Reduce Windows Server License count in VMware View

One of the many features available in VMware View 5.1 is the ability to implement VMware View Composer in a Standalone Server. VMware View Composer is the software piece responsible for creating Linked Clone desktops and since VMware View 5.1 can be deployed on a server other than the vCenter Server. Read more about View Composer at VMware View 4.5 Linked Cloning explained. This move is aiming towards a highly scalable VMware View architecture.

Most deployments I had the opportunity to observe that have implemented the Standalone View Composer are leveraging the common architecture where VMware View Composer is hosted by itself in a Windows Server VM. (diagram below)


Since VMware View 5.1 does not require View Composer to be hosted on the same host as vCenter Server, a simple and easy way to reduce the Windows Server License count by 1 is to place the VMware View Composer service on the same host as one of the View Connection servers (preferentially the first node of the cluster). (diagram below)

vsi-2 I am not entirely certain that this configuration is supported by VMware as I have not seen any mention to this setup in any of the official guides, however I know it works well. So, just in case: The steps outlined in this article are not supported by VMware. I recommend testing in a development environment. If you decide to test or implement you are doing it on your own risk.

UPDATE1: As correctly pointed by reader Jean-Marc Trappier, vCenter Server virtual appliance (Linux-based) is supported by VMware View 5.1+ when used for Full Clones. Linked Clones are not supported today with vCenter Server virtual appliance.

UPDATE2: As correctly pointed by reader Markus Schmidt, vCenter Server virtual appliance (Linux-based) is supported by VMware View 5.1+ when used for Full Clones and Linked Clones. The VMware View 5.1 upgrade guide states “A standalone View Composer installation works with vCenter Server installed on a Windows Server computer and with the Linux-based vCenter Server Appliance.”

As above stated, it is also possible to utilize VMware View with vCenter Server virtual appliance (Linux-based) and View Composer, allowing IT administrators to reduce Windows Server License count even further; up to 5 depending on the deployment size (a VMware View pod supports up to 5 vCenter Servers). (diagram below)




Administrators would still need to use Windows Licenses for View Connection Servers and Security Servers, but  for the total Windows Server License count there would be a reduction by 6. The move away from Microsoft Windows licensing seems to be an established pattern for most VMware products – and I really like it.

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at


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    • Jean-Marc Trappier on 01/07/2013 at 4:16 am

    Hello Andre,

    Maybe I misunderstood but I think vCenter Appliance is now qualified and supported with VMware View. I have several deployments done with it and I have no issue so far.

  1. Jean,

    You may use the vCenter Server Virtual Appliance with VMware View 5.1 and 5.1.1. However, there is no View Composer and Linked Clone support. I’ll amend the article.


    • Markus Schmidt on 01/10/2013 at 2:52 am

    Hi Andre,

    do you have a Source for the facet that Composer is not Supported with vCenter Appliance? At least, the View 5.1 Installation Guide states that a Deployment where Composer is installed as Standalone can be uses with an Windows Based vCenter as well as with a Appliance Based vCenter.

  2. Markus,

    I finally decided to go back to the documentation and research the subject. And it turns out I am completely wrong. The VMware View 5.1 upgrade guide states “A standalone View Composer installation works with vCenter Server installed on a Windows Server computer
    and with the Linux-based vCenter Server Appliance.”

    I am amending this article, and thanks for raising the issue.


  3. From the installation guide:
    “The View Composer software cannot coexist on the same virtual or physical machine with any other View Manager software component, including a replica server, security server, View Connection Server, View Agent, View Client, or View Transfer Server.”

  4. Sven, thanks for sharing that with us. So, in this case it’s officially not supported. I know for fact that it works, but maybe VMware does not support it because it has not been tested.

    • Mitja B. on 02/15/2013 at 12:09 am

    Hi Andre,

    it does work. Saddly it’s not supported (yet):

    The way things are going, I think in a release or two we may even see a VMware View appliance.

    • prasant on 01/01/2015 at 10:40 pm

    Agreed that view composer cannot co-exist but it can co-exist with vcenter server, however, if you are installing as VCSA than you will have to install it in different OS and connection server in another OS preferably both Windows 64 bit server

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