What Is VMware Horizon and When Can It Be Used?
Horizon enables IT to quickly provide and expand virtual desktops and apps using a single control plane, allowing for faster provisioning, automation, and monitoring.
The Horizon platform provides a modern approach to desktop and app management that extends from on-premises to hybrid and multi-cloud environments, leveraging best-in-class management features and deep integrations with the VMware technology ecosystem.
As a result, virtual desktop and application delivery is quick and easy, providing an excellent experience across all applications. Horizon is a VMware product that allows you to deploy virtual desktop infrastructure.
VMware Horizon, also known as VMware Horizon View, is a product that works seamlessly with the rest of VMware’s portfolio. Horizon is not the same as terminal servers like VNC or Windows Terminal Services (previously known as Remote Desktop Services).
Users can access the server and use apps in their own sessions while using terminal services, depending on the permissions set by the administrator(s).
Multiple users share a physical server or virtual computer, and their access to local resources may be restricted. It’s possible that some software won’t work with remote desktop services.
VMware Horizon is based on VMware vSphere and hosts virtual desktops in the vSphere environment. User desktops are virtual machines (VMs) that run on ESXi hosts.
Snapshots, vMotion, High Availability, Distributed Resource Scheduler, and other vSphere capabilities are thus available. Because user data is kept on virtualized servers that can be controlled, updated, and backed up centrally, the VMware Horizon VDI solution offers more flexibility and security than terminal services.
Virtual desktops can be accessed by personal computers (PCs), tablet PCs, cellphones, thin clients, or zero clients. A thin client is a low-cost computer with low-performance hardware, usually just enough to connect to the server.
The ultrathin client that is part of the client-server model is known as a zero client. A zero client is a small computer with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor built-in. It has a network interface and allows you to use these devices as if you were directly connected to the server. The storage capacity of a zero client is nil.
VMware Horizon can be used for any of the use cases stated in the preceding section of this article because it is a VDI solution. VMware Horizon can be especially useful if you use the VMware vSphere virtualization platform.
Components of VMware Horizon
Let’s have a look at the main components of VMware Horizon.
vCenter Server: For VMware vSphere, vCenter Server is a centralized management system. vCenter can be installed on a physical or virtual system, however, it is recommended that it be installed on a VM operating on an ESXi host to make use of the virtualization benefits.
A predefined OVA template can be used to deploy vCenter as a vCenter Server Appliance. Avoid using existing vCenter servers in your vSphere setup for VMware Horizon if at all possible.
For licensing reasons, it’s best to deploy new vCenter servers specifically for VMware Horizon — a Horizon license includes a vCenter license.
ESXi Hypervisor: A physical server that hosts virtual machines is known as the ESXi Hypervisor. Virtual machines, which serve as users’ desktops, are loaded with operating systems and apps. vCenter Server is used to manage ESXi hosts.
View Agent: The VMware Horizon View View Agent is a software component that must be installed on all virtual machines managed by VMware Horizon View.
Connection monitoring, USB compatibility, virtual printing, and single sign-on are all included in this service. Any system that will be utilized as a virtual desktop must have View Agent installed.
Horizon Client is a client program that talks with View Connection Server to establish a connection between endpoint user devices and Horizon virtual desktops or applications (see below). The client is compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems.
Horizon View Connection Server is a server that authenticates users via Active Directory, offers single sign-on, and associates virtual desktops with users, among other functions.
The View Connection Server receives the LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) database that is utilized for Active Directory authentication. One of the most important aspects of VMware Horizon’s virtual desktop infrastructure is this.
ThinApp: VMware uses ThinApp as an optional component for application virtualization. Because this application virtualization technology is agentless, it does not require any software to be installed on a user’s workstation in order to utilize it.
View Composer manages virtual desktops on vCenter Server and uses linked clones to offer rational storage use. Linked clones are made from a parent virtual disc rather than full clones (VMDK).
To store the unique data that differs from the data on a parent disc, linked clones need special differencing virtual discs. Without their parent discs, linked clones will not work.
Using this technology, you can save anywhere from 50% to 90% of your storage space. Each instance of vCenter Server should have View Composer installed separately.
Horizon Administrator is the web-based management interface for Horizon VDI. It is suggested that each Horizon Connection Server instance have its own Horizon Administrator instance.
You can add vCenter Server and View Composer instances to your View setup using the VMware Horizon View Administrator portal.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
VDI is a technology that allows users to host a desktop operating system (OS) on servers and access VM-based desktops remotely from various devices and places. VDI is a sort of IaaS that can be deployed in a private or public cloud (Infrastructure as a Service). As a result, managed service providers (MSPs) are able to offer DaaS. (Desktop as a Service).
Using the Client to Connect to the Virtual Desktop and Applications
VMware Horizon Client, as previously said, is an application that allows users to connect to a VMware Horizon virtual desktop from a variety of devices. The Horizon Client is available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android.
The application talks with the View Connection Server to authenticate users once they enter their credentials in the Horizon Client. Following Connection Server authentication, the server locates the relevant virtual desktops for users and grants them access with defined permissions.
For interaction between the end user’s device and the virtual desktop, special remote display protocols are used. Horizon Client supports the VMware Blast, Microsoft RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), and PCoIP (PC over IP) protocols for connecting to remote desktops.
VMware Horizon only supports Blast, a proprietary TCP-based protocol created by VMware. Graphic and video data are sent via a PNG/JPG-based codec.
VMware debuted Blast Extreme in Horizon 7.0, which allowed HTML access over a browser (this protocol can also be used for access from v4.0 or later of the Horizon client). Blast Extreme may employ the H.264 video codec in addition to a PNG/JPG-based codec.
Depending on the circumstances, the most appropriate of these codecs is chosen automatically. Clients who are unable to install the Horizon Client on their device can connect using HTML-5 supported browsers.
If the device is developed specifically for PCoIP and does not support VMware Blast, users of zero-client devices should utilize it.
The VMware View client must be installed on thin clients. To find out which thin clients can run the VMware View client, go to the VMware compatibility guide website. To configure thin clients, refer to the user guides.
vmFork, or VMware Instant VM Clone Technology, guarantees just-in-time desktop delivery. This technology is particularly beneficial for giving virtual desktops to users in VMware Horizon VDI.
Because you don’t have to conduct time-consuming Refresh, Recompose, and Rebalance activities to update and refresh virtual desktops for users, creating instant clones is faster than using View Composer to build connected clones. In a matter of seconds, a desktop can be constructed.
Instant Clone technology has been considerably improved with vSphere 6.7; instant clones no longer have the same tight dependency on their parent VMs as they had previously. Delta discs are utilized in new instant clones, however, the approach is different from the snapshot technique used in linked clones.
The new strategy allows you to get over the limitations of disc chain length (previously, maximum 32 snapshots were supported in a chain). Instant clones may now be made from an operating VM as well as a frozen parent VM, which speeds up the process.
A master desktop template is a pre-configured virtual machine that can be used to clone and create virtual desktop VMs. Using master desktop templates simplifies the process of creating virtual desktops and saves time.
The following are the primary phases in building a master desktop template:
- Using VMware vSphere Client, create and configure a new VM in vCenter. Disconnect any devices that aren’t in use, such as floppy drives.
- Set up a guest operating system and configure it (OS). Configure the operating system’s default user profile. Install and configure the software that is required.
- With the VMware Horizon Instant Clone Feature, you can install VMware View.
- Install the Flex Engine component along with the VMware User Environment Manager Agent (if needed). This component enables you to use the User Environment Manager Management Console to implement policies set by an administrator. The Environment Manager Agent is a profile management tool that records user settings for the operating system and apps that the Administrator specifies.
- For usage with VMware Horizon, run the VMware OS Optimization Tool. To increase efficiency, this program disables unneeded services. The templates that are provided can be altered.
- After cleaning up the virtual drive, zero off the available disc space. In our blog post on thin and thick provisioning, we explain how to zero down disc space in more detail.
- Using the VMware vSphere client, clone the freshly configured VM.
- Create a foundation image for future VDI desktop cloning using this VM clone. Depending on the cloning method, there are two ways to put the VM into a frozen state. The master VM is cloned to a VM template for full-clone desktop pools. A snapshot of the master VM is created for instant clone desktop pools.
Advantages of Using Horizon as VDI Solution
VMware Horizon View is a VMware vSphere-integrated Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution. For firms that currently have a vSphere-based virtual infrastructure and employ VMware VMs, this makes installing VDI more cheap.
Horizon VDI may connect to Windows Terminal Services and integrate with Active Directory. Clustering features such as Distributed Resource Scheduler, High Availability, and Fault Tolerance are also accessible in vMotion and vSphere.
Unlike traditional VDI or remote desktop solutions, VMware Horizon enables you to more efficiently use resources like storage, CPU, memory, and networking. In addition, the approach improves scalability, reliability, and compatibility.
Frequently Asked Questions On VMWare Horizon
🔥What is VMware Horizon?
VMware Horizon is a cutting-edge hybrid cloud platform for hosting and delivering virtual desktops and apps. This means that desktop and app management may be simplified, automated, and made safer for admins. It gives users a unified experience across devices and locales.
✔ What is VMware Horizon Client?
The VMware Horizon Client is software that allows you to connect your VMware Horizon virtual desktop to any device and access it from anywhere. Clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome, and Android are available for download at my.vmware.com.
👓 How do you create VDI in VMware Horizon?
You can build up and manage a virtual desktop infrastructure with VMware Horizon (VDI). For centralized management, this is accomplished by building and provisioning desktop pools. The Horizon Documentation Center has more information on setting up VDI using Horizon.
💥 How does VMware Horizon work?
VMware Horizon is a managed service that runs remote desktops and applications in the data center or the cloud and distributes them to employees. On-premises, VMware Cloud on AWS, and a variety of partner clouds are among the deployment possibilities.
👍 Is VMware Horizon a VPN?
Horizon isn't a virtual private network (VPN) (VPN). It takes advantage of a unified access gateway (UAG) to provide Horizon with secure remote access. It does offer VPN-based remote access to desktops and apps, but a VPN isn't required when using a UAG.
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Conclusion: Is VMWare Horizon Worth The Hype?
VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) is a different technique of providing desktops. VDI is a technology that allows users to connect to virtual desktops rather than actual PCs from multiple places and with multiple devices.
Virtual desktops are hardware-agnostic, allowing system administrators to avoid hassles like locating drivers for various devices or repairing damaged hardware on PCs.
VMware Horizon View is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that combines the benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure with VMware’s vSphere virtualization platform.
VMware Horizon is suitable if your firm is interested in VDI and already uses VMware virtualization technologies. vCenter Server, ESXi Hypervisor, View Agent, Horizon Client, Connection Server, ThinApp, View Composer, and Horizon Administrator are the key Horizon View components.
Users receive a better experience and can access their desktops from anywhere with contemporary remote desktop technologies. If you’re seeking an alternative to traditional desktops or remote desktop solutions, VMware Horizon View is worth looking into.