Maybe a little late as the announcement was a couple of days ago, but I wanted to write about the VMware Horizon 6 launch as I think some of the news is a real changer on the part of VMware.
VMware Horizon with the 6 version goes from a VDI perspective to a VDI and published shared resources (aka server Based Computing aka server based desktop aka session hosts) perspective. And speaking on behalf of the customers I do consulting for and several head-to-head comparison talks; published desktops and published application are a, or the, great part of the requirements of organizations. Before version 6 this was a key kick out criteria for a lot of organizations not to be matched with only VDI and VMware Horizon. Yes, you could do some form web application publishing in Workspace but very limited, and yes you could do terminal services by leveraging Remote Desktop Services Session hosts (RDSH), but only on the RDP protocol and not via client PCoIP.

A change was needed…..And so it happened…

On April 9th VMware unveiled VMware Horizon 6. VMware Horizon 6 is an update to the suite of end-user computing (EUC) solutions from VMware. The suite is designed to deliver desktop and applications through a single platform to any cloud (public, hybrid or private) in a uniform and seamless workspace for the end user no matter what the endpoint device is.

A few highlights of some the new capabilities in VMware Horizon 6:

  • Published applications and virtual desktops delivered through a single platform; Starting with on of the biggest part of the announcement. Horizon offers application (Hosted apps) and desktop virtualization delivered from a single solution. Published and shared desktop based on RDSH with full view integration (PCoIP). Supporting one-to-one desktop OS (the VDI part what View was doing all along) and now the one-to-many server OS (published desktop and/or applications). Key feature of this version!
  • Storage optimization using VMware Virtual SAN aka VSAN. Virtual SAN Desktop is the shared virtual storage for Horizon Desktop virtual machines. Cuts costs. And more important from user experience point of view provides the Horizon workloads their IO right where it’s needed (on or close to the host without traversing a storage infrastructure) and is simpler for IT operations. Deliver desktop services without the need for traditional storage. Was around already in the previous release, but now even tighter marketed and in my opinion Virtual SAN is a perfect match for desktop workloads.
  • A unified workspace for simplified access; provides one place for IT administrators to provision, and users to access applications and desktops resources. Saas, Office 365, published applications, published desktops, virtual desktops, local ThinApp’s or XenApp integration. Highly customable to included your own company branding.
  • Central Image Management; Offers central image management of physical (what we were used to with Mirage), virtual (yes check, and physical to virtual image management is great for DR of the oops I forgot my device and have to work stat on my latest versions – employees) and delivering secure containers to employee-owned BYO PC scenario’s (Will have to see about this one.) with latest updates to VMware Mirage.
  • Hybrid cloud delivery; Gives the ability to deploy Horizon 6 in a hybrid cloud through a single integrated Horizon client that seamlessly connects to virtual applications and desktops.
  • Cloud Pod architecture improvements; Scale the View Horizon infrastructure over multiple data centers to 20000 desktops.
  • Operations and resource management/planning and automation; Leveraging VMware Operations for View for operations management and view of your virtual infrastructure, and using vCloud Automation Center or vCenter Orchestrator (with added plugin for desktops) to help automate this environment.

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(picture taken from the VMware.com website)

There is even more changes as the naming of components in the suite have also changed.

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Have we all learned to pronounce the Horizon part with some of the components (did we really?), is it changed back again…..;-)

Editions / Licensing.

Three editions of VMware Horizon will be available:

  • Horizon View Standard Edition: Deliver simple, high-performance, VDI-based virtual desktops.
  • Horizon Advanced Edition: The needed solution to published and virtual applications and desktops using VMware Virtual SAN, central image management and a unified workspace for managing and delivering all applications and desktops.
  • Horizon Enterprise Edition: Advanced with additional automation and management capabilities for hybrid cloud flexibility.

Horizon 6 has the same licensing options as with the Horizon Suite; with Named User or Concurrent User licenses. Prices start at $250 (Note; reference purposes only, real price to be determined).

When when when?

VMware Horizon 6 is expected to be available in Q2 2014, and according to the license KB upgrades will be around in July.

When you already have the Horizon Suite, you will automatically be upgraded to the Horizon Enterprise Edition at no charge. Those eligible will automatically receive the upgrade to the Horizon Enterprise Edition in July, they will receive new license keys in My VMware.

Sources: vmware.com

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