What’s New with Horizon 7 – VMware Cloud on AWS, JMP Workflow, and More!

May 9, 2018
Sheldon D'Paiva

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Sheldon D'Paiva is director of product marketing for VMware End-User Computing.

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We’re excited to announce Horizon 7.5 – with this release we continue to raise the bar for management simplicity. Customers rely on Horizon 7 for large-scale deployments of virtual desktops and applications in the enterprise, making management simplicity very important – it means less time and expense maintaining the environment, as well as the agility to respond to changing business needs. While customers enjoy the benefits of management simplicity that technologies such as CPA (Cloud Pod Architecture) and JMP (Just-in-Time Management Platform) deliver, we have continued to look for ways to make them even better. Horizon 7.5 delivers in two key ways; first, customers who have deployed Horizon 7 on-premises and want to extend that deployment to the public cloud can now do so with support for VMware Cloud on AWS and leverage CPA, second, the new JMP workflow integrates the underlying JMP technologies into a single integrated console and workflow – changing the game for desktop and application delivery. We’ve got a lot of innovation baked into this release – let’s dive in!

Rapidly Scale with a Seamlessly Integrated Hybrid Cloud

VMware Horizon 7 is recognized as the industry leader in desktop and application virtualization with significant customer adoption. With the introduction of VMware Cloud on AWS, many of our customers have asked for Horizon 7 support as well – and we listened.  Now, you get a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud for virtual desktops and applications.  This solution combines the enterprise capabilities of VMware’s software-defined data center, delivered as a service on AWS, with the market-leading capabilities of VMware Horizon – for a simple, secure and scalable solution. Note that this solution is not a full Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution; VMware manages everything under the Horizon 7 layer (e.g. VMware Cloud), but the customer manages everything at and above the Horizon 7 layer.

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Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS

With Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud, you can easily extend desktop services to address more use cases, such as on-demand capacity, disaster recovery, and cloud co-location, without buying additional data center resources.

You now have several options for deploying Horizon 7 – you can deploy Horizon 7 on-premises, deploy exclusively on VMware Cloud on AWS, or deploy on both for an integrated hybrid cloud. Horizon 7 on-premises and Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud use the same architecture. This means that you can simplify management with Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA) by linking cloud deployments in different regions, or linking on-premises to VMware Cloud on AWS deployments. You can also use the same expertise and tools for vSphere and Horizon 7 for operational consistency and leverage the rich feature set and flexibility you expect from Horizon 7.

Horizon Universal Subscription

Previously, we announced a new Workspace ONE Enterprise offering that allows customers to consume Horizon 7 through a subscription as part of Workspace ONE. Now, we have also introduced a new Horizon universal subscription license that allows you to deploy Horizon Cloud (a full DaaS solution), or Horizon 7 either on-premises or on VMware Cloud for one low price.

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With Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS, you have the choice to enable this as part of a larger Workspace ONE deployment or through the new Horizon universal subscription license, which starts as low as $8.25/user/month for apps and $16.50/user/month for desktops and apps.

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With subscription pricing for Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS, you can “pay as you grow” to optimize costs and protect existing investments. You can optimize infrastructure costs with flexible, consumption-based billing so you don’t have upfront infrastructure expenses. You get rapid time-to-value with the ability to scale host capacity up or down in a few minutes, and you can spin-up an entire VMware SDDC in under a couple of hours. Any existing on-premises investments can be protected by simply extending them to the cloud. Finally, because you buy through a single vendor in VMware, you get better economies of scale and a simple, easy way to purchase.

The new JMP workflow – changing the game

Administrators know that managing desktops are hard.  There are too many tools that don’t work well with each other, and numerous combinations of applications and OS updates that need to be tested and delivered. Reverting to a previous application or OS in the event of an emergency can be a nightmare – which is especially an issue with frequent Windows 10 updates. All this leads to slow SLAs, inflexibility, and high operating costs. JMP, VMware’s next-generation desktop and application delivery platform, changes the game. It enables you to focus on defining outcomes based on business needs instead of maintaining and troubleshooting environments. JMP leverages VMware’s Instant Clones, App Volumes, and User Environment Management technologies to untangle the operating system, applications, and user personalization. By doing so, all the component pieces together can be automatically assembled on-demand to deliver Just-in-Time desktops and apps to any device. Take a look at this overview video below to see how JMP technologies enable you to move to a dynamic management model and deliver Windows as a service:

With the new JMP workflow in Horizon 7.5, you can use a new HTML5 console for user-centric management – you define what the user should get, and the JMP workflow automatically creates the user workspaces through a simple wizard-like interface.  With this workflow, you can manage outcomes instead of technologies. This means that instead of managing how users get their workspaces, you can define what kind of workspace a user should receive and JMP will automate the creation of the workspace.

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For example, you can define what a “Finance” desktop should be — what kind of OS, images, and user personalization and access privileges it should have—and then simply assign “Finance” desktops to “Finance” users or “Finance” groups. Workspace definition and assignment are done through a single console that ties all of the underlying technologies together. This decreases assignment time by over 50 percent. Additionally, exceptions and issues are caught early during the definition phase, which prevents extended test and deployment cycles. Examples of such exceptions include incompatibilities with delivering an application to a desktop, and whether the agent required for application delivery is configured correctly.  Take a look at how easy it is to deliver Windows 10 virtual desktops, and switch between different Windows 10 versions in this demo:

With JMP, you boost your security profile as well.  Because OS and application images leverage the same golden, trusted images, there are far fewer images to maintain. If a security patch needs deployment, it can be done very quickly to the golden image and rolled out to thousands of users. What’s more, every time the user logs out, the desktop is destroyed and reassembled when the user logs back in. This means that malware that is inadvertently or intentionally activated during a user session is obliterated every time the user logs out, and the desktops and apps start from a pristine, trusted image every time the user logs in. Key features can be dynamically enabled, disabled, or controlled based not only on who the user is but also on many different variables, such as client device and IP address. You can use Smart Policies to enable or disable features, such as clipboard redirection, USB access, printing, and client drive redirection. For example, you can create a policy that disables security-sensitive features, such as cut-and-paste or USB drive access, when a user logs into their desktop from outside the corporate network.

With JMP, you can drive down both operational and capital costs. JMP reduces downtime for your employees because you can very quickly spin up workspaces for employees to reduce maintenance windows—imagine delivering newly updated workspaces to 1,000 employees in just 20 minutes! Also, because JMP automatically builds the workspaces your users need, you reduce time and costs for manual administration of images and infrastructure. Capital expenses are also greatly reduced because instead of separate desktop and application images for each user, every desktop image and application image leverage the same parent footprint—consider the savings of having 1 image instead of 1,000!  Note that currently, the JMP workflow is only available on-premises, but stay tuned for upcoming support on VMware Cloud.

Wait, there’s more…

Customers running mission-critical desktops and apps (e.g. electronic medical record software, like Epic) have told us that they would like to remain on the same version of Horizon for a long period of time and still receive timely bug and security fixes. To better meet the needs of these customers looking to stay on their current version of Horizon and still receive bug fixes and security updates, we will also be offering a new Extended Service Branch (ESB) for VMware Horizon 7 Enterprise deployments, which include the core Horizon 7 platform, VMware App Volumes, and VMware User Environment Manager. You can read more about this here.

Blast Extreme has also just gotten smarter! Horizon clients can now intelligently choose the right transport automatically to provide users with the best possible user experience. This completely automates the process and removes the burden from IT of having to try to guess which transport to go with as users connect. The end result—much better user experience across all networks and connections.

We’re very excited about what’s coming in Horizon 7.5, which will be generally available within the quarter.  In the meantime, here are some resources where you can learn more:

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