|VMware Guest Blog by Jim McHugh, Vice President, Marketing, Cisco Unified Computing System
Last week’s announcement at VMware highlights the continued innovation seen in the end-user computing space, and how important our virtualized or remoted desktop and application solutions are to delivering enterprise workspace mobility, security and business agility.
Industry-Leading Desktop Virtualization
Delivering virtualized or remoted desktops and applications with an exceptional user experience that scales, is central to what
Cisco and VMware have a long, distinguished history of collaboration in delivering a complete solution for virtual desktop implementers and their end users.
The Results Speak for Themselves
I’m especially pleased with how our joint solution has delivered industry-leading results. If you check out the infographic shown here, you’ll see just a couple proof points of how Cisco UCS with VMware Horizon (with View) has dramatically moved the needle in terms of TCO, performance and end-user experience.
Our joint customers are using this industry-leading solution to:
Why is Cisco UCS the Best Compute Platform for Desktop Virtualization?
The roster of testimonials in support of the Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution is growing at a rapid clip. Some great proof points of this success can be found in the case studies we’ve published, across a wide array of industry verticals and deployment scenarios.
Core to the success of these deployments is Cisco UCS. Why? If you’ve followed our journey that started five years ago, you already know that we created a compute platform purpose-built for scalable, high-performance virtualization, free of the limitations and encumbrances of traditional compute architectures. For VDI and app delivery, Cisco UCS offers the perfect balance of:
Congratulations to VMware on the release of Horizon 6. Our companies have jointly set our sights on driving success for our customers with desktop and app virtualization. Our joint solution founded on Cisco UCS and VMware Horizon is enabling our customers to embrace the transformation of their desktops and applications into mobile workspaces, and we look forward to continued joint innovation in this space.
For more information, please visit www.cisco.com/go/vdivmware
|VMware Guest Blog by Nick Pandher, Professional Graphics Business Development, AMD
AMD is improving user experiences across a wide variety of platforms including VMware Horizon 6. AMD designs and integrates technology for the new era of computing. AMD technology powers all the leading consumer gaming console solutions ensuring our GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) technology leadership. In the professional graphics market we deliver high performance GPU-based compute solutions using open standards like OpenCL while also delivering industry-leading SPECviewperf 12 performance for workstation graphics solutions. At AMD we want to deliver enterprise-ready GPU technologies not just to standalone workstations and servers but also to users of Horizon 6.
AMD GPU products drive a better user experience for desktop and application delivery. Horizon 6 perfectly blends the needs of the enterprise with a great end-user experience, enhancing that user experience In Horizon 6 with GPU technology is a key area AMD is focusing on.
You may not have heard of AMD GPUs being used in VMware Horizon products. Let’s clarify that right now. AMD has a fully certified vSphere 5.5 solution with vSGA (virtual shared graphics acceleration) graphics delivery. Plus we are investing further to bring even more capabilities to Horizon 6 and current VMware View users.
AMD offers products to address the needs of Horizon 6 users. Our FirePro S Series products provide data center-ready GPUs and when combined with our Sky Technology software we deliver a solution that is ready for vSphere and Horizon. Our workstation AMD FirePro product range will also be enabled to support workstation use cases in Horizon 6 environments.
vSGA: Shared Graphics for Knowledge Worker Users
With AMD FirePro S series you can afford to deploy our entry level AMD FirePro S7000 on ALL VDI servers ensuring user satisfaction on Horizon deployments.
|Along with our major announcement of VMware Horizon 6 Wednesday, VMware have announced VMware Mirage 5.0!
We’ve been working hard to support various new and exciting features. With Mirage 5.0 we continue with our unified image management support for the latest Windows operating system – Windows 8.1. IT can use VMware Mirage to migrate their end user’s existing Windows 7 devices onto Windows 8.1 The dynamic layering flexibility that Mirage customers are used to with Windows XP, Vista, and 7 has now been extended to support Windows 8.1. And with our previous Mirage 4.4 release, Windows 8 and 8.1 devices could be protected with automated backup and full system recovery options. We also introduced the Mirage Gateway in 4.4. We’ve been enhancing the Mirage Gateway for higher scalability and performance across distributed environments. Let’s take a look at these Mirage 5.0 features more in-depth:
Mirage 5.0 will be generally available soon. If you have a next-generation environment that supports Windows 8.1, you’ll definitely want to give Mirage 5.0 a try! For more updates, please visit us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or discuss in our Communities.
By Sachin Sharma, Product Marketing Manager, End-User Computing, VMware
Cloud Pod Architecture and Multi-Data-Center View in Horizon 6
One of the key features of the Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture is the high availability and scale-out of virtual desktops in VMware Horizon 6. Many of you may have heard about this feature referred to as Linked-Mode View or Multi-Data-Center View or Federated View Pods. All of these mean the same thing.
Today, virtual desktops provided by Horizon can be deployed using a block and pod architecture, or design. (Refer to sections titled View Building Blocks and View Pods in the View Architecture Planning Guide.) A single View pod can contain up to five View blocks, can scale up to 10,000 (10K) desktops, and can be deployed in a single data center. Customers looking to scale beyond 10K desktops can deploy multiple View pods. However, each View pod is an independent entity that has its own user entitlements and is managed separately. With the new Horizon 6 Cloud Pod Architecture, customers can aggregate multiple View pods in either the same data center or different data centers and entitle users to a desktop in any location.
Now, let’s look at an example that describes this feature in its entirety. Figure 1 below shows two View pods—Pod 1 and Pod 2. Pod 1 is located in a data center in the United States, and Pod 2 is located in a data center in India. Each pod has two connection brokers—VCS1 and VCS2 in Pod 1, VCS3 and VCS4 in Pod 2. Both Pod 1 and Pod 2 maintain their own user entitlements, which provide a mapping of an end user to a virtual desktop in the respective pod. The new architecture in Horizon 6 introduces two new elements:
This new architecture provides three major benefits:
Figure 1: Cloud Pod Architecture with Pod 1 in U.S. and Pod 2 in India
Brokering a Desktop in a Cloud Pod Architecture
Figure 1 conceptually illustrates how two View pods can be used to entitle users to desktops in different data centers. Brokering a desktop to a user who logs in from any location follows the simple workflow below:
1. The end user enters the URL or IP address for their View environment, which can be an address of a View Connection Server (broker) or a load balancer, and enters their credentials.
2. The broker looks up both local and global entitlements for the user.
3. The broker gets the current desktop state via inter-pod protocol and returns a list of desktops to the client.
4. The user selects a desktop.
5. If the desktop is remote, the broker launches the remote desktop via inter-pod protocol.
6. The client connects to the remote desktop directly or via a local tunnel.
The top use cases for end-user desktop access are as follows:
The global entitlement layer controls the mapping of end users to desktops in a Cloud Pod Architecture. Global entitlement consists of a set of parameters as shown in Figure 2:
Figure 2: Global Entitlement in the Cloud Pod Architecture
Following are the various parameters of global entitlement:
The scope can be one of:
The search order favors local resources, starting in the same pod that the user connected to, then extending to the same site, and then across the entire linked environment. In addition to this default search order, administrators can nominate a home site for a single user or for a group of users. When a global entitlement has the FromHome policy set, the search for a new desktop is started in the user’s home site and not the current connected pod. This ensures that, where needed, the desktop session remains close to any backend resources it needs.
Scale Limits and Maximums
The Cloud Pod Architecture was developed with the goal of scaling View desktop deployments to hundreds of data centers and tens of thousands of desktops. To deliver this capability in time for product launch, the VMware team has done a phenomenal job of validating this feature by focusing the testing efforts on the following scale-out parameters:
This scale is just the beginning, and the team at VMware is committed to increasing these numbers over the next few releases.
A number of architectural assumptions have been made in delivering this feature:
As you can see, the Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture further advances end-user mobility by delivering desktops from any data center in any geographic location. This is just the beginning of the journey to the hybrid DaaS era!
By Narasimha Krishnakumar, Director, Product Management, End-User Computing, VMware
|By Warren Ponder, Director of Product Management, End-User Computing, VMware and Pat Lee, Director of End-User Clients, End-User Computing, VMwareToday, I am really excited to share another exciting project I was to be asked to support our team in delivering, with the announcement of Horizon 6. One of the many new capabilities that will be available is application remoting of RDS hosted apps and extended capabilities for RDS based desktops.
There’s been some speculation and many experts have had some really good questions about how, what and why we are doing this so I wanted to provide some color to many of the questions I know people have.
Why Application Remoting now?
Several factors came into play in our decision but the primary factor was customer demand. We spent a lot of time with customers across the globe that included all sizes, levels of expertise, and stages of their journey toward a mobile-cloud vision. We didn’t focus on what we already knew about application remoting, but how customers were actually using app remoting today – what they like, don’t like, and the role they see it playing in the future. We wanted to make sure we understood how their needs around app remoting had evolved so we could introduce the appropriate improvements.
With the increase of mobile devices and cloud services, the mobile-cloud era is upon us. It’s changing the landscape. More than ever customers are looking for simplicity and converged infrastructure. They look to VMware as a strategic partner to deliver SDDC and EUC capabilities supporting their Hybrid Cloud efforts. Working closely with customers it was made clear to us that delivering a single platform that converges virtual desktops, RDS hosted apps, SaaS apps, virtualized ThinApps and even third party solutions such as Citrix XenApp is what customers needed to be successful. This all needs to be possible though a unified workspace that gives their users one place to go for access and consumption.
Building upon what we already have
Some have speculated it would take years for us to build anything serious but that was not the case when adding this capability into VMware Horizon 6 because we had most of what was needed to support App Remoting for some time. Let’s take a look at some of the key components for on-prem or hybrid cloud deployments supporting app remoting:
Integration with RDSH (Remote Desktop Session Host)
Support for RDS or Terminal Server based desktops has always existed in Horizon View. Expanding upon our existing support, we worked closely with Microsoft to build our own protocol provider for RDS. With our own protocol provider we are able to integrate our graphics and protocol stacks such as Blast with PCoIP. This also allows us to eventually enable other remoting capabilities we provide with the Blast user experience on virtual desktops
This is the only proper, supported, way to integrate with Microsoft RDS. Although it’s not an easy undertaking, it provides several benefits. Windows OS and other capabilities unique to RDSH like fair share CPU scheduling, or IP virtualization are all supported. Applications that need session level information, leveraging WTS API’s all work without ISV’s having to do anything special or unfamiliar. Administrators familiar with managing or designing RDSH based desktop or app remoting solutions will feel right at home.
Providing a seamless remoted app experience
A key component of remoting apps is seamless windows. This is the ability to remote one or more applications to the user. Applications should have the behavior and experience of running locally. Two of our personal desktop products, Fusion and Workstation have provided a similar feature for years called Unity. Unity seamlessly integrates applications running in a local VM with the host operating system. Building upon this, we extended it to remotely display applications across networks.
Today, we bring all of our experience making Windows apps run well on multiple platforms with Horizon 6 and deliver an amazing Windows remote application experience for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android users.
From Windows XP SP3 to Windows 8.1 Update 1, the Windows client delivers a great remote application experience for Windows users. With individual applications that have seamless windows in the task bar, jumplist integration and favorites, and the ability to save desktop shortcuts for apps and desktops, the Windows client makes it’s easy to get to your apps and desktops when you want them.
Mac users get the most seamless way to run remote Windows applications. Use common Mac keyboard shortcuts for cut, copy, and paste. Windows applications show up as individual applications on the dock and you can quit individual Windows applications or open windows using standard Mac keyboard shortcuts. Finally, you can leverage Mission Control to switch to any open Windows application or
window and much more.
On iOS and Android, swipe to bring up the intuitive sidebar to switch between open application windows, close a specific open window or application, or easily open a new application.
Integration across Horizon 6
Integration with VMware View is seamless and strait forward. Customers can upgrade existing environments and instantly have the ability to remote RDSH hosted desktops or apps. The only thing needed is the RDSH servers.
View provides ability to create farms, which are groups of RDSH servers hosting apps or desktops. Within View, app pools are created and used to organize application entitlement for users or groups. App Pools can be created automatically using applications discovered across farms. Unique apps that are not registered or started using scripts can also be created manually. Apps can mixed with hosts serving RDSH desktops. Apps can come from multiple farms and a user can also access multiple apps simultaneously.
Users will be able to access their RDS hosted apps or desktops using devices from our broad ecosystem of device partners and the Horizon Client for Windows, Mac, iOS or Android. A client for Linux will also be available soon.
A unified workspace is possible though Horizon Workspace integration. Users can access their SaaS, ThinApps, RDS hosted apps, even apps from Citrix XenApp from one, unified workspace that provides a consistent experience across any device.
Need some management? The vCenter Operations team has expanded vCenter operations to include support for RDSH hosts, including integration with PCoIP stats monitoring on a per session basis from RDSH.
In support of our hybrid cloud delivery, all components of Horizon 6 have been built with a focus on flexibility to ensure that customers can choose on-premise or off-premise or both to deliver a common and consistent experience to their end users from a single Horizon client.
As you can see, a lot of work went into adding this capability to Horizon 6 but we truly believe customers will find that our unified approach and support for all types of applications and desktops can save them time, money and spare them a lot of headaches.
One of the most common things every design document has is a conceptual diagram showing how the entire solution fits together. Citrix XenApp 7.5 and Citrix XenDesktop 7.5 is no different.
If you looked at the XenApp 7.5 and XenDesktop 7.5 blueprint blog, you would have seen a new conceptual diagram based on the Citrix 5-layer model (Users, Access, Resources, Control and Hardware).
The good news is that I’ve put all of these images into a new Microsoft Visio stencil. But it gets better!!!
Daniel Feller – Lead Architect receives a lot of emails from Citrix architects and admins who want the Visio diagram in addition to the stencil. Daniel end up sending these out because it saves many of you a lot of time so you don’t have to recreate the wheel (I mean diagram). So Daniel started to think about how I can make the diagram available to everyone as well. Eureka!
Simply make the diagram into a stencil!!! So simple and it works
So when you download the Visio stencil, the first two items will be the Conceptual and Detailed Architecture diagrams.
Get your hands on the new stencils:
AWS Launches Cloud VDI Service
Amazon officially enters the desktop virtualisation market with the release of its new WorkSpaces
Amazon Web Services has finally caught up with its rivals in regards to virtual desktop implementations (VDI).
It’s a strange fact that AWS, so far ahead of the curve in hosted cloud services that most other competitors can’t even see its dust, was so equally far behind a slew of other companies — such as Dell Wyse, VMware, Moka Five,nComputing, and Hewlett-Packard — in a sector that is some 15 years old.
In truth, the VDI business has always had some type of nagging problem shadowing it over the years: expense, management complexity, latency, and implementation difficulties being foremost among them. Only in the last few years have most of these issues been solved.
With this as background, AWS on 26 March announced the general availability of Amazon WorkSpaces, a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud that was originally introduced in limited preview at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas last November.
At the same time, Amazon made it a point to talk trash about private clouds – which, according to a number of industry studies, are now the most popular type of cloud being built.
“All the things you have to spend a lot of money for in a private cloud – security, full automation, monitoring, many other things – we already have at AWS,” Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services Vice President for Cloud Services, told about 4,000 attendees at an AWS Summit in San Francisco.
Jassy also cited a recent Forrester Research paper that concluded that “92 percent of private clouds are still falling short of the core requirements of self-service, full automation, tracking and monitoring.”
“If you’re not planning on using the public cloud in some significant fashion, you will be at a significant competitive disadvantage,” Jassy said. “Private clouds offer none of the benefits of a robust public cloud and are simply a stopgap solution.”
One enticement for WorkSpaces will that it will cost about half that of current VDI systems, Jassy said. Go here for more details.
AWS said the service will work on a number of devices and will allow users to seamlessly move their sessions between desktops, tablets and smartphones. Amazon provided a pricing guide showing a range of $35 (£21) to $75 (£45) per workspace used per month. There is no upfront fee and Workspaces can be added or deleted on a monthly basis.
The desktop virtualisation offering marks a departure for AWS in that the company’s traditional offerings focused on replacing traditional data centre operations, but WorkSpaces offers a direct inroad to customer-device management.
“We believe that eventually very few enterprises will run their own data centres,” Jassy said. “That guides our approach in how we build. We will meet enterprises where they are now, but we will make it simple to transition to where the future workloads will be, in the cloud.”
VDI technology, which stumbled for a few years until some of its inherent problems were solved, is a hot sector again. Earlier this month, VMware launched its Horizon DaaS (desktop as a service), a new cloud-based service that it claims delivers cost-effective, enterprise-class virtual desktops running on VMware vCloud Hybrid Service.
Pivot3, a leading supplier of video surveillance and virtual desktop (VDI) converged storage appliances, announced a set of graphics acceleration offerings for its vSTAC R2S desktop virtualization (VDI) solutions suite. The three-tier offerings, designed for the complexities of virtualized environments, deliver a richer graphics experience for desktops running on vSTAC R2S and vSTAC R2S P Cubed appliances.
These partner-certified and tested graphics acceleration offerings deliver a streamlined user experience by maximizing graphics operations and display times. By incorporating powerful performance and graphics processing offload cards, users with advanced multimedia, workstation, or graphics-intensive application needs are assured maximum desktop density.
“Desktop administrators need to provide a PC-equivalent or better desktop experience to users, especially Power Users, to gain the most benefit from VDI environments,” said Olivier Thierry, CMO, Pivot3. “With additional offload graphics computing power and performance, Pivot3 vSTAC R2S appliances can now support users in need of graphics intensive application support. In addition, the ability for us to offer this feature set on the same appliance allows customers maximum flexibility and affordability, allowing users to add what they need to their existing configurations without moving to a different family of products.”
NVIDIA GRID technology delivers the ability to offload graphics processing from the central processing unit (CPU) to the graphics processing unit (GPU) in virtualized environments, allowing the data center manager to deliver graphics-rich experiences to users.
“NVIDIA GRID enables graphics-rich applications to have workstation-class performance and reliability from any location on almost any device,” said Justin Boitano, GM NVIDIA GRID Business. “When combined with our GRID solution, the VDI infrastructure delivered by Pivot3 allows organizations to take their VDI deployments to an entirely new level, and deliver rich media and graphic applications with exceptional performance.”
The Teradici® PCoIP® Hardware Accelerator (APEX 2800) reduces CPU overhead by offloading the most active 100 virtual displays to ensure its capabilities are used where most needed. In the process, the server consolidation ratio increases up to 2x.
“One of our primary goals is to deliver the same rich graphics experience in virtualized environments that today’s users are accustomed to with physical workstations,” said Olivier Favre, Director of Product Management, Teradici. “When paired with a GPU in VMware® Horizon View™ environments, the Teradici PCoIP Hardware Accelerator offloads screen compression cycles from the CPU to ensure uncompromised visual computing performance, dynamically across all users. We’re excited to extend our partnership with Pivot3, to improve scalability and drive more benefits to customers around the globe.”
Microsoft Releases VDI ‘Starter Kit’ as Preview
Microsoft on Wednesday released a preview version of a new tool, dubbed Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Starter Kit 1.0,
which lets organizations test VDI scenarios using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) protocol.
The kit is only for testing purposes, and should not be used for production environments. The kit "complements" the
management console and wizards used with the RDS server role of Windows Server 2012 R2, according to Microsoft’s
announcement. It comes with a couple of applications, Calculator and WordPad, for testing virtual desktop access scenarios.
The final Starter Kit product is scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year. In the meantime, the preview can be
downloaded at this page.
The kit consists of PowerShell scripts that automate VDI deployments using Microsoft’s RDS protocol (formerly known as
"Terminal Services"). It deploys the Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS server-role components needed, including the connection broker,
session host, virtualization host and Web access components. It can be used with various virtual desktop "collections," including
personal, pooled or session-based ones.
Microsoft defines "a collection" as a group of servers that are managed together as part of a virtual machine (VM) deployment,
according to this TechNet Magazine article. The session-based collections are used for "desktop sessions and RemoteApps housed
on RD Session Host servers." The pooled and personal collections are used for "VM-based desktop sessions and RemoteApps
housed on VMs running Windows 7 or Windows 8."
Microsoft’s RemoteApps technology is a bit different in that the applications are accessed from a window on the end user’s local
machine, according to this TechNet library overview description.
The kit includes configuration settings for VDI deployments, which are contained in an XML file. Testers can modify the file to suit
their needs. For instance, it’s possible to alter the settings to expand from the default number of collections that are preconfigured
with the kit.
The lab environment needed to use the kit requires Windows Server 2012 R2 plus Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 clients, along with two
physical servers. There are some required initial setup steps, too, according Microsoft’s "Part 2" description of the kit. The kit comes
with a "readme" file that provides details about the architecture needed, as well as a deployment guide.
VMware announce the availability of VMware Horizon DaaS, built on vCloud Hybrid Service. VMware Horizon DaaS provides Windows desktops and applications as a cloud service, to any device, anywhere, with a predictable monthly subscription.
The demand for cloud-hosted virtual desktops has reached a tipping point. We’re seeing a variety of factors contribute to this demand. End users are more diverse than ever before and they want to work from anywhere, on any device. IT is under a ton of pressure to enable this diverse, mobile workforce to get work done and that means being able to access corporate data, applications and resources. It’s now IT’s job to balance these requirements with security, operational simplicity and at the same time control cost.
Virtual desktops have emerged as a great solution as they enable desktops to be centrally located, yet accessed from anywhere on any device. Yet for many customers, on-premise virtual desktop infrastructure does not meet their needs. They may not have the upfront capital to get up and running, or the IT skills to deploy and operate the infrastructure. Or they lack the agility to get from zero to desktop in days versus months.
That’s where Horizon DaaS comes in. Horizon DaaS enables IT to move towards an OPEX model that eliminates capital outlay and enables them to pay only for what they use. Since VMware provides the support and management of the underlying DaaS infrastructure, minimal expertise is required. And with a cloud service, you gain the flexibility to scale up/down as business needs change.
Customer requirements for DaaS
With DaaS garnering so much attention, many providers are trying to stake claim to delivering desktops-as-a-service. Don’t be fooled. Having pioneered the concept of desktop-as-a-service in 2007, we know from customers that to deliver a successful DaaS offering, you need to:
- Deliver a great end user experience on any device
- Provide access to genuine Windows Client desktops
- Build your service from the ground up for the cloud
- Provide enterprise grade service and support
Market-leading DaaS with Horizon DaaS
Only VMware Horizon DaaS delivers on all of these requirements:
- Adaptive end-user experience – Through the power of Horizon View Client and Blast, Horizon DaaS provides a premium experience that adapts to changing network conditions. And we support access from any device, whether it be a zero client, thin client, PC, Mac, tablet, phone or even from a browser or Google Chromebook. And we make it easy to access Windows desktops from a mobile device with features such as gestures and easy access to frequently used files and applications. It’s the reason why Gartner recently recognized Horizon View Client for delivering a great experience from any device, anywhere.
- Full Windows Client virtual desktops – Although Horizon DaaS provides Windows Server hosted desktops like other vendors in the marketplace; our experience has told us that customers prefer full Windows Client virtual desktop. With Windows Client desktops on Horizon DaaS we can provide the end-user experience, application compatibility, and security that enterprises require.
- Built for the cloud from the ground up – While other vendors have tried to stitch their on-premise VDI products together, put them in the cloud and call them DaaS, Horizon DaaS was built for cloud from the get go. It’s built on a multi-tenant grid architecture that was designed for cloud-scale.
- Enterprise-grade service, support, and SLA – Feedback from our customers is clear: they expect enterprise-grade service and they want to know that when they have an issue they can get someone on the phone to help them 24×7. With VMware Horizon DaaS you gain access to the proven expertise of specialists that know how to run cloud-hosted desktops at scale with integrated 24×7 phone support and a 99.9% SLA.
And with VMware, customers get access to the only vendor that can deliver hybrid DaaS: on-premise and cloud-hosted virtual desktops. IT gets greater flexibility to choose the option that works best for them, while providing end users a single client that spans any cloud.
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