Author: Jim Yanik
Jim Yanik is currently a Senior Manager of End-User-Computing (EUC) Technical Marketing at VMware. Jim has over 25 years of experience in the IT field as a technical consultant, systems engineer, and technologist. His areas of experience include data center server and storage architecture, business mobility, and end-user computing. He is part of the team responsible for EUC technical marketing content.
We have been very busy the last few months at VMware End-User Computing, working on some exciting enhancements to our portfolio. Today we are very excited to release many updates to the VMware Horizon family of products, including VMware Horizon 7 version 7.5, VMware Horizon Cloud, VMware App Volumes 2.14, and VMware User Environment Manager 9.4.
Let’s take a look at some of the significant new features.
Horizon 7 Version 7.5
This is a big release for Horizon 7. We are adding significant functionality to our integrated platform, including new remote-experience features that enhance user interaction with virtual applications and desktops. Here are some of the highlights:
- JMP Server – Just-in-Time Management Platform (JMP) now has an integrated workflow for admins to assign users a desktop workspace that includes Horizon 7 desktop pools, App Volumes AppStacks, and User Environment Manager policies.
- Horizon Console – This new HTML5-based web interface provides partial support for Horizon 7 features – Horizon Administrator (the classic web interface) is used in parallel. New features, such as JMP Integrated Workflow and Horizon Help Desk Tool, are available from the Horizon Console.
- Virtualization-based security (VBS) – When you use Horizon 7 in conjunction with VMware vSphere 6.7, you can create virtual machines in vSphere to use VBS. For an automated desktop pool that uses full-clone virtual machines, if you use a virtual machine enabled with VBS, you can add a vTPM device for enhanced security.
- Horizon Help Desk Tool enhancements – This tool now supports Linux desktops as well as displaying new metrics, including Skye for Business pairing status, state of the application or desktop session, and disk IOPS data.
- VMware Horizon Performance Tracker – Use this enhanced support tool for gauging user experience and monitoring display protocol performance and system resources. Horizon Performance Tracker is a custom setup option in the Horizon Agent installer and runs in the remote desktop or, on RDSH servers, can run as a published application.
- Cloud Pod Architecture scale enhancements – The total session limit has increased to 200,000, and the total site limit has increased to 10. You can configure desktop shortcuts for global entitlements.
Information about these features, as well as the many enhancements to the Horizon Agent and Horizon Clients, are shown in this video by Frank Anderson. There is also a demo of the new console, JMP assignment, and Horizon Help Desk Tool.
We are bringing Horizon 7 into the cloud with the capability to deploy in VMware Cloud on AWS. This will expand the Horizon 7 use cases for on-premises environments into the cloud for data center expansion, disaster recovery, cloud bursting for temporary desktop and app capacity, and app locality for customers leveraging other AWS resources. Features include:
- Easy SDDC deployment – Hosts, networking, and storage can all be deployed with a few mouse clicks, and capacity is easily expandable.
- Hybrid Cloud capability – Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture provides connectivity between on-premises Horizon 7 and Horizon on AWS Cloud, or between one of more AWS locations.
- VDI desktops and published applications – Full-clone VDI desktops and RDSH servers are supported.
This video by Hilko Lantinga discusses the new features, shows how easy it is to deploy data center resources, and provides a demo of the user experience:
Horizon Cloud May 2018 Release
The May 2018 release of Horizon Cloud is now live! We will be rolling out this update during the first few weeks of June. Be on the lookout in your Horizon Cloud console for a notification that the update is available and ready for you to schedule.
There are a number of key feature additions in this update.
VMware Horizon Cloud Service with Hosted Infrastructure
GPU-backed workstations – We have partnered with NVIDIA to make NVIDIA M10- and M60-card-backed GPU workstation capability available as a part of VMware Horizon Cloud Service with Hosted Infrastructure. This functionality will be available in our data centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany in June.
VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure
We have a number of big updates for VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure:
- Windows 10 VDI desktops – You can create entitlements for either floating or dedicated desktops in this release. Just as with RDSH server farms, we have built-in power management capabilities to help you save on infrastructure costs.
- Help-desk role – With this release, you can designate help-desk staff to have limited access in the Horizon Cloud console to assist users running VDI desktops. With a help-desk-related role, you can get a detailed readout of metrics on the VDI session, including CPU, memory, network, and disk performance. You can also see what applications a user is currently running. Once you have gathered information on that user session, you can take action by closing applications remotely for users, sending text messages to them with instructions, or even disconnecting their session if you need to.
- Governance – We have announced support for Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure in Azure Government regions in Texas, Virginia, and Arizona. We have also deployed a new instance of the Horizon Cloud Control Plane in Australia, to accommodate customers in APJ who have data sovereignty concerns.
Watch this video by Rick Terlep for more details and a demo of deploying Windows 10 VDI desktops using Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure:
App Volumes 2.14
This release brings a better user experience through performance improvements in writable volumes attachment and includes several new features:
- Role-based access control – Comprehensive RBAC has been added to App Volumes Manager. Implement predefined roles or create custom roles for granular control over App Volumes administration.
- Move, copy, and restore writable volumes – App Volumes now provides the ability to move, back up, and restore writable volumes, all with just a few clicks in the management console. Rebalance datastores, archive volumes for off-boarded users, and restore from backup as needed.
- Windows search, Outlook index, and Outlook OST redirection to writable volumes – Automatic redirection of these Microsoft components to a writable volume improves performance for end users in a nonpersistent VDI desktop environment. Cached resources follow users from VM to VM, ensuring quick searches, and enabling the use of Cached Exchange Mode.
For more information and a demo, take a look at this What’s New Overview video by Josh Spencer:
User Environment Manager 9.4
Several new features appear in this release, including deeper integration with VMware Horizon and App Volumes:
- Argument-based privilege elevation – This feature provides greater privilege elevation flexibility to IT while mitigating security risk. Scripts can be elevated when a full path to the script is supplied to executables such as cmd and wscript.
- De-elevation entries in the Windows Event Log – Child processes might not be elevated when using privilege elevation. These de-elevations are now logged into the Windows Event Log for greater visibility.
- Horizon Smart Policies for Linux desktops – Integration with Horizon Agent for Linux allows a subset of Horizon Smart Policies to be applied to Linux desktop VMs. Use the User Environment Manager console to apply policies for settings such as USB redirection and Blast Extreme bandwidth.
- Triggered task for All AppStacks attached – Triggered tasks invoke predefined or custom actions when certain events, such as session reconnect, occur. The new All AppStacks attached triggered task integrates with App Volumes to trigger an action after all AppStacks are attached to a device such as a VDI desktop or RDSH server.
For more information on these features, as well as a demo of argument-based privilege elevation and de-elevation entries in the Windows Event Log, check out this Technical Overview video by Josh Spencer:
As you can see, a lot of innovation goes on here in the Virtual Workspace Services area of VMware. We continue to deliver a full stack of solutions for application and desktop virtualization.
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