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VMware vCOps Now Part of Horizon Suite

VMworld 2013 Barcelona was the End-user Computing conference "par excellence" given the quality of the announcements around EUC. VMware announced the acquisition of Desktone as well as new versions of Horizon View and new technologies added to the Horizon Suite.

Let's start with the latter. Most exciting for me is the addition of VMware vCenter Operations Manager (a.k.a. vCOps) to the Horizon Suite at no additional cost. vCOps enables customers to identify bottlenecks in VDI deployments. Customers that are rolling out VDI solutions are always look at monitoring and reporting tools to identify bottlenecks, but many don't always look to vCOps. That VMware added vCOps to the suite solidifies Horizon Suite's value. It's also smart for VMware, which allows it to have vCOps infiltrate the rest of the infrastructure that vCOPS would otherwise not be monitoring. The idea here is, once you start to use it for VDI and you see it's worth, you might be enticed to roll it out to the rest of the environment. I really applaud VMware on this. It's a fair give-and-take proposition.

A new version of vCOPS, version 5.8, was announced at VMworld and it adds some powerful new features as well has been enhanced. Notable is Intelligent Operations with policy-based automation. The cool thing here is that the automation engine is self-learning and decisive, as it enforces decisions on remediation actions on a continuous basis.

Moving on to some of the Horizon View 5.3 announcements, here are the ones of particular interest to me:

VSAN for View Desktops (Tech Preview)--I think everyone saw this one coming. It's still in beta, but many administrators are very excited about the idea of leveraging VSAN-enabled datastores for use with Horizon View persistent and non-persistent desktops.

GPU Enhanced Support--There are two announcements that I want to highlight here. First is the introduction of the Virtual Dedicated Graphics Accelerator (vDGA) which will allow a 1:1 passthrough connection to a physical GPU installed on the server. It can be useful for power users and it's something customers have been asking about. Second is the support of ATI vSGA. Prior to Horizon 5.3 only NVIDIA support was available for vSGA.

Mirage support for VDI--Finally! I literally screamed finally when I heard it. We can now use Mirage 4.3 to manage VDI desktops. Need I say more?

Windows Server 2008 as a VDI Desktop OS--As you are all aware Microsoft does not have a Service Provider License Agreement for its desktop OSes, but it does have one for its server OSes. Microsoft's insistence on not relaxing the requirements on Windows desktop licenses probably forced VMware's hand here. The idea here is that you can use Windows Server 2008 as a VDI desktop and then theme it to look like Windows 7 or 8 or 9. Users will get a 1:1 connection to the desktop just like with a Windows 7 or 8 VM except they would be using a server operating system with more flexible licenses requirements. I have seen some customers gravitate towards this model.

View Agent Direct Connection (VADC)--This plug-in is cool, very similar to Citrix's HDX Connect. What it allows you to do is install an agent on your physical desktops and gain remote PCoIP access to them. Very handy.

All in all, I am pleased with the EUC announcements that VMware showed off. I still insist that EUC still needs two major features to be complete: an RDSH solution, especially one that addresses seamless applications; and a real MDM/MAM solution. Hopefully, we'll see those come to fruition in the new year.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 10/28/2013 at 5:41 PM


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