VMware announces Horizon 6 suite and my thoughts

Yesterday VMware introduced Horizon Suite 6 to the world. This was a surprise to many and a long time coming for others. For myself personally I am pretty excited about the news, I’ve been a critic of VMware for a long time now on their weak spots in the EUC space. You can read more about them in this post, I was candid and ruffled more than a few feathers. The good news is I am looking forward to being able to revisit that comparison this summer once the new features are out and I’ve had some time to work with them.

The number of updates are pretty long in this release and I will attempt to cover them all and add some color around many of the topics.

New Horizon Suite licensing

With the release of Horizon 6 VMware also announced some updates to the licensing options. There is the familiar Horizon View Standard option which is basically the old View Premier edition. It is a concurrent user (CCU) licensing model by default. There is now two Horizon Suite editions the Advanced and Enterprise.

The Horizon Advanced is very similar to the previous version of Horizon Suite licensing except for the following items. First the price has been lowed by $50 per named user which is nice. The second is a subtraction in that vCOPs for View is not included in this level. But the biggest addition is the availability to Application Virtualization, in this new license you are getting the new RDSH application presentation as part of View and Workspace. Oh and don’t forget the addition of VSAN as a storage option for desktops. I think this is a compelling package but will likely lean towards the Enterprise level with adds the Monitoring and automation features.

horizon6-licensing

Horizon 6 licensing

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

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Licensing VMware Mirage when used with View

With the recent news from VMworld Barcelona that Horizon Mirage and Horizon View can now be used together, I’ve been thinking about how this might affect the licensing. With the ability to manage full clone desktops in View with Mirage the need for a user to have more than one device managed by Mirage is increased.

In the past Mirage was licensed by endpoint or PC and not by the user. This was fine when it was only for the physical world and the norm would be for each user to have only one physical PC. When VMware announced Horizon Suite the products were moved to a named user licensing model.

Lets talk about one of the options that I’ve been thinking about. The basic idea is I have 100 users that have PC’s that are managed by Mirage and are used as the method to access their View desktop. The View desktops for these 100 users are also full clones and are managed by Mirage. So this means that each use has two mirage managed OS’s.

The following is a quote from a blog post from VMware.

The benefit of named-user licensing for the Horizon Suite is that one named user can use as many devices as they wish at once, on any or all of the products in the Horizon Suite (Horizon View, Horizon Mirage, and Horizon Workspace).

So this leads me to believe that under the proposed scenario I’m fine and if I purchase a single Horizon Suite named user license for each user I will be fine. But the problem is at least it still existed in Mirage 4.2 which was part of the Suite, is that Mirage still acts in a per device licensing model. Not sure if Mirage 4.3 will fix this licensing oversight, will have to wait for it to be available for download. In the past this was not really an issue because VMware did not support the use of Mirage managing View desktops.

So the question comes down to if Mirage is still not properly supporting named users in version 4.3, how would a solution like this be licensed? I’ve come up with the two following options.

Option 1 – I would purchase 100 named user licenses for Horizon Suite from VMware and build my environment. But I need to have support for the extra 100 Mirage endpoints. So VMware will have to give me 100 separate Mirage licenses to support this.

Option 2 – This option has me still purchasing 100 named user licenses of Horizon Suite but also purchasing 100 licenses of Mirage named users separately. This adds 50% to my cost of this solution.

While I think that the second option is highly unlikely but what level of effort will it take to work out the logistics of option 1 with VMware?

 

  • License Cost

  • User Count
  • Horizon Suite Licenses
  • Mirage Licenses
  • DT's managed by Mirage
  • VDI managed by Mirage
  • Estimate Costs
  • Option 1

  • $300

    per user

  • 100
  • 100
  • 0
  • 100
  • 100
  • $30,000
  • Option 2

  • $450

    per user

  • 100
  • 100
  • 100
  • 100
  • 100
  • $45,000

 

I look forward to this licensing issue being fixed very soon. If anyone from VMware has any thoughts on this I would appreciate the feedback.

 

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

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My VMware Horizon Suite presentation from Chicago VMUG June 2013

On June 5, 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to present a session at the Chicago VMUG meeting. There was a very good turn out for the meeting. Around 180 users registered and around 100 people in the room for the presentations. I was asked to present a session on VMware Horizon Suite, the End User Computing (EUC) offering that is getting a ton of press from VMware and media. This is right up my alley as I work as an Architect for a Ahead VMware partner in Chicago and Horizon is on fire as of late. There have been a large number of requests for briefings and consulting services in this space since Horizon was announced.

During the session I focused on the separate parts that make up the Horizon Suite and what was new with each of the products. Since most people are pretty familiar with at least the base functions of View the sessions mostly covered what cool things View 5.2 brings to the table. The Mirage and Workspace parts of the presentation focused more on educating people in whole about the products since these are either new products or not widely understood by most customers. The session prompted some great questions from the audience which is always a good sign that people are listening and interested.

Later in the day myself, Chris Wahl, Eric Shanks and Nimble storage sat on a panel that took open questions from the audience. During this session there was a large amount of interest in the Horizon Suite which lead to more great questions from the attendees. Overall the VMUG meeting was a great day and I enjoy helping the the Chicago VMUG and when available its always fun to present a session.

You can view my presentation from the session by grabbing a PDF version from here.

If you want to learn more about the Chicago VMUG or find out about meetings or connect with the leaders visit the Chicago VMUG Blog.

 

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

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Mirage definitions for the various working parts

I thought that I would put together a detailed this of definitions for the various parts and acronyms used with VMware Mirage. This will help people understand the different parts and features of Mirage when starting to learn or work with the product. These are taken from VMware documentation and supplemented by myself.

Mirage Client on the desktop – The Mirage Client is installed on endpoint devices to enable them to run a Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD) or convert an existing desktop into a CVD.

Mirage Management Server – The Mirage Management Server is the main component that controls and manages the Mirage Server cluster.

Mirage Management Console – The Mirage Management Console is the graphical user interface used to perform scalable maintenance, management, and monitoring of deployed endpoints. Through the Mirage Management Console, the administrator configures and manages Clients, Base Layers, and reference machines, performs operations such as update and restore, and monitors the system operation through the dashboard and event logs.

Mirage Server – The Mirage Server efficiently manages the storage and delivery of Base Layers and CVDs to clients, and consolidates monitoring and management communications. A Base Layer is used as a template for desktop content, cleared of specific identity information, and made suitable for central deployment to a large group of endpoints. Multiple Mirage Servers can be deployed as a server cluster to manage endpoint devices for large enterprise organizations.
Note: The server machine must be dedicated for use by the Mirage Server software; it should not be used for any other purposes. For hardware requirements and supported platforms, see 2.3 Hardware Prerequisites.

Reference Machine – A reference machine is used to create a standard desktop build for a set of CVDs. This usually includes operating system updates, service packs and patches, corporate applications to be used by all target end users, and corporate configuration and policies.
Mirage offers unique capabilities to maintain and update reference machines over time, either over the LAN or WAN, using a Mirage Reference CVD entity in the data center. The Reference CVD can be used at any time as a source for Base Layer capture.

Branch Reflector – The Branch Reflector is a peering service role that can be enabled on any endpoint device. When enabled, the Branch Reflector serves adjacent clients when downloading and updating Base Layers in the site, instead of having the clients download directly from the Mirage Server cluster. Using the Branch Reflector can significantly reduce bandwidth usage during mass Base Layer updates or other Base Layer download scenarios.

File Portal – The file portal (which leverages IIS 7.0 or higher) allows end users to view the files that exist in their CVD snapshots from any web browser by using the appropriate login credentials.

Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD) – A CVD enables an Administrator to centrally manage, update, patch, back up, troubleshoot, restore, and audit the desktop in the data center – regardless of whether the endpoint is connected to the network.
A CVD comprises four components:

  • Base Layer defined by the administrator, which comprises the operating system image plus the core applications.
  • Driver Profile, defined by the IT Administrator, is a group of drivers that have been designated for use with specific hardware platforms. These drivers are applied to devices automatically when the hardware platforms match the criteria defined by the IT Administrator in the Driver Profile.
  • User-installed applications and machine state (unique identifier, hostname, any configuration changes to the machine registry, DLLs, and configuration files).
  • User settings and data.

Changes made by the end user to data, applications, or the machine state are efficiently propagated to the data center. Conversely, all changes made to the Base Layer by administrators in the data center are similarly propagated to the endpoints. Administrators can identify data that should not be protected, such as MP3s, or other files that are considered local-only to the endpoint.

Mirage Client – Installed on the endpoint, this software executes in the base operating system, making sure the image at the endpoint and the CVD are fully synchronized. The Mirage Client is hypervisor-free but hypervisor -friendly: no virtual machines or hypervisors are required, though execution on any Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisor is supported.

Distributed Desktop Optimization (DDO) – Optimizes transport of data between the Mirage Server and the Mirage Client – making it feasible to support remote endpoints regardless of network speed or bandwidth. DDO incorporates technologies that include read-write caching, file and block-level de-duplication, network optimization, and desktop streaming over the WAN.

Interested in other VMware Mirage topics refer to my Mirage Series.

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

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VMware Mirage design and architecture details

With VMware purchasing Mirage almost a year ago there is still little information on the use and design of Mirage available. So through working with VMware Mirage and reading documentation I have complied details about how to design a new Mirage environment. As of the time I wrote this post there is limited design details available in the Mirage administration PDF from VMware.

Mirage architecture options:

The Mirage application has a fairly simple architecture compared to many enterprise applications and tools. There are really two main options for designing the Mirage layout. You can either implement a standalone Mirage server or build a Mirage server cluster. You have the options to install the Mirage Management server and console on a separate server or one of the Mirage servers in a small design.

 

Mirage server requirements:

Each Mirage management server that you build will need the following minimum requirements.

  • 16GB of Memory
  • 2 CPU
  • Minimum of 146GB of store (does not include storage for desktop CVD’s)
  • 2 Gigabit Network interfaces

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

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