I have engaged with hundreds of clients on their Digital Workspace Transformation journey during my last 6+ years of working with VMware. Specifically, in the last two years, I have worked with leading clients who have shown interest or are already building their virtual desktop (VDI) and app services on Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS. Clients have many reasons to go down this route as part of their digital workspace journey, especially during this time when remote work access is more critical than ever before. VMC on AWS provides the benefit of the industry-leading hypervisor, vSphere, running on an industry-best cloud infrastructure, AWS cloud. Having cloud infrastructure in place, familiarity of using VMware products and security are all reasons clients are gravitating towards using Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS. But that’s just the beginning. Let’s take a look at the key drivers for customers choosing Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS:
1. Agile Infrastructure – “Build and Upgrade”
Virtual desktop and application infrastructure can be daunting when it comes to the “build and upgrade” aspect, especially when time is limited. A full stack Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) on VMC on AWS could be provisioned in a matter of hours compared to days and months of doing the same on-premise. Once the SDDC is built, the upgrade requires all hardware (network, storage, compute, load balancers), firmware and software (hypervisor and Horizon) stack to be upgraded in cohesion – as one LEGO block. This can be time consuming and painful in an on-premise bespoke deployment. The problem amplifies manyfold if the number of desktops deployed are in the thousands and thousands. Guess how long it can potentially take to upgrade the on-premise bespoke infrastructure of a VDI deployment of 40,000 seats? The infrastructure can be limping ground for the scale of enterprise VDI service and SLA adherence needs. This problem is instantly solved with VMC on AWS SDDC. Gone are the potential pains of upgrading vSphere, upgrading hosts, upgrading network bandwidth in datacenter – even at scale.
2. Bursting out for temporary VDI Workloads
Clients who have already built sizable Horizon VDI capacity are in need of bursting out – on demand for temporary workload capacity. This is especially true during these days as remote workforces need to be quickly enabled and turned on. A lot of times, the scale out infrastructure geographical region is regulated by governing law. This infrastructure could be in the same country as on-premise infrastructure or can be in a country other than where the on-premise infrastructure is deployed. Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS provides clients freedom to scale for both the above scenarios, not just now, but anytime.
3. Availability Zones for VDI Services
How do organizations ensure that their VDI service is available in case disaster strikes their primary hosting site? Many enterprise customers have the requirement of running scale enterprise deployment on infrastructures that they don’t own. For business continuity, organizations also need availability of the infrastructure on which their Horizon VDI services are running. Note – the key word here is “enterprise deployment”. VMware Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture allows enterprise grade organizations to use the benefit of availability zones of AWS to host their service and ensure business continuity is taken care of automatically. Clients can also have a mix of on-premise and VMware Cloud on AWS hybrid design for availability of service. Customers love this strategic long-term appeal as part of their enterprise investment.
4. Standard VDI Operational Capabilities
Buying and building infrastructure for VDI deployments is just 20% of the job. 80% of the art of VDI scale deployment is managing the lifecycle of operations for a VDI solution during its lifetime. Building operational experience for a service takes time and precision. Once established, it drives the value of the VDI service – even when the infrastructure changes. Horizon Cloud Monitoring Service has been one of the key tools for the operations team (customers or partners) in establishing a long-term operational stability to offer VDI services. Operations team can build these operational services and keep using that agnostic infrastructure on which the VDI service is running, which can result in an operational cost saving of up to 71% over a period of five years on a per device basis. Clearly a long-term strategic investment and value benefit.
5. Flexibility to choose infrastructure
Looking into future, I have clients who mentioned that they need freedom to choose infrastructure (on-premise, VMC on AWS or VMware Cloud Foundation) based on their need. Most of the clients are either starting from hybrid design (existing on-premise VDI) or greenfield VMC on AWS SDDC design for Horizon. They want the flexibility to choose the infrastructure based on cost (capex vs. opex), availability or capability (like GPU etc.) in the future, without changing their operational and service framework. VMware Horizon future proofs their investment, especially with a scalable and enterprise grade VDI platform like Horizon.
6. Security without VPN
While bursting or business continuity needs are critical, security is always paramount. Unified Access Gateway, which is part of VMware Horizon platform, provides customers freedom to scale their VDI service and at the same time ensure that authentication is not compromised. For example, if employees are connecting to their virtual desktop or app from their office network, their username and password are sufficient to login. However, when the same employee connects to their virtual desktop or app from an external network, the system can take care of multi or two-factor authentication based on the one-time configuration done in Unified Access Gateway. This provides a contextual security policy, which automatically scales as you scale the service.
Are you the decision maker or thought leader considering multiple viewpoints of building a VDI service? If so, you are likely thinking of all the LEGO® blocks of a VDI deployment, like infrastructure, security, operations, continuity and service that comes together to build a marvelous VDI service. Are you worried that the service has the ability to scale hundreds and thousands of VDI workloads? Are you also worried about future proofing your investment?
If the answers to any of the questions above is yes, I urge you to try out Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS!