This article introduces the connection brokers that are available in your Horizon Cloud tenant environment and helps you decide which broker to select and enable. Depending on your use case, you can select either Universal Broker or Single-Pod Broker.

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

The cloud control plane provides two distinct connection brokers for managing your end users' connection requests to remote resources: Universal Broker and Single-Pod Broker (available for Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure only).

With the cloud-management capabilities of Horizon Cloud, you can create end-user assignments that collect virtual resources from your cloud-connected pods, such as virtual desktops, session-based desktops, and remote applications. The tenant-wide broker that you select and enable for each pod type determines the types of assignments you can create.

Considerations When Selecting a Broker

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

  • In a hybrid environment that contains both Horizon pods on a VMware SDDC-based platform and Horizon Cloud pods deployed in Microsoft Azure, each pod type can have its own tenant-wide broker. For example, you can select and enable Universal Broker for your Horizon pods and Single-Pod Broker for your Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure.
  • Once you select and enable a broker, that broker becomes a permanent, irreversible, and tenant-wide setting for the specified pod type. For example, if you enable Universal Broker for your Horizon pods, Universal Broker becomes the broker for all Horizon pods across your tenant account and cannot be changed.
  • If you select Universal Broker as the broker for both your Horizon pods and Horizon Cloud 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 Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure. However, you cannot create an assignment consisting of desktops that span a mix of Horizon pods and Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure.
    Note: A specific user can receive at most one assigned desktop from a dedicated assignment brokered by Universal Broker, even if the assignment includes desktops from multiple pods.
  • This release of Universal Broker has some known limitations. If your use case requires the implementation of a feature that Universal Broker does not support, use Single-Pod Broker instead. For more information, see Known Limitations of Universal Broker.
  • The broker options available to you depend on a combination of factors, including the pod type, date of pod deployment, and whether a broker option 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 Broker Options Available for Horizon Pods on a VMware SDDC-based Platform Broker Options Available for Horizon Cloud 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 broker selection has been made for Horizon pods yet
  • No Horizon Cloud pods deployed in Microsoft Azure yet
Universal Broker Universal Broker or Single-Pod Broker
Note: Both options are available only if you make the broker selection for Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure first. If you make the broker selection for Horizon pods first, then Universal Broker is automatically selected for Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure.

All of the following:

  • One or more Horizon pods deployed
  • Universal Brokeris selected and enabled for Horizon pods
  • No Horizon Cloud pods deployed in Microsoft Azure yet
Universal Broker is already selected Universal Broker is automatically selected and enabled
One or more Horizon Cloud pods deployed in Microsoft Azure already Universal Broker Single-Pod Broker is automatically selected and enabled

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 on a VMware SDDC-based platform
  • Horizon Cloud pods deployed in Microsoft Azure at the July 2020 release's manifest or later. The pod manifest that was released in July 2020 is 2298.0.
    Note: Universal Broker is available only if you have deployed all your Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure at pod manifest 2298.0 or later. If you deployed any of your Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure at earlier than pod manifest 2298.0, Universal Broker is not an available broker option and Single-Pod Broker is used as the default.

When you select Universal Broker as the tenant-wide broker 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 moreHorizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure.
  • A session desktop assignment consisting of session-based desktops from Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) hosts within a single Horizon Cloud pod in Microsoft Azure
  • An application assignment consisting of applications provisioned by RDS hosts within Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure
  • An App Volumes applications assignment consisting of App Volumes applications hosted on VDI desktops within Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure

For detailed information about how the system components of the Universal Broker solution work together to manage users' connection requests to assignments, 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 pod in any site in your environment. No internal networking between your pods is required.


    Diagram of single FQDN connection for 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 end users' connection requests and route them to virtual resources 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

    Universal Broker can broker resources from assignments to end users along the shortest network route, based on an awareness of your geographical sites and pod topology.

Overview of Single-Pod Broker

Also known as legacy or classic brokering, Single-Pod Broker is available only for Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure in the following cases:

  • When all your Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure were deployed at pod manifest 2298.0 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 environment.

  • When at least one of your Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure was deployed at earlier than pod manifest 2298.0

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

With Single-Pod Broker, you can create the following types of end-user assignments:

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

Single-Pod Broker supports a wider range of Horizon features than Universal Broker does. For more information, see Known Limitations of Universal Broker.