Virtual Desktops

VMware Horizon 8 Adds Instant Cloning, More Cloud Support

VMware has introduced updates to its flagship virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform with the introduction of Horizon 8, as well as new additions to its VMware Workspace ONE, its digital workspace platform.

VMware Horizon 8 is designed to help IT organizations more efficiently manage and scale virtual desktop and application delivery across public and private clouds from a single control panel. The company said that new capabilities would include:

  • More hybrid and multi-cloud deployment options, covering Google Cloud VMware Engine, Horizon on VMware Cloud on Dell EMC and Horizon on Azure VMware Solution.

  • New instant clone capabilities previously only available in pricier editions of Horizon 7. This kind of provisioning helps IT directly provision "instant" clones without requiring a parent virtual machine, thereby freeing up memory resources and increasing the number of desktops possible per host, reducing costs.

  • New RESTful APIs, to help IT in automating capabilities of Horizon 8, including monitoring, entitlements, and user and machine management.

  • Optimized support for Microsoft Teams video and audio, and continued support for Zoom and Cisco WebEx, to deliver a better user experience from virtual desktops.

  • The ability to publish Linux applications directly from a Linux server in the Horizon platform, reducing the costs associated with licenses from other operating systems.

The company said that Horizon 8 would help IT "deliver more secure virtual workspaces," by letting them establish and verify end user identity with built-in multi-factor authentication and enabling conditional access policies for virtual desktops and applications.

IDC Research Manager Shannon Kalvar said in a press release that "unifying physical device management (including PCs, Chromebooks and phones), digital workspace creation/operations and client workspace security into the overall platform is an attractive proposition for customers that are already invested in it."

At West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey, which is using VMware Horizon for virtual desktops for remote learning, students, faculty and staff can get "the same experience at home as they would have on site," said Harry Doctor, technology manager. "In response to COVID-19, it was crucial to support 1:1 computing with Chromebooks for every student in grades 5-12," he noted. "With Horizon, we’re able to keep students engaged with a robust array of teaching and learning tools that would be difficult to access using Chromebooks alone."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.