VWmare recently announced Horizon 7.3, which is their newest version of the product. Due to the amazing number of enhancements and new features included on this version, it feels more like 8.0 version than an incremental upgrade to me. You can review the entire announcement and every new feature here but in this blog post I want to highlight the ones that I find most interesting.
Horizon customers implementing server based computing (RDSH) to publish applications, instead of publishing desktops or doing VDI, can now integrate those applications straight into the Windows Start Menu.
This is a very important feature that provide users with a seamless experience where it’s not required that they know if the application is locally installed in their workstation or if the application is hosted back in the data center.
Being able to shrink logon times by pre-opening applications provides a better user experience and when used in conjunction with the Start Menu feature mentioned above, it will make users extremely happy and provide that locally installed feeling when they click on an application.
This feature is available for users accessing the Horizon environment from Windows or Mac clients.
Blast Extreme enhancements
There are multiple enhancements to Blast but one important milestone to point out is IMHO reducing the number of firewall ports that need to be opened for external users that required USB redirection.
USB redirection can now be configured to only require ports 443 and 8443. Other ports that were previously needed can be closed. In Horizon 7.3 this configuration is turned off by default but in the future releases will be turn on by default.
NVIDIA Pascal P40 Support
I'm a huge GPU fan since I got introduced to this technology and especially after I experienced the big improvements it provides to the user experience.
Horizon has had support for the NVIDIA GRID environment for a while now but it was limited Tesla cards (M60, M10, etc). NVIDIA announced the general availability of their GRID 4 and Pascal cards a couple months ago. I find that the P40 card has that great balance between performance and user density that we have been looking for. Horizon 7.3 will initially support the P40 card but the teams are already working on the support for P4 and P6.
After a few months of waiting, full support of VMware Horizon on RaspberriPi is here and the best part is it’s available from two different management frameworks; ThinLinx and Stratodesk. While we know this option is not for every company, there are definitely use cases that can be served with this offering. If you are wondering what’s the biggest draw back today, for me it’s the limitation to a single monitor because most enterprises are used to two monitors.
AppStack Attachment Limits
Lastly, this very interesting feature allows IT administrators to control licensing numbers by putting a limit on the concurrent number of users that can attach an specific AppStack. This way even if you have more users in the AD group for that one application, you can ensure your licensing team that only X numbers of users will be able to use it at any given time.
This might cause a bit of an issue with your help desk since any users that used the application yesterday might not see it today… if for some reason he got into the office a bit late due to traffic ;-). That said, education for your end user support teams will be important if enabling this feature.