Technical Guides VMware Horizon

See the latest innovations in Blast Extreme in VMware Horizon

VMware’s Blast Extreme continues its unending streak of becoming the protocol of choice for VMware Horizon customers, thanks to the continuous and consistent customer-centric innovation that has been dedicated to the protocol. The Horizon 2106 release has given VMware’s Blast Extreme yet another major boost, thanks to a lineup of cool features.

HDR encoding

Blast Extreme has always been the protocol of choice when it came to optimized bandwidth usage. The H.264 and H.265 codecs used for encoding multimedia content have delivered excellent video and graphics to the end-user while consuming much less bandwidth. To take the video experience forward, Blast Extreme now offers High Dynamic Range (HDR) encoding, which expands the range of brightness in a digital image to provide a more realistic depiction of a scene. HDR is enabled by default on the agent.

These optional registry keys REG_SZ (string value) can be added on a Windows agent:

  • PixelProviderHDRReferenceWhite: an integer greater than 0 that controls the relative brightness of the paperwhite level. The default value is 80.
  • TopologyHDREnabled = 1 to enable HDR. The default value is 1.
  • TopologyHDREnabled = 0 to disable HDR.

On the client, the optional registry key REG_SZ (string value) HKLM\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\Client\AllowClientHDR needs to be set to True or False for HDR topology requests. The default value is True.

In the client VMware Blast settings, Allow High Efficiency Video Decoding (HEVC) and Allow High Dynamic Range Decoding (HDR) needs to be turned on.

NVIDIA Ampere A10 and A40 GPUs

With the Horizon 2106 release, we also announced support for the NVIDIA Ampere A10 and A40 GPUs. The very latest in NVIDIA’s lineup of GPUs, both these cards are optimized for multi-workload capabilities such as artificial intelligence, graphics, video, cloud gaming and VDI, thereby offering multiple utilities for the VDI user. The Ampere Architecture CUDA Cores’ double-speed processing for single-precision floating point (FP32) operations and improved power efficiency provide significant performance improvements for graphics and simulation workflows, such as complex 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE). This, with the latest improvements in NVIDIA’s vGPU (virtual GPU) software, allows for larger, more powerful virtual workstation instances for remote users, enabling high-end remote design, AI and compute workloads.

Boosting Working From Home

As working from home continued to remain the new normal, graphics and game designers faced increasing challenges with productivity. High-end powerful workstations which were an important factor in the quality of their output were not accessible to them any longer through the pandemic with their offices being shut. Most designers still do not have very sophisticated equipment in their homes and therefore it has become imperative for them to be able to access the physical workstations powered with high-end desktop GPUs in their offices. To their much-needed relief, Horizon now offers the ability for graphics designers and engineers to remote into their GPU-enabled desktops using Horizon and leverage the rendering as well as encoding capabilities of the GPUs for their graphics-intensive work all from the comfort of their homes. This is yet another demonstration of how Horizon is committed to the success of our customers during these challenging times.

User experience and more!

Alongside all the above innovations, the 2016 release also includes several enhancements to improve quality and performance such as optimizations around text display, shared caching to improve bandwidth utilization and several other enhancements. While we have come a long way, we are very excited about the current pace of innovation and have many more exciting features lined up for Blast Extreme with the upcoming releases. Stay tuned!

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