In our last blog post, What’s New with VMware Horizon 6 version 6.2, Part 2, we continued to look at some of the new features in Horizon 6.2, specifically VMware Access Point and the new Microsoft RDSH load-balancing feature for Horizon 6 hosted applications.
In this blog, we will look at some of the user-experience improvements in Horizon 6.2. If you read our first blog post, What’s New with VMware Horizon 6.2, you may have noticed that there is a long list of new features and supported clients. In that blog, we covered a couple of user-experience improvements, such as seamless application-access using client-side file type association, and the ability to use HTML access for View desktops and Horizon 6 hosted applications (on RDSH) using VMware Cloud Pod Architecture.
3D Support for Horizon 6 Hosted Applications
User experience for Horizon 6 hosted applications has been massively improved over the last 6 to 12 months, and now with Horizon 6.2 we have introduced support for GPU virtualization.
Horizon 6 hosted applications are accessed via Horizon Client or HTML access. The applications are run on virtual Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Hosts, yet we utilize our own protocol and client and agent features to enhance user experience.
A virtual RDS host can be provisioned with either an NVIDIA GRID vGPU or provided with direct pass-through to a physical GPU (vDGA). The setup for vGPU for either Windows desktops or Windows Servers is very straightforward.
In the following video, Horizon 6 Configuring vGPU for RDS, Senior EUC Architect Ray Heffer walks you through the setup and shows off a 3D-enabled Horizon 6 hosted application:
We support both Microsoft Server 2008 and 2012 Remote Desktop Session Hosts. You must install the required NVIDIA VIB on your ESXi host running RDSH virtual machines and install the NVIDIA Windows guest graphics driver on your RDSH virtual machine. To enable this feature, you must select the 3D RDS host feature when installing the View Agent on your RDS host. Deploying multiple RDSH servers with vGPU and 3D capability is much easier in Horizon 6.2 because you can use single-image management and View Composer.
The RDSH virtual machine is provisioned with a single vGPU (or physical GPU via vDGA) and that GPU is shared as usual, via the remote desktop technology built into Microsoft Windows Server, across user sessions on the RDS host.
In our testing we deployed four 4 vCPU, 32 GB RAM virtual RDS hosts on a single ESXi host. Our ESXi host had 16 physical cores, so we were minimizing CPU contention for our RDSH workloads. Always ensure your ESXi host is an NVIDIA-GRID-certified server.
In a typical deployment scenario, your ESXi host can have two NVIDIA GRID K2 cards, which provides 4 physical GPUs. Given that the ESXi host is running only four virtual RDS hosts, we can allocate a full GPU to each RDSH virtual machine. We do this by allocating the NVIDIA GRID vGPU K280Q profile. This gives each RDS host the maximum GPU capability.
You can find more information about Horizon 6 published applications and sizing of RDS hosts in the Horizon 6 Reference Architecture.
Apple iOS 8 and iOS 9 feature the ability to use biometric authentication to access not only the device but also any applications enabled for biometric authentication. This iOS feature is known as Touch ID, and devices enabled with this have a Touch ID sensor.
In Horizon 6.2 we allow iOS users the ability to authenticate to View desktops in Horizon 6 using the Touch ID feature within iOS. For users, this is a very simple and secure way of accessing their View desktops or applications. The user simply opens the Horizon Client application and places their thumb or finger on the Touch ID sensor, and they are authenticated to their View desktop. The user can then select a desktop or application, and they are authenticated via single sign-on (SSO) to that resource. This eliminates the need for users to remember a username and password and offers a more secure access mechanism to desktop services.
To enable this feature, first the View administrator must configure the biometric authentication on the View Connection Server. Secondly, the user must enable Touch ID within the Horizon Client and enter their credentials.
In the following video, iOS Biometric Authentication Features with Horizon, VMware EUC Architect Alex Birch demonstrates the biometric authentication feature and shows you how to configure this in your environment:
As you saw, there are two steps required to enable this feature. First, to enable the feature within Horizon, the administrator must edit a value in the View Connection Server AD-LDS database using ADSI Edit.
If you are not familiar with using ADSI Edit, see the Microsoft TechNet Web page on how to use ADSI Edit for your Windows operating system version.
To use ADSI Edit to enable biometric authentication to View desktops in Horizon 6:
- Start the ADSI Edit utility on your View Connection Server host.
- In the Connection Settings dialog box, select or connect to DC=vdi,DC=vmware,DC=int.
- In the Computer pane, select or enter localhost:389 or the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the View Connection Server host followed by port 389.
- Navigate to OU=Global > OU=Properties > CN=Common, and edit the attribute name pae-ClientConfig.
- Add a new value named BioMetricsTimeout=-1
- Apply the change and click OK.
- Biometric authentication is now enabled.
Note: The timeout value set to -1 eliminates any timeout. Any other value represents the number of seconds the application waits for the user to authenticate.
The second step is for the user to enable Touch ID within the Horizon Client on their iOS device. They need to authenticate with their username and password, and the credentials are then stored within the device’s Keychain for future access. After that, any time the user wants to authenticate to their View desktop, they can use the Touch ID sensor.
That completes our What’s New in Horizon 6.2 blog series. If you need further information, go to our Horizon 6 technical resources section on VMware.com.