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Horizon Cloud Service with Hosted Infrastructure – July 2017 Technical Updates

There are several technical updates to the VMware Horizon Cloud Service with Hosted Infrastructure this quarter. The updates for this release focus on expanding capabilities from the initial release in February. VMware will contact all customers individually to schedule the upgrade of their tenant(s) to the new release (17.1). For more details on this release, see the Horizon Cloud with Hosted Infrastructure 17.1 Release Notes.

New Data Center Availability Added!

VMware is continuing its partnership with IBM to bring VMware Horizon Cloud Service to more regions. Since Februrary, we have added capabilities to host Horizon Cloud in the United Kingdom (May), Germany (June) and in California (July).   We now have three data centers in the U.S., one in Japan, and two in Europe. The Horizon Cloud team will continue to add more data centers in the next few months. Stay tuned!

Native Applications with App Volumes Technology Is Generally Available

In February, we enabled a few select customers to use VMware App Volumes technology to create and leverage AppStacks in Horizon Cloud. This feature is now generally available to any customer who requests it. Note that add-on storage is required to use this feature. If you are a Horizon Cloud customer and would like to use Native Applications powered by App Volumes technology, consult with your VMware sales team.

Smart Policies Support

You can now leverage Smart Policies in Horizon Cloud. Smart Policies allow you to have fine-grain control over a user’s desktop experience. You can dynamically enable, disable, or control access to user features in Horizon Cloud based on who the user is, and how they are accessing Horizon Cloud. Smart Policies were released as an integration between VMware Horizon 7 and VMware User Environment Manager in 2016.

Screen Capture of a Horizon Smart Policy Settings page

For example, with Smart Policies, an administrator can decide to disable access to USB devices or to cut-and-paste from within the Horizon Client if a user is attempting to access the Horizon Cloud environment from an untrusted or external network. You can also dynamically control display-protocol configurations based on the type of device that is being used.

Smart Policies in Horizon Cloud work the same as they do in Horizon 7. VMware Senior Product Line Manager Aaron Black wrote an excellent blog post pointing out some great use cases for Smart Policies. If you want to try out Smart Policies in your Horizon Cloud deployment, download the Reviewers Guide for View in VMware Horizon 7: Smart Policies.

Windows Server 2016 Support

Horizon Cloud continues to provide support for customers wanting to use the latest editions of Windows operating systems. With this release, Horizon Cloud with Hosted Infrastructure now supports Windows Server 2016 for RDSH hosts and for skinned Windows Server based virtual desktops. For full details on OS support in Horizon Cloud with Hosted Infrastructure, see the Horizon Cloud with Hosted Infrastructure Service Description document, which can be found in the Horizon Cloud Service with Hosted Infrastructure Terms of Service page.

Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business Support

Full support for the Horizon® Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business is released for Windows clients with Horizon Cloud. This solution enables customers to use Skype for Business within Horizon desktops to make optimized audio-video calls and telephony features using the native Skype client.  Please note that this functionality is only available on VDI desktops today, but will be made available on RDSH desktops / apps in the future.  Details on what features are supported with this release can  be found in the release notes for Horizon 7.2.

Enhanced Troubleshooting Capabilities through Console Access (BETA)

We have added more troubleshooting features to the Horizon Air Console Access – HACA tool.  HACA, which is currently in Beta, gives administrators direct access to individual desktop consoles for troubleshooting purposes.  The tool has been enhanced to allow administrators the ability to troubleshoot virtual machines that get stuck during the Windows OS startup process, before the Horizon Agent starts.

Horizon Agent 7.2 / Client 4.5 Support

Horizon Cloud with Hosted Infrastructure supports the latest Horizon clients and agents.  Organizations can take advantage of new feature enhancements in the latest clients including enhanced security with Blast Extreme with support of SHA-256 encryption.  You can download the latest clients from the Horizon Client download page.