VM Junkie

July 2, 2009

Using HP RGS with VMware View 3.1

Filed under: rgs, vdi, view, vmware, vSphere — ermac318 @ 3:26 pm

So as I’m sure many people are aware, VMware will be shipping a protocol in the near future (with View 4, most likely) called PC-over-IP. In the meantime, however, VMware View 3.1 has included support for HP Remote Graphics Software, which provides a similar experience today (albeit not for free). VMware hasn’t come out with tiering or pricing for View 4 yet, and since customers today may require this kind of functionality, I think it’s wise for people to test out how well it works.

First, a disclaimer. In the release notes for View 3.1, VMware states the following policy:

View Client can now use HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) as the display protocol when connecting to HP Blade PCs, HP Workstations, and HP Blade Workstations. The connection is brokered by View Manager. HP RGS is a display protocol from HP that allows a user to access the desktop of a remote computer over a standard network. VMware View 3.1 supports HP RGS Version 5.2.5. VMware does not bundle or license HP RGS with View 3.1. Please contact HP to license a copy of HP RGS software version 5.2.5 to use with View 3.1. This release does not support HP RGS connections to virtual machines.

So be aware that VMware does not support running RGS Senders in Virtual Machines. That said, HP does support it, and the plan was prior to View 3.1’s launch to have this fully supported by both parties. From what I heard, issues at the last minute caused them to push this off. As a result, if you try to create a pool using VirtualCenter VMs (i.e. an Individual Desktop with VirtualCenter VM selected, any kind of Automated Desktop Pool, or a Manual Desktop Pool with VirtualCenter VM selected) RGS does not show as an available default protocol.

Hopefully, View 3.1.1 will fix this issue (if there is such a release forthcoming), but it may not be in VMware’s best interest at this point to promote a protocol which will compete with its own PCoIP implementation…

However, your users can select RGS as a protocol to their virtual machine, as long as you check the “Allow users to override the default protocol.” After enabling this setting, you can also make it the default by adding “-desktopProtocol RGS” to the command line when running the View Client launcher (wswc.exe).

So here’s a step-by-step guide on how to setup RGS in your View 3.1 Environment.

  1. Install the various components of VMware View (Connection Server, View Composer, etc.)
  2. Create a Windows XP VM. Of course, follow the best practices in the VMware View XP Deployment Guide!
  3. If you want to support higher resolutions (such as 1920×1200) in your Virtual Machine, you will need to increase the amount of Video RAM that the virtual SVGA II adapter has. Edit your VMs settings (while it’s off), and if you’re using vSphere you can set this straight from the  Video Card settings:
    Increase the resolution of your Virtual Machine in vSphere

    Increase the resolution of your Virtual Machine in vSphere

    Otherwise, you can edit the VMX file (or use the Edit Settings -> Options -> General -> Configuration Parameters) to add the following lines:

    svga.vramSize = "25165824"
    svga.maxHeight = "1200"
    svga.maxWidth = "1920"
  4. You can also increase the number of monitors to 2 by using the same GUI screen (in vSphere) or by editing the VMX and adding this line:
    svga.numDisplays = "2"
  5. Before installing the VMware View Agent, install the RGS Sender software. Note: the RGS Sender software is licensed, and you can use a license server or license files to manage these. If you’re using the Trial version or you’re doing a test on a single VM, you can use the single file. Otherwise, you should definitely use the license server method (it uses FlexLM). See the RGS User Guide on how to set this up. During install, do not select the USB redirection component (the View Agent takes care of this for you), nor do you need to select the SSO or the Easy Login options. I have had SSO work for me without installing this component, however you may run into issues the first time you login (see this KB article). If you find this to be an issue, some have gotten the RGS SSO to work, see this forum thread. Also, if you want to use RGS-based USB redirection, you can – just make sure you do not install the View Agent component for USB redirection in the next step, and make sure to add a USB controller device to your VM. You can leave Clipboard support enabled. Reboot the VM.
  6. After RGS is installed, you can install the View Agent. You should see a component during install called “HP RGS Support”. If you do not see it, then something with the RGS install went wrong.
    Note: You can install the View Agent in a VM in unmanaged mode (like a regular physical desktop) by running the installer with /V”VDM_VC_MANAGED_Agent=0″ as a command-line argument. This is useful if you’re doing an individual VM and you want to be able to select HP RGS as the default protocol in the View Administrator GUI. You do lose some power-operation functionality by doing this, however. Then reboot the VM.
  7. Edit the rgssenderconfig file in the RGS install folder. Uncomment and edit the following settings:

    NOTE: This file is read-only by default, for some reason. Just right click on it, select properties, and remove the read-only attribute.

  8. Next, create an individual desktop in your View Administrator console. Point it to the VM where you’ve installed the RGS Sender. If you’re pointing to the VM as a VirtualCenter VM (rather than an unmanaged desktop), make sure to check the “Allow users to override the default protocol” box.
    Allow users to override the default protocol

    Allow users to override the default protocol

    If you are adding the desktop as an unmanaged device, you can just select HP RGS from the dropdown.

  9. On your client system, install the RGS Receiver software. During the install, make sure you select “USB Devices are Local” (which disables USB redirection) if you are using the View Agent’s USB Redirection functionality. Leave Clipboard support enabled.
  10. Next, install the View Client software on your system. Defaults here are fine.
  11. If you want the video resolution of the Virtual Machine to match your client machine, edit the rgsreceiverconfig file in the RGS Receiver install folder. Again, this is marked read only so just change it. Make the following modification:
  12. Once this is complete, make sure that you change the connection type of your Connection Server from Tunneled to Direct Connect mode. You can do this by going to the Configuration page of the View Administrator, selecting Servers from the left, clicking on the View Connection server you want to modify in the lower half of the screen, click Edit, and check the Direct connection to desktop box.
  13. Entitle a user account to access the Individual Desktop.
  14. Finally, launch the View Client, logon as the entitled user, and when selecting the pool, right click and make sure that under Display Protocol, HP RGS is selected. Alternatively, launch the View Client (wswc.exe) with the -desktopProtocol RGS option to force this.

Tada! You should now have RGS working to your virtual machine. The preceeding steps could also be performed on any physical computer you want, or even a VM on a different platform than VMware.



  1. Hi Justin?

    Please drop me a note to discuss further? I work for HP and do a lot with RGS down here in Australia and you might want to know that PCoIP wont be avail until mid-next year from Teradici?


    Comment by Dave Caddick — July 2, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  2. Dave,
    I work for an HP partner and VMware partner and I have seen the PCoIP software implementation with my own two eyes… According to VMware it will be released with View 4, which should be launching by the end of the calendar year. Where is your information coming from?
    I like RGS, but it’s not the perfect solution. Whether or not PCoIP will be better is a matter of debate (my VMware tech contacts tell me it beats the pants off it, but I’m sure they’re at least a little biased).

    BTW, I like your blog! Very cool, will add it to my RSS feed.

    Comment by ermac318 — July 2, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  3. […] Using HP RGS with VMware View 3.1 (while not officially supported by VMware, I know a few people who will try this anyway…) […]

    Pingback by Virtualization Link Roundup 20090705 | latoga labs — July 6, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  4. Hi Justin…

    Just to be clear: VMware View does not support brokering RGS connections to VMs; however, VMware does not have a problem with running RGS in VMs.

    Also, HP does not support RGS running in a “VM on a different platform than VMware.” The only supported virtualization platform for RGS at this time is VMware ESX 3.0.1 through 3.5 Update 4 are supported.

    Finally, there have been issues documented on another website with RGS and the use of the svga.numDisplays configuration. This VMware configuration setting is currently not supported by HP for use with RGS.

    Great blog!

    –bruce T.

    Comment by Bruce T. — July 15, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  5. P. S. Sorry, I forgot to mention… in the interest of full disclosure, I also work for HP. Just ask Dave. 😉

    Comment by Bruce T. — July 15, 2009 @ 9:07 am

  6. Bruce, please explain what you mean by

    “Just to be clear: VMware View does not support brokering RGS connections to VMs; however, VMware does not have a problem with running RGS in VMs.”

    —Does this mean we can only run RGS on HP thin clients?

    —Or does it mean we can run it on other thin clients as long as we check “Allow users to override the default protocol,” as per this web page’s discussion?

    Thank you,
    Gen, Sacramento 916-254-0690

    Comment by Gen — August 29, 2009 @ 5:46 am

  7. Hi Gen, You can run the RGS recv. component on pretty much any Win32 OS, and now it won’t matter which XPe/WES Thin Client you use.

    BUT!!! Do please understand that if you attempt to run RGS Senders on VDI instances then VMware won’t be there to hold your hand (i.e. Support?) and as a consequence nether will HP.

    As VMware has implemented View 3.0/3.1 they only support RGS to Blades

    Cool with that? 😉

    Comment by Dave — August 31, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

  8. Hi Gen…

    …I think we’re talking aout two separate things here. In the case of remote clients – in RGS terminology, the graphics receiver – you can run RGS on a variety of hardware, as long as it meets the minimum requirements installing & running the software. The “Allow users” checkbox in View will not affect which receiver you’re running on.

    The limitation of View not being able to broker RGS connections to a VM session relates to the hosted session – in RGS terminology, the graphics sender. The restriction is clearly documented in the View 3.1 Admin guide (p. 19) as well as the 3.1 release notes. This was a decision by VMware – if you’re interested in being able to broker RGS connections to VMs, I would suggest working that request through your VMware account / support team(s).

    thx… –bruce T.

    Comment by Bruce T. — September 1, 2009 @ 6:00 am

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