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VMware Horizon 6 – Introducing Cloud Pod Architecture

By Narasimha Krishnakumar, Director, Product Management, End-User Computing, VMware

On behalf of everyone in the End-User-Computing (EUC) team at VMware, I’m proud to introduce you to a brand new capability of VMware Horizon 6, Cloud Pod Architecture.

The key features of the Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture are high availability and scale out of virtual desktops provided by Horizon 6. Virtual desktops can now be deployed across multiple sites or multiple datacenters and managed globally through a single entitlement layer. The Cloud Pod Architecture lays the foundation for delivering Horizon virtual desktops from different locations across the globe and centralizing the operations and management of the associated infrastructure.

VMware Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture enables end-users to access their virtual desktops from anywhere in the world using the nearest datacenter to ensure a high quality user experience. Not only do end-users benefit from this architecture, Desktop and IT administrators also benefit from this architecture. With this new capability, Desktop & IT administrators can:

  • Centrally and securely manage virtual desktops spread out across multiple locations
  • Balance load across multiple datacenters separated by distance
  • Provide disaster recovery (DR) for virtual desktops
  • Enable end-user needs such as roaming desktops and a home desktop irrespective of end-user location and desktop-location
  • Incrementally scale their existing View desktop deployments


Figure 1: Cloud Pod Architecture

The diagram above depicts the Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture with three Cloud Pods. Each cloud pod in Figure 1 is located in a different datacenter and consists of various end user computing assets (primarily virtual desktops) along with the associated infrastructure. This architecture enables end-users to consume a desktop from any of the three cloud pods regardless of where they connect from and allows Desktop and IT administrators to manage the entire environment through a single global user entitlement layer. This architecture helps customers achieve benefits such as efficient resource utilization (active/active deployment), disaster recovery, support for roaming desktops/home desktops etc. This flexibility not only ensures that end-users have the access and mobility they expect of their virtual desktops, but it also simplifies management across data centers, freeing up valuable time and resources.

In the interest of time, that’s all I’m going to write on this topic today. For a more detailed look at how cloud pods work, read my follow-up post by clicking here.

8 thoughts on “VMware Horizon 6 – Introducing Cloud Pod Architecture

  1. Chris Marks

    HI Narasimha,

    The Pod concept above is interesting but this multiple data centre desktop roaming has been possible for a while using many load-balancing and connection preference approaches.

    Nice to see you are looking at this. The bigger question – and one which I thought VMWare would be ideally placed to resolve is not the movement of desktops – it’s the underlying apps and data accessed from the desktops which is key, not the desktop itself. Is this POD approach integrated with other VMWare technologies which will allow the ability to roam apps and data too? if not we are going to be looking at a fairly complicated WAN traffic challenge where the users desktop may roam but their apps & data do not…

    1. Narasimha Krishnakumar

      Hi Chris,

      The data can be stored anywhere across the WAN and users can get access to it if associated appropriately with the desktop. There is neither a movement of data nor a movement of the desktop in this approach. The user can be roaming and based on the entitlements and the underlying setup they will be able to connect to the most optimal resource to service their needs. If you could elaborate on your question a bit about integration with other VMware technologies, I can provide more details. Please let me know.


  2. Forbsy

    I’m also curious if this essentially replaces solutions like F5 active active single namespace architecture for View? That uses expensive GTM/LTM/APM products and is much more complex. With that solution I could have a persistent desktop located in New York and when I log into View from Singapore the solution will intelligently direct me to the most appropriate datacenter (GTM). From there intelligence between LTM/APM will figure out where my desktop actually lives and direct my connection to the correct datacenter.
    I’m still managing two distinct View pods though (ie I can’t see all pools from one view administrator UI).
    Does this new Horizon 6 pod architecture facilitate the exact same active active functionality I described above and give a single pane of glass for management? It sounds like the latter but I’m not sure about true active active.

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  4. Michael

    Thx for this update, something we’ve been waiting (JMB restrictions leading to unsupported stretched clusters in WAN). Curious to get some more information about data replication (profiles and redirected folders), since this is critical and something other vendors of desktop virtualization solutions do (can?) not provide…

  5. Robb Kimmer

    Horizon 6, more of the same?

    I’ve been working with VMware products for as many years as VMware has existed and I am a VMware devotee but…

    …Horizon 6 still labours with the traditional paradigm of data center centric resources. Citrix is doing the same thing in pretty much the same way. You’ll need some well-hung resources and even then you’ll struggle with long-distance WAN delivery when using these vendors to provide your applications outside the LAN. Sure you have central control but, you’ll also have central GPUs, central storage systems and a lot of expensive core network kit along with a large footprint of cooling and power. For the large corporation with little sense but, big pockets, this is more of the same and will fit nicely into the relationship that both VMware and Citrix sales teams have crafted with their customers.

    Neither major vendor has managed to break out of the centralized data center nor do anything really radical or ground-breaking. The factors that will cause issues are the same ones that have always caused issues when trying to deliver applications over copper and glass from virtual or hardware infrastructures. Along with latency, sharing and contention there is the considerable license levy. VMware nor Citrix can be described as ‘cheap’. Couple this with out-of-date pixel streaming (a non-scalable method) and block data transfer (also prehistoric) what you get isn’t very exciting nor particularly effective.

    To cover anti-piracy, security and compliance, you need a raft of third-party plugins or some convoluted configuration to add these requirements. These introduce management and administrative overload. Your staff will have to go through another vertical training curve to be able to safely implement the solution. To make any of this work at ‘local’ speed you’ll need expensive and complex traffic management systems; usually third-party.

    The answer to BYOD and cloud mobility is not here, nor is it in Citrix. These are legacy technology vendors that are doing their best to catch up with demands that their software solutions were simply not designed to deliver.

    My opinion is that these companies need to seriously change their myopic focus and start to imagine application and services delivery without the data center that we know so well and still struggle with today.

  6. Scott Schuler

    I’m very excited to see this introduced with View 6. We have always wanted a active/active data center but did not want to rely on a session aware load balancer to accomplish it

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