Horizon Cloud on Azure
COVID-19 has tremendously changed the global working landscape since its outbreak two years ago. Corporations have adopted the new normal of workplaces – working from home, and remote online meetings. All these require various technologies to enable working in the new normal.
The New Normal after The Outbreak of COVID-19
Source: Superhub Cloud Adoption Survey 2020
88% of respondents’ companies have WFH arrangements to certain extent (Feb to Apr’20)
78% of respondents reported that their companies had adopted online meetings after the coronavirus
Concerned about the security to access company network/servers remotely
One of the technologies helping corporations embrace the new normal is the virtual desktop. With the use of virtual desktops, companies are able to seamlessly facilitate users in continuing their daily tasks as though working on company-provided devices, smoothly connecting to internal resources.
The technology is great, yet not easily deployable. Companies get caught in a dilemma about why, when and where to deploy Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). There will always be concerns regarding investments, speed of deployment, ease of manageability, virtual desktop lifecycle management, and other issues. However, these concerns can all be addressed together.
Easiest Way to Desktop Virtualization
With a wide range of options available in the market for VDI deployment, Horizon on Azure would be the simplest way to do so. For most deployment options, as shown in the graph below, they would require customers to manage most of their infrastructure, inclusive of desktops and apps, and also hardware, VDI infrastructure, and even software-defined datacenter.
In the architecture of Horizon on Azure, Horizon Cloud infrastructure and Horizon Cloud Control Plane would both be managed and provisioned by VMware, of which the pod manager, Horizon database, and access gateways are incorporated. IP and routing configuration would be deployed by Horizon Cloud automatically, and deployment of the infrastructure would be much quicker and risk-free. Manual configuration would only be required for configuration of the Azure base network, Active Directory integration, gold image preparation, as well as app and desktop assignment.
Source: VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure
With the help of Horizon on Azure, customers need only focus on managing their desktops and user apps. Hardware and control plane deployment & management would be taken care of by Microsoft and VMware. In this way, the complexity of managing virtualized desktops – which used to be quite a nightmare – would be much lower, and the time to it takes to deploy would be much quicker thanks to Azure’s scalability and flexibility.
Best of Both Worlds
Horizon Cloud on Azure is a solution that brings the best of both existing platforms to provide a better user experience and rich features from Azure WVD and Horizon. Corporations are now able to enjoy all the unique benefits offered by Azure and Horizon simultaneously.
Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure + Windows Virtual Desktop
Microsoft’s Partnership with VMware
Source: Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure Support for Windows Virtual Desktop is Here | VMware End-User Computing Blog
Horizon on Azure has combined the best features from both vendors and presented it to customers. It runs on Azure’s global reliable infrastructure, plus Windows Virtual Desktop, which is a collection of Azure resources dedicated to remote Windows desktops. On top of that, Microsoft has provided unique Windows 10 license and features only available on Azure WVD, namely Windows 10 multi-session, and Windows 7 extended security updates until January 2023.
Other from licensing, Azure WVD provides native profile and app management feature, FSlogix. Performance of Microsoft Office suite is improved in non-persistent environment with the help of FSlogix’s Office container technology, through the redirection of only the portion of user profile that contains Office data. Office suite cache, Outlook real-time search, OneDrive for business synchronization issues will not occur with help of this technology. Should Java application be implemented, with help of Java redirection, it allows all required Java versions to be installed onto the client environment, but is only executed or visible on an as-needed basis, to maintain compatibility for specific applications and websites.
Additional Horizon features could also be enjoyed, encompassing a positive virtual desktop experience for both admin and end users.
VMware App Volumes™
Instant clone technology coupled with VMware App Volumes™ dramatically reduces infrastructure requirements while enhancing security. It gives admins the ability to rapidly clone and deploy virtual desktops, as much as 10x faster without image sprawl. Instant Clone Technology uses rapid in-memory cloning of running virtual machines and copy-on-write to quickly deploy clones of a parent virtual desktop. Whenever users log off, the desktop could be destroyed immediately to address security concerns.
VMware Dynamic Environment Manager
Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM) is a VMware end-user profile management tool. In fact, there is no need to choose between DEM and FSlogix. Both can work in tandem to complete user profiling. DEM allows end-users to install their own applications without requiring those users to have administrator privileges. Personalization features of DEM can be used in conjunction with FSLogix Profile Container. DEM is able to assist in situations when self- support for users is offered, or enforcement of predefined settings for certain applications which can be applied either at login or at application launch.
Centralized Management Plane
Integrated power management for scaling, user session control, simplified management console which eliminates excessive PowerShell interface, advanced monitoring capabilities are some benefits that come with Horizon Cloud. Administrators have the ability to easily control their desktop pool lifecycle and assignment in Horizon Cloud GUI. Even with additional monitoring capabilities, health alerts could be pushed to admins should any incidents occur.
Teams Media Optimization
Through the partnership between VMware and Microsoft, not only has it strengthened solution manageability itself, but also functionality that end users can enjoy. Horizon on Azure has optimized Teams media processing. Video-calling in virtualized environment has been challenging and tricky as lots of data need to be processed and transferred within and across machines. With optimization done by VMware, the Microsoft Teams window on remote desktop draws over the virtual desktop VM, giving users the impression that they are still in the VM. What is actually happening is the data is going directly from the local endpoint to the Internet. The load disappears from the network, and the processing moves from Azure to the endpoint. With results in an improved end-user experience because the data has one less hop to make.
Ultimately, customers are on the Horizon platform, with features of Windows Virtual Desktop but also gain the access to all the other Horizon functionalities.
It is unlikely to fully switch your environment to 100% cloud. Having a hybrid is inevitable. Instead of waiting for all use cases to be cloud-ready, companies can direct users to the most appropriate environment for each user on a case-by-case basis and scale at their own pace.
To address this need, the VMware Horizon Service, leveraged by Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, provides a single pane of glass to manage all Horizon environments, on-premises or in the cloud, allowing customers to place workloads wherever they see fit. In some cases, that could mean on-premises, and in others, that workload may be more appropriate to run in Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.
In this way, not only is it easier for customers to deploy a cloud base virtual desktop solution, but it is also easier for IT teams to manage the virtual desktop environment. IT teams will only need to manage one platform, in one plane.
Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure is a DaaS platform that takes the Horizon management off your plate so you can focus on managing desktops and applications. It also lets you take advantage of a myriad of benefits of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop, including Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session.
We are excited to journey with you on the next steps if you have any questions regarding this solution. We look forward to helping you facilitate and adopt the new normal with Horizon on Azure.