In case you’ve missed it, this week, VMware announced the imminent release of Horizon 7.1. Here’s a really quick rundown of what’s going to be in the 7.1 release.
Just-in-time Management Platform (JMP)
JMP (or ‘jump’ as its known) is a platform consisting of instant clones, app volumes and user environment manager. For those of you who dont know, JMP uses the three technologies to create and configure desktops on the fly. No more creating desktops in advance, no more streaming or network delivery of apps and waiting for delivery, and no more managing profiles locally on machines. Instead, machines are created as and when needed, apps are seamlessly attached locally at login, and user policy follows the user wherever they log in (this even extends to physical and cloud desktops when users move around)
The main announcement here though isn’t the new branding of the platform but the addition of support for published apps both on premise and in the cloud. The JMP platform can be used to provision and configure session based desktops as opposed to just Horizon desktops
Digital Workspace Experience with BLAST and BEAT
BEAT stands for Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport, and it’s VMware’s updated version of the UDP based Blast Extreme protocol. VMware claim to have seen up to 50% improved bandwidth and six times faster file transfers.
BEAT supports Windows, MAC, iOS, Android and Chrome and supports over 125 Windows and Linux thin clients
I often get asked this when i talk about Blast, but PCOIP is still fully supported and VMware have intention of getting rid of it. The addition of Blast was more about giving people greater freedom of devices as it used H.264 which almost any device can decode. Unlike PCOIP which requires the Teradici chipset.
Skype for Business
This for me was a significant announcement. I’ve lost track of the number of times i’ve been asked about better Skype support and it’s something VMware lagged behind Citrix in. However, in the 7.1 release Vmware includes a ‘tech preview’ of the new Skype for Business client. Put simply you install the client on you windows client and when you consume a virtual desktop it enables local point to point audio and video between users. This avoids the hairpinning headaches we’ve seen in the past. Before you all start rushing to roll it out, do remember its tech preview right now and we have no confirmed date when it will go GA. However, it’s a great oportunity to test it out!
In case you’re wondering, I’ve heard the new client utilises the same amount of badnwidth for audio and video as the native client so there’s no overhead involved.
There’s only a client for Windows right now but MAC and linux are to follow. Also, support in this version is only for Lync 2013 and Skype for Buiness 2015, so you’ll have to wait a little longer for Office 365 support, but it is coming.
Horizon Cloud allows you shift the desktop control plane up into the cloud and manage your desktops either in the cloud (IBM Softlayer, also know as cloud hosted) or on prem using a supported hyper-converged appliance. (also known as hybrid). It’s ideal for people who want virtual desktops but dont want the hassle of managing the infrastructure. That’s all managed by VMware including upgrades.
JMP and BEAT are fully supported on the new platform which should offer a simple to manage solution that has great performance for the end user.
Since the addition of RDSH technology to the Horizon platform in v6, it’s not been possible to buy just the Apps on their own. Unlike Citrix who’ve sold XenDesktop and XenApp, VMware has always just sold Horizon until now, and whilst you could buy desktops without apps in the Standard edition, you couldnt get apps without desktops. Now if all you want to do is deliver virtualised apps, you can just purchase Horizon Apps. Great news.
This can be purchased in two flavours. Standard which includes apps, session based desktops, user environment manager and your vsphere platform
Or Advanced, which includes the JMP platform, so includes instant clones and app volumes as well as all of the standard features.
The expected release of 7.1 is sometime in Q1 2017 so keep an eye out for more info.