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
vCenter 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 needs.
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.
Lauren Malhoit has been in the IT field for over 10 years and has acquired several data center certifications. She's currently a Technology Evangelist for Cisco focusing on ACI and Nexus 9000. She has been writing for a few years for TechRepublic, Tech Pro Research, and VirtualizationAdmin.com. As a Cisco Champion, EMC Elect, VMware vExpert, and PernixPro, Lauren stays involved in the IT community. Lauren has been a delegate for Tech Field Day and has also authored a book called VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials.