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Matt Kozloski

By: Matt Kozloski on October 15th, 2013

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VMware Officially Announces Horizon 5

Cybersecurity | Modern Data Center

VMware officially announced Horizon 5.3 (View) at VMworld EMEA (Barcelona). It’s a great evolutionary release to the product line. VMware is calling it: “VDI 2.0 Vision Delivered”. Here at Kelser we have several customers using View (excuse me, Horizon) and we use it internally as well. It’s been a stable platform that’s both powerful and easy to use.

Here’s my top new features “round-up”. There are other important features which will have a more subtle impact on your environments:

  • Horizon View 5.3 supports (officially) Windows 2008R2 as a desktop source. You might ask: “why would they do that?”. Well, the answer comes down to licensing. There is/was no good way of licensing Windows 7 or Windows 8 in a multi-tenant cloud environment. You can, however, easily license Windows Server. This enables both public and private cloud (including multi-tenant) VDI deployments. From VMware’s CTO’s blog: “This reduces the costs and complexities related to Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) subscription fees and enables DaaS service providers to share server hardware between tenants and directly offer Windows licensing choices”

  • Rewrite of the Windows Client. The Horizon 5.3 Windows Client was completely re-written, taking on the look and feel of the other clients (Linux, Max, iOS, etc). It’s the first complete re-write of the client.

  • 3D graphics with vDGA is now supported with NVIDIA GPUs. This was an exciting feature, which was experimentally supported with Horizon View 5.2. Several of our customers leverage this capability – Kelser has already been delivering 3D/high-end graphics solutions to VDI customers. This allows us to help customers leverage an important feature that’s now officially supported. vDGA allows people to “pass” a PCI video card through to the guest OS (VDI image) and actually install the manufacturer’s display drivers and take full advantage of the video card itself. This allows for extremely high-end graphics with the benefits of VDI.

  • VMware acquires Desktone. Desktone is a DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service) delivery platform. "Desktone is a leader in desktop-as-a-service and has a complete and proven blueprint for enabling service providers to deliver DaaS," said Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager, End-User Computing of VMware. "By bringing Desktone's innovative platform in house, VMware can accelerate the delivery of DaaS through its network of over 11,000 VMware service provider partners while helping to shape and lead the future of the industry."

  • Direct Connect GA: You can now use View and connect directly to VDI desktops without necessarily going through a connection server. This allows you to bring all the flexibility and performance of View (PCoIP, MMR, etc) to clients in a simplified / small environment.

  • HTML5 support: Horizon View 5.2 supported HTML5 (formerly “Blast”) for client-free access to virtual desktops. 5.3 adds supported for clipboard redirection, sound, and “much improved graphics performance”

  • Real-time AV redirection for Linux clients (webcam / audio). “Real-Time Audio-Video does not forward audio and webcam devices using USB. Instead the devices are left local to the client, and audio/images are pulled from the local devices. The audio/images are then encoded, delivered to the guest virtual machine, and decoded”

  • iOS 7 Support – new look/feel of the iOS client, which corresponds with the look and feel of the new iOS 7.

About Matt Kozloski

Matt is an IT industry veteran and well-versed in professional services. He is the former leader of the CT VMUG. VCDX # 194, CISSP # 526947.