The cloud control plane provides two distinct brokering methods for delivering remote resources from your cloud-connected pods to end users: Universal Broker and single-pod broker (available for pods in Microsoft Azure only). You collect the remote resources together in an entity known as an end-user assignment. The tenant-wide brokering method that you select and enable for each pod type determines the types of end-user assignments you can create.

Important: Be sure to review the following information in this documentation topic carefully before you proceed to Select a Brokering Method for End-User Assignments. Since your brokering selection becomes a tenant-wide setting that cannot be changed, it is important for you to understand how each brokering method applies to your use cases involving specific pod types and assignment types before you make a permanent selection.

Considerations When Selecting a Brokering Method

Keep the following points in mind as you consider the brokering method to select for end-user assignments from your cloud-connected pods.

  • In a hybrid environment that contains both Horizon pods deployed on premises or in VMware Cloud on AWS and pods deployed in Microsoft Azure, each pod type can have its own tenant-wide brokering method.
  • Once you select a brokering method, that brokering method becomes a permanent, irreversible, and tenant-wide setting for the specified pod type. For example, if you select Universal Broker for your Horizon pods, Universal Broker becomes the brokering method for all Horizon pods across your tenant account and cannot be changed.
  • If you select Universal Broker as the brokering method for both your Horizon pods and pods in Microsoft Azure, each end-user assignment you create must consist of VDI desktops from only one pod type. For example, you can create an assignment consisting of desktops that span multiple Horizon pods or an assignment consisting of desktops that span multiple pods in Microsoft Azure. However, you cannot create an assignment consisting of desktop that span a mix of Horizon pods and pods in Microsoft Azure.
  • The brokering options available to you depend on a combination of factors, including the pod type, date of pod deployment, and whether a brokering method has been previously selected for another pod type. For more details, see the following table.
State of Your Tenant Account at the Time of the July 2020 Release Brokering Options Available for Horizon Pods (On-Premises or in VMware Cloud on AWS) Brokering Options Available for Pods in Microsoft Azure
New tenant with no pods deployed yet Universal Broker Universal Broker or single-pod broker

All of the following:

  • One or more Horizon pods deployed, all in monitored state
  • No brokering selection has been made for Horizon pods yet
  • No pods deployed in Microsoft Azure yet
Universal Broker Universal Broker or single-pod broker
Note: Both options are available only if you make the brokering selection for pods in Microsoft Azure first. If you make a brokering selection for Horizon pods first, then Universal Broker is automatically selected for pods in Microsoft Azure.

All of the following:

  • One or more Horizon pods deployed
  • Universal Broker selected and configured for Horizon pods
  • No pods deployed in Microsoft Azure yet
Universal Broker is already selected Universal Broker is automatically selected
One or more pods deployed in Microsoft Azure already Universal Broker Single-pod broker is automatically selected
Integrated with VMware Workspace ONE Access Universal Broker Single-pod broker is automatically selected

Overview of Universal Broker

Universal Broker, the latest cloud-based brokering technology from VMware, is available for the following types of cloud-connected pods:

  • Horizon pods hosted on premises or in VMware Cloud on AWS
  • Pods deployed in Microsoft Azure at the July 2020 release's manifest or later
    Note: Universal Broker is available only if you have deployed all your pods in Microsoft Azure at the July 2020 release's manifest or later. If you deployed any of your pods in Microsoft Azure prior to the July 2020 release, Universal Broker is not an available brokering option and single-pod brokering is used as the default.

When you select Universal Broker as the tenant-wide brokering method for a particular pod type, you can create the following types of end-user assignments:

  • A multi-cloud assignment consisting of VDI desktops from either one or more Horizon pods, or one or more pods in Microsoft Azure.
  • A session desktop assignment consisting of session-based desktops from Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) hosts within a single pod in Microsoft Azure
  • An application assignment consisting of applications provisioned by RDS hosts within pods in Microsoft Azure
  • An App Volumes applications assignment consisting of App Volumes applications hosted on VDI desktops within pods in Microsoft Azure

For detailed information about how the system components of the Universal Broker solution work together to allocate remote resources to end users, see System Architecture and Components of Universal Broker.


High-level diagram of Universal Broker system architecture

Universal Broker offers the following key features:

  • Single connection FQDN for all remote resources

    End users can access multi-cloud assignments in your environment by connecting to a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), which you define in the Universal Broker configuration settings. Through the single Universal Broker FQDN, users can access assignments from any participating Horizon pod in any site in your environment. No internal networking between your pods is required.


    Diagram of single FQDN connection for Horizon Universal Broker
  • Global pod connectivity and awareness for optimal performance

    Universal Broker maintains direct connectivity with every pod participating in multi-cloud assignments and stays aware of the availability status of each pod. As a result, Universal Broker can manage connection requests and deliver virtual resources to end users directly from these pods. There is no need for global server load balancing (GSLB) or any interpod network communication which can result in reduced performance and latency issues.

  • Smart brokering

    By maintaining an awareness of your geographical sites and pod topology, Universal Broker can deliver desktops from multi-cloud assignments to end users along the shortest network route.

Note: This release of Universal Broker has some known feature limitations. If your use case requires the implementation of a feature that Universal Broker does not support, such as integration with VMware Workspace ONE Access, you must use single-pod broker instead. For more information, see Known Limitations of Universal Broker.

Overview of Single-Pod Broker

Also known as legacy or classic brokering, single-pod broker is available only for pods in Microsoft Azure in the following cases:

  • When all your pods in Microsoft Azure were deployed at the July 2020 release's manifest or later

    In this case, you must explicitly select Single-Pod Broker in the Broker selection page to use this classic brokering method for all the pods in Microsoft Azure deployed across your tenant account.

  • When at least one of your pods in Microsoft Azure was deployed prior to the July 2020 release

    In this case, you do not have the option of selecting a brokering method. Single-pod broker is used by default as the implicit brokering method for all the pods in Microsoft Azure deployed across your tenant account.

With single-pod brokering, you can create the following types of end-user assignments:

  • A VDI desktop assignment consisting of virtual desktops from a single pod in Microsoft Azure
  • A session desktop assignment consisting of session-based desktops from Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) hosts within a single pod in Microsoft Azure
  • A remote applications assignment consisting of applications provisioned by RDS hosts within pods in Microsoft Azure
  • An App Volumes applications assignment consisting of App Volumes applications hosted on VDI desktops within pods in Microsoft Azure

Single-pod broker supports a wider range of Horizon features than Universal Broker does. For example, single-pod broker supports features associated with VMware Workspace ONE Access integration, such as True SSO.