Since the launch of VMware Horizon 8 in 2020, we have released several updates, including two extended service branch (ESB) releases with Horizon 8 2111 and Horizon 8 2212.
With general support ending for Horizon 7 on April 30, 2023, now is the time to upgrade to Horizon 8. Upgrading will ensure uninterrupted support for your Horizon environment beyond April, plus you’ll also be able to take advantage of some great new features only available on Horizon 8. Let’s look at more reasons to upgrade to Horizon 8.
Desktops, apps, and infrastructure
1. Hybrid and multi-cloud support
Customers can deploy virtual desktops and apps on more hybrid and multi-cloud options with Horizon 8. The latest offerings that are only available for Horizon 8 include Horizon with Amazon WorkSpaces and Horizon on Azure VMware Solution (AVS). Using the Horizon Control Plane, customers can manage desktops and apps across these options, and those already supported on native cloud, on premises, and VMware Cloud.
2. Improved instant clones
All customers who upgrade to Horizon 8 get the benefit of instant clones and reduced memory requirements, allowing smart provisioning of desktops in seconds! There is no requirement for a parent virtual machine (VM) with the smart provisioning model, which reduces costs and increases the desktop-per-host consolidation ratio. Instant clones also eliminate the need for Horizon 7 linked clones, which required a view composer server and an external database, and they also dramatically improve provisioning times and efficiency by creating the VMs more quickly than linked clones. Instant clone enhancements in Horizon 8 include multiple NIC (network interface cards) support, Sysprep support, forensic capabilities, MAK (multiple activation key) license compatibility, and configuring different multiple VM profiles (CPU/RAM) for desktop pools based on a single gold image.
3. APIs for automation
Comprehensive Horizon 8 REST APIs enable monitoring, entitlements, user and machine management, orchestration of Horizon administration functions, and other rich capabilities. REST API support now makes it easy to have consistent methodologies of customer-written automation across VMware products like vSphere, vCenter, and Workspace ONE. See this list for RESTful APIs available for Horizon 8.
4. Scaling more desktops and sessions per pod
Horizon 8 has the capacity to support a maximum of 20,000 desktops and sessions per pod. Less hardware is required when provisioning thousands of desktops, providing more scalability. Horizon 8 now supports a maximum of 500 VMs per ESXi host when using non-vSAN storage. This feature allows customers to maximize modern server resources, depending on the hardware workload and specifics. Explore all Horizon configuration maximums here.
5. Apps on Demand for published app environments
With the latest VMware App Volumes innovation, Apps on Demand for published apps is now available! In Horizon 7, Apps on Demand was available for VDI and DaaS environments. In Horizon 8, Apps on Demand for published app deployments is supported — a huge benefit for customers who deliver published apps through Horizon, Citrix, and Microsoft RDS. This feature can reduce infrastructure costs, make app and image management more efficient, provide faster access to apps, and modernize apps across clouds. View this demo of Apps on Demand.
6. Optimized experience for collaboration
Horizon 8 offers new collaboration enhancements, including new audio and video features for communications tools like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom. For example, Microsoft Teams features an option to blur backgrounds in video calls, allows users to give or take control of screensharing, and provides live captions within Horizon virtual desktops. These options provide a better user experience and increase productivity for employees.
7. Blast improvements
VMware Blast delivers an immersive, feature-rich user experience across devices, locations, media, and network connections. Blast Extreme’s improvements bring out the best possible remote display experiences. There is support for 5K and 8K client display resolutions so customers can work on the latest and largest monitors. Previously, Horizon 7 only supported 4K client resolutions.
8. Additional capabilities
The last reason to upgrade to Horizon 8 is not just one reason but rather several additional capabilities you should be aware of. These include:
- Linux hosted apps
- additional support for IPv6, such as CPA and HTML access
- session recording for Horizon
- PostgreSQL database support
- importation of SSL certificates
- upgrading multiple Horizon connection servers at one time
- vSphere 8 and vSan 8 support
More resources to upgrade to Horizon 8
This blog presents eight great reasons to upgrade to Horizon 8. We have many resources if you need assistance upgrading to Horizon 8. To get started, visit this page.