Book Image

Mastering VMware Horizon 7 - Second Edition

By : Barry Coombs
Book Image

Mastering VMware Horizon 7 - Second Edition

By: Barry Coombs

Overview of this book

Desktop virtualization can be a bit of a headache. But VMware Horizon 7 changes all that. With a rich and adaptive UX, improved security and a range of useful features for storage and networking optimization, there’s plenty to love. But to properly fall in love with it, you need to know how to use it. And that means venturing deeper into the software, taking advantage of its extensive range of features, many of which are underused and underpromoted. This guide will take you through everything you need to know to not only successfully virtualize your desktop infrastructure but also to maintain and optimize the infrastructure to keep all your users happy. We’ll show you how to assess and analyze your infrastructure, and how to use that analysis to design a solution that meets your organizational and user needs. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find out how to build your virtualized environment, before deploying your virtualized solution. But more than that, we’ll also make sure you know everything you need to know about the full range of features on offer, including mobile cloud, so you can use them to take full control of your virtualized infrastructure.
Table of Contents (19 chapters)
Mastering VMware Horizon 7 - Second Edition
About the Authors
About the Reviewer

A complete history of VMware and VDI

The concept of virtualizing Windows desktops has been around since as early as 2002, when VMware customers started virtualizing desktop workloads and hosting them on a VMware server and ESX servers in the data center. As there was no concept of a connection broker at that time, and neither was the phrase VDI really used, customers simply connected using the RDP protocol directly to a dedicated desktop virtual machine running Windows XP.

It wasn't until 2005 that VMware first showed the idea of having the concept of a connection broker. By demonstrating a prototype at VMworld, VDI entered the limelight, raising the profile of the technology. It was also at the same event that companies such as Propero showed their version of a connection broker. Propero would later become the Horizon View connection server.

In early 2006, VMware launched the VDI alliances program, with a number of technology vendors such as Citrix, HP, IBM, Sun, and Wyse Technology joining this program.

By 2007, the prototype connection broker was introduced to customers to help with development before it was given to the VMware product organization to productize it and turn it into a real product. The released product was called Virtual Desktop Manager 1.0 (VDM). The year 2007 was a busy year, and it also saw VMware acquire Propero for $25 million, in order to accelerate their connection broker development, leading to the VMworld announcement and release of VDM 2.0 in January 2008.

After the release of VDM 2.0 in early 2008, a second release came at the end 2008, along with a new name: VMware View 3.0. This was also the year that Citrix entered the VDI market, releasing XenDesktop 2.0, following the acquisition of XenSource.

VMware View 4.0 was released in 2009 and was the first version to include the PCoIP protocol from Teradici. PCoIP delivered a much richer user experience than RDP.

In 2010, VMware View 4.5 was released with new features such as local mode (offline desktops), PCoIP enhancements, Windows 7 support, and the ability to tier storage. This was also the year that VMware talked publicly about the biggest VDI reference case to date with Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, who deployed 50,000 virtual desktop machines. You can read the case study at .

The following year, 2011, VMware View 4.6 was released with two notable new features. First was the iPad client, which allows a user to connect to their virtual desktop session on an iPad, using the PCoIP protocol. The second new feature was the PCoIP Secure Gateway function for the View Security Server, which allows users to connect to their virtual desktop without needing a VPN connection.

Later the same year, View 5.0 was released with more new features, aimed at improving the end-user experience, the key one being the introduction of Persona Management which allowed a user's profile to be independent from the virtual desktop. When a user logs in via the same profile to any virtual desktop, their profile is delivered on demand. View 5.0 also introduced 3D graphic support using the latest vSphere 5.0 platform, as well as some major enhancements to the PCoIP protocol.

Although only a point release in May 2012, View 5.1 had a number of significant enhancements, especially around storage, with the introduction of the View Storage Accelerator, View Composer Array Integration, and the ability to scale the hosting infrastructure up to a 32-node cluster when using NFS storage. This version also added Radius two-factor authentication, improved USB device support, a standalone View Composer, and the ability to support profile migration from XP to Windows 7, as well as from physical desktops to virtual desktops, with Persona Management.

In March 2013, VMware View 5.2 was released, and to bring it in line with VMware's launch of the brand launch of Horizon (launched at the same time), it was renamed to Horizon View 5.2. In this release, there were a number of new features based on end-user experiences, such as support for unified communications with Microsoft Lync 2013, hardware-accelerated graphics with Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration (vSGA), and Windows 8 support. One of the biggest updates came in the form of a feature pack that allowed a user to access their desktop in an HTML 5 browser using the VMware Blast protocol.

A second release, later in 2013, Horizon View 5.3, saw the introduction of Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA) which allowed a virtual desktop to have dedicated access to a GPU in the host. It is also the first release to support Windows Server 2008 R2 as the virtual desktop machine, meaning you can skin the operating system to look like a desktop. The main reason for this was that there is no Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) for Windows 7, so the license agreement doesn't allow you to deploy Windows 7 as a virtual desktop until you purchase a Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license. In this model, you do not require a VDA license per user. The other advantage is that Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition allows you to have unlimited virtual machines. It's licensed on a per-CPU model. It's worth noting that we are running the Windows Server operating system as a replacement for the desktop operating system and not as a desktop session.

The final 5.x release arrived in March 2014, with Horizon View 5.3.1, which added support for Virtual SAN (VSAN).

Horizon 6.0 with View was released in June 2014, and the core feature of this version was the addition of View hosted applications, the first time VMware supported hosting applications and desktops using RDS. View 6.0 also introduced the Cloud Pod Architecture, the ability to span the View infrastructure across multiple data centers.

Also of note in the View 6.0 release was the removal of View Local Mode, which allowed users to download their virtual desktop to their local device. VMware suggested using Mirage to provide this functionality, although this ultimately became a product in its own right with Horizon FLEX.

As part of the 6.0 release, there were a couple of updates. The first was 6.0.1, which was release in September 2014 and added USB 3.0 support, extended printing, HTML access for Windows 8.x, and system tray redirection for hosted applications.

The final 6.0 release, 6.0.2, was released in December 2014. In this release, there was no update to the View infrastructure components such as the connection server, but it was instead billed as a new feature pack. It added new versions of the View Agent, HTML access, MMR redirection, and scanner redirection, to name but a few.

Support for NVIDIA GRID vGPU was the biggest of the new features in View 6.1, which was released in March 2015. Also in this release, VMware added support for IPV6, Virtual SAN 6.0, Virtual Volumes, and Windows Server 2012 R2 running as desktops.

In June 2015, the final 6.1 release, 6.1.1, was launched, adding features such as client drive redirection, support for Linux desktops, MMR for RDS desktops, and HTML support for hosted applications.

That now brings us up to the previous version of Horizon View, 6.2. Launched in September 2015, View 6.2 added support for Windows 10 desktops, Access Point integration, AMD vDGA, 4K monitors, and Virtual SAN 6.1, along with a number of enhancements to the Cloud Pod Architecture, admin console, and Linux desktops.

Following on from View 6.2, VMware also launched two maintenance releases; 6.2.1 was released in December 2015, and 6.2.2 was released in February 2016.

The timeline is shown pictorially in the following diagram:

That brings us right up to date and to the latest version, VMware Horizon 7, with a few more enhancements being added with the 7.0.1 release on June 16 2016, and then version 7.0.2 being released on September 15 2016. In the next section, we will start to explore VMware Horizon 7 in more detail.