We’re All In with VMware Horizon 6

By Sumit Dhawan, VP and GM of Desktop Products, End-User Computing, VMware

Today, we announced VMware Horizon 6, the latest update to our desktop and applications solution that now offers published application delivery along with virtual desktops from a single integrated solution. This announcement represents a major product milestone in VMware’s End-User Computing portfolio as it introduces new capabilities, integrates leading technologies and enables greater efficiency for IT administrators and end-users. There’s been a rapid pace of innovation coming from VMware in the past six months and this announcement is among the latest in industry changing announcements.

To help customers effectively transform their physical desktops to become a service, we focused on three specific areas that required modernization.

  • Production – All applications, personal data and operating systems that are produced by IT need to be agile and predictable so they can be delivered to end-users without any compromise in quality.
  • Delivery – IT needs to be able to deliver enterprise desktops and applications in ways that end-users are consuming them based on their personas. VMware Horizon 6 helps with this by delivering them to virtual desktops so enterprise desktops and applications can be consumed on any device, physical laptops using image synch to support online/offline computing, and personal laptops using a managed container so content can be securely accessed to support BYO PC. This flexibility is key in the mobile-cloud era.
  • Consumption – The desktops and applications delivered as a service needs to have a consistent look at feel across all devices, regardless of how they are delivered. The quality needs to be high otherwise end-users will work around IT and provision consumer services instead. VMware Horizon 6 accomplishes this with a new unified workspace.

As a result, customers who struggle with the complexities of physical desktop and application management will find VMware Horizon 6 to be a comprehensive solution to their problems with the ability to serve all their enterprise applications and desktops, including virtual desktops, physical desktops and BYO PC.

There are over 100 features in this product release with over 2 years of R&D. I am proud of each one of them but will go through the following four major innovations in more depth here:

Virtual Desktops and Applications From A Single Platform

VMware Horizon 6 provides a single platform for desktop and application virtualization with support for RDS hosted desktops and applications. VDI or RDS based desktops along with RDS based apps, SaaS applications, packaged VMware ThinApps and third party virtualized applications such as Citrix XenApp can now all be aggregated in a single unified workspace for all enterprise apps and desktops, making it easier for both end user-user and IT. This new unified workspace provides a consistent experience for IT administrators and end-users across devices, locations, media and connections, and intuitively adapts to smartphones, tablets, Macs and PCs for end-user self-service and automated provisioning. This can save a tremendous amount of time for IT administrators as they can provide access to a pre-determined set of applications based on user groups or department requirements and end-users get to access content and request new applications using an application store with a consumer look and feel. We also realized that this new capability required a new platform that scales out just like a cloud. As a result, we built a cloud-class architecture for running virtual desktops and applications across multiple data centers, on-premise or off-premise. We call this the Cloud Pod Architecture.

Storage Optimization with VMware Virtual SAN

Integration with VMware Virtual SAN optimizes storage and lowers the total cost of ownership. One of the barriers to adoption of on-premise virtual desktops has traditionally been the cost of storage but with VMware vSAN that also complements solutions from VMware’s storage partners, the paradigm completely changes with lower costs and, modernizing desktops and applications becomes a very compelling proposition. More importantly, VMware Virtual SAN is included for free with Horizon 6 Advanced and Enterprise Editions.

Data Center to Device Management and Cloud-Like Automation

IT efficiency is important as the number of desktops and applications grow and VMware Horizon 6 helps with this in two ways. First, it provides end-to-end visibility into your infrastructure so IT administrators can have an enterprise-wide view of their entire virtual enterprise through a single pane of glass. Desktops, servers, storage and networks can now be managed from a single vCenter Operations Manager instance that provides proactive alerts and detailed reports. Second, Horizon 6 provides cloud-like automation to help streamline processes and enable the quick provisioning of virtual desktops. IT administrators can utilize the Horizon vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) plugin to delegate and automate granular administrative functions for provisioning, entitlement, refresh, and recycle operations.  Customers can also leverage these workflows for hosted applications or desktops through the vSphere Web Client or by exposing as catalog items with request/approval procedures using vCloud Automation Center. Overall, Horizon 6 offers a holistic view of your entire virtual infrastructure – from data center to device – while also providing cloud-like automation to simplify management.

Hybrid Cloud Delivery

Lastly, hybrid cloud delivery provides customers choice and flexibility of deployment whether they want on-premise virtual desktops, off-premise desktops from a public cloud or a combination of both. It sounds simple but not all solutions are created equal and have this capability. VMware Horizon 6 comes with new Horizon clients for all the major platforms that provide seamless interoperability and experience with Horizon DaaS. End-users can access their applications and desktops from an on-premise or cloud infrastructure without any disruption to service, quality or even knowing where they are being delivered.

Three New Editions of VMware Horizon

All of these new innovations combined make VMware Horizon 6 a leading on-premise desktop and application virtualization solution. Extending the power of virtualization from data center to device, Horizon 6 offers capabilities that are unique in the industry. And as part of this announcement, we’re also making it simpler for customers to adopt virtual desktops and applications with three new editions of VMware Horizon.

  • Horizon View Standard Edition: Delivers simple, high-performance VDI-based virtual desktops with a great user experience
  • Horizon Advanced Edition: Offers the lowest cost solution for virtual desktop and application management, optimized storage with VMware Virtual SAN, image management and a unified workspace that supports hosted desktops and applications.
  • Horizon Enterprise Edition: Delivers a cloud-ready solution for virtual desktops and applications with advanced cloud automation and management capabilities for hybrid cloud flexibility.

Over the last two years, the market has innovated to drive down the capital cost of virtual desktops and unlock latent demand from organizations of all sizes. Our ecosystem of partners has been at the vanguard of this, releasing a range of storage appliances that deliver significant cost savings through tiered storage approaches. This is exactly how markets and partnerships should work.

Rapid Pace of Innovation From VMware

Again, looking at the past six months, there has been a rapid pace of innovation coming from VMware End-User Computing that has left an indelible imprint on the industry with the acquisition of DaaS leader, Desktone in October, signing a deal to help power Cisco’s DaaS offering in December, luring away talent from the competition and signing a check for a $1.5B acquisition of MDM leader, AirWatch in January, inking a deal with Google to deliver virtual desktops on Chromebooks in February, and beating Amazon to-market  by launching VMware Horizon DaaS and bringing 3D graphics to DaaS with NVIDA in March. With today’s announcement of VMware Horizon 6, customers have a very compelling solution for modernizing desktops and applications that competitors will find difficult to match.

And as VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger puts it in this video, VMware is all in on EUC and the desktop.

Watch The Horizon 6 Launch Event Live

Last but certainly not least, VMware will be hosting a virtual launch event that everyone is welcomed to join and watch. It will include remarks from me, Sanjay Poonen, EVP and GM of End-User Computing, and Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, along with executives from VMware partners and customers.  In addition, we will be showing a live demo of Horizon 6 so if you want to see what all the new innovations look like, make sure to register for the event.

For More On Horizon 6

For more detailed information on how Horizon 6 uses application remoting (including cloud pod architecture), storage optimization through Virtual SAN, management and automation, and hybrid cloud delivery, visit the VMware End-User Computing product blog.

You can also read an overview of the news by Erik Frieberg, vice president of product marketing for EUC and get additional insight from Kit Colbert, CTO of EUC.