Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s CEO
By Mark Cox
The virtual desktop space is one of the few spaces in which VMware plays that it does not dominate, as it remains second in that segment to long-time market leader Citrix. It does not, however, intend to remain there. On Wednesday, VMware announced VMware Horizon 6, an integrated solution that will deliver published applications and virtual desktops through a single platform.
“This is a direct challenge to Citrix,” said Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s CEO. “Desktop virtualization is a two horse race, and we have been gaining substantially in that space.” VMware, he said, has been growing at a 25 to 40% clip in desktop virtualization and has strengthened itself by hiring a new leader and key people in the space.
“Today’s announcement is the next step in how we expect to become to be the leader over time,” Gelsinger said.
A major strength of VMware Horizon 6 is its new unified management capabilities in which published Windows applications, RDS-based desktops and virtual desktops across devices and locations are centrally managed through a single platform that is an extension of VMware Horizon View. Users can access all applications and desktops from a single unified workspace, which supports – through a single sign-on — the delivery of virtualized applications hosted in the datacenter or locally on the device, web and SaaS applications, RDS hosted applications, and published applications from third party platforms like Citrix XenApp.
The solution’s integration with VMware Virtual SAN provides another key benefit, as the integrated storage management reduces the cost of storage for virtual desktops by using local storage. VMware says it reduces the capital cost of virtual desktops so that it is similar to physical desktops.
“With this unification with our other products – storage, management, desktop-as-a-service – this is the most complete offering in the desktop,” Gelsinger said. “This takes care of all my client needs. I don’t have to pick here and there. I don’t need something different for Android and Windows.”
Other new features in VMware Horizon 6 include new end-to-end visibility and automation from datacenter-to-device. The new VMware vCenterOperations for View provides health and risk monitoring, proactive end-user experience monitoring and deep diagnostics from datacenter-to-device in a single console. Horizon 6 also supports automation and self-service, with the ability to request desktops and applications by using built-in workflows and automated infrastructure provisioning. This closed-loop management and automation is integrated with the vCloud Automation Center management console, making it easier for customers with vCloud Suite to get started with Horizon 6.
VMware Horizon 6 also adds centralized image management for virtual, physical and employee-owned PCs from a single, integrated solution. Using the updated VMware Mirage, IT administrators can design a single desktop with the required operating system and applications, and deliver it to end-users in a department or entire organization based on end-user needs.
Finally, VMware Horizon 6 facilitates hybrid cloud delivery with a new client that seamlessly connects to virtual desktops and applications running in an on-premise cloud, a service provider partner cloud, or through VMware vCloud Hybrid Service with the same, high performance end-user experience, to expand customer choice in infrastructure.
Three new editions of VMware Horizon will be available, starting at $USD 250. Horizon View Standard Edition is the basic package. Horizon Advanced Edition additions include the optimized storage from VMware Virtual SAN, central image management and the unified workspace. Horizon Enterprise Edition features advanced cloud-like automation and management capabilities for hybrid cloud flexibility.
VMware Horizon 6 is expected to be available in Q2 2014 and is licensed per named user or per concurrent user.