Green ==> The session is connected
  • Grey ==> The session is disconnected
  • L ==> if the session is a local session or the session is running in the local pod
  • G ==> if the session is running in a different pod in the pod federation

When clicking on the computer name you will see detailed information on the user’s session indifferent sections:

  • Client displays information that depends on the type of Horizon Client and includes details such as user name, IP address of the client machine, and the operating system of the client machine.
  • VM displays the following information:
    • Computer Name. Name of the desktop or application session
    • Agent Version. Horizon Agent version
    • Session State. State of the desktop or application session
    • State Duration. The time the session remained in the same state
    • Logon Time. The logon time of the user who logged in to the session
    • Logon Duration. The time the user remained logged in to the session
    • Session Duration. The time the session remained connected to Connection Server
    • Connection Server. The Connection Server that the session connects to
    • Farm. The farm of RDS hosts for the published desktop or application session.
  • CPU displays a chart for the CPU usage of the virtual desktop or published desktop or application
  • Memory displays a chart for the Memory usage of the virtual desktop or published desktop or application.
  • Latency displays a chart for the latency for the PCoIP or Blast display protocol.
  • Logon Segments display the following segments created during logon.
    • Logon duration. The length of time that the user was logged in to the session. Calculated from the time the user clicks the desktop or application pool to the time when Windows Explorer starts
    • Interactive. Total time for Horizon Agent to process a session connect or reconnect. Calculated from the time when PCoIP or Blast Extreme uses the tunnel connection to the time when Windows Explorer starts.
    • Brokering. Total time for Connection Server to process a session connect or reconnect. Calculated from the time the user clicks the desktop pool to the time when the tunnel connection is set up. Includes the times for Connection Server tasks such as user authentication, machine selection, and machine preparation for setting up the tunnel connection.
    • GPO load. Total time for Windows group policy processing. Displays 0 if there is no global policy configured.
    • Profile load. Total time for Windows user profile processing.

There are also a number of buttons in the screen to be able to interact with the enduser/VDI: “Send message” – “Remote Assitance” – “Restart VDI” – “More” (Disconnect, Log Off, Reset VM). Most of these functionalities are self-explanatory and already available in the Horizon View administrator page. The new functionality is the “Remote Assistance” button.

When you click on the “Remote Assistance” button a “Windows Remote Assistance Invitation” session file is downloaded. When you click on the downloaded file it opens with the “Windows Remote Assistance” application. Initially the administrator sees a black screen

The end-user will receive a message asking if he/she would like to allow the HelpAssistant to connote to the computer (VDI

When the user clicks YES to the previous question, the administrator (HelpAssistant) is able to view the screen of the end-user and the end-user is notified of this

The administrator (HelpAssistant) can now request control of the end-users device (Left corner button in the Windows Remote Assistance screen) and after the end-user accepts this, the administrator can control the end-users device.

Other functionalities like chatting, pausing the remote assistance, ending the remote assistance session, … are obviously also possible.

I believe this is a very good first step into providing a method to remotely assist VDI users. However, there are a few changes that I would like to see in the Horizon Help Desk tool:

  • Licensing: Unfortunately the Horizon Help Desk tool is currently only available in Horizon Enterprise and Horizon Apps Advanced editions. I hope VMware will change its mind and also make this functionality available in Horizon Standard.
  • HTML5: The Help Desk tool uses a nice looking, fast responding HTML5 interface. I hope that also the Horizon View administrator page moves toward an HTML5 interface so that we can finally get rid of the Adobe flash requirement.
  • Permissions: It would be nice if a new standard role would exist in Horizon View only giving the needed privileges needed to be able to run (all or a subset of) actions available in the Horizon Help Desk tool. For a lost of minimum required permissions see https://www.ituda.com/vmware-horizon-view-minimum-required-permissions-for-help-desk-tool/

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  1. Pingback: VMware Horizon View – Minimum Required Permissions for Help Desk Tool – ITuDA

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