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VMware expands SaaS innovations on Horizon Platform

By Shannon Williams
Thu 5 Aug 2021

During the first six weeks of the transition to remote work in early 2020, the total number of cloud-deployed VMware Horizon desktops grew by 82%, according to VMware.

As employees decide if they will return to the office or continue working remotely in some manner, the company says VMware Horizon will continue to play a critical role in how IT supports employees, no matter where they choose to work. 

VMware is continuing to build out its virtual desktop infrastructure and Desktop-as-a-Service platform, and has announced new capabilities to make it easier for IT to manage Horizon deployments wherever they may be, on-premises or in the cloud.

"Apps are moving to the cloud and employees are accessing them from everywhere, creating a more complex environment for IT to manage," says Shankar Iyer, senior vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, VMware.

"VMware Horizon is a modern platform built to reduce this complexity, increase management efficiency, and improve employee productivity regardless of whether the desktop and application workloads are on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid of both."

VMware Horizon is part of the VMware Workspace ONE platform and many customers are leveraging these solutions to unify management of devices, apps and desktops across multiple clouds. VMware Anywhere Workspace is an integrated solution that enables employees to work from anywhere with more secure, frictionless experiences. It brings together VMware Workspace ONE with VMware Carbon Black Cloud and VMware SASE.

Horizon Control Plane Services Available on More Cloud Environments for Greater Flexibility

As organisations adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud architecture with Horizon desktops and apps running on-premises and/or in one or more public or private clouds, the Horizon Control Plane is designed to simplify things. 

"IT teams can deploy, manage and scale virtual desktops and apps across private and public cloud environments using the cloud-hosted Horizon Control Plane," VMware says.

"With hybrid delivery and management of virtual apps and desktops, IT teams get the best of both worlds. They can gain management efficiencies from the cloud for their on-premises environment and expand use cases and capacity to the cloud when they are ready."

VMware has unveiled several Horizon Control Plane services are now available on additional cloud providers, offering more flexibility when scaling desktops and apps to the cloud. Services include:

  • Universal Broker connects employees to their virtual desktops and apps through the Horizon Pod or cloud based on available capacity, location, preference, and more. In addition to supporting on-premises deployments, VMware Horizon on VMware Cloud on AWS, and Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, this service is now available for VMware Horizon on Azure VMware Solution (AVS) environments.
  • Image Management Service cuts down image maintenance time and costs by centrally managing and distributing desktop images across Horizon deployments. In addition to supporting on-premises deployments, this service is now available for VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.
  • Application Management, powered by VMware App Volumes, simplifies application delivery by packaging apps once and deploying them across Horizon environments in real-time. By separating app management from the desktop image, IT can reduce image sprawl, helping simplify and save time in the app management process. And by using Desktop-as-a-Service with VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, customers can automate application packaging without additional infrastructure.
  • Cloud Monitoring Service reduces downtime with real-time performance monitoring of the user session, virtual desktops, and apps across Horizon environments. This service is now available for VMware Horizon for Azure VMware Solution (AVS) environments.
  • Lifecycle Management, enabled through Desktop-as-a-Service with VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, simplifies initial onboarding and continuous configuration by enabling automatic install, upgrade and scaling of Horizon infrastructure.

New Updates and Integrations Help Customers Reduce VDI Complexity and Total Cost of Ownership

A multi-cloud desktop and app delivery model can create complexity, considering different clouds have different infrastructure foundations and maintenance requirements. This can lead to higher costs in management. Recent Horizon innovations aimed to simplify these complexities and help IT save time and reduce cost, include:

Customers can use existing on-premises Horizon infrastructure, such as Horizon Connection Servers, to support employees connecting to public vSphere-based cloud environments like Horizon on Azure VMware Solution and Horizon on VMware Cloud on AWS.

Horizon now supports PostgreSQL, giving IT choice in selecting an open-source database for Horizon events, if needed. From a scalability standpoint, large enterprises can now connect up to 20,000 desktops and sessions per pod, reducing the number of pods required in a Horizon deployment.

Ongoing improvements to Blast protocol continue to help improve employee productivity. Improvements include support for higher resolution client displays like 8K monitors, support for the latest NVIDIA Ampere GPUs, and High Dynamic Range (HDR) encoding for improved user experience.

The pandemic has also now challenged IT teams to reimagine how they support a distributed workforce. Investments made in remote IT support both in terms of technology and training are paying off as this practice is here to stay as many employees choose to continue to work remotely. 

VMware Workspace ONE Assist enables IT and help desk staff to remotely support employees with device tasks and issues. Previously IT could only remote into a mobile, special purpose frontline device, or a physical PC with Workspace ONE Assist. 

However, VMware is announcing IT will be able to use Workspace ONE Assist to remote into a Horizon session as well. Improving time to resolution of IT issues, regardless of how employees are accessing their desktop or apps, will help improve employee experience and productivity. 

Workspace ONE Assist for Horizon is expected to be available in VMware's Q3 Fiscal Year 2022, ending October 29, 2021. 

The Business Value of VMware Horizon

Earlier this year, IDC interviewed organisations that have virtualised significant numbers of devices and applications with VMware Horizon to evaluate their return on investment. Based on these interviews, IDC concluded that they would realise benefits worth an annual average of $4.50 million per organisation ($356,200 per 100 users).


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