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Road Trip! TechTalk Live is Visiting a City Near You to Showcase Horizon 6

VMware is packing up its latest technology and heading out on the road to 35 cities in the US and Canada–from Atlanta to Vancouver, New York to Seattle (and everywhere in between) to give customers a closer look at VMware Horizon 6, which was just announced on April 9th.

These free, in-person seminars, called VMware TechTalk Live, will feature demonstrations from  experts on the latest in desktop and application virtualization technology, along with plenty of opportunities to network with your peers, get questions about Horizon 6 answered, and learn more about how VMware is changing the world of end-user computing.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Deliver virtual desktops, RDS remote apps, packaged apps with ThinApp, SaaS apps and even virtualized apps from Citrix, in a single platform
  • Leverage Virtual SAN as a cost effective solution for deploying VDI
  • Better manage VDI with vCenter Operations Manager for View and image management with VMware Mirage

For additional information on Horizon 6, check out the VMware End-User Computing blog and watch our CEO Pat Gelsinger provide an overview in this video message.

Our first stop is April 29. Space is limited so be sure to register for TechTalk Live now to reserve your seat. We look forward to seeing you when we’re in your city!

Customer Spotlight: VMware Horizon Helps Fitchburg State University Reduce Help Desk Calls by 80%

Guest blog by Bill Smeltzer, CTO of Focus Technology Solutions

A constant flow of help desk calls used to be a normal day for Fitchburg State University (FSU) in Massachusetts, with malware and virus calls consuming hundreds of help desk hours. The challenges FSU faces are providing end-to-end support for computers belonging to their 7,000 full- and part-time students, along with supporting the desktop computers used in classrooms and campus computer labs. FSU was looking for an alternative to costly, unmanageable desktops and at the same time recognizing that they needed to prepare for a new generation of students gravitating toward consumerized computing devices.

With expert guidance from VMware partner Focus Technology Solutions, FSU put into place a VMware Horizon virtual desktop infrastructure for 200 virtual desktops for which they had determined virtualization would deliver immediate benefits.  This solution has improved the manageability and reliability of the university’s classroom and library computers. And all of those daily help desk calls? Down by 80%! And it’s just the beginning. The solution puts FSU on the path to being able to offer device-independent desktops to students, online classes, and more.

Want to learn more about how FSU achieved these terrific results?  Check out the case study that details more about how FSU and Focus worked together to set FSU up for its future computing needs.

Customer Spotlight: ARcare, a Private Non-profit Healthcare Provider Horizon Solution Reference Implementation Case Study

By Teresa Wingfield, End-User Computing Marketing Consultant

As a member of the End-User Computing marketing team, it’s always gratifying to see VMware Horizon (with View) have a meaningful impact on our customer’s business, especially an organization making a positive difference in society such as ARcare.  ARcare is a private non-profit healthcare provider serving residents of Arkansas and Kentucky. Driven by its mission “Health for All,” the company focuses on delivering affordable primary medical and dental care through a broad range of customer health, community health, employee health, and organizational health services.

Several years ago, ARcare faced an enviable dilemma: Surging demand for the company’s service offerings had helped fuel rapid growth, but the accelerating pace of growth was putting a strain on its core service-delivery infrastructure and leading to unexpectedly high CapEx and OpEx costs. In addition, the company needed to expand the geographical reach of its services, both within and outside of Arkansas.

As a result, ARcare needed an innovative yet reliable, secure, quick, and inexpensive way to extend its service offerings to the desktops of new users in remote clinics and additional branch offices. The company found an answer in virtualization—specifically VDI—and it found a reliable, trustworthy partner in VMware.

With 95 percent of its environment virtualized, including 250 end-user desktops, ARcare has achieved remarkable business results, including:

• CapEx reduction of 60 percent and OpEx reduction of 90 percent
• Fast, painless deployment of end-user desktops
• Higher end-user satisfaction due to a more consistent—and consistently high-quality—experience
• Tighter security and compliance with HIPAA and other federal regulations
• Peace of mind through reliable technology and support from VMware

How did ARcare achieve such impressive results?  ARcare shared its project approach, Horizon with Pure Storage architectural details, lessons learned and more in a recent reference implementation case study.

 

Safely Expanding Access to Applications

Guest blog by Lori Mac Vittie, Senior Product Manager, Emerging Technologies

#F5, #VMwareCloud and #Horizon6 are forcing us to think about access to what matters: applications.

The industry often talks about how the data center perimeter is expanding, necessarily, due to technological shifts such as cloud and mobility and BYOD.  But that isn’t really the case. If you look closely, you’ll see that the perimeter is actually shrinking, getting tighter and tighter around the data center. With just about everything web-enabled these days, the need for access to network to enable access to applications is, well, nearly gone. I can share a file via a web-enabled application today as easily as I could by copying it onto a network share using a VPN last year. With mobile devices inside the corporate walls as well as out, it’s no longer effective to just implicitly trust what’s on the local network.

And that’s indicative of a shift that’s been occurring for years, but has really taken off with the introduction of mobile devices – and which will accelerate as more “things” connect to the Internet both inside the corporate walls and beyond.

What that means is that organizations are shrinking their network access perimeter to encircle just the data center and moving toward adopting an application-centered access paradigm. That means applications are how you send e-mail, share files, and collaborate – no matter where you are and what device you might be using.

That’s a paradigm shift VMware is supporting with new capabilities introduced with Horizon 6, such as application publishing that complements its traditional VDI, desktop and application management. This new capability is supportive of a delivery model that focuses on application – not network – access as the means to deliver the applications necessary to improve productivity and engagement for consumers and employees alike.

Whether it’s native applications or traditional VDI, the applications published with Horizon 6 will still need support from the infrastructure to ensure the performance and availability required to maintain quality of experience. Quality of experience is a critical factor that can improve productivity and engagement when it exceeds expectations – and destroy both when it falls short. Whether it’s legacy Windows apps, Web or SaaS based apps delivered via Horizon 6, their quality of experience requires an integrated, collaborative and software-defined approach to managing performance, availability and access.

F5 provides the architectural foundation necessary to ensure quality of experience regardless of application type, device, or location with F5 Synthesis. With programmable L4-7 services and APIs to integrate with software-defined data center (SDDC) systems, F5 can share with data center orchestration systems the actionable, timely metrics critical to maintaining the availability and performance of all Horizon 6 delivered applications.

F5 believes applications are transforming business, and that means transforming the data center to focus on what matters: applications. VMware Horizon 6 and its new capabilities is a great example of technology that does exactly that.

Unidesk Brings Enhanced VDI Management to Horizon 6

Guest blog by Tom Rose, Chief Marketing Officer, Unidesk Corporation

Was it a coincidence that a new version of Unidesk was announced the same day as VMware Horizon 6?  Or course not!  Over 600 customers are using VMware Horizon with Unidesk, making us IT’s most popular virtual desktop infrastructure/management combo.  Together, VMware Horizon and Unidesk simplify virtual desktops and applications for IT and make virtual desktops a fit for more users.  So of course we’re going to be one of the first to announce support for Horizon 6!

What is Unidesk?

Unidesk’s unified VDI management platform with patented desktop layering technology is the one-stop-shop for flexible desktop provisioning, streamlined image management, simple application virtualization, and complete user personalization.  With Unidesk, desktop administrators create persistent and non-persistent virtual desktops out of stackable OS and application “layers.”  IT benefits from having only one gold image of Windows to patch for all desktops and the ability to virtualize any app (usually in less than 30 minutes).  End users benefit from full personalization, including user-installed apps.  And finance people are happy that Unidesk’s storage footprint is up to 80% smaller than a full-sized clone (yes, even for persistent desktops).

Unidesk

How Does Unidesk Support VMware Horizon 6?

Unidesk already has deep integration with VMware View.  Our layered desktops are automatically provisioned into View pools so they can be securely accessed through the broad range of client devices supported by View over the high-performance PCoIP protocol.  In our new release, Unidesk supports the three new editions of VMware Horizon 6 – Horizon View Standard Edition, Horizon Advanced Edition and Horizon Enterprise Edition – with enhanced support for:

  • VMware View Persona: Customers who do not want to sustain all user customizations with Unidesk’s storage-efficient persistent desktops or who want more granular control over personalization can now provision non-persistent desktops with Unidesk and use VMware View Persona to retain and/or share detailed profile information for a consistent user experience for both Unidesk-provisioned virtual desktops and physical PCs.
  • VMware Virtual SAN: Unidesk creates virtual desktops on any storage supported by VMware vSphere, including VMware Virtual SAN. Unidesk with Virtual SAN enables IT administrators to automate desktop provisioning on local storage to reduce storage costs for desktop workloads and significantly accelerate desktop I/O boosting desktop performance.
  • VMware ThinApp: Unidesk and VMware ThinApp together provide comprehensive delivery of Windows applications in VDI. Unidesk makes it easy to virtualize applications as independent layers so they can be assigned to virtual desktops and updated without ever having to be physically installed. The other lifecycle management benefits include revocation, patching, versioning, rollback, auditing, reporting, and single instance storage.

How Are Customers Deploying VMware Horizon View and Unidesk?

See for yourself in some of these recent webinars and case studies. Most of our webinars include live demos of the customers’ virtual desktop deployments.

Read the full Unidesk press release for more details on VMware Horizon 6 and Unidesk 2.6.  Or sign up for our deep-dive technical demo webinar to learn more: http://get.unidesk.com/demo-webinar

Delivering the Best Computing Platform for VMware Horizon 6

Guest Blog by Jim McHugh, Vice President, Marketing, Cisco Unified Computing System

Last week’s announcement at VMware highlights the continued innovation seen in the end-user computing space, and how important our virtualized or remoted desktop and application  solutions are to delivering enterprise workspace mobility, security and business agility.

Industry-Leading Desktop Virtualization

Delivering virtualized or remoted desktops and applications with an exceptional user experience that scales, is central to what Cisco UCS has been offering our customers since its inception.  If you’re not familiar with our joint solution, I encourage you to check out this short animated whiteboard video.

cisco

Cisco and VMware have a long, distinguished history of collaboration in delivering a complete solution for virtual desktop implementers and their end users.

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The Speed of Life at the Scale of Enterprise

Guest blog By Andy Fenselau, EMC XtremIO

It’s all about the user experience.  From its early days, IT has been all about keeping users happy.  And now, more than ever, IT has to show its value to users—especially for desktop virtualization. “Users” are everyday people like you and me.  In the past, users were tied behind their desk to isolated desktops with homogenous operating environments. Nowadays, we are mobile, use a wide variety of devices and applications, and expect access to services and data, and to collaborate with others – at “the speed of life.” And we are a diverse mix of knowledge workers, task workers, and power users with different needs for our desktop experiences.

This single VDI question has confounded IT for years: How do I provide this at the speed of life – and at the scale of enterprise?

VMware Horizon 6 answers this question by extending the power of virtualization from the data center to devices to deliver virtual desktops and application services.  A consistently great user experience at scale is critical to success; however, virtual desktop deployments have been complex to plan and deploy, with storage as a primary bottleneck for performance, consistency, manageability, and cost.

So, with VMware’s news on Horizon 6, the VDI game is changing… and EMC XtremIO scale-out all-flash arrays are transforming storage into a true enabler in VDI environments. With Horizon, and fully converged, ready-to-run VCE Vblocks for VDI featuring XtremIO, customers can deploy VDI at any scale, with simple planning, rapid deployment, a better-than-PC all-flash user experience, and lower costs than physical desktops.

What does this mean for one of us real users? One of my favorite Horizon/XtremIO experiences comes from a sales rep at a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company who said her experience “was pure bliss”. This sales rep’s days are spent roaming the hallways of hospitals and doctors’ offices with a tablet in hand – waiting for the crucial 2-3 minute window she has to catch doctors making their rounds. Behind the scenes, the performance of her VDI would either make or break those critical few minutes with her clients. Her old VDI experience was inconsistent, unpredictable and “painful” for her and her clients. The day after her organization switched to Horizon with XtremIO, she emailed her IT team and said, “I don’t know what you did, but don’t change it back. My tablet experience is phenomenal now, and I can engage my customers with confidence and success!”

And this is just one of many speed of life stories. To find out more about the joint VMware-EMC XtremIO solution, watch this on-demand webinar or explore all our VDI resources and future webinars at www.xtremio.com/vdi.

VMware Horizon 6, Virtual SAN and Atlantis ILIO: The Convergence of Desktop Virtualization and Software-Defined Storage

Guest blog by Seth Knox, VP Products, Atlantis Computing

With the release of VMware Horizon 6, VMware is delivering a unified platform for desktop and application virtualization that leverages the power and flexibility of the software-defined data center. By using Virtual SAN and Atlantis ILIO software-defined storage solutions, Horizon 6 significantly drives down the cost per desktop, while delivering an amazing user experience.

A joint solution with VMware Horizon 6, Virtual SAN and Atlantis ILIO delivers:

  • Applications and desktops through a single platform – including VDI, RDS and even XenApps
  • Hyper-converged architecture that leverages servers with local storage (even blades)
  • Optimization with Atlantis ILIO In-Memory Storage technology with inline deduplication and compression to:
    • Boost performance to improve user experience
    • Reduce storage capacity requirements to lower infrastructure costs
    • Pool storage resources across Virtual SAN and existing SAN/NAS/DAS to increase flexibility and drive up data center efficiency

Expanding on the joint solution that was launched in February 2014, Atlantis Computing and VMware have continued to work to provide a low cost, high-performance solution for our customers looking to start or expand their desktop virtualization journey. With the release of VMware Horizon 6 and the joint solution with Atlantis ILIO and VMware Virtual SAN, we are excited to help accelerate our customers’ journey to the software-defined data center.

The joint solution leverages Virtual SAN’s ability to pool local solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs) with Atlantis ILIO to extend and optimize Virtual SAN. Using Atlantis ILIO, IT organizations can pool Virtual SANs with existing shared SAN, NAS and All-Flash storage, while optimizing it with Atlantis ILIO In-Memory Storage technology to boost performance, reduce storage capacity and provide storage services such as high availability, fast cloning and unified management across all data center storage hardware.

To prove the joint solution, we did a series of benchmark tests including ioMeter, PassMark and a boot storm test of 375 desktops.  Desktop virtualization workloads are traditionally very unpredictable and interactive in nature with high peaks and low averages. They are also write-intensive (80% write/ 20% read) and mostly random and small block sizes (4K). As a result, traditional storage technology finds desktop virtualization very difficult to handle and read caching technologies don’t provide the same benefits in terms of performance.

Our joint solution came out at the top in every single test that we ran.  In fact, for PassMark, we are proud to announce that our joint solution achieved the 10th fastest result ever measured. We optimized Virtual SAN, to increase IOPS from 25,000 IOPS to deliver 117,000 IOPS with an average latency of 3.4 milliseconds.  From our tests, it is clear that our joint solution delivers a faster performance than a MacBook Air with Apple SSD for a fraction of the cost. (To see the full test results, visit the Atlantis Computing Blog.)

As you can see, Atlantis ILIO provides tremendous value when used in combination with Virtual SAN to provide the storage for Horizon 6. The joint solution delivers high-performance virtual desktops that outperform physical PCs with SSDs, the ability to use local storage and blade servers reduces the total cost per desktop. The simplicity of both Virtual SAN (built into vSphere) and Atlantis ILIO, which deploys automatically as a VM, provides a compelling solution across VDI, XenApp and RDS desktop virtualization deployments.

To learn more about the joint solution with VMware Horizon 6 and Virtual SAN, watch the on-demand webinar.

Horizon 6 on Pure Storage: More affordable, scalable and simpler than disk

Guest blog by Vaughn Stewart, Chief Evangelist, Pure Storage

It’s amazing to reflect on how quickly our mobile work experience has evolved in such a short period. Over the past half dozen years, the world has advanced from remote calendars and email to the need for a rich, mobile end-user experience comprised of secure access to applications, files, and online services – all available anywhere, anytime and on any device.

However, it can be challenging to provide a consistent user experience across devices and locations.  Multiple points of access and control for end-user applications (including Windows and non-Windows based assets) contribute to user experience issues and management complexity.  Legacy disk-based storage contributes to slow response times and also leads to user dissatisfaction.

VMware and Pure Storage address these performance and management challenges.  VMware Horizon 6 delivers consistently great experiences across devices, locations, media and connections through a unified workspace and provides a central point of control for application delivery.  Pure Storage FlashArray is perfect for Horizon 6 and enables customers to host and manage desktops, provide remote file services and stream application delivery with simplicity and scalability, directly within their software-defined data center.

Pure Storage is unique in the industry, as we have removed the economic barrier to all-flash storage, ensuring an instantaneous and responsive end-user experience with price points at below $100 per Horizon user. In fact, the price per user decreases as the size of the deployment increases! Consistent sub-millisecond storage latency is key to meeting the expectations of today’s mobile user and is vital for Horizon 6 deployments. All-flash Pure Storage delivers this performance without the configuration or complexity of disk-based storage.

VMware Horizon on Pure Storage runs flawlessly and enables organizations to support new deployments for the most demanding users requiring highly responsive 3D graphics, rich media and unified communications.

Read more details on VMware Horizon on Pure Storage.

Building VDI Solutions to Meet Heightened Customer Expectations

Guest blog by Patric Chang, Sr. Director Global Alliances, Fusion-io

In the new VDI world, customer expectations have progressed from robust, snappy virtual desktops to having ready access to corporate and personal applications, using multiple rich media on preferred devices to easily access content from any location.  Satisfying customers requires using highly efficient and scalable infrastructure to deliver VDI on premise or on public or hybrid clouds.  IT professionals can address heightened customer expectations by utilizing the simplicity, performance and cost effectiveness of VMware Horizon 6 and Fusion ioVDI.  Horizon 6 speeds VDI deployment with an architecture built for an on-premise and cloud-based future and delivers consistently great experiences across devices, locations, media and connections through a unified workspace.  ioVDI optimizes desktop performance so that IT professionals can deliver the following value:

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