When you manage enterprise desktops with Horizon 7, the benefits include increased reliability, security, hardware independence, and convenience.
Reliability and Security
Desktops and applications can be centralized by integrating with VMware vSphere® and virtualizing server, storage, and networking resources. Placing desktop operating systems and applications on a server in the data center provides the following advantages:
- Access to data can easily be restricted. Sensitive data can be prevented from being copied onto a remote employee's home computer.
- RADIUS support provides flexibility when choosing among two-factor authentication vendors. Supported vendors include RSA SecureID, VASCO DIGIPASS, SMS Passcode, and SafeNet, among others.
- Integration with VMware Identity Manager means that end users have on-demand access to remote desktops through the same Web-based application catalog they use to access SaaS, Web, and Windows applications. Inside a remote desktop, users can also use this custom app store to access applications.
- The ability to provision remote desktops with pre-created Active Directory accounts addresses the requirements of locked-down Active Directory environments that have read-only access policies.
- Data backups can be scheduled without considering when end users' systems might be turned off.
- Remote desktops and applications that are hosted in a data center experience little or no downtime. Virtual machines can reside on high-availability clusters of VMware servers.
Virtual desktops can also connect to back-end physical systems and Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) hosts.
The unified management console is built for scalability so that even the largest Horizon 7 deployments can be efficiently managed from a single management interface. Wizards and dashboards enhance the workflow and facilitate drilling down to see details or change settings. Figure 1 provides an example of the browser-based user interface for Horizon Administrator.
Other features that increase convenience are the VMware remote display protocols, PCoIP (PC over IP) and Blast Extreme. These display protocols deliver an end-user experience equal to the current experience of using a physical PC:
- On LANs, the display is faster and smoother than traditional remote displays.
- On WANs, the display protocols can compensate for an increase in latency or a reduction in bandwidth, ensuring that end users can remain productive regardless of network conditions.
Provisioning desktops and applications for end users is a quick process. No one is required to install applications one by one on each end user's physical PC. End users connect to a remote application or a remote desktop complete with applications. End users can access their same remote desktop or application from various devices at various locations.
Using VMware vSphere to host virtual desktops and RDS host servers provides the following benefits:
- Administration tasks and management chores are reduced. Administrators can patch and upgrade applications and operating systems without touching a user's physical PC.
- Integration with VMware Identity Manager means that IT managers can use the Web-based VMware Identity Manager administration interface to monitor user and group entitlements to remote desktops.
- Integration with VMware App Volumes, a real-time application delivery system, enables enterprises to deliver and manage applications at scale. Use App Volumes to attach applications to users, groups, or target computers, even when users are logged into their desktop. Applications can also be provisioned, delivered, updated and retired in real time.
- With Horizon Persona Management, physical and virtual desktops can be centrally managed, including user profiles, application entitlement, policies, performance, and other settings. Deploy Persona Management to physical desktop users prior to converting to virtual desktops.
- With VMware User Environment Manager, end users get a personalized Windows desktop that is adapted to the user's situation, meaning that access to the required IT resources is based on aspects such as role, device, and location.
- Storage management is simplified. Using VMware vSphere, you can virtualize volumes and file systems to avoid managing separate storage devices.
- With vSphere 6.0 or a later release, you can use Virtual Volumes (VVols). This feature maps virtual disks and their derivatives, clones, snapshots, and replicas, directly to objects, called virtual volumes, on a storage system. This mapping allows vSphere to offload intensive storage operations such as snapshotting, cloning, and replication to the storage system. For example, a cloning operation that previously took an hour might now take just a few minutes using Virtual Volumes.
- With vSphere 5.5 Update 1 or a later release, you can use Virtual SAN, which virtualizes the local physical solid-state disks and hard disk drives available on ESXi™ hosts into a single datastore shared by all hosts in a cluster. You specify only one datastore when creating a desktop pool, and the various components, such as virtual machine files, replicas, user data, and operating system files, are placed on either SSD disks or hard drive disks, as appropriate.
You manage virtual machine storage requirements, such as capacity, performance, and availability, in the form of default storage policy profiles, which get created automatically when you create a desktop pool.
- With the Horizon 7 storage accelerator, the IOPS storage load is dramatically reduced, supporting end-user logins at larger scales without requiring any special storage array technology.
- If remote desktops use the space-efficient disk format available with vSphere 5.1 and later, stale or deleted data within a guest operating system is automatically reclaimed with a wipe and shrink process.
Remote desktops and applications are hardware-independent. For example, because a remote desktop runs on a server in the data center and is only accessed from a client device, a remote desktop can use an operating system that might not be compatible with the hardware of the client device.
Remote desktops run on PCs, Macs, thin clients, and PCs that have been repurposed as thin clients, tablets, and phones. The remote applications run on a subset of these devices. New device support is added quarterly.
If you use the HTML Access feature, end users can open a remote desktop or application inside a browser, without having to install any client application on the client system or device.