Connecting your existing Horizon pod with Horizon Cloud Service is a multi-step process. After you purchase a VMware Horizon subscription license, VMware sends you a license subscription email, which includes the link to download the Horizon Cloud Connector virtual appliance. Then you install the virtual appliance and power it on. After the virtual appliance is powered on and you verify the health of the required pod components and services, you use the connector's onboarding workflow to pair it with a Connection Server in the pod with which you want to use that subscription license. As part of a successful pairing process, the Horizon Cloud Connector virtual appliance bridges the Connection Server to Horizon Cloud Service, so that the cloud management plane can manage the Horizon subscription license and other cloud-hosted services for that now cloud-connected pod.

Diagram showing how a Horizon pod connects to Horizon Cloud using the Horizon Cloud Connector.
Tip: For an introduction to the overall Horizon Cloud onboarding process, see First-Gen Tenants - Horizon Cloud Deployments and Onboarding Pods.

You use the steps here to connect existing Horizon pods to the cloud management plane. Connecting a pod to Horizon Cloud Service allows you to use Horizon subscription licenses with that pod, even if you do not take advantage of any cloud-hosted services with that pod. With a Horizon subscription license, you do not need to manually enter a license key to activate the license for the pod. After the pairing is complete, VMware activates the subscription license, typically within 4 hours after you paired the pod with the cloud control plane. When VMware has activated the subscription license, a message appears in the pod's web-based management console that says your Horizon environment is using the subscription license.

Message that appears to confirm your pod is using a subscription license.

As described in the introduction to the Horizon Cloud onboarding process, the process to onboard a Horizon pod to Horizon Cloud involves these basic concepts:

  • Horizon subscription licenses are managed from the cloud management plane, which is Horizon Cloud.
  • Therefore, if you want to use subscription licenses with a Horizon pod, you must connect the pod with that cloud management plane. If you wish to avoid connecting that pod with the cloud management plane, you will not be able to use subscription licenses with that pod.
  • Connecting that existing Horizon pod with the cloud management plane requires a connector, which is named Horizon Cloud Connector. The cloud management plane talks to the connector, which in turn talks to one of the pod's Connection Server instances. The connector is paired with only one of the pod's installed Connection Server instances at any given time.
  • Because the Horizon Cloud Connector has to reach both the cloud management plane and the pod's Connection Server instance that you are pairing it with, specific DNS, ports, and protocols requirements must be met to have a successful outcome of pairing the Horizon Cloud Connector with the pod and for ongoing operations. Even the minimal use case of using a subscription license with the pod requires meeting those DNS, ports, and protocols requirements.
  • A VMware Customer Connect account is required to obtain a Horizon subscription license and to authenticate with the cloud management plane to set up the connector and establish the connection to use that subscription license with the pod.
  • You might want to use only subscription licenses with your Horizon pod, or you might want to additionally use cloud-hosted services with that pod. Both of those use cases require a subscription license.
  • To obtain the most up-to-date features and security and bug fixes, your deployment should use the latest version of Horizon Cloud Connector that is available at VMware Customer Connect and which is compatible with the pod's Horizon Connection Server software version. For the compatibility matrix between Horizon Cloud Connector and Horizon Connection Server, visit VMware Product Interoperability Matrix and check interoperability between the two solution names listed as VMware Horizon Cloud Connector and VMware Horizon.

The high-level steps of this process are:

  1. Obtain your My VMware account.
  2. Use that My VMware account to sign up for a Horizon subscription license.
  3. When you sign up for the license, a welcome email is sent to the email address associated with that My VMware account. That welcome email will contain a link to download the Horizon Cloud Connector image from the appropriate Downloads area.
  4. Download the Horizon Cloud Connector image using the link in the welcome email.
  5. Deploy that appliance into the pod's environment using a static IP address. When the virtual appliance deployment process is completed, power on the virtual appliance.
  6. Obtain the URL address to use to start the pairing workflow to pair the Horizon Cloud Connector with a Connection Server instance in the pod and complete the connection between the Connection Server instance, the Horizon Cloud Connector, and the cloud management plane.
  7. Before starting the pairing workflow, run the script to verify the health of the pod's system components and services.
  8. Use the URL address that you obtained earlier to start the pairing workflow. The login screen from Horizon Cloud will display and you log in using the My VMware account credentials. At that point, the workflow's user interface appears in the browser and you complete the steps as detailed in this topic below.
Important: If you already have cloud-connected pods in your Horizon Cloud environment to which you are connecting this pod, all those cloud-connected pods must have line of sight to the same set of Active Directory domains. When performing the steps to connect the not-yet-connected pod, you must ensure that the pod will have a line of sight to those Active Directory domains that are already registered with your Horizon Cloud environment.

As an example, if your environment already has pods in Microsoft Azure and you are connecting a Horizon pod, you must ensure:

  • The Horizon pod you are connecting using the following steps has a line of sight to the Active Directory domains used by those existing pods in Microsoft Azure, because those domains are already registered with the cloud plane for your environment.
  • Your existing cloud-connected pods in Microsoft Azure have line of sight to the Horizon pod's Active Directory domain, the domain you are using in the following steps to pair the Horizon Cloud Connector virtual appliance with the Horizon pod's Connection Server.


Verify that you have fulfilled all of the items described in Horizon Pod and Horizon Cloud Connector - Preparing to Onboard to Control Plane Services.

Verify that you have met the DNS, ports, and protocols requirements when using the Horizon Cloud Connector to pair a Horizon pod with Horizon Cloud.

Verify that your DNS configuration in your network topology will provide for the deployed Horizon Cloud Connector to resolve the FQDN of the pod's Connection Server. If the deployed Horizon Cloud Connector cannot resolve the Connection Server using DNS, the onboarding wizard will encounter an unexpected error at the step where you enter the pod's domain credentials.

Review Horizon Cloud Connector Known Considerations to ensure you are aware of those items.

The Horizon Cloud Connector virtual appliance must reach the Internet to talk to the Horizon Cloud control plane. If your environment requires use of a proxy server and proxy configuration for virtual appliances to reach the Internet, verify that you have reviewed the proxy-related information, known limitations, and known issues when using proxy settings with the Horizon Cloud Connector appliance. See the proxy-related information in Horizon Pod and Horizon Cloud Connector - Preparing to Onboard to Control Plane Services, Horizon Cloud Connector Known Considerations, and Modifying Proxy Settings for Horizon Cloud Connector 1.6 or Later.


When the Horizon pod is successfully connected with Horizon Cloud, the Horizon Cloud Connector configuration portal displays a Congratulations message. From this point, you use this same configuration portal to perform administrative tasks such as review the health status of the Horizon Cloud Connector components, activate or deactivate SSH access to the Horizon Cloud Connector virtual appliance, and similar tasks. For details, see the topic Typical Administrative and Maintenance Tasks You Perform on the Horizon Cloud Connector After the Horizon Pod is Paired with Horizon Cloud.

What to do next

If your only goal is to use your subscription license with the now cloud-connected pod, there are no additional steps to take, except to ensure that the DNS, ports, and protocols requirements continue to be met to maintain the connection between Horizon Cloud Connector and the cloud control plane. Because the subscription licenses are managed by the cloud control plane, Horizon Cloud Connector must continue to reach the cloud control plane for the pod to receive your subscription license information.

Important: When the Horizon Cloud Connector is installed, the connection is established to the cloud control plane by outbound Internet port 443. This connection must stay open all the time to provide for the communication to the cloud control plane for various purposes, including syncing your up-to-date subscription licensing information to the pod. Use of the Horizon subscription licenses relies on an operational communication chain between the cloud control plane, the Horizon Cloud Connector instance, and the pod paired with that Horizon Cloud Connector instance. If a link in that communication chain is not operational, such as if the Horizon Cloud Connector is powered off or a network disruption occurs, the cloud plane continues its attempts to sync the subscription licensing information along the communication chain according to a service-defined timespan before marking the pairing with this pod and its Horizon Cloud Connector as expired. During this service-defined timespan, the pod's licensing remains valid and end-user connections work even though the communication chain between the cloud plane and the Horizon Cloud Connector and pod is not operational. The service provides this service-defined sync validity period to allow the pod's licensed features to continue functioning properly as you make the communication chain operational again. If the communication chain's non-operational state persists throughout the system-defined timespan, such that there is no successful sync by the end of the defined timespan, the cloud plane marks the pairing with this Horizon Cloud Connector and pod as expired. At that time, you must contact VMware Support for assistance. For more details, see Monitoring the Horizon Universal License. Throughout the time period, alerts and notifications in the Horizon Universal Console inform you of how much time is left before the end of the system-defined timespan, and the audit logs in the console include indications of what the communication chain's issue might be, to help you identify what to do to fix it.

If you want to leverage any of the cloud-hosted services with the cloud-connected pod, you must log in to the administrative console and complete the Active Directory registration workflow that registers the pod's Active Directory domain with Horizon Cloud. For details of that workflow, see Performing Your First Active Directory Domain Registration in the Horizon Cloud Environment in the Horizon Cloud Administration Guide.