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VMware Extends Horizon Control Plane Services in Microsoft Azure

VMware has advanced its effort to deliver cross-cloud DaaS capability with Horizon.

Jeffrey Schwartz

August 3, 2021

4 Min Read
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All VMware Horizon Control Plane services are now available with connectivity to Microsoft Azure. The expanded control plane services, released on Tuesday, advance VMware’s plan to extend Horizon VDI to multiple clouds.

Launched two years ago as Horizon Services for Multi-Cloud, the company has since rebranded it VMware Horizon Control Plane services. It’s an extension of the Horizon Control Plane, designed to enable desktop as a service (DaaS) connected to multiple on-premises and cloud backends.

The Horizon Control Panel provides centralized services for global, cross-cloud deployments of Horizon. Among the services it provides include multicloud brokering, image management, application management, monitoring and life cycle management. VMware has rolled out the services in stages, primarily with support for VMware Cloud on AWS and on-premises data centers.

Currently, all of the VMware Horizon Control Plane services are available for on-premises data centers. But only two of the services – application management and life cycle management – were available in Azure VMware Solution.

Now, all of the control plane services work with Azure VMware Solution (AVS), a private cloud offering from Microsoft. AVS consists of VMware vSphere clusters running on bare metal Azure infrastructure, VMware’s vCenter Server, vSAN and NSX-T. Partners delivering AVS can migrate on-premises workloads, deploy new virtual machines and run private cloud Azure services, according to Microsoft.

Sachin Sharma is VMware’s director of end-user computing product marketing.

Sharma-Sachin_VMware.jpg

VMware’s Sachin Sharma

“Azure VMware Solution is making headlines now because we actually just launched late last year,” Sharma told Channel Futures. “We’ve caught up to the [general availability] of that by enabling these cloud management services to be fully qualified, fully tested and fully supported.”

Universal Broker

The Universal Broker available with VMware’s Horizon Control Plane automatically connects Horizon virtual desktops or apps to the Horizon Pod, or cloud-based, depending on which has the most capacity, nearest location or parameters preferred by a customer or service provider.

It eliminates the need for load balancers at every site, Sharma explained.

“When logging in, it will automatically route me to the nearest connection server,” he said.

Image Management and Cloud Monitoring

The Image Management Service centrally manages and distributes desktop images across Horizon deployments. Until now, the Image Management Service was only available with on-premises deployments. Now, it’s available for VMware Horizon Cloud on Azure.

The intent is to automate the time-consuming process of distributing system images across Horizon Pods and customers’ clouds.

“A lot of times, they’re using manual scripting or some sort of PC life cycle management tool,” Sharma said. “Those aren’t the most efficient ways to manage images; instead, using this very thin edge service can help eliminate a lot of the time that they’re spending on managing images via a lot of good innovation, like versioning that’s already built into the image management service.”

The Cloud Monitoring Service, which measures performance of infrastructure such as CPU and memory utilization, is also now available in Azure.

Google Cloud Support

Support for the VMware Horizon Control Plane Services on Google Cloud is also in the works, according to VMware. While VMware and Google Cloud haven’t determined when it will be available, virtual DaaS services are available as VMware Horizon on Google Cloud VMware Engine (GCVE).

GCVE is a Google Cloud managed service that supports lift and shift of VMware applications to Google Cloud. GCVE is available with two deployment option: VMware’s software-defined data center (SDDC) or via a federated architecture.

VMware Workspace One Assist

The company also announced that it is enhancing its VMware Workspace One Assist remote support solution. Currently, Workspace One Assist only gives remote access mobile devices used by frontline workers or PCs with the software already installed.

In late October, VMware said it will extend that to support Horizon sessions. When a user clicks on Workspace One Assist, it will automatically launch a virtual troubleshooting session.

“Based off of existing technology inside of Horizon already, you can spin up a brand new instantly cloned virtual desktop for that user to log into and do their work while you troubleshoot what’s going on inside of their existing virtual desktop,” Sharma said.

VMware also announced an alternative to running Horizon on Microsoft SQL. Horizon also now supports the open-source PostgreSQL. It supports double the number of desktops — 20,000 per pod.

Also, VMware has upgraded the Horizon Blast protocol with support for higher resolution client displays, including 8K monitors, support for NVIDIA Ampere GPUs and High Dynamic Range (HDR) encoding.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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