VMware Horizon Announcements

What’s New in VMware Horizon 8 2111: Service, security, and experience features

The latest release of VMware Horizon® 8 – version 2111 – is now available and includes new features that deliver extended service, better security, tool optimizations, and enhanced admin and end-user experiences, all designed to improve Horizon and the delivery of virtual desktops and apps. This blog will cover the key features released. For a complete list, visit the VMware Horizon 8 2111 Release Notes.

Extended Support for Horizon

Ensuring customers have the right level of product support is always a priority. Horizon 8 2111 includes two key support enhancements:

First, VMware is implementing a 30-day grace period for expiring term license customers to provide enough time to renew and maintain access to the Horizon console and prevent any loss of access.

Second, an Extended Service Branch (ESB) Maintenance Release extends support on Horizon 8 2111 for 36 months, providing customers with planned maintenance updates. ESBs provide customers with critical bug and security fixes, providing a reliable, predictable, and stable Horizon platform for critical deployments, allowing customers to upgrade to the next version when ready. Direct upgrade from previous ESB versions 7.10.3 and 7.13.1 is supported. Visit KB86744 to get more information on this release.

Boost Efficiency and Security with Instant Clones

VMware Instant Clones technology rapidly provisions full-featured, personalized desktops and applications from a single golden image, reducing the amount of time managing VMs. Horizon 8 2111 further enhances this efficiency by allowing admins to specify where an image should be pushed, including a subset of the pool. Images can be tested before applying to the entire pool, providing the granularity needed by admins.

Another key enhancement to Instant Clones is deeper integration between Horizon and Carbon Black, providing additional security for VDI environments. Carbon Black runs a scan in the background of a golden image or pool prior to cloning to ensure there are no security issues such as malware, viruses, or pool configuration issues. Once the scan is complete, it will provide a “ready to clone” status, ensuring admins they are cloning a clean golden image or pool. For more information on optimizations between Carbon Black Horizon, watch this demo.

Figure 1. Carbon Black scans golden images for security threats.

Optimize Windows OS for a Virtual Environment

Started as a VMware Fling, the Windows OS Optimization Tool for VMware Horizon is now an officially supported feature. As the number-one downloaded Fling, the OS Optimization tool optimizes golden images by automating the removal of unnecessary settings and disabling unnecessary features typically present in a physical Windows machine. Removing this extra noise when Windows is deployed in a virtual environment delivers increased performance and improves the employee experience. This OS Optimization Tool feature introduces support for Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022.

Exceptional Employee Experience with Apps on Demand

App Volumes provides the required flexibility and control to application management by packaging, assigning, and deploying applications in real-time across Horizon environments. In this latest release, App Volumes delivers the apps to end-users only when they need them. Delivering Apps on Demand allows admins to assign the specific apps end-users require for their roles versus including apps they “might need.” Apps are not installed on the machine upon log-in, but delivered when the end-user runs the application, freeing up resources and improving virtual window boot up times. Apps on Demand provides end-users with the same desktop experience as if the apps were installed locally. End-users will see their familiar desktops complete with icons for easy app selection.

To learn more and see it in action, watch Ron Oglesby’s Apps on Demand – Ron’s Cool Feature of the Week.

Store User Profiles on Microsoft OneDrive for Business

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM) provides admins with a robust solution for profile and persona management and the ability to deliver a personalized workspace experience to end users across devices and locations. In this release, DEM integrates with Microsoft OneDrive for Business to store profile archives in the user’s OneDrive. This capability makes it easier to access use profiles and improves the end user experience when roaming between on-premises environments to the cloud, or between public clouds. Storing the profiles OneDrive removes the requirement to maintain an on-premises SMB share for profile archives and allows end-users to access their profile from anywhere for a more personalized experience. For more details, please refer to DEM Installation Guide.

Improved Troubleshooting with Events Filtering

Every action or “event” is captured in the Horizon event database. The new release provides more granular filtering within the Horizon Console. Now, you can filter events in a custom date range for easier viewing and apply parameters such as severity, module, or source, creating a custom view of events that can help troubleshoot issues. Admins can specify the type of event they want to see and zero in on issues and review events without having to use the SQL database.

Figure 2. Event filter options provide the ability to locate specific events.

VMware Horizon Recording Support for RDSH apps

VMware recently launched VMware Horizon Desktop Recording. In Horizon 8 2111, the feature is now known as VMware Horizon Recording, and extends support to RDSH apps. Using Horizon Recording to record and replay sessions as needed allows admins to troubleshoot issues, ensure compliance and security, and monitor end-user activity. To learn more about these benefits, head to our earlier launch blog, and to see the feature in action, watch this video from Ron Oglesby.

Multi-Screen Support for Samsung Desktop Experience (DeX)

Many end-users are employing their smart phones and tablets to access corporate applications. DeX allows Samsung devices to connect to an external monitor, bringing applications to life on the big screen. Horizon is optimized for DeX, offering end-users connection to their virtual desktops and apps with Android devices to have an enhanced experience. Horizon with DeX support provides end users with more flexibility on device choice by supporting the way they work.

Microsoft Teams Available on Google Chrome OS and HTML Access 

Enabling the use of collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams in a virtual environment is a requirement, not a “nice to have.” Horizon continues to provide features that ensure end users are realizing the right experience when making audio calls or using video. In this newest release, Microsoft Teams Optimization support is also added for Horizon Chrome client and HTML Access. This now enables Microsoft Teams for any of your end users on Chromebooks. Also, end users get great call quality when making Horizon Teams call from a Chrome or Microsoft Chromium Edge browser. The full list of newly supported Teams features including live caption, custom together mode scene, and E911 and location based routing can be found in the Horizon 8 2111 Release Notes.

Increased Performance and Reduced Bandwidth with Blast Codec

Horizon 8 2111 offers a 17% increase in RDSH host density, now achieving up to 88 sessions. Additionally, Horizon saw a 10% increase in Azure Virtual Desktops (AVD) host density to achieve up to 37 sessions. These significant host density improvements are reducing costs and management complexities. With more sessions per host, server capacity can be maximized, and CPU usage is reduced as well as decreasing the number of sessions that must be managed by admins. Testing also showed that the Blast Codec is consuming less bandwidth and improving the efficiency per workload. With up to 9.5% bandwidth reduction, Blast frees up space in the network, improving the overall performance of workloads and end-user experience.

Agent and Client Version Independence

Typically, Horizon Agent and Client versions needed to match in order to work. Now, Horizon offers nested-connection independence, where the agent and client can be one version, plus or minus one, from each other. This provides admins more flexibility on which version of Horizon client or agent to run, especially for managing bugs or testing.

Virtual Desktop and App Protection with Anti-keylogging on Mac Client

Keyloggers are form of malware which records every stroke made on a keyboard and sends the information back to an attacker. Keyloggers are mainly used to steal user data, such as passwords. They are transparent on most systems, making it difficult for organizations to detect and easy for data to be stolen. Horizon offers anti-keylogging (Mac client) by not recording the keystrokes, providing an additional level of security against attacks.

Getting More from Horizon

This is only a highlight of what is available in Horizon 8 2111. There are many more features that we didn’t cover in this blog, but you can find a deep dive on all the new features in the Horizon 8 2111 Tech Zone video as well as in the Horizon 8 2111 Release Notes. Taking advantage of new releases from Horizon is one benefit to upgrading to our Horizon subscription license. You can download version 2111 by visiting MyVMware.com.