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Zero to Horizon Virtual Desktops and Applications (On-Premises!) in 30 Minutes

Written in collaboration with Brigitte Skakkebaek, Product Line Marketing Manager for VMware Horizon

OK, so when we say 30 minutes, we mean 30 minutes of concentrated person-time- it doesn’t include the necessary coffee breaks to let processes run. But even with those, you’re going to be able to get the entire SDDC and Horizon installed and configured in less than a day – ready to create desktop pools and RDS farms.

How is this possible?

It starts with VMware Cloud Foundation, which brings together the different virtualization technologies – compute, storage, networking and management – to enable customers to build and operate a private (or hybrid) cloud as a single entity in an automated fashion. By integrating Horizon within VMware Cloud Foundation, we provide customers a turnkey automated SDDC solution for their desktop and application virtualization needs.  And since VMware Cloud Foundation runs on top of hyper-converged infrastructure, it is elastically scalable, enabling it to accommodate thousands of virtual desktops and applications.

With VMware Cloud Foundation 3.7 we are reintroducing deployment of Horizon on VMware Cloud Foundation which has been completely revamped, incorporating learnings from previous releases that will speed adoption and deliver the flexibility that customers demand. This new design makes use of both VMware Validated Design and Horizon 7 Reference Architecture and provides support for our most advanced management technology including VMware App Volumes for dynamic application mounting and User Environment Manager for a persistent end user experience. It is also highly customizable, with virtual desktops and applications deliverable as persistent, linked clone, or instant clone desktops or RDS hosts.

Let’s dive deep into the features of Horizon on VMware Cloud Foundation.

Single pane of glass for Horizon infrastructure management

Deploy, configure, upgrade and manage the Horizon stack alongside other SDDC infrastructure with a single pane of glass. You can manage your entire SDDC infrastructure using our SDDC Manager interface.

Intuitive and flexible design

VMware Cloud Foundation provides a simple and intuitive GUI to configure and deploy Horizon in your SDDC. The Horizon deployment wizard provides best practices suggestions and tips to make it easier for you to configure your Horizon infrastructure. The wizard provides you the flexibility to choose the components that you want to deploy. Apart from the mandatory components, connection servers and load balancers, all the other components such as App Volumes, composer servers, UAGs and User Environment Manager are also supported, but optional.

Most of the time, deployment of Horizon is handled by the Horizon admin who may or may not be familiar with creation of Virtual Infrastructure (VI). In this new design, Virtual Infrastructure creation workflow is completely decoupled from Horizon deployment. Before the Horizon admin can deploy Horizon, the necessary Virtual Infrastructure needs to be pre-created by the VI admin.

Support for customer’s enterprise windows images

Typically customers prefer to use their own customized windows images, with security patches and certain applications pre-installed. Horizon deployment on VMware Cloud Foundation 3.7 allows customers to upload their custom OVA images.

Import/export Horizon infrastructure configuration

Using VMware Cloud Foundation, you can easily clone Horizon deployments by exporting configuration of an existing domain and importing this configuration to pre-populate the fields in the deployment wizard.

All the goodness that VMware Cloud Foundation brings to the table

By deploying a standardized and validated architecture, VMware Cloud Foundation brings ease, automation and built-in lifecycle management for the entire cloud stack. End to end security is built into every level of the infrastructure, from micro-segmentation at the networking layer down to encryption at the storage layer. For those looking to extend to the public cloud, VMware Cloud Foundation can be consumed as-a-service through our cloud service provider partners including VMware Cloud on AWS, IBM, Rackspace, and others – enabling a true hybrid cloud based on a common and compatible platform that stretches from on premises to off premises. (Learn more about VMware Cloud Foundation in this video and also this blog.)

Easy to scale

Horizon on VMware Cloud Foundation is based on the Horizon Reference Architecture, which uses pods and blocks to enable you to scale as your use cases grow. For more information about the architecture and number of supported virtual machines, refer to the Horizon 7 Pod and Block section in the VMware Workspace ONE and VMware Horizon 7 Enterprise Edition On-premises Reference Architecture document. A Horizon domain maps to a single pod. To support multiple pods, you can deploy multiple Horizon domains (where each domain maps to a single pod). The below diagram shows the high-level pod and block Horizon architecture on VMware Cloud Foundation.

Horizon infrastructure

Depending on your needs, you can scale your Horizon deployment by adding VI workload domain to an existing Horizon domain (pod) or you can create a new Horizon domain (pod). For those who are not familiar with VI workload domain, this is a new abstraction introduced in Cloud Foundation for creating logical pools across compute, storage, and networking. A VI workload domain consists of one or more vSphere clusters, provisioned automatically by SDDC Manager.

To summarize, VMware Cloud Foundation automated deployment of Horizon components and supporting infrastructure makes it easy to deliver Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) desktops on a secure Software Defined Data Center.

To learn more about VMware Cloud Foundation, please visit this page.