What’s New in VMware Horizon 6.2–Core Infrastructure

In order to set up and run VMware Horizon, you need to have a vSphere infrastructure and Windows VMs to run the server components.  Horizon 6.2

Horizon Access Point

One of the challenges of deploying Horizon is that, in order to provide external access, you need to deploy Windows machines into your network’s DMZ.  These servers, called Security Servers, run a subset of the Connection Broker that proxies or tunnels PCOIP, Blast, and RDP connections into your environment.

Horizon Security Servers have their limitations, though.  To start with, they are usually not joined to an Active Directory domain, so they cannot be configured or managed with the Group Policies that manage the rest of your infrastructure.  Because these servers live in the DMZ, they also need to be patched frequently and secured.

Security Servers are also paired directly with a Connection Server.  If the Connection Server is not available, users who connect with that particular security server would not be able to authenticate or connect to a desktop.  This also limits the number of servers you can deploy to a maximum of seven. 

Horizon 6.2 will now include a new method of providing remote access called the Access Point.  The Access Point is a locked-down virtual appliance built on SUSE Linux Enterprise Edition 11 that has feature parity with the Security Server.  It allows you to remove Windows VMs from your DMZ, and it does not need to be paired with a Connection Server, so you can scale out your external access without having to add additional connection servers.

The Access Point will not be dedicated to Horizon View.  It is designed to work with all components of the Horizon Suite – reducing the number of external access components that you need to manage.

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One-Way Trust Support

If you work in a multi-domain or federated environment, Horizon View required a two-way trust between domains or forests in order to authenticate and entitle users.

There are a number of environments where two-way trusts aren’t feasible.  Think about companies that routinely undergo mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures.  They have use cases for virtual desktop environments, but a two-way trust between Active Directory environments would pose security and integration challenges.

Horizon 6.2 takes a step towards resolving this by adding support for 1-way Active Directory trusts.  Users and groups from external (trusted) domains can now be granted access to Horizon desktops without having to create a full two-way trust.

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In order to fully support one-way forest trusts, Horizon will need to utilize a service account with permissions to authenticate against the trusted domain.  This account is stored in the Horizon LDAP database, and all of its credentials are encrypted.

Secondary credentials are managed by using the vdmadmin command line tool that is installed on Connection Servers.

vSphere 6 Update 1 Support

Horizon 6.2 will support vSphere 6 Update 1 on Day 1.

FIPS and Common Criteria Certification

The US Federal Government has a number of criteria that IT products must meet.  These include things like IPv6 compatibility, FIPS cryptographic support, and Common Criteria certification.

Horizon 6.1 introduced support for IPv6.  Horizon 6.2 expands upon this with support for FIPS on all Horizon Windows components.  FIPS will also be supported in Horizon Client 3.5 for Windows.

FIPS mode is optional, and it can be enabled if it is required.

VMware will also be submitting Horizon 6.2 for Common Criteria certification, and this testing is currently in process.  It should be completed sometime in 2016.

Enhanced License Console

The license console in previous versions of Horizon was not very detailed.  It would give you the current number of active users with a breakdown by virtual machine type.

Horizon 6.2 overhauls the licensing console on the Admin page.  The new licensing console shows part of the key that is in use along with the number of concurrent connections and unique named users that have logged in.

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