VMware released a new bundle last year called the
VMware Horizon Suite (PDF).
This suite goes beyond that of just virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
provided by VMware Horizon View (formerly VMware View) and includes physical
and virtual desktop management as well as file and folder management and
sharing technology. This is basically everything anyone looking for a good End User
Computing (EUC) solution would want. On top of all this, you also get monitoring
and capacity planning with the vCenter Operations for View plug-in. Here’s a brief overview of the products that come with Horizon Suite.
Horizon View has been around for quite a few years. This VMware VDI solution allows
administrators to centralize the management of desktops and deliver virtual
desktops to end users on all sorts of devices, including laptops, thin/zero
clients, desktops, tablets, and phones. End users can connect to their virtual desktop inside or
outside of the office using either a small downloadable Horizon View client, or any browser that supports HTML5, negating the need to download a client.
VMware ThinApp technology,
which allows administrators to virtualize applications, can be used in
conjunction with Horizon View. VMware ThinApp lets
administrators “slipstream” applications into virtual desktop pools, thereby
minimizing the number of pools administrators need to manage.
VMware recently announced its purchase of
Desktone. According to the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast, this will also be under the Horizon View desktop
umbrella and referred to as Horizon DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service).
Horizon Mirage takes EUC one step further than Horizon View by allowing
administrators to manage virtual and physical end user machines by separating the machine
into four layers essentially: Users, Applications, Base, and Drivers. They’re able to update end user devices using these layers
with very minimal disruption to the end user.
Horizon View and Horizon Mirage are very helpful in migrating from Windows
XP to Windows 7. Keep in mind that
Windows XP support will end April 8, 2014, and there are still a large number of end users still using XP.
This is basically the last leg of the Horizon Suite. Horizon Workspace deals with a few different
areas. One is the application
delivery-like capability that comes with it. Administrators can create self-service portals for their end
users to sign in to (using Single Sign-On) to common applications in the
environment. These can be thin
apped applications or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications like
Salesforce and offer one portal for all your end users to access. This can be controlled through the use
of permissions, in the case that you don’t want all of your users to have the
same access to the applications.
vCenter Operations Manager for View
Operations Manager for View allows you to collect information about your virtual
environment and monitor, troubleshoot, and capacity plan using the vC Ops
solution. vC Ops alone could not
accurately assess what was going on in the VDI environment, so VMware came out
with vC Ops for View. Through the
use of custom dashboards, you can see information broken down by desktops,
pools, users, datastores, etc., all pertaining to View.
VMware Horizon Suite isn’t for everyone, mainly due to the cost
associated with it. If you’re
looking to just save on your physical laptop refresh every year, this
isn’t the solution for you. However, if you’re looking to make administration easier for
your IT department, giving them more time to do other things, this would
be a great solution. Also, if
there are certain members of your organization that could really use more
flexibility, such as BYOD or work from anywhere with the same tools you have
available at the office, the Horizon Suite will definitely meet those
If you’re concerned about managing an entire VDI solution on
premise, it’s definitely worth checking out Horizon DaaS. It should still be able to integrate
with the other components of VMware Horizon Suite.
If you have used all or some of these tools, I’d like to hear your thoughts about them in the comments section.