Maintaining Business Continuity in Challenging Times – Part 2

Mar 25, 2020
Josh Spencer

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Josh Spencer is an End-User-Computing Architect in the Technical Marketing group at VMware.

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This blog on maintaining business continuity is authored by Josh Spencer with Rick Terlep and is part of our business continuity series and covers brokering corporate physical PCs, and leveraging cloud infrastructure to support remote work. Start with Maintaining Business Continuity in Challenging Times – Part 1.

Want to learn more after this blog? In the latest episode of the Digital Workspace Tech Zone Podcast, In this episode Rick Terlep, Josh Spencer, Chris Halstead and Graeme Gordon talk about brokering corporate physical PCs and leveraging cloud infrastructure to support remote work, and dealing with the broader challenges of supporting a “from home” work environment.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Google Play

 

Introduction

In part one of this blog series, we talked about using Horizon, deployed in various locations including on-premises and cloud-based capacity, to enable a work-from-home use case as part of your Business Continuity strategy.

We covered the basics of accommodating increased demand for the remote worker use case, leveraging:

  • On-premises capacity
  • Cloud-based capacity
  • Physical PC’s as additional capacity

In this blog, we will go deeper into what it takes to build out Horizon on the infrastructure platform you choose.

Remote access for physical PCs

Here, we will double-click on the option to broker access to physical PCs. This use case has drawn a lot of attention recently because it has some real advantages, especially for those of you who are trying to send a workforce home to work on short notice.

Working Remotely

An end user’s physical PC on the corporate network is already configured with the applications and network resources required to do their jobs. However, not all PC’s can be taken home (such as desktop PCs). Even if the infrastructure is in place to support it, many customers choose not to allow devices containing potentially sensitive information or applications outside of the company walls.

Brokering Physical PCs with VMware Horizon

There are a number of benefits to brokering access to physical PCs with Horizon.

Secure Remote Access – The Blast remoting protocol ensures all data remains secure on your corporate network. Optionally, you can provide the ability to leverage remote printing, USB access, and more.

Minimal Requirements to Get Started – Existing Horizon customers can simply add the Horizon agent to supported Windows PCs and start brokering them alongside virtual machines. If you haven’t yet implemented Horizon, getting started brokering physical PCs requires a relatively small amount of infrastructure. You can use this infrastructure temporarily, or you can expand it over time to implement virtual desktop and application solutions.

Excellent End User Experience – Working from home can be a dramatic change for some users. Brokering access to their own personal computing device reduces the learning curve and makes this transition easier. VMware Blast provides a high-fidelity remote user experience from nearly any endpoint device users may have available.

Getting Started

Regardless of your experience level, make sure you review Using Horizon 7 to Access Physical Windows 10 Machines. This new operational tutorial provides prerequisites, deployment guidance, use case considerations and much more. There are even links to some brand-new tools to help expedite the process of registering and brokering your physical PCs with Horizon.

Brokering physical machines with Horizon is one strategy that existing vSphere customers are adopting to support the sudden demand for remote workers. The ease of deployment and minimal infrastructure requirements make this an excellent tactical solution and may be a part of your long-term business continuity strategy.

Considerations for Horizon Implementations

Businesses of all kinds are adopting hybrid cloud solutions, and integrating services across on-premises datacenters and cloud-based capacity. If you are already on this path, with services such as authentication, applications, and network shares available in the cloud. Then, you can expedite adding Horizon to support remote workers. To ensure virtual desktops are available and highly performant when end users access them, deploy them geographically near resources and services.

If your business has not yet made a move to the cloud, it is important to consider the potential limitations of deploying Horizon to a cloud service. As an example, you can acquire Azure capacity and deploy a Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure pod in a matter of hours. But to provide desktops or published apps for your end users, you must also make Active Directory servers available in Azure, as well as applications servers, databases, network shares, and any other resources that your end users need to do their jobs. Without the supporting infrastructure in place, you are simply delivering “empty” desktops to end user.

VMware has a professional services team, and plenty of partners who have backgrounds in deploying Horizon for Business Continuity use cases. We can help you make your business continuity solution with Horizon successful.

Building out your Horizon 7 Environment

Deploying new or expanding existing Horizon 7 deployments is a relatively straightforward process with flexible deployment options. This means you can run in your on-premises datacenter OR in the cloud on VMC on AWS.

VMware Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS delivers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud for virtual desktops and applications. It combines the enterprise capabilities of VMware’s Software-Defined Data Center (delivered as a service on AWS) with VMware Horizon’s capabilities.

With Horizon 7, VMware offers simplicity, security, speed, and scale in delivering on-premises virtual desktops and applications.

You can build out a simple Horizon 7 environment quickly on existing infrastructure. Use the following list of resources to get started, or to quickly scale to accommodate the demand influx.

Building out your Horizon Cloud Environment

Deploying a Horizon Cloud pod on Azure infrastructure is quite simple. If your organization does not already have access to Azure resources, Microsoft provides you details on how to acquire Azure capacity on their Azure portal.

If you already have an MSDN subscription or an enterprise agreement with Microsoft for Azure capacity, you’re in luck. You can leverage that agreement to set up a subscription to deploy a Horizon Cloud on Microsoft pod into.

VMware Horizon Cloud delivers virtual desktops and apps using a cloud platform that is scalable across multiple deployment options. Want to deploy a pod in just a couple of hours? Get access to Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, and use the resources below:

Conclusion

VMware Horizon is available for your business if you run on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid mode. The Horizon universal license gives you the flexibility to deploy on your platform or platforms of choice.

As you have seen, you can quickly deploy Horizon to solve immediate demand for remote workers. You can also implement it as a highly-available desktop and app service to help meet your business continuity needs.

Whether you want to deploy Horizon for the first time or scale your existing deployment, VMware is here to help.

What’s the next step?

To find out more, see:

 

Each day over the next few weeks, we will be rolling out a series of posts and resources around business continuity. We also hosted a business continuity webinar, Pandemic Preparedness and Response: How to Quickly Set Up a Remote Workforce for Success, that you can watch on-demand.

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