Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture 7.1 Update

Last year with the release of Horizon 7 I wrote a blog on the new features of Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA) this included the new scale numbers. You can find that blog here.

This week VMware released Horizon 7.1 and with this release VMware has increased the scale numbers yet again for Cloud Pod Architecture.

Now with Horizon 7.1 Cloud Pod Architecture can support a maximum of 75k sessions across 5 sites.

The table below shows the new update compared with Horizon 7.0

Horizon 7 Horizon 7.1
Total Number of Sessions 50,000 75,000
Total Number of Sites 5 5
Total Number of Pods 25 25

This is yet another great update to VMware’s Horizon and Cloud Pod Architecture.

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Configuring VMware Identity Manager and VMware Horizon 7 Cloud Pod Architecture

With the release of VMware Horizon® 7 and VMware Identity Manager™ 2.6, it is now possible to configure VMware Identity Manager to work with Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture when deploying your desktop and application pools over multiple data centers or locations.

Using VMware Identity Manager in front of your VMware Horizon deployments that are using Cloud Pod Architecture makes it much easier for users to get access to their desktops and applications. The user has just one place to connect to, and they will be able to see all of their available desktops and applications. Identity Manager will direct the user to the application hosted in the best datacenter for their location. This can also include SaaS applications as well as the applications that are available through VMware Horizon 7.

For the full blog please see my blog on VMware.com

http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2016/07/configuring-vmware-identity-manager.html

VMware Horizon 7 New Features

With the release of VMware Horizon 7 I thought I would try and highlight some of the new features that have now been added with this released.

Blast Extreme Protocol

With the update to Blast Extreme, VMware has upgraded the Blast Extreme protocol to the same level as PCoIP and RDP. Now not only will you be able to use the Blast Extreme protocol when connecting via HTML5, but now when you connect to a Virtual desktop or RDSH App using your Horizon client on any device you will be able to connect using the Blast Extreme protocol.

Just as with PCoIP and RDP, Horizon Administrators will be able to configure the Blast Extreme protocol as the default protocol for both desktop and application pools.

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Blast Extreme will not only be available for standard desktop and application pools but also Global pools when configured with Cloud Pod Architecture

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As time permits I will write another blog with more details around the new Blast Extreme protocol so watch this space

VMware Instant Clone Technology

VMware Instant Clones is the long awaited technology that is built on the VMware Fork technology that was previewed at VMworld and VMware has been working on for some time. VMware Instant Clones is helping to create the Just in Time desktop and it allows for a new virtual desktop to be created in seconds and thousands of virtual desktops to be created in a very short time. This is one of the best features of the Horizon 7 release and I believe that Horizon Administrators are going to love creating desktop pools using this new Instant Clone Technology.

For information on configuring the new Horizon Instant Clone technology see my blog here

Cloud Pod Architecture

The two main updates to Cloud Pod Architecture are Scale and Home Site improvements.

I have written two new blogs to cover these new updates you can find them below

Cloud Pod Architecture New Features

Update to How CPA Home Sites Work with Horizon 7

Smart Policies

The new Smart Policies are a way to have more granular control of what users can do when they connect to their virtual desktop or applications. With the first release of Smart Policies you will be able to manage these capabilities based on the following conditions

  • Horizon Conditions
    • View Client Info (IP & Name)
    • Endpoint location (Internal/External)
    • Tags
    • Desktop Pool name
  • Horizon Capabilities
    • Clipboard
    • Client Drive
    • USB
    • Printing
    • PCoIP bandwidth profiles

For more information on these Capabilities see my more detailed blog Here

It should be noted to use Smart Policies you will need Horizon 7 and User Environment Manager 9. You would also need the latest View Agent and Clients installed to take advantage of these new features. The other thing to note is that these policies only work with the PCoIP and BLAST Extreme protocols and not RDP.

Desktop Pool Deletion

The Desktop Pool Deletion feature is often a request from customers to make it possible to stop Administrators from deleting a desktop pool that currently has active desktops with in the pool. With Horizon 6.x and earlier it was possible that an administrator could accidentally delete the wrong desktop pool and all the VM’s with in that pool. This feature when enabled would stop that from happening.

To enable this feature follow the instructions in my blog Here

 

These are just some of the new features that have been released with Horizon 7. For a full list of the new features check out the release notes here.

I also posted this blog on VMware.com here

 

VMware Horizon 7 Home Sites

When VMware released Horizon 6 last year they added the ability to configure Cloud Pod Architecture from with in the management console. The one thing that was missing from the management console was the ability to configure user’s homes sites. I am happy to say that with the release of Horizon 7 you can now configure and manage a user’s home site from with in the management console, making this task much easier.

The following is how you can configure a user’s home site.

  1. From within the console select Users and Groups and then select Home Sites

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  1. Click Add
  2. Search for a user and click Next

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  1. Choose the users Home Site and click Finish

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You can also easily change a user’s home site. Simply select the user and click Edit

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From there you can change the user’s home site.

Cloud Pod Architecture New Features

With the release of VMware Horizon 7 there have been a few changes to Cloud Pod Architecture and all for the good.

The first change is a change to how Home Sites are handled, for more information on this please see my blog here.

The other change is around the sizing of Cloud Pod Architecture, below you will see the changes in numbers between VMware Horizon 6 and VMware Horizon 7

Horizon 6 Horizon 7
Total Number of Sessions 20,000 50,000
Total Number of Sites 2 5
Total Number of Pods 4 25

As you can see there is a significant increase in the number of supported sessions as well as the number of Sites and Pods supported. This will greatly help in growing the large Horizon deployments around the world.

Update to How CPA Home Sites Work with Horizon 7

Several months ago I wrote a blog on how Home Sites work with VMware Horizon 6 Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA), you can find the blog here.

With the release of VMware Horizon 7 the way CPA handles Home Sites has been updated so the users with a Home Site will always receive a Desktop or App even if their Home Site is down.

Lets first review what would happen if a users Home Site was down. As you can see in the diagram below the Connection Brokers would return an issue that their Home Site was not available and the user would not be connected to a desktop.

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Just as with Horizon 6 with Horizon 7 when the users Home Site is available then the user will always receive the desktop from the Home Site as the diagram below shows.

 

Here is where we see a change. Now with Horizon 7 if a users Home Site is off-line then the user will still receive a desktop this time from one of the other sites within the Global Pool. As shown below.

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Once the Home Site comes back on-line the next time the user logs back in they will automatically be given a desktop from the Home Site once again.

 

Upgrading VMware Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture

Some time ago I wrote a Blog describing how to upgrade VMware Horizon with Zero downtime, you can fine the blog here.

Recently I have been asked a number of times if this is still the case if customers are using Cloud Pod Architecture for multi-site deployments.

I can confirm that Yes you can upgrade Horizon View with Zero downtime even if the View Pod is part of a Cloud Pod Architecture. There are however a couple of caveats.

First you must upgrade all the View connection brokers on a single site, don’t upgrade half on one site and then start on the second site, make sure all the view connection servers are at the same install version on site 1 before starting on site 2.

Second be aware that any new features that are part of the upgrade will not be available until all connection servers are upgraded across both sites.

To recap the order to upgrade Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture

  1. Upgrade all Connection servers on Site one, this can be done with Zero Downtime following the Blog above
  2. Upgrade all connection servers on site two, again this can be done with Zero Downtime following the Blog above

For more information you can refer to the product documentation here.