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VMware Horizon Cloud Virtual Clients To Run on Microsoft Azure

VMware is bringing its new Horizon Cloud virtual app and desktop as a service to Microsoft Azure later this year. Microsoft Azure will represent the largest and only the second public cloud service available to date for Horizon Cloud customers.

By bringing Horizon Cloud to Azure, which VMware announced on Tuesday, customers will have another option for running managed apps and desktops in Microsoft's public cloud when it launches in the second half of this year. Rival Citrix Systems, which is set to have its annual Synergy technology conference in Orlando, Fla. next week, nearly a year ago launched a virtual client Windows-as-a-service offering hosted on Microsoft Azure as part of a broad partnership between those two companies.

While VMware last year announced plans to offer cross-cloud management services on Microsoft Azure and other large public clouds, the plan to add Horizon Cloud to the mix gives the burgeoning service a broader set of infrastructure flexibility, said Courtney Burry, VMware's senior director of marketing.

"We often see customers requiring fully cloud-hosted desktops and, while they can take advantage of what we have available today with Horizon Cloud and IBM SoftLayer, obviously lots of customers are moving toward Azure," Burry said.  "We want to make sure we support those customers with the ability to manage that Azure infrastructure and manage those applications through that common cloud control plane and take advantage of those different deployment models."

Burry said one of the notably appealing benefits of Microsoft Azure is the availability of sub-hourly billing and its global datacenter footprint. Customers running Horizon Cloud in Azure will be able to use some of its other attributes, such as federated access into Azure Active Directory and a common management interface.

A customer will have the option to connect Azure infrastructure with the Horizon Cloud control plane, letting VMware manage desktops, apps and the entire infrastructure through that control plane. "Unlike our IBM model, in which a customer would come and buy the infrastructure and the desktops and apps through VMware, this provides customers with the flexibility that they have when using Azure today," said Burry.

Horizon Cloud, the outgrowth of the company's Horizon Air virtual desktop service, was launched earlier this year as part of VMware's Workspace One portfolio, initially supporting IBM's SoftLayer as its only public cloud provider. Customers can also run Horizon Cloud on the VX Rail hyper-converged infrastructure from its parent company Dell EMC, as well as hyper-converged infrastructure from Quanta and Hitachi Data Systems.

VMware launched Horizon Cloud with the goal of upping the performance and functionality of virtual clients by offering them on a common backplane. Horizon Cloud provides a common platform for managing virtual clients, devices and system images with common monitoring and reporting and service updates. In addition to the Horizon DaaS, Horizon Cloud  includes the new Horizon Apps, which delivers published SaaS and mobile apps to the workspace.

Horizon Cloud's new Just-in-Time Management Platform (JMP) can offer real-time app delivery, rapid provisioning of virtual desktops and contextual policy management, according to the company. VMware also has touted Horizon Cloud's new Digital Workspace Experience with BEAT (Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport), its new UDP-based network link designed to optimize user experiences regardless of network conditions, making it suitable for low-bandwidth, high-latency and high-packet loss.

Horizon Cloud is designed to let organization provision fully featured PC desktops and applications running either solely in the public cloud or they can run the hyper-converged infrastructure and scale to the public cloud.

Initially, the Azure-hosted Horizon Cloud service will support the virtual desktop offering, with the app service set to follow. Burry also said the release of the Skype for Business option for Horizon Cloud, announced last fall, is imminent.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/17/2017 at 5:12 PM


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