VMware’s Horizon Application Manager 1.5 provides IT administrators with a way to give end users a sort of company app store that allows single sign on for many applications. The solution delivers applications to your end users’ devices using ThinApps.

Horizon Application Manager comes as two virtual appliances, so there’s no need to use up Windows licenses for this solution. Horizon can use Active Directory authentication to authenticate users. It can also be on-premise or a hosted solution. I’ll walk through the installation of the two appliances and go over some of the obstacles I encountered during my install. For more information on the Horizon installation check out this VMware guide.

1. Download the necessary files.

  • a. Connector.ova (Connector Appliance)
  • b. Service-va.ova (Horizon Application Appliance)
  • c. Horizon Agent Install
  • d. VMware-ThinApp-Enterprise.exe

2. Create DNS records for the two appliances (e.g., HorizonAppMan –, HorizonConnect-

3. Deploy the Horizon Application Appliance by going to File | Deploy OVF Template on your vSphere client.

4. Follow the deployment wizard. I ran into an issue putting in the IP address. I couldn’t see the last octet, but I typed it in anyway, and the whole thing appeared properly on the summary page.

5. Start the appliance and open the Console tab.

6. Follow the instructions in the Console session.

7. Open a browser and go to the URL shown on the console to start configuration. Make sure you connect using the FQDN and not the IP address in the URL (Figure A).

Figure A
Horizon Application Manager’s Operator Setup Wizard (Click the image to enlarge.)

8. Enter the name of your Horizon Application Manager in the Organizational Name field. If you prefer to call it something else, you need to create an alias in DNS and point it to the Horizon Application Manager.

9. Upload your company’s logo if you want to cobrand your app store.

10. In the third step it asks you to choose a connection method. You can generate a connector activation token or create a temporary administrator. I chose to create an activation token because this will have to be done eventually.

11. Deploy the Connector OVF in the same way. Once it is deployed and you’ve given it an IP, log in to the console using your root credentials and put in the command ‘hostname [hostname]‘ because this will make things much easier in later configurations.

12. Open a browser and connect to the URL shown in the console (e.g., https://HorizonConnect/8443).

13. Enter a new password.

14. Copy and paste the activation code that you generated from the Horizon Application Manager appliance in the Connector Appliance web UI.

15. While you’re still in the Connector Appliance, input the Active Directory information.

16. Click Next and save the information given in the About page.

17. To create end user access, click the Setup Wizard button on that same page.

18. Create the share where you’ll put your apps on another server within the environment. This share should give authenticated users permission to Read/Write to the folder. If you give Everyone permission, it will not work. Enter the path to this share in the wizard.

19.  In step 7 of this wizard it asks you to select users that will be allowed access. All users who will be given access will need to have email addresses listed in Active Directory, so make sure you’ve covered that base, or you will receive errors for the users who don’t have the proper attributes filled in.

20. When you’re finished with the Setup Wizard, run the VMware ThinApp installer you downloaded earlier on a clean Windows 7 machine (if your environment uses Windows XP or Windows 8, use those instead).

21.  Follow the wizard to install.

22. To do a basic ThinApp capture of an application is pretty simple, so I’m not going to go through all of the steps here. You can just pull up the Capture wizard and follow the steps. Note: In the step that asks if this ThinApp is going to be managed by Horizon Application Manager, make sure you put a check in that box and specify the address of the Horizon Application Manager.

At this point, you should have most of the pieces up and running and be able to connect both as a regular user and as the admin user that you configured and hopefully saved. In my next post, I’ll go through adding applications to your catalog, assigning permissions to users, and other configuration/implementation steps.