As some of you may have heard, vSphere 5.5 Update 1 including the much anticipated VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) was released earlier this week. To take advantage of this new vSphere release, other VMware solutions were also updated including the latest Horizon View 5.3.1 which now supports VSAN. Having spent some time playing around with the recent VMware Fling VCT which I have written about here and here, I thought why not give the latest version a try? I really like the simplicity of the VCT appliance which allows you to easily deploy an entire Horizon View environment from scratch and it just requires a stand-alone ESXi host not managed by vCenter Server and a Window 2008 ISO. Out of the box, VCT only supports vSphere 5.5 and Horizon View 5.3, but you can easily tweak either the HTML pages or modify the POST request to deploy the latest version of VCSA and Horizon View/Composer.
Since Horizon View 5.3.1 supports VSAN, I thought it would be neat to be able to "bootstrap" the entire Horizon View environment onto a VSAN datastore which would allow you to consume all the underlying physical disks without having to resort to a "temporary" VMFS volume to deploy the additional infrastructure. Now of course, this assumes you have no existing infrastructure or if you want to quickly spin up a POC or testing environment for View. The diagram above illustrates what the environment will look like at the end.
Below are the instructions for leveraging VCT to automate the deployment of vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 Update 1 and Horizon View 5.3.1
Step 1 - Install ESXi 5.5 Update 1 on your physical ESXi host or even virtual (which is how I tested this configuration)
Step 2 - Configure VSAN datastore on your single ESXi node using the "bootstrap" instructions here
Step 2 - Download VMware VCT & Studio and follow the optimized deployment here and deploy onto the VSAN datastore in previous step
Step 3 - Download VCSA 5.5 Update 1 & Horizon View 5.3.1, download links can be found here
Step 4 - Upload the three files to the VCT appliance via SCP and store them in /installers directory
Step 5 - If you plan on automating the Horizon View deployment from the command line, you will need the automateVCT.sh script and modify the following variables so they look like the following:
If you plan on using the VCT UI to deploy your Horizon View environment, then you will need to edit the following HTML files and either append or replace the VCSA OVA / View filenames
Once the files have been uploaded, you will then be able to run through VCT as you normally would and in an hour or so, you should have a fully deployed VCSA 5.5 Update 1 and Horizon View 5.3.1 environment up and running on top of a VSAN datastore.
Once your initial ESXi host is configured, you can then deploy your other ESXi hosts and add them to your VSAN Cluster. Remember, you should have at least a minimum of 3 nodes with a recommendation of 4 as pointed out by Duncan Epping in his blog article here. From what I can tell, VCT had no issues provisioning VCSA 5.5 Update 1, there were no major changes and the same goes for Horizon View 5.3.1. I was even able to add in my vCenter Server to ensure basic View functionality was working.
I think this is a great way if you want to quickly setup a vSphere 5.5 Update 1 environment and evaluate the latest Horizon View 5.3.1 release. I also came across this Horizon View 5.3.1 on VMware Virtual SAN - Quick Start Guide KB that will also come in handy if you are looking to use Horizon View with VSAN.