With Horizon Cloud, your end users can securely access their desktops and applications from any device. You can choose where the desktops and applications reside, based on the location of your capacity environment. To have them located in a public cloud that is supported for use with Horizon Cloud, such as Microsoft Azure, you must obtain a subscription for cloud capacity from the cloud services provider and then bring that subscription information to pair that cloud capacity with Horizon Cloud.

The overall environment consists of the VMware-hosted cloud service, your provided capacity, and VMware software deployed into that capacity. Setting up the environment involves deploying the required VMware software into your capacity. The deployed VMware software creates an appropriately configured entity, called a Horizon Cloud node, which pairs with the cloud service to create your desktops-as-a-service environment

Horizon Cloud

A control plane hosted in the cloud by VMware for the central orchestration and management of virtual desktops and applications.

Horizon Cloud node

VMware software deployed into a supported capacity environment, such as:

  • Microsoft Azure cloud

  • Supported optimized HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure) hardware, such as vSAN Ready Nodes or Dell EMC VxRail appliances.

Along with access to the Horizon Cloud Administration Console, the service includes the software necessary to perform the following tasks.

  • Pair the deployed node with the cloud control plane.

  • Deliver virtual desktops and applications.

After the node is deployed, you use Horizon Cloud Administration Console to create desktops and applications and entitle them to your end users.

Horizon Cloud Control Plane

VMware hosts the Horizon Cloud control plane in the cloud. This cloud service enables the central orchestration and management of virtual desktops, desktop applications, remote desktop sessions, and remote applications for your users. The cloud service also manages your nodes. The nodes are physically located in your provided capacity environments. When you log in to the cloud service, you can see all of your nodes and perform management activities across them, regardless of where they are physically located.

VMware is responsible for hosting the service and providing feature updates and enhancements for a software-as-a-service experience.

The cloud control plane also hosts a common management user interface referred to as the Horizon Cloud Administration Console, or Administration Console for short. The Administration Console runs in industry-standard browsers and provides IT administrators a single location for management tasks involving user assignments and the virtual desktops, remote desktop sessions, and applications. The Administration Console is accessible from anywhere at any time, providing maximum flexibility.

Horizon Cloud Node Deployed in Microsoft Azure

You connect your Microsoft Azure subscription to Horizon Cloud to manage and deliver virtual RDS-enabled Windows servers and remote applications. Setting up the environment involves deploying the node into your Microsoft Azure capacity.

A Horizon Cloud node, or node for short, has a physical regional location in a Microsoft Azure cloud. In the node deployment wizard, you select where to place the node, according to the regions available for your particular Microsoft Azure subscription. You also select an existing virtual network (vnet) that the node will use in your selected region.

The node deployment process automatically creates a set of resource groups in your Microsoft Azure capacity. Resource groups are used to organize the assets that the environment needs, such as:

  • Virtual subnets

  • VMs for the node manager instance

  • VMs for the Unified Access Gateway and load balancer instances

  • VMs for the master RDS-enabled server images

  • VMs for the assignable (published) images that are made from the master images

  • VMs for the RDSH farms that provide the remote desktops and remote applications

  • Additional assets that the VMs and the environment require for supported operations, such as network interfaces, IP addresses, disks, and various items along those lines.

All of the resource groups created by Horizon Cloud in your Microsoft Azure environment are named using the prefix vmw-hcs.

Architecture illustrating the node's artifacts in Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure Terminology and References

The VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure product documentation uses the applicable Microsoft Azure terminology as appropriate in the descriptions and task steps of the VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure workflows. If the Microsoft Azure terminology is unfamiliar to you, you can use the following applicable references in the Microsoft Azure product documentation to learn more.


All capitalization and spelling in the citations below follow the same capitalization and spelling found in the linked-to articles in the Microsoft Azure documentation itself.

Table 1. References in the Microsoft Azure Documentation That Relate to Your Use of Horizon Cloud

Useful Microsoft Azure References


Microsoft Azure glossary: A dictionary of cloud terminology on the Azure platform

Use this glossary to learn the meaning of terms as used in the Microsoft Azure cloud context, for terms such as load balancer, region, resource group, subscription, virtual machine, and virtual network (vnet).


The Microsoft Azure glossary does not include the term service principal because the service principal is a resource automatically created in Microsoft Azure when an application registration is created in Microsoft Azure. The purpose of making an application registration in your Microsoft Azure subscription is because that is the way you authorize Horizon Cloud as an application to use your Microsoft Azure capacity. The application registration and its companion service principal enable the Horizon Cloud cloud service acting as an application to access resources in your Microsoft Azure subscription. Use the next reference below to learn about applications and service principals that can access resources in Microsoft Azure.

Use portal to create an Azure Active Directory application and service principal that can access resources

Use this article to learn about the relationship between an application and a service principal in a Microsoft Azure cloud.

Azure Resource Manager overview

Use this article to learn about the relationships between resources, resource groups, and the Resource Manager in Microsoft Azure.

Azure VNet

Use this article to learn about the Azure Virtual Network (VNet) service in Microsoft Azure. See also Azure Virtual Network FAQs.

Azure VNet Peering

Use this article to learn about virtual network peering with the Azure VNet.