VMware Horizon

Introducing A New Release of VMware Horizon 6!

Shankar IyerBy Shankar Iyer, VP of Product Management, Desktop Solutions, End-User Computing, VMware

I am excited to announce today the newest release of VMware Horizon 6 featuring advanced capabilities for application publishing, 3D application support through high-performance virtual desktops, enhanced Chromebook support, software-defined data center optimizations including network virtualization benefits from VMware NSX, and new features for U.S federal government customers. The best way to talk about all the new capabilities is to sum it up into six new innovation categories that help make applications and desktop virtualization better than before.

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So without further delay, let’s jump right into what’s new in VMware Horizon 6.

1) Applications: Unlimited Access

Since VMware Horizon 6 became generally available in June 2014, we have spent every quarter innovating to make VMware Horizon app publishing a more compelling solution in the market. With the release of VMware Horizon 6, things get even better with great new RDSH features including the use Scanning & Imaging devices from RDSH desktops and apps, USB mass storage devices to access files on USB memory sticks, SmartCard support to enable secure login for key use cases in finance and federal, and support for HTML Access for RDSH session based desktops.

The new VMware Horizon Client 3.3 for Windows adds support for RDSH Smartcard and USB Redirection for USB memory sticks with RDSH desktops and apps. Starting with VMware Horizon Client 3.3, the Horizon Client no longer supports Windows XP or Vista. We will concentrate on delivering new features for Windows 7 and later. For Windows XP and Vista users, we fully support VMware Horizon Client 3.2 on Windows XP and Vista throughout 2015. As always, the VMware Horizon Clients for Windows are available from the VMware Horizon Client download site.

With VMware Horizon 6, HTML access ships with three great new features.

  • First, the scale is greatly increased from 350 simultaneous users to 2,000 simultaneous users per security gateway, the same as PCoIP native clients.
  • Second, we support Location Based Printing with HTML Access, which means the right printer will automatically be selected when the desktop is accessed from HTML Access.
  • Third, we support 3D desktops backed by NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU™ technology and vDGA for quick access through HTML Access.

2) Rich Graphics

After launching a very successful early access program with over 400 customers signing up to participate and a new direct access program that gives customers access to additional resources and documentation to enable better deployments, I’m proud to say that the solution is finally here! NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU™ technology, VMware vSphere 6 and Horizon 6 combined can deliver a great end-user experience for rich, 3D graphics on high performance virtual desktops for the most demanding end-users and scalability that IT teams require. So for designers, architects, engineers and other professionals who require workstation-class graphics to do their work, IT teams can now offer them the agility of a virtual desktop so they can work from home using any device.

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3) Storage: Simplified and Optimized

Continuing with the tradition of integrating and optimizing the use of storage and reducing TCO, VMware Horizon 6 introduces three new features in this area:

Support for VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes

VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) is a new storage feature in VMware vSphere 6.0 that virtualizes SAN and NAS storage systems into logical pools of capacity making it possible to execute storage operations with VM granularity. VVol enables virtual machine (vm) storage operations to be efficiently offloaded to the storage platform, improving VMware Horizon performance and further reducing storage requirements. VMware Horizon 6 fully supports the new VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes capability. We have been working closely with a number of storage partners to complete system testing. NetApp has emerged as the first partner to successfully validate their All-Flash FAS unified storage array with VMware Horizon 6 and VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes. NetApp and VMware have collaborated successfully to complete tests at a scale of 2,000 desktops on All-Flash FAS systems. We are expecting many more storage partners to complete their VMware Horizon 6 VVol validation testing in the months ahead.

Support for VMware Virtual SAN 6

VMware Horizon 6 customers have broadly adopted VMware Virtual SAN in vSphere 5.5. One of the most popular customer requests is the ability to support an even greater number of VMware Horizon 6 desktops on their VMware Virtual SAN cluster. With the release of VMware Horizon 6, we have doubled the density of Horizon desktops per host (200 desktops/host) and in a similar fashion, we now support up to 4,000 desktops per VMware Virtual SAN cluster. In addition, VMware Horizon 6 will now support up to 20 hosts per cluster. This increased VMware Virtual SAN scale will enable customers to dramatically lower their storage infrastructure costs with VMware Horizon 6.

Support for Windows 2012 Server R2 As A Desktop OS

VMware Horizon 6 now expands the choice for customers who like to run Windows Server virtual machines as a virtual desktop. With the support for Windows 2012 Server R2 as a desktop vm, customers can deliver a Windows 8.1 type user experience to end-users and achieve lower TCO through more favorable Microsoft licensing.

4) Virtual Networking: Validated and Secure

VMware NSX with VMware Horizon brings push-button simplicity to VDI networking. This jointly validated solution of NSX and Horizon includes NSX edge which provides load balancing of View client connections within a single datacenter, distributed firewalling and micro segmentation to provide simple, more secure access.

5) Scalable and Available Across Sites

Improvements were also made to the administration of VMware Horizon 6 virtual desktops. Enhancements to the VMware Horizon 6 cloud pod architecture enables IT administrators to federate desktop deployments across multiple data centers and geographies using a single interface for management and monitoring. This significantly simplifies the management of desktops and users.

6) U.S. Federal Government Ready

We have several new features for U.S. Federal Government Customers. With a goal of enabling the federal government and large customers to successfully transition to IPv6 environments, VMware Horizon 6 introduces support for a homogeneous IPv6 deployment. Customers who have been considering use of IPv6 addresses for desktops as well as other elements of their infrastructure can now use VMware Horizon 6 to address their needs. Common Access Card (CAC) support offers simple and secure access to virtual desktops and applications for uniformed service personnel, and efforts to achieve Common Criteria certification are underway.

Wait, There’s More

In addition to what is included in VMware Horizon 6, we’re also offering participation in an early access program for a new solution and two technology previews that showcase innovation.

VMware Horizon for Linux Early Access Program

We are excited to announce our early access program for the VMware Horizon for Linux virtual desktop solution. VMware is expanding its virtual desktop capabilities to include support for Red Hat and Ubuntu based Linux-based desktops. This enables customers to simplify desktop management using the VMware Horizon platform to access Windows and Linux applications. In addition to centralized management capabilities, this solution will allow end-users to remotely access Linux desktops and applications from mobile devices without compromising security while fostering collaboration. To be considered for the VMware Horizon for Linux early access program, register here.

Two Technology Previews Showcasing Innovation

Demonstrating continued commitment to application and desktop innovations, VMware revealed today two new technology previews – Project Local and Project Ark. Project Local showcases the ability to deliver greater speed and efficiency for application delivery to end-users by providing virtual applications access to files on local hard drives and folders. Project Ark demonstrates the flexible delivery of published applications to Google Chromebooks through two separate methodologies – a clientless approach via an HTML5 browser and a client approach using a new lightweight Chrome client.

As you can see, the VMware End-User Computing team has been busy. There is a lot in the newest release of VMware Horizon 6 that is expected to GA this week. After taking it all in, let me know what you think by leaving your comments or questions in the comment box below.