By Alexander West, Technical Writer, End-User-Computing Technical Marketing, VMware, and Peter Brown, Senior R&D Manager, VMware
We are all familiar with using USB devices on our laptops and desktops. With the USB device redirection capabilities of VMware Horizon with View, end users can use those same USB devices with their View virtual desktops.
But that is old news. Here is the exciting part: In addition to USB 1 and 2 devices, USB 3 devices are now supported with a combination of View Agent 6.0.1 and Horizon Client 3.1.
But before we get to USB 3 device redirection, let us take a look at USB device redirection in View.
(For a thorough breakdown of USB device redirection capabilities in View, check out USB Device Redirection, Configuration, and Usage in VMware Horizon with View.)
Simply put, USB device redirection is the forwarding of the functions of a USB device from the physical endpoint to the View virtual machine. In other words, USB redirection is a function in View which allows USB devices to be connected to the virtual desktop in the data center as if they were actually plugged into it.
Figure 1: USB Redirection
Typically, after a USB device is plugged into the physical endpoint on which the View virtual desktop is running, the user selects that device from the VMware Horizon Client menu and designates it to be forwarded to the virtual desktop.
Figure 2: Available USB Devices As Seen by an End User on a View Desktop
After a few moments, the device appears in the View virtual desktop, ready for use.
It is that simple. Now let us take a closer look at USB 3 device redirection in View.
USB 3 Device Redirection Support
Users can now plug USB 3 devices into their endpoints and have the View virtual desktop recognize and use the devices. In order to take full advantage of USB 3 support in View, be sure to upgrade to the latest View Agent and Horizon Client versions. However, due to the limitations of any network (latency, bandwidth, reliability, and so on), it is not possible to achieve USB 3 “super” speeds with USB redirection to a View virtual desktop. Essentially, the higher the latency, the lower the throughput. So, if your network has high latency, you are likely to experience slower performance with lower throughput compared to devices that are being used locally.
Note: It is not expected that there will be any performance enhancements from using a USB 3 device compared to a USB 2 device when connected to a View desktop.
For earlier versions of View Agents or Horizon Clients that do not support using USB 3 devices, USB 3 devices often work in USB 2 mode when plugged into a USB 2 port. This method should always work when running Windows 8. However, on other operating systems, depending on the USB chipset on the client motherboard, USB 3 devices may not work properly in USB 2 mode when redirected to the virtual desktop.
For more information on USB redirection in View, check out USB Device Redirection, Configuration, and Usage in VMware Horizon with View.