If you couldn’t tell by the title of this post, new product announcement time. Last year at this time, VMware announced App Volumes 3.0, Horizon 7.0, and a number of enhancements including Smart Policies and Instant Clones. This year, Horizon 7.1 brings a brand new set of improvements that build on the features that were released with Horizon 7.0, including some long awaited features around vGPU, instant clones, and Blast Extreme.
The Just-in-Time Management Platform
The Just-in-Time Management Platform, or JMP (pronounced “jump”) is VMware’s next generation desktop and application delivery platform. JMP is built on VMware’s instant clone technology for fast provisioning, real-time application delivery provided by App Volumes, and contextual policy and user environment management by UEM. JMP provides both traditional desktops with just-in-time instant clone desktops and published applications with just-in-time RDSH servers for published applications.
You heard that right. Instant clone technology has been extended, and it can now be used to provision RDSH server farms. Like Instant Clone desktop pools, instant clone RDSH farms can be elastic and scale near-instantaneously to provide capacity as it is required. Like instant clone desktop pools, instant clone RDSH farms can provide rolling updates for zero downtime image updates. VMware is also adding the ability to schedule recurring maintenance of RDSH pools into Horizon Administrator to ensure that the servers are periodically refreshed.
Joining the new Just-in-Time Apps feature is a new Horizon SKU called Horizon Apps. This SKU provides an RDSH-only focused SKU that includes Instant Clones, Published Apps, App Volumes, UEM, and vSphere. This new SKU fills a hole in the Horizon product lineup and provides a direct competitor to Citrix XenApp.
We Got the BEAT – Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport
We got the beat…we got the beat…
Sorry, got a little carried away there.
VMware continues to improve the Blast protocol, and Horizon 7.1 contains the latest enhancements to the protocol – Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport, or BEAT for short. BEAT is designed to provide a great user experience on multiple network types while adapting to changing network conditions including varying network speeds and severe packet loss.
VMware was able to achieve these results by adding adaptive bit rates and forward error correction to the protocol as well as adding additional optimizations to better handle network latency and packet loss. As a result of these improvements, VMware was able to significantly reduce out-of-the-box bandwidth utilization, improve user experience on high latency links, and improve file transfer times from the endpoint to the virtual desktop when using Client Drive Redirection.
Ok…it’s not a good fit. But it’s hard to find a good 80’s song about clouds.
Horizon Cloud is the next-generation version of Horizon Air. Unlike Horizon Air, which was hosted in vCloud Air, Horizon Cloud is hosted in IBM SoftLayer, and it will feature the Horizon Just-in-Time Management Platform. This enables VMware to provide features that weren’t available in vCloud Air including GPU support, published applications, and utilizing vIDM as a portal for accessing virtual desktops and applications.
Horizon Cloud will also feature an on-premises solution combining hyper-converged infrastructure with a cloud control plane. This offering will serve as the next generation Horizon Air Hybrid Mode.
Horizon Cloud will utilize one license for both the cloud-hosted and on-premises offering, and these licenses will be available in both named user and concurrent user options.
Like any Horizon release, there will be a multitude of enhancements. A few of the other new enhancements that I’ve learned about are:
- Instant Clone Desktop support for vGPU – Horizon 7.1 will allow you to run 3D workloads on Instant Clone Desktops
- Multi-VLAN support for Instant Clones – Feature-parity with Linked-Clone desktops
- Being able to manage multiple VLANs within Horizon Administrator – no need for a PowerShell script