Friday, June 6, 2014

Desktop Virtualization and VMware Horizon View basics

What is Desktop Virtualization ?

Like in server virtualization, Operating system is abstracted from the physical hardware and hardware resource like CPU and Memory can be distributed to multiple Operating Systems, similarly in Desktop Virtualization, the desktop operating system like Windows 7 or Windows 8 are virtualized and centrally managed. These Virtualized desktops are accessed through client (plugin), which can be installed on any endpoints like Desktop, Laptop, thin client, zero client, tabs, mobile running any OS like Windows, iOS, Android or Linux. This gives lot of flexibility for users to work from anywhere, anytime and through any device without compromising on company security as the complete virtualized desktops are centrally managed. All the policies can be applied on desktops or groups of desktops and you decide what users see on their desktops.

Similarly Application Virtualization is abstraction of application from operating system. Vmware ThinApp encapsulates application and further it can streamed or published to any Virtual Desktop. One of the best application I can think of is running IE6 on Windows 7.

Currently there are two major competitors Vmware Horizon View/ThinApp and Citrix Xendesktop/ XenApp, both are leaders in magic quadrant. Other Desktop virtualization solutions include MS VDI and Redhat VDI. Everyone has different approach to achieve the same outcome, few are complex to setup and complex to use. I will try to cover the basic architecture of Vmware Horizon View for desktop virtualization

There are lot of components involved to achieve complete desktop virtualization solution, I will just touch base to setup normal desktop virtualization with minimum components. The Desktop Virtualization infrastructure sits on top of server virtualization (ESXi hosts and vCenter). The Connection server interacts with vCenter Server to deploy any virtual desktop through templates or linked clones (VMware composer). These desktop images (template) needs to have view agent, and the end points(laptop, thin client, ipad etc) needs to have a view client.

Components Description:

vSphere ESXi - Host to run Virtual Desktops or other virtual machines.
vCenter Server - Management software to manage all ESXi hosts and Virtual Machines.
Connection Server (View Manager) - Broker, which provisions desktops on ESXi hosts through vCenter Server. It connects the end users to their respective virtual desktops.
ThinApp - Application virtualization, applications could be streamed separately along with Virtual Desktops
VMware composer - Works along with connection server & vCenter Server and with the help linked clone create multiple  virtual desktops in minutes.


I hope the post was helpful in understanding the basics of desktop virtualization and basic understanding of VMware horizon view architecture.