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Tech Preview: Windows Virtual Desktop Benefits with Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure

At VMworld U.S. 2019, we announced that a Tech Preview of Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure with support for the benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop would be released in 2019. I’m excited to announce that today, Tech Preview is live!

This new capability will allow our customers to run the features of Windows Virtual Desktop, including Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session and Windows 7 with free Extended Security Updates (for up to three years), in their Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure environments. It also introduces the first Azure-based Horizon control plane.

“We’re excited to see VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure reach this next phase in extending and enriching Windows Virtual Desktop. Our joint customers will be able to see the benefit of the strong partnership between two industry leaders on their journey to Azure-based virtual desktops and applications,” said Scott Manchester, Group Program Manager for Windows Virtual Desktop and Remote Desktop Services at Microsoft.

The combined value of Windows Virtual Desktop and Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure gives customers a modern, cloud-native platform that delivers enterprise-class features like broad endpoint support, advanced remoting protocols, application management, monitoring, lifecycle management, and more. And, because Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure is part of the Horizon control plane, administrators can now manage all their Horizon environments from the same pane of glass.

Tech Preview Details

If you’re already registered for the Tech Preview, you should receive an email with more information soon. We’ll be rolling it out in waves, and when your turn comes, you’ll receive another email with additional information on how to proceed with your evaluation. (Note: if you’re not registered for the Tech Preview, you can still sign up and we’ll add you to the list.)

Customers that participate in the Tech Preview can expect:

•  Support for Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session desktops and apps.

•  Support for both persistent and non-persistent Windows 10 Enterprise VDI desktops.

•  Support for Windows 7 64-bit persistent and non-persistent desktops.

•  Support for Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, and 2019 RDSH desktops and apps.

•  The new Azure-based control plane, which is required to use the features of Windows Virtual Desktop, will only exist in the US during the Tech Preview. When Generally Available, it will expand to Europe and Australia, with more locations to follow based on demand.

•  Desktop workloads can be run in any supported Azure region, and do not have to run in the same region as the control plane.

•  Support for all Horizon clients, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome and HTML Access.

•  Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session desktops and apps will support Blast Extreme and PCoIP, as well as USB, client drive redirection, real-time audio and video, browser content redirection, URL content redirection, HTML5 redirection, and more.*

•  Cloud Monitoring and Helpdesk features designed to help you to monitor the health and capacity of all your Horizon deployments. Data collected from user sessions and from the deployed pods themselves make it so that we can help you quickly diagnose possible problems and take action. Built-in reports allow you to watch longer term trends and export monitoring data for use outside of the service.

•  Power Management and Schedules, GPU support, and Agent Auto Update should work, but will not be supported during the Tech Preview (they will be supported when generally available).

* For Windows 7, only RDP 8.x and USB redirection are supported, and the only client available will be the Windows Horizon client.

To take part in the Tech Preview, you’ll need:

A valid My VMware email address  

The email address that you used to register must be a valid My VMware email address. Please visit my.vmware.com to confirm or register the email address with My VMware before the start of the Tech Preview.

Microsoft Azure subscription 

VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure requires that customers provide their own Microsoft Azure Subscription (BYO Infrastructure) to host your virtual desktops and applications. The Microsoft Azure Subscription requirements can be found in the VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure Requirements Checklist.

Microsoft Windows licensing 

VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure requires that customers obtain and provide valid Microsoft Windows Licensing for the applicable operating systems and services. For more information, see the Windows Virtual Desktop pricing FAQ.

Other Resources

The Tech Preview program will walk you through what you need to get started, but you can always use the VMTN forums, check the documentation, or visit Tech Zone for helpful materials and blogs about Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.

If you’re completely new to Horizon Cloud, you might find these helpful:

•  Quick Start Tutorial – Walks you through setting up Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure to get you up and running as fast as possible.

•  Hands-On Labs – The fastest way to get a feel for how Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure works before you try it in your own environment.

•  Mastering Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure – This Activity Path will teach you everything you need to know to be successful with Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.

•  Horizon Virtual Desktop Optimization Guide – Optimizing your image is as critical as quality networking and storage, though it’s often overlooked. Start your proof of concept or pilot the right way by following our optimization guide and you’ll immediately see the benefits in user experience, density, and cost savings.

We’re excited to take this next step, and we look forward to working with you as we move towards General Availability in early 2020!