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VMware Updates Horizon, Adds More Cloud Support

VMware has launched a new version of its flagship virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform with the introduction of Horizon 8.

VMware Horizon 8 is designed to help IT organizations more efficiently manage and scale virtual desktop and application delivery across public and private clouds from a single control panel. The company said that new capabilities would include:

  • More hybrid and multi-cloud deployment options, covering Google Cloud VMware Engine, Horizon on VMware Cloud on Dell EMC and Horizon on Azure VMware Solution.

  • New instant clone capabilities previously only available in pricier editions of Horizon 7. This kind of provisioning helps IT directly provision "instant" clones without requiring a parent virtual machine, thereby freeing up memory resources and increasing the number of desktops possible per host, reducing costs.

  • New RESTful APIs, to help IT in automating capabilities of Horizon 8, including monitoring, entitlements, and user and machine management.

  • Optimized support for Microsoft Teams video and audio, and continued support for Zoom and Cisco WebEx, to deliver a better user experience from virtual desktops.

  • The ability to publish Linux applications directly from a Linux server in the Horizon platform, reducing the costs associated with licenses from other operating systems.

The company said that Horizon 8 would help IT "deliver more secure virtual workspaces," by letting them establish and verify end user identity with built-in multi-factor authentication and enabling conditional access policies for virtual desktops and applications.

IDC Research Manager Shannon Kalvar said in a press release that "unifying physical device management (including PCs, Chromebooks and phones), digital workspace creation/operations and client workspace security into the overall platform is an attractive proposition for customers that are already invested in it."

The company also released several additions to its VMware Workspace ONE, its digital workspace platform.

Pittsburgh Technical College, a private, non-profit in Pennsylvania has been using Horizon for several years, according to CIO William Showers. "When we made the decision to transition all on-campus activities to a virtual environment as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, our biggest challenge was navigating how to keep the family atmosphere of our tight, single-campus location alive and well online. VMware's digital workspace solutions played a key role in helping us do that." He explained that Horizon has allowed faculty and students to access collaboration tools and high-computing programs, such as immersive 3D-graphics datasets, from their virtual desktop to teach and learn remotely. "The process for accessing these tools is the same as before--the only thing that has changed is the user's location. I'm certain that if we hadn't made the investment in VMware Horizon, this transition would not have been as seamless, and we would have found ourselves playing catch-up when the pandemic hit."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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