Horizon 7.10.0 Help Desk Tool bug
An awesome feature of VMware Horizon is the so called Help Desk Tool. This was started as a separately hosted web console in previous versions of Horizon, but has since been integrated in the HTML5 based Horizon admin console. The only caveat, the helpdesk feature can only be used if you have a Horizon Enterprise license.
The Horizon Help Desk Tool allows for easy gathering of a users' details by simply searching for the logon name:
show you a lot of details about the selected session:
and provide live updates about what's going on with the user's session:
From this screen, a number of other actions can also be performed in helping the user and managing the session from a helpdesk point of view. In the example above, it is clear that there have been network related issues, leading to a decrease in user experience.
At a recent customer engagement, we found that there were no sessions displayed in the consoles of the Horizon environment. The environment was a greenfield deployment, which made it quite odd. A separate test environment confirmed the issue, a fresh installation of Horizon 7.10.0 gave no session information.
A number of things were tried to solve it, although they should have no effect on the basic operation of the helpdesk console.
One item is the Connection server timing profile. This is disabled by default, and will cause the user session screen in the helpdesk tool to not show any logon timing information. To get this to work, a vdmadmin command has to be issued on every Connection server that needs to be able to absorb and show this information. The official documentation on Using the Horizon Help Desk Tool can be found here:
The command should be run from an administrative command prompt:
vdmadmin -I -timingProfiler -enable
When succesful, the output should be:
This however did not help in showing any sessions. The entire environment was shut down and restarted, to no avail. The Horizon agent was reinstalled on the desktop pools, but this did not cause a difference either. There were no apparent communication problems, since all other functionalities of the Horizon solution all appeared to work as expected. Other versions of the Horizon agent were also installed and tested, but neither 7.10.1 or 7.12 solved the issue.
One of the advantages of a homelab is to have the ability to reproduce a situation to validate a setup. After deploying a Windows server 2016 and 2019 in the lab, a Horizon 7.10.0 was installed on both, and a manual pool was created, containing a desktop with the 7.10.0 agent. This setup actually showed the same problem! No session information was shown in the Help Desk Tool.
Since all other components and settings were already eliminated from causing the problem, an upgrade to 7.10.2 was done in the lab environment as a last resort, as the customer's environment has a strict change control process. After upgrading and restarting the Horizon Connection servers in the lab, the Help Desk Tool started showing the active sessions!
Conclusion, there appears to be a bug in 7.10.0, that is solved by applying the update to a newer release of this version. We did not confirm if this was also solved in 7.10.1, but it would be prudent to go for the last version, as there were numerous other bug fixes that are present in the release notes of 7.10.2:
After concluding this, the test environment at the customer was also upgraded to 7.10.2, effectively solving this issue. This has now also been confirmed in the production environment.