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High availability, enhanced alerting, and more: What’s new in Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure

At VMware, Q3 is always busy. Most of the attention outside the company is on VMworld, but back at the ranch, we’re still hard at work on Horizon Cloud. In the July release of Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, we introduced support for additional Azure VM types and sizes, updated the UI, enhanced reporting capabilities and added support for custom roles when creating Microsoft Azure service principals.

In this release, we’re happy to announce high availability for Pod Manager, support for custom Azure Resource Tags for desktop and farm assignments, enhanced logging and auditing capabilities in the Horizon Cloud administration console, and enhanced alerting during pod upgrades. Let’s take a look at each of these:

Pod Manager High Availability

Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure

We’ve added high availability to the Pod Manager (previously called the Node Manager) that’s as easy to deploy as flipping a switch. This feature leverages a second Pod Manager VM, along with the Azure Load Balancer and Azure Database for PostgreSQL services. It’s enabled by default for new deployments, but for existing pods running an older version you’ll need to first upgrade them as well as the agents in the pod’s images, farms, and VDI desktop assignments before seeing the option to turn on high availability. (There are other things you need to configure too, so before running off and turning on HA, check the product documentation for more info.)

Customers should know that enabling this feature will add to your Azure costs due to the PostgreSQL service and additional infrastructure requirements.

Custom Azure Resource Tags for Desktop and Farm Assignments

You can now use custom Azure Resource Tags when defining desktop and farm assignments, which is useful for third-party integrations (security, billing, automation, etc.). VMware already leverages this for NSX, and based on customer feedback, now other products can, too. See the Microsoft Azure and VMware Horizon Cloud documentation for more information on resource tags.

Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure

Enhanced Logging and Auditing Capabilities

Many customers will be happy to see that we’ve enhanced logging and auditing capabilities in the Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure management console. You can now view and download logs for common events around desktop pools, image management, help desk operations, Azure pods, licensing, file shares, and more. It supports role-based access, so you can give administrators and customers different permissions to different logs.

Enhanced Alerting During Pod Upgrades

During pod upgrades, certain errors could occur that require customer interaction (e.g. pod is offline, or has insufficient quota or capacity). Historically, this resulted in a support call to VMware to find the source of the problem, customer interaction to resolve the problem, and another call to VMware support to resume the upgrade. In this release, any error that requires customer interaction will alert the administrator so that they can take action without having to call support first. After fixing the issue, though, customers will still need to contact VMware to resume the upgrade.

More Info

For more information on the latest release of VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, check out the release notes. Stay tuned, because we’ll have even more features to announce in Q4!