VMware Horizon 7.5 brings a solid list of updates – Here’s a rundown

Including updates on JMP automation, extended servicing, Workspace One Intelligence, AWS, Azure, BEAT, GPU options, and universal licenses.

Today, VMware is showing off Horizon 7.5 as well as updates to Horizon Cloud. While we knew about many of these features already, it’s still a solid list any way you look at it:

  • JMP workflow automation is going GA. This was first previewed back at VMworld, and Gabe called it “pretty slick.” It’s only for Horizon 7 for now, but VMware’s Bharath Rangarajan, VP of product management and customer success, told me that the complete workflow will be coming to Horizon Cloud later this year. (They’re still working on pulling in User Environment Manager workflows.)
  • Horizon 7.5 is the first Extended Service Branch of any VMware desktop virtualization product. We knew this was coming, and Rob Beekmans did an overview and compared it to Citrix’s LTSR. The Horizon 7.5 ESB will be supported for two years, and then get 18 months of extended support; new ESBs will come every 18–24 months. For shops that don’t want to worry about the cloud yet and just do their thing, hopefully this should make them happy.
  • Workspace One Intelligence was just release a few weeks ago; today VMware is announcing a tech preview of Horizon integration. It will work with both Horizon 7 and Horizon Cloud.
  • Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS went into Tech Preview in March, and VMware told me that it will go GA sometime this quarter. It just supports full clones for now, but instant clones will be coming.
  • A year ago, we called Horizon Cloud support for workloads in Azure the “Synergy Thunder Stealer.” Support for RDS apps and desktops was released last fall; support for VDI is going GA today.
  • Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport (BEAT) has been around for a while, but now Horizon Clients can automatically choose the transport in real time.
  • Horizon Cloud GPU support is expanding to now include beta support for NVIDIA vGPUs in IBM SoftLayer, plus support for workstations in Azure.
  • VMware is creating a new Horizon Universal License that can be used for both Horizon 7 and Horizon Cloud. (The recently-created Workspace One Enterprise for VDI SKU also has similar rights for both on-premises and cloud.)

One of the main goals in the Horizon roadmap is to bring feature parity between Horizon Cloud and Horizon 7. That’s a big task, considering that they were different products to begin with and use different infrastructures for the workloads, but it’s something we’ll keep following. Certainly some shops would be happy to get out of the business of managing Horizon 7 infrastructure, but still need to wait for certain features. (Well, there’s an idea for another post!)

Bharath told me that many of their customer engagements are happening in the context of broader workspace transformation conversations (i.e. alongside Windows 10 management from the cloud, identity management, Mac management, workflow apps, EMM, etc.) and some of these conversations involve net-new desktop virtualization deployments, spurred on by the broader changes. This is just one vendor-supplied data point, but it goes along with the vision we’ve been talking about for years—devices get more diverse and abstract; Win32 apps head to the cloud or datacenter. It’s just the start, but it’s encouraging.

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