This article gives a brief overview of some basic concepts involved in using the Horizon Control Plane and Horizon Cloud Service. The overall tenant environment consists of the VMware cloud-based service, the control plane, and your pods deployed into their on-premises, VMware SDDCs, or public cloud environments and connected to the control plane. From the single cloud-based Horizon Universal Console, you can efficiently deploy, manage, and monitor virtual desktops and apps across your pod fleet, regardless of where the pods are physically located.

Horizon Control Plane

Illustration showing the various services of the Horizon Control Plane service.

VMware hosts the control plane in the cloud. Each control plane service works to simplify management of your Horizon environments and your virtual desktops and apps. When you sign up for a Horizon subscription license, VMware creates your tenant environment in this control plane and configures it according to the terms in that license.

VMware is responsible for hosting the service and providing feature updates and enhancements for a software-as-a-service experience. Horizon Cloud is a multi-tenant environment, and has several regional control plane instances. Each regional control plane instance corresponds to its hosting geographic data center, as described in the service description document available from the VMware Horizon Service Description and Service Level Agreement page. Your tenant account is associated with a specific regional instance at the time the account is created.

For an in-depth look at the control plane, see the Tech Zone's Horizon Control Plane Services Architecture.

Horizon Universal Console

The control plane also hosts the common cloud- and web-based management user interface called the Horizon Universal Console, or console for short. This console runs in industry-standard browsers. It provides IT administrators with a single location for management and administrative tasks involving user assignments and the virtual desktops, remote desktop sessions, and applications. This console dynamically reflects your tenant's current state and is accessible from anywhere at any time, providing maximum flexibility.

The following screenshot is an illustration of the console's Capacity page's Pods tab for a tenant with four pods in its pod fleet.

Capacity Page in the Horizon Universal Console depicting four pods

Cloud-Connected Pods

In Horizon deployments, a pod is primarily a conceptual entity. A pod is based on various software components deployed into a supported environment, such as a public cloud, a VMware SDDC, or an on-premises data center. The pod's inter-related components provide for the provisioning of virtual desktops and apps and for facilitating the routing of an end-user client's request to a virtual desktop or app entitled for their use.

The specific collection of software components that make up a cloud-connected pod will depend on the type of deployment used to construct the pod. The current service release supports use of the following pod constructions with your tenant.

Horizon pod
Built on the Horizon Connection Server software and related software components. The components are deployed according to an architecture that VMware supports for use with such pods, such as on-premises, all-in-SDDC architecture, or federated architecture. These deployments involve a VMware SDDC in some way or form. This pod construction is named a Horizon pod because its underlying software is the Horizon Connection Server. For a brief overview, see Horizon Pod Deployment Architectures.
Horizon Cloud pod
Built on the Horizon Cloud pod-manager technology for use with Microsoft Azure cloud and Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop. The pod components are deployed by running the Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure deployment wizard. The wizard automates the pod deployment into your Microsoft Azure subscription. For an overview, see Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.

An Initial Tenant Environment

A tenant environment starts fresh, a clean-slate, without any cloud-connected pods. The first required step is to onboard a pod into that clean-slate environment. That pod will become the tenant's very first cloud-connected pod.

The screenshot that follows is an illustration of what a brand new fresh Horizon Cloud environment looks like when an administrator logs in for the first time. This clean-slate screen is oriented around the pod types that can onboard to the service: Horizon pods and Horizon Cloud pods in Microsoft Azure. Until you have one pod onboarded and the Active Directory domain registration completed, all of the other UI pages located in the left-hand navigation are inaccessible.

Screenshot of your Horizon Cloud environment before it gets its first cloud-connected pod

To learn about the items needed to add the first pod to your pod fleet, see the Requirements Checklist that corresponds to the pod's type - Horizon pod or Horizon Cloud pod.