Whats new in Horizon 6.2 and why should you care
Today at VMworld 2015, VMware announces the Horizon 6.2 release and the updates that will be available later this week. That’s right my fellow EUC nerds, we will not have to wait long to take advantage of these new little goodies. As great of an EUC story that VMware has built already, they have had multiple little things that plagued them when being compared to Citrix for certain customer requirements. This new release is going to help with several of these items and hopefully we won’t have to wait long for more to be released.
RDS Application Updates
Ever since VMware added the RDS functionality to Horizon in 2014 for shared desktops and application presentation I have been excited about the possibilities. They have improved on functionality in short bursts in the last 12 months, but even with that at times it felt like they were not closing gaps fast enough.
The Horizon 6.2 announcement today is going to close several of what most would can required gaps.
RDS Apps with Cloud Pod
I have to admit I’m not a big supported of the Cloud Pod architecture that is offered from VMware as a multi-site architecture, but the face that it was only for desktops in the past was silly. In the 6.2 update the Cloud Pod offering now supports global entitlements for applications and the associated placement and load balancing that has been available for desktops.
HTML Access for Cloud Pod
This is another item that many customers had not yet bumped into since the use of HTML as the primary access has been low. I am seeing a big interest in using HTML as the primary access method lately and will keep growing as the demand to use various endpoints increases. You will not get the same cloud pod experience when point a browser to the global URL as you did with the Horizon client in the past.
RDS Load Balancing
This is another spot where the initial method used in the first release was very basic and while it worked just did not offer customers the options that were available from Citrix. I’m happy to see this update as it will allow customers the ability to create intelligent session placement based on different values. I think that this type of update was pushed into the product by the recent hires that VMware made of people with Citrix experience.
Linked Clones for RDS Servers
With this update you will now be able to use the linked clone functionality to build and maintain RDSH hosts for application and shared desktop functions. This was another gap that was missing in the VMware story. As great as features that Horizon has and with App Volumes added to the product offering, VMware still had a bad operational story for customers that wanted to build large application farms. With this update VMware now has a competitive story for customers comparing to Citrix XenApp with PVS.
I am personally excited for this feature and look to spend more time exploring and thinking about how it can be utilized in customer desgins.
Between the base security updates that I touch on at the end of this post and the points below that are of more interest, it’s clear that VMware is listening to customers. Next up I think that VMware needs to focus on improving the security policy control around their products to make them more flexible to handle customer requirements.
This is something that has been LONG overdue and I’m so happy that it’s finally here. No more Windows based security servers in the DMZ and no more edge access method that was different for every product that VMware released. Today I am happy to say that VMware will finally have a single edge based method for accessing all of their EUC services and it’s based on a Linux virtual appliance that can be scaled out.
One Way Trusts
This has been a complaint of a few customers over time, and it looks like this constraint is gone also. Horizon will now be able to work with one day domain trust configurations.
There are a number of GPU related updates in this version and I’ve been seeing a lot of interest in this area recently with customers. In what is being called vGPU 2.0 is support for the new NVIDIA generation of cards based on the Maxwell chips. I also hear that there will be a NVIDIA GPU option for blades soon and look forward to what that may offer to designs.
AMD GPU Support
Not sure if this is worth getting excited about yet since it’s just vDGA and not vGPU yet. But the good news is that we are seeing non-NVIDIA support for GPU’s. This will really get exciting when they start to support the mid-grade GPU cards that can lower the cost for the base use cases that need limited GPU power.
GPU for RDS Apps
Yes you heard me right, the GPU love is coming to hosted applications also. No longer will you only be able to offer GPU enabled workloads in a virtual desktop. While this may not be the main use case, there are certainly circumstances where the workload is better presented as an application than a desktp.
Linux GPU Support
Starting to feel a little bit like Oprah, everyone gets GPU support. The GPU features are coming to Linux desktops also in the way of vGPU and vSGA.
Horizon Feature Updates
Now on to the more core feature updates in Horizon 6.2. In the previous version, we got our first look at client drive redirection, but it was only for Windows clients. This update brings the features to VDI and RDS with support for both Windows and Mac clients, with Linux in tech preview.
File Type Association
This was another one of those, Citrix can do it why cannot you items. Glad to see this get added is the ability to associate file types with published applications. This will allow the user to use the proper published application to open the file on their desktop without being force to open the app the find the file.
4K Resolution Support
This is pretty self explanatory, there is now support for 4K monitor resolutions. As people invest in larger monitors and GPU enabled designs become more common, the need for higher displays will become common.
There are a number of other updates that are included in Horizon 6.2 that are less exciting to the masses that I will quickly summarize here. There were a number of security updates that make the platform Fed ready for more secure government regulated designs. There is now fully support for Windows 10 and Skype for business.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design