Greg Pellegrino, Product Manager for Pivot3 was provided with the opportunity to beta test VMware Horizon 6, and subsequently wanted to share his thoughts on the new capacities framed by the impact to Pivot3’s customers and their business operations.
Cloud Pod Architecture
The Cloud Pod Architecture uses standard VMware View components to provide cross-data center administration, global and flexible user-to-desktop mapping, high availability desktops, and disaster recovery capabilities. At the first release of this feature, the capability is limited to 4 Pods on 2 sites.
Healthcare use cases for the Cloud Pod Architecture are readily apparent. Common practices for our health care customers are AlwaysOn desktop deployments. This model provides active/active desktops between two sites to provide non-stop access to critical hospital desktops even when one site becomes unavailable. The Cloud Pod Architecture allows the two separate View Pod deployments to be joined into a single Pod Federation. Simplicity of managing desktop provisioning, entitlements and connections will be gained from this new Horizon feature.
Many of our customers have expressed a desire to provide disaster recovery (DR) with primary and secondary desktop sites. Some of these customers had deferred their VDI adoption due to the complexities of managing a stand-alone remote site. The Cloud Pod Architecture simplifies deployment and management of the remote site, enabling these customers to provide desktop DR.
RDS integration with Horizon 6 provides access to Microsoft-based remote applications and desktops through View. Below the surface, the feature is much more than a reintroduction to Terminal Services support in View (circa version 4). Horizon now has three types of desktop pools: automated, manual, and RDS. Those familiar with View are aware of automated and manual pools. RDS pools are NOT a collection of virtual machines. Rather, the RDS pool provides users with multiple desktop sessions to RDS hosts. Multiple users can have desktop sessions to a single RDS host simultaneously. A new term to Horizon, “farm,” is a collection of RDS hosts. A farm facilitates the management of many RDS hosts, which provide a common set of applications or RDS desktops to users.
Interesting use cases stem from a new feature enabled by the RDS host integration, Application Pools. Customers can now use their current RDSH deployments with Horizon to provide users with application access. Task worker applications can be deployed to a single RDS host then provided to all these workers. Mobile and roaming users can access applications from anywhere, while experience native performance. Infrequently used applications and those with multiple versions needed for specific tasks can be provided through the Application Pools.
Virtual SAN Integration
Horizon 6 provides a level of integration with VMware’s new Virtual SAN product. This integration serves as a preview to Horizon’s usage of technology, using storage polices for desktop management. I’m pleased to see this direction and anticipate the benefits within our storage product. It will be interesting to monitor the storage policy capability as it matures.
Good-bye Local Mode
The writing was on the wall for this feature as VMware Mirage was introduced. Management of offline and non-virtualised desktops is important, much better served by Mirage.