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Take Advantage of the VMware Horizon Optimization for Microsoft Teams Today

Chat, phone calls, camera-on conversation – online communication is a critical lifeline as we all learn to stay connected and effective without being face-to-face. To truly take advantage of a unified communication tool such as Microsoft Teams, you need an optimized connection to prevent audio and video glitches. The Horizon Media Optimization for Microsoft Teams improves performance while also easing the load on the server-side.  

How the Horizon Media Optimization for Microsoft Teams works 

Without optimization, calls initiated in the virtual desktop send voice and video data from the end point to the virtual desktop. Horizon sends the data compressed, using our real-time audio-video (RTAV), but even a compressed audio/video stream is significant, and the virtual desktop has to process the dataWith a video call, the virtual desktop decodes the image, draws in the virtual desktop and then captures the video feed to send it back over the network to the endpoint so that the end user can see themselves. 

VMware worked closely with Microsoft to develop the Horizon Media Optimization for Microsoft TeamsThis feature offloads audio, video and screen-sharing processing to the client device. Customers save on network bandwidth and server-side CPU processing.  

When a user starts a call inside the virtual desktop or from Teams as a virtual app, we open a channel to the local physical device and start the call there. The Microsoft Teams window draws over the Microsoft Teams window in the virtual desktop, giving users the impression that they are still in the VM, even though the data is actually going directly from the endpoint to the Internet. The processing happens on the endpoint and the media traffic disappears from the data center network. Often the end-user experience improves because the data makes one less hop. 

To achieve this optimization from the virtual desktop, Microsoft Teams sees that it is running in a virtual desktop and switches from native calls to WebRTC APIs for media processing. Teams is essentially using the same calls it uses when it runs from a Chrome browser. Teams then forwards the WebRTC commands to the JavaScript shim, which forwards the calls to the Horizon agent, using web sockets; the Horizon agent forwards the calls to the Horizon Client over the remoting protocolThe WebRTC component on Horizon Client handles encoding and decoding of the AV frames.  

You can set Microsoft Teams into a special virtual desktop mode where it will allow you to stay on the same build without auto-updating for 6 months. This prevents Teams from updating every time you launch an instant clone. But after 6 months, you will have to upgrade the Teams client in your image. You should also plan to update your Horizon Agent and Horizon Client since VMware can’t promise compatibility between older Horizon code and new Microsoft Teams code.  

Where can I use the Horizon Media Optimization for Microsoft Teams? 

Teams Media Optimization is available with Horizon 7 version 7.13, Horizon 8 and Horizon Cloud on Azure. We support VDI, Windows 10 Multi-session or Windows Teams as a remote application. End users must be running the Horizon Client for Windows 5.5 or 2006 or later.  

For more information on setting up and using the Horizon Media Optimization for Teams, check out our optimization guide on Tech Zone, as well as product documentation for Horizon 7.13 or for Horizon 2006.