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Architecture Overview: Microsoft Lync with VMware Horizon View

By Ray Heffer, VCDX #122, VMware EUC Architect

Since VMware Horizon View 5.2, there has been support for Microsoft Lync 2013. In fact when I say ‘support’, I mean that both Microsoft and VMware have developed the architecture that provides a great user experience. Prior to Horizon View 5.2, only VOIP phones were supported and there were bandwidth constraints that made this unviable and resulted in a poor experience for end users.

For detailed information, see the VMware whitepaper on Horizon View 5.2 and Lync 2013, and take note of KB articles 2064266 and 2045726. In addition, Microsoft has a Lync 2013 technical resource page which covers the Lync 2013 VDI Plugin. If you’re new to Lync 2013 or VMware Horizon View, this post will provide you with an architecture overview of how Lync 2013 integrates with virtual desktops running with Horizon View 5.3.

In the architecture diagram that I’ve sketched here (below), you can see two users (Bill and Ted) using a webcam and headset with microphone to talk to each other using Lync 2013. The user at the bottom is using a virtual desktop being accessed from a Windows client (PC or thin-client), which will be running one of the following: Windows Embedded Standard 7 with SP1, Windows 7 with SP1, or Windows 8 (Tech Preview). Microsoft hasn’t yet released a VDI Plugin for Linux or zero-client manufacturers.
Lync and Horizon Architecture

The virtual desktop (shown on the right) that Bill is using contains the Horizon View agent (which you’d expect) and the Lync 2013 client. When Bill launches the Lync 2013 client on his virtual desktop, it detects the Lync VDI plugin on his physical client machine and establishes a pairing over RDP or a PCoIP (virtual channel). RDP will work, but PCoIP is the recommended approach. At this stage you are required to enter the password again, but this can be saved to prevent it prompting every time.

Any instant messaging is still sent between the Lync 2013 client on the virtual desktop and the Lync 2013 server, but when Bill establishes a video call with Ted, who is also using the Lync 2013 client, the audio/video is sent directly from Bill’s client device to Ted and NOT from the virtual desktop. The benefit of this is that the audio and video won’t be sent over PCoIP, consuming valuable bandwidth, and the user experience will be much better (or at least as good) as using the native client. Remember that the Lync 2013 client itself is still communicating with the Lync 2013 server, but a large proportion of the bandwidth required for audio/video is no longer being passed back over PCoIP.

If you have Microsoft Lync 2013 Server in place then implementation is relatively simple, but there are some things that can get overlooked.

Here is a list of common troubleshooting tips:

  • Do NOT install the Lync 2013 client on the Windows client machine. The Lync 2013 VDI plugin will not work alongside the Lync 2013 client.
  • Make sure you are not using USB redirection for your webcam or microphone devices.
  • Make sure the Horizon View agent contains both PCoIP Server and Virtual Printing as a minimum to support Lync 2013.
  • Windows 7 SP1 must be installed.
  • You need to import the Lync 2013 Server certificate to your Windows client. This should be placed in the Trusted Root Certificate Authorities store.
  • The Windows client will need the ConfigurationMode, ServerAddressInternal, and ServerAddressExternal registry entries (see VMware documentation).
  • Make sure the bit level of the Lync 2013 client is the same level as the desktop OS (32 or 64 bit).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Microsoft Lync 2013 and/or your experiences using it with Horizon View so feel free to comment below!

Ray Heffer, (VCDX #122), VMware EUC Architect, joined the IT industry in 1997 working with Unix and focusing on Microsoft server and Cisco networking infrastructure. While working for an ISP in 2005, Ray discovered VMware ESX 2.5 (and GSX!) and started migrating hosted workloads and discovering the joys of storage optimization, virtual networking and security. Achieving his first VCP in 2007, Ray has since specialized in VMware virtualization and has collected both VCP and VCAP certifications in data center (DCV) and desktop (DT) along the way. In addition, Ray holds ITIL v3, and MCSE certifications and today he works for VMware as an End-User Computing Architect in the Technical Enablement team. This post originally appeared on Ray’s blog. Follow Ray on Twitter @rayheffer.

3 thoughts on “Architecture Overview: Microsoft Lync with VMware Horizon View

  1. Pingback: Microsoft Lync with VMware Horizon View | Lync Nerd

  2. Rachit Srivastava

    Hi Ray,

    What if both users Ted and Bill are on Virtual Desktops instead ? How does the bandwidth management change then ?

    Regarding bitness, any changes on Horizon 6 and Lync ?


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