The Latest View on Horizon 6 & Pivot3 vSTAC Appliances
Guest blog by Greg Pellegrino, Product Manager, Pivot3
Exciting news from VMware that Horizon 6 was announced this week! VMware provided the opportunity to beta test the product, so I thought it would be fun and beneficial to share my thoughts on the new capacities framed by the impact to Pivot3’s customers and their business operations. I spent a few hours with the Horizon 6 beta software loaded on the Pivot3 Test Drive array. Pivot3 purpose-builds converged storage appliances for desktop virtualization. The vSTAC R2S P Cubed appliance comes pre-configured with VMware Horizon.
Major features in the VMware Horizon 6 release include:
- Cloud Pod Architecture
- Microsoft Remote Desktop Services integration
- Virtual SAN integration
Cloud Pod Architecture
- The Cloud Pod Architecture uses standard VMware View components to provide cross-data center administration, global and flexible user-to-desktop mapping, high availability desktops, and disaster recovery capabilities. At the first release of this feature, the capability is limited to 4 Pods on 2 sites.
- Healthcare use cases for the Cloud Pod Architecture are readily apparent. Common practices for our health care customers are AlwaysOn desktop deployments. This model provides active/active desktops between two sites to provide non-stop access to critical hospital desktops even when one site becomes unavailable. The Cloud Pod Architecture allows the two separate View Pod deployments to be joined into a single Pod Federation. Simplicity of managing desktop provisioning, entitlements and connections will be gained from this new Horizon feature.
- Many of our customers have expressed a desire to provide disaster recovery (DR) with primary and secondary desktop sites. Some of these customers had deferred their VDI adoption due to the complexities of managing a stand-alone remote site. The Cloud Pod Architecture simplifies deployment and management of the remote site, enabling these customers to provide desktop DR.
- RDS integration with Horizon 6 provides access to Microsoft-based remote applications and desktops through View. Below the surface, the feature is much more than a reintroduction to Terminal Services support in View (circa version 4). Horizon now has three types of desktop pools: automated, manual, and RDS. Those familiar with View are aware of automated and manual pools. RDS pools are NOT a collection of virtual machines. Rather, the RDS pool provides users with multiple desktop sessions to RDS hosts. Multiple users can have desktop sessions to a single RDS host simultaneously. A new term to Horizon, “farm,” is a collection of RDS hosts. A farm facilitates the management of many RDS hosts, which provide a common set of applications or RDS desktops to users.
- Interesting use cases stem from a new feature enabled by the RDS host integration, Application Pools. Customers can now use their current RDSH deployments with Horizon to provide users with application access. Task worker applications can be deployed to a single RDS host then provided to all these workers. Mobile and roaming users can access applications from anywhere, while experience native performance. Infrequently used applications and those with multiple versions needed for specific tasks can be provided through the Application Pools.
Virtual SAN Integration
- Horizon 6 provides a level of integration with VMware’s new Virtual SAN product. This integration serves as a preview to Horizon’s usage of technology, using storage polices for desktop management. I’m pleased to see this direction and anticipate the benefits within our storage product. It will be interesting to monitor the storage policy capability as it matures.
Good-bye Local Mode
- The writing was on the wall for this feature as VMware Mirage was introduced. Management of offline and non-virtualized desktops is important, much better served by Mirage.
Get all the details on Horizon 6 here, and feel free to drop me a comment or ask any questions on the blog!