Recently, I was working with a client on an upgrade to their VMware View environment. We were upgrading from View 5.2 to 6.2. A nice jump in versions that was hopefully going to go pretty painlessly. The majority of the machines were Windows 7 machines with a sprinkling of Windows XP machines that for various support reasons were pretty critical to a select few people. Once we had the outage window, we moved to begin upgrading the View infrastructure servers. All went good but when recomposing the XP pool, none of the Virtual Machines were registering with the Brokers. On the broker screens, I was receiving errors complaining about network communications:
No network communication between the View Agent and Connection Server. Please verify that the virtual desktop can ping the Connection Server via the FQDN
After your normal troubleshooting based on this catch all KB Article, I came across this gem in the release notes regarding XP support:
Supportability of Windows XP and Windows Vista guest operating systems as desktop virtual machines
The versions of View Agent that ship with Horizon 6 (version 6.1) and later releases do not support Windows XP and Windows Vista desktops. The Horizon 6 (version 6.1) servers will work with Windows XP and Windows Vista desktops if you continue to use the older View Agent 6.0.2. The older agent, of course, does not offer all of the features of the new agent.
Unfortunately, rolling back the Agent version on the images still not allow the XP VMs to register with the Brokers. In the inventory screens, the agent versions were still showing up as unknown.
I was starting to give up hope. Fortunately with some unreproducible Google-fu, I came across this KB article that saved the day.
Apparently, after 6.1, there were some changes in the way that the Desktop Agents communicated to the Brokers that were not supported by the older 5.x agents. In order to enable communications between the older agents and the newer brokers, some ADSI hacks had to be made. This basically dumbed down the communications to allow the agents to communicate and more importantly register with the brokers.
A quick reboot of the Brokers and the older XP VMs were registering successfully with the Brokers. I still don’t remember how I managed to come across this needle in the Knowledge Base Haystack but I figured I’d write a quick blog post about it so I don’t forget it. :)
Enjoy enabling your user base to hang on to their XP machines for just a little bit longer!