VMware Horizon Overview: Empowering the Digital Workforce

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In today’s fast-paced and digital-first world, businesses need innovative solutions to optimize their productivity while ensuring seamless accessibility and security. VMware Horizon, a powerful virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution, has emerged as a game-changer in the realm of IT management. 

With its suite of versatile components, VMware Horizon empowers enterprises to transform their traditional desktop setups into agile, cloud-based workspaces. This blog explores the remarkable benefits of VMware Horizon and its various components that have revolutionized the way we work.

4 Benefits of VMware Horizon

VMware Horizon’s robust solution has numerous advantages, reshaping the way businesses operate and employees engage with their work. Let’s delve deeper into the key benefits.

1. Centralized Desktop Delivery

Horizon enables organizations to centrally manage and deliver virtual desktops to users. This is beneficial for industries with a large number of desktop users, such as call centers, healthcare, education, and finance. The key benefits include:

  • Simplified Desktop Management: With Horizon, administrators can easily create, update, and manage virtual desktop images from a central location, reducing the time and effort required for desktop management.
  • Streamlined Software Deployment: Horizon allows for efficient software distribution and updates, as applications can be installed and maintained on a centralized virtual desktop image, ensuring consistency and reducing compatibility issues.
  • Enhanced Security and Data Protection: By centralizing desktops in the data center, sensitive data remains secure, as it is not stored on local devices. This helps in complying with regulatory requirements and mitigating the risk of data breaches.

2. Application Virtualization

Horizon enables organizations to deliver virtualized applications to end users, providing a seamless and consistent user experience across different devices. This use case is beneficial in scenarios such as:

  • Legacy Application Support: Virtualizing legacy applications allows organizations to continue using them even on modern operating systems, avoiding compatibility issues and extending the lifespan of critical applications.
  • Secure Application Access: Virtualized applications can be delivered securely to end users, ensuring that sensitive data remains protected. This is especially useful in industries such as healthcare and finance, where data privacy and security are paramount.
  • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Enablement: Horizon enables employees to access virtualized applications on their personal devices, promoting mobility and flexibility while maintaining data security.

Further Reading: Key Benefits of Virtualization

3. Remote Work and Mobility

Horizon facilitates remote work and supports a mobile workforce, allowing users to access their virtual desktops and applications from anywhere, using various devices. The benefits include:

  • Work from Anywhere: Users can securely access their virtual desktops and applications from home, remote offices, or while traveling, enhancing productivity and flexibility.
  • Device Flexibility: Horizon supports a wide range of devices, including PCs, laptops, thin clients, and mobile devices, enabling users to choose the device that best suits their needs.

4. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Horizon provides organizations with a robust infrastructure for disaster recovery and business continuity planning. The benefits include:

  • Data Center Resilience: Horizon’s architecture, combined with VMware vSphere, allows organizations to create highly available and resilient VDI deployments, minimizing downtime during infrastructure failures.
  • Rapid Recovery: In the event of a disaster or hardware failure, Horizon enables quick recovery by allowing users to reconnect to their virtual desktops and resume work from unaffected data centers or backup sites.
  • Workload Balancing: Horizon’s capabilities, such as intelligent load balancing and automatic virtual machine (VM) migration, optimize resource utilization and ensure optimal performance even during peak demand or in the event of failures.

These use cases and benefits demonstrate how VMware Horizon can empower organizations to efficiently manage desktops and applications, enhance security, enable remote work, and ensure business continuity. However, it’s important to consider the specific needs and objectives of your organization when evaluating the suitability of Horizon or any other VDI solution.

Key Components of VMware Horizon

At the heart of VMware Horizon’s VDI solution are its carefully crafted components, each playing a crucial role in delivering a seamless and secure user experience.

In this section, we will take a closer look at the key components that constitute VMware Horizon and understand how they work in harmony to redefine the way we interact with our virtual desktops and applications. 

1. Horizon Connection Server

The Horizon Connection Server is a core component that acts as the broker between end users and virtual desktops or applications. It authenticates users, manages entitlements, and establishes connections between clients and the appropriate virtual resources. It also provides the web-based Horizon Administrator console for administration and configuration.

2. Horizon Agent

The Horizon Agent is installed on the virtual desktop or remote desktop session host (RDSH) servers. It enables communication and integration between the Horizon environment and the virtual desktops or applications. The agent handles tasks such as session management, user authentication, virtual printing, USB device redirection, and more.

3. Horizon Client

Horizon Client is the software installed on end-user devices, allowing them to connect to and access virtual desktops and applications. The client is available for various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. It provides a user-friendly interface and supports features like session management, multi-monitor display, file transfer, and printing. 

Note: users also have the option of using the web https client for connections to VDI machines if they prefer not to install the Horizon client software on their devices.

4. Horizon Unified Access Gateway

The Unified Access Gateway (UAG) is a component that provides secure remote access to Horizon virtual desktops and applications. It acts as a gateway between external clients and the Horizon environment, allowing for secure connectivity and authentication. UAG supports protocols like VMware Blast Extreme and PCoIP, HTTPs and it can provide additional security features such as two-factor authentication and integration with identity providers.

5. Horizon App Volumes

App Volumes is an optional component that provides application lifecycle management for virtual desktops. It allows for the delivery of applications to desktops dynamically, reducing the need for application installation on individual virtual machines. App Volumes supports application layering, where applications are separated from the base image, making updates and patches easier to manage.

6. Horizon Instant Clones

Instant Clones is a technology that allows for rapid provisioning and deployment of virtual desktops. It creates cloned virtual machines from a master image in a matter of seconds, significantly reducing the time and storage required for provisioning desktops. Instant Clones leverage VMware vSphere’s VMFork technology to achieve this quick provisioning.

7. Horizon JMP (Just-in-Time Management Platform)

The JMP is a suite of technologies and capabilities that enhance the management and delivery of virtual desktops and applications. It includes components like App Volumes, User Environment Manager (UEM), and Instant Clones. JMP provides features such as dynamic user profile management, personalized desktop and application delivery, and simplified desktop and application management.

These components work together to create a robust and flexible VDI environment with features like centralized management, secure access, rapid provisioning, application delivery, and user profile management. VMware Horizon’s modular architecture allows organizations to tailor their deployment based on their specific requirements and scale as needed.

Helixstorm Can Help You Navigate Your Options 

With the understanding of these compelling benefits and features, it becomes evident that VMware Horizon is not just a VDI solution but a transformative tool that equips businesses with the agility, security, and efficiency required to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

While Horizon stands out as a leading VDI solution, there are alternative options available in the market. When deciding on the right solution for your business, it is essential to consider factors such as the organization’s size, existing IT infrastructure, budget constraints, security needs, and user experience requirements. 
Helixstorm’s managed IT services can help you navigate your options. Connect with us today to learn how we can help you assess your business needs and implement a viable solution that aligns with your long-term IT strategy.