The benefits of VMware Horizon 8 include simplicity, security, speed, and scale for delivering virtual desktops and applications with cloud-like economics and elasticity.

Flexible Horizon 8 Deployments

Horizon 8 offers the flexibility of deploying virtual desktops and applications on premises, in a cloud-hosted environment, or a hybrid mix of both. License requirements vary based on the deployment environment.

You can deploy Horizon 8 in the following environments.

On-premises Deployment
Horizon 8 can be deployed on-premises or in a private cloud. You can use a perpetual term or SaaS subscription license for an on-premises deployment. With a SaaS subscription license, you will have access to the Horizon Control Plane and associated services. Internet connectivity is optional so you can deploy Horizon 8 in an air-gapped environment or a sovereign cloud.
Cloud-hosted Deployment
Horizon 8 can be deployed in a public cloud such as VMware Cloud on AWS or Azure VMware Solutions. You are required to use a SaaS subscription license for deployment in a public cloud. With the SaaS subscription license, you have the option to leverage the SaaS services provided by the Horizon Control Plane.
Hybrid Deployment
You can deploy Horizon 8 on-premises and in cloud-hosted environments. You can link these deployments in a federation. In this hybrid deployment scenario, you can use the following licenses:
  • Use perpetual or term license for your on-premises deployments and use SaaS subscription license for your cloud-hosted deployments.
  • Use SaaS subscription license for both your on-premises deployments and your cloud-hosted deployments.

Connecting Horizon 8 Deployments to Horizon Control Plane

With the SaaS subscription license, you can connect Horizon 8 pods to the control plane for Horizon Cloud Service - next gen with Horizon Edge for Horizon 8. To connect Horizon 8 pods to the control plane for Horizon Cloud Service - first gen, use the Horizon Cloud Connector virtual appliance.

Horizon Control Plane (enabled by the SaaS subscription license) provides the following benefits when connected to a Horizon 8 deployment.

  • The Horizon Universal Console provides a single unified console that provides additional SaaS features across on-premises and multi-cloud deployments for working with your tenant's fleet of cloud-connected pods.
  • Hybrid multi-cloud orchestration provides a single workflow to enable VMware JMP technologies.
  • The Horizon Universal Broker is the cloud-based brokering technology used to manage and allocate virtual resources from hybrid multi-cloud assignments to your end users.
  • The Cloud Monitoring Service (CMS) gives you the ability to monitor capacity, usage, and health within and across your fleet of cloud-connected pods, regardless of the deployment environments in which those individual pods reside.
  • The Horizon Image Management Service is a cloud-based service that simplifies and automates the management of system images used by desktop assignments such as desktop pools and farms across your cloud-connected Horizon 8 pods.

Note that some of these services may not be available across all Horizon 8 deployment scenarios. Services are enabled on an ongoing basis. Service availability may also differ between the control plane for Horizon Cloud Service - next-gen and Horizon Cloud Service - first-gen. For information on available services, see the Horizon Cloud Service documentation.

Just-in-Time Management Platform (JMP)

JMP represents VMware Horizon 8 capabilities for delivering just-in-time virtual desktops and applications that are flexible, fast, and personalized. JMP includes the following VMware technologies.

Instant Clones
Instant clone is a vSphere-based cloning technology that is used to provision thousands of non-persistent virtual desktops from a single golden image. Instant-clone desktops offer the following advantages:
  • Rapid provisioning speed that takes 1-2 seconds on average to create a new desktop.
  • Delivers a pristine, high performance desktop every time a user logs in.
  • Improves security by destroying the desktop every time a user logs out.
  • Eliminates the need to have a dedicated desktop for every single user.
  • Zero downtime for patching a pool of desktops.
  • You can couple instant clones with VMware App Volumes and VMware Dynamic Environment Manager to deliver fully personalized desktops.
VMware App Volumes
VMware App Volumes is an integrated and unified application delivery and user management system for Horizon 8 and other virtual environments. VMware App Volumes offers the following advantages:
  • Quickly provision applications at scale.
  • Dynamically attach applications to users, groups, or devices, even when users are already logged in to their desktop.
  • Provision, deliver, update, and retire applications in real time.
  • Provide a user-writable volume, allowing users to install applications that follow across desktops.
VMware Dynamic Environment Manager
VMware Dynamic Environment Manager offers personalization and dynamic policy configuration across any virtual, physical, and cloud-based environment. VMware Dynamic Environment Manager offers the following advantages:
  • Provide end users with quick access to a Windows workspace and applications, with a personalized and consistent experience across devices and locations.
  • Simplify end user profile management by providing organizations with a single and scalable solution that leverages the existing infrastructure.
  • Speed up the login process by applying configuration and environment settings in an asynchronous process instead of all at login.
  • Provide a dynamic environment configuration, such as drive or printer mappings, when a user launches an application.

In addition to utilizing the three underlying JMP technologies, you can also orchestrate their use in a single workflow from the Assignment wizard in the Horizon Control Plane.

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 Workspace ONE Access 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. Users can also use this custom app store to access applications inside a remote desktop,. With the True SSO feature, users who authenticate using smart cards or two-factor authentication can access their remote desktops and applications without supplying Active Directory credentials.
  • Unified Access Gateway functions as a secure gateway for users who want to access remote desktops and applications from outside the corporate firewall. Unified Access Gateway is an appliance that is installed in a demilitarized zone (DMZ). Use Unified Access Gateway to ensure that the only traffic entering the corporate data center is traffic on behalf of a strongly authenticated remote user.
  • 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.

Tight Integration with the VMware Ecosystem

You can use Horizon 8 with VMware vSphere, vSAN, and NSX to extend the power of virtualization with virtual compute, virtual storage, and virtual networking and security to drive down costs, enhance user experience, and deliver greater business agility. You can take your deployment onto a public cloud such as VMware Cloud on AWS or VMware Azure Solutions.

You can also leverage additional management software such as vRealize, Avi Networks, and Carbon Black.

Rich User Experience

Horizon 8 provides the familiar, personalized desktop environment that end users expect, including the following features:

  • A rich selection of display protocols
  • Ability to access USB and other devices connected to their local computer
  • Send documents to any printer their local computer can detect
  • Real-time audio/video features
  • Authentication with smart cards
  • Use of multiple display monitors
  • 3D graphics support


Horizon 8 RESTful APIs automate the deployment, operation, management, monitoring, reporting, and analytics for the Horizon 8 infrastructure, workloads, and integration with third-party products. You can use these APIs to perform the following functions:

  • Desktop pool management
  • Virtual machine and farm management
  • Publishing applications
  • Entitling published applications
  • Infrastructure discovery
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting
To get the latest documentation for the Horizon RESTful APIs:
  1. Install or Upgrade to the latest released version of Connection Server.
  2. Navigate to https://<CS-IP//FQDN>rest/swagger-ui.html from any browser.
  3. Click Select a spec from the top right of the browser. Select Latest to see the latest version of APIs. Select Default to view all versions of all APIs.

For more information about Horizon 8 RESTful APIs, see the RESTful APIs available at For a list of VMware Horizon 8 RESTful API for each release, see KB 84155.