What’s New in Horizon 8 (2012)

January 08, 2021

The latest release of Horizon 8 (2012) provides a sharp new console and performance, reliability, and scalability enhancements, including improvements to the general platform, remote experience, Instant Clones, Group Policies, Horizon Agents, and Horizon Clients. Note that Linked Clones and Persistent Disks have been deprecated, as well as Adobe Flash. A new asset has made the scene, “Modernizing VDI for a New Horizon,” which provides detailed migration guidance for upgrading to Horizon 8 (2012).

Watch this video to hear the details from Chris Halstead, EUC Staff Architect at VMware.

Platform Updates for Horizon 8 (2012)

General platform updates include new endpoints for REST APIs, improvements to Helpdesk and Events UI performance, separation of View-API and Horizon Console session timeouts, ability to use public IPs Instead of private addresses, and much more.

New endpoints for Rest API

This release brings you a plethora of new Rest API endpoints that bring improvements, including inventory endpoints, entitlement endpoints, CPA management endpoints, and more. They enable you to set up CPA federations, desktop entitlements, global application entitlements.

To get your hands on them, go to the FQDN of the Horizon server (https://<FQDN>/rest/swagger-ui.html) to explore and test the new API endpoints.


For a detailed introduction to the API, see Using the VMware Horizon Server REST API.

Improvements to Helpdesk and Events UI performance

This release brings new SQL queries and a new API called NewEventSummaryView, which you can use to return event data faster. The Events UI and Helpdesk screens are more responsive because only the data you need is returned, instead of returning everything. For example, a query that used to take 2.5 hours to return event items now takes 2 seconds to return essentially the same data. A huge difference!

Separation of View-API and Horizon Console session timeouts

You now have separate timeout settings. Previously, the Horizon Console timeout was shared with the global View API idle timeout, which is used by PowerShell, Cloud Connector, Skyline, and vROPs. The problem was that if you set Horizon Console to a high value but failed to log out properly, View API would run out of sessions and you often had to log in again. With this improvement, you can now set the Horizon Console timeout and View API timeout separately, giving one more time than the other.

Ability to set the VDI idle disconnect over 10 hours

This new feature enables you to set the Idle Disconnect time for over 10 hours, giving you more flexibility. Previously, the Horizon VDI idle disconnect timer was limited to no more than 10 hours. Now you can use GPO to set the Idle Disconnect time beyond 10 hours, multiple days, up to a week:

Computer – Agent Configuration – Idle Time Until Disconnect (VDI)

Ability to use Public IP Instead of Private Address

In this release, you can now send the Public IP address of the end user instead of sending the private address to the agent to indicate the location of the end user. Not only is this more reliable, but it also results in improved end-user location data at the agent, which is used for tracking, monitoring, or determining geographic location.


This is another enhancement that was ported over from Horizon 7.13.

Benefits from PowerCLI support for PowerShell Core

With this release, you now have cross-platform support for scripts. PowerCLI for Horizon View has now been ported from .Net to .NetCore, giving you cross-platform support for scripts. In the past, you had to run your scripts in Windows. Now you have the option of running your scripts in Windows, macOS, or Linux operating systems. PowerShell 6.0 and above are supported.

Removal of Linked Clones and Persistent Disks

Previous announcements have warned that legacy features are being removed from Horizon. So it won’t be news to you that Horizon 8.1 (aka Horizon 8 2012) no longer supports Linked Clones, Composer, or Persistent Disks at all.


Note that you can explore and test Instant Clones in earlier versions from Horizon 7.13 and develop familiarity with them. If you try to upgrade to Horizon 8 (2012) with an environment that contains Composer, Persistent Disks, or Linked Clone Pools, you will see the following message and the upgrade will fail.


Modernizing VDI for a New Horizon

We’ve provided a blueprint to guide you through the migration process. Included is migration guidance from Persona Management, Persistent Disks, and Linked Clones to a more modern desktop.

For this migration guidance, see Modernizing VDI for a New Horizon.

End of Life for Adobe Flash

Also mentioned previously, Adobe Flash is being end-of-life’d as of December 31st. You can avoid risk by migrating to Horizon 7.13 or later. You must be on Horizon 7.10 to have parity between HTML console and Flex.

For details, see Adobe Flash Player End-of-Life and VMware Horizon.

If you have legacy security servers in Horizon 7.10 or 7.13, you will not be able to manage them in the HTML console. For a script to manage Horizon 7.x Security Servers via the View-API without the FLEX-based Administrator Console, see Horizon 7.x Security Server Management.


What’s New with Instant Clones

The new release now supports the Remote Power Policy for dedicated instant clones. Similar to Linked Clones, you can indicate whether to keep your Instant Clones always powered on, to suspend them, or to power them off.

Support for the VMware Update Manager includes parity issue with linked clones, and it does not support IC without a parent, so it won’t work with vTPM. Instead, you can put the server into maintenance mode manually.

Smart Provisioning includes vGPU defaults to instant clones without parents, and Linux desktops default to smart provisioning.

Changes to Smart Provisioning include vGPU defaults to Instant Clones without parents, as in Horizon 7.13. Also,  Linux Desktops default to Smart Provisioning. Depending on the density, that will determine fate. If greater than 12 desktops per host per cluster, they will go to the new Instant Clones without parents. Pools with a density less than 12 will use traditional Instant Clones.

You can now multi-select C-VDS Port Groups, similar to Horizon 7.13, a new NSX-T port group type.


What’s New with Horizon Console

In the new release, the Horizon Console sports a sharp, new look with improved performance and scalability. Clarity Data grids have been introduced globally and migrated off of Angular JavaScript to native Angular.

Sharp new Horizon Console

Ability to Enable/Disable Application Pools

You can now deactivate access to application pools, which has long been possible for desktop pools in the past. You can deactivate a pool quickly for maintenance using the new enable/disable option, and just as easily activate it again when ready. This option is supported for both VM Hosted Applications and RDSH.

Ability to set a Machine Alias

You can now set a machine alias for dedicated pools, a per-user custom desktop name for assigned users of dedicated desktops and global entitlements. For example, you can name a device “Chris’ Machine” instead of using its full name.

Machine alias

This can be used for dedicated pools and with Cloud Pod desktop Global Entitlements.

Ability to automate log collection

You now have the ability to download log bundles directly from the Horizon Console, including Connection Servers, Desktop Agents, and RDS Agents. This enables centralizing, automating, and collecting logs, which used to be a manual, sometimes daunting process performed by the Administrator.


What’s New with Horizon Agent

This release offers a number of general updates, including support per monitor DPI sync. Sync DPI in live session, which is critical when dynamically closing or plugging in monitors, or changing selective monitors during sessions. While in a live session, just click Use Full Resolution for Retina Display, and it dynamically updates the respective DPI.

Use Full Resolution for Retina Display

Windows Agent

This release supports mis-matched versions of Client and Agent in nested mode, which is especially important in environments such as healthcare that use nested environments. In the past, it was important to keep the agent and client versions matched to do nested hops, such as connecting to desktop, and from the desktop, connecting to a publication application.

Linux Agent

The Linux Agent has improvements to this this release, including support for:

  • Unicode, making it easier to support multiple language, and provides a better experience in high-latency.
  • Ability to display the X Display Number, which in the past was a random number but can now be determined by setting the local configuration file
  • New operating systems for Linux VDI including SLES/SLED 15 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server
  • Ability to resize the window when you connect to Linux remote applications, improving the experience


What’s New with Remote Experience

Enhancements to the remote experience now include:

  • Support for internationalization for URL Content Redirection for use in all supported browsers
  • Support for URL redirection in the Mac client via Microsoft Edge (Chromium)
  • Ability to customize the printer name via GPO, which is available in both Windows and RDSH
  • Ability to set a default printer in the Agent via GPO that redirected printers cannot override
  • Ability to select between multiple audio outputs as well as inputs
  • Support for HID Optimization for USB redirection; signature tablets, pens, and 3D mouses; and improved HID poll rate, all of which results in a reduction in required bandwidth
  • Removal of dependencies, drag and drop / clipboard no longer dependent on Client Drive Redirection being enabled

Microsoft Teams Optimization

Improvements to Microsoft Teams optimization now include:

  • Support for Silk Audio Codec, a Microsoft Teams codec which is also used by Skype for Business for the Microsoft Teams offload
  • Support for an installer for media optimization for Microsoft Teams so instead of having to update the entire agent or client, you can use this easier-to-manage feature pack installer to update the media optimization bits
  • Support for the regular Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) update from Microsoft
  • Video and sharing offload of the Windows client RDSH, which is a port from Horizon 7.13


What’s New with Group Policies

This release brings a multitude of new and enhanced group policy settings include:

  • Do not redirect client printer(s) – Stops client printers from being redirected.
  • Do not change default printer – Stops the VMware Integrated Printing feature from changing the default printer in remote sessions.
  • Printer Name for RDSH Agents – Name is changed to Printer Name Schema, and you can set the redirected names on both RDSH and desktops.
  • Connect all ports automatically – Connects all COM ports automatically, even if no individual group policy settings are enabled.
  • Exclude Automatically Connection Device Family and Exclude Automatically Connection Vid/Pid Device – Enable you to filter the USB devices that are forwarded automatically based on device family or vendor and product ID.
  • Include HID Optimization Vid/Pid Device – Enables you to optimize redirected USB HID devices.
  • View Agent Direct-Connection Plug-in Configuration – Now has a new GPO setting Allow NTLM Fallback for Log On As Current User.
  • Idle Time Until Disconnect (VDI) – Allows you to specify a minimum timeout value of 1 minute and a maximum timeout value of Never after which a desktop session will disconnect due to user inactivity.
  • DPI Synchronization Per Monitor – Adjusts the DPI settings in all monitors to match the client operating system’s DPI setting during a remote session.
  • DPI Synchronization Per Connection – Has been removed.
  • Allow user to skip Horizon Client update, Automatically check for updates, and Update message pop-up – Enable you to customize the Horizon Client for Windows online update feature.
  • Include Outlook-formatted URL in clipboard text – Includes a Microsoft Outlook-formatted invitation URL in clipboard invitation text.

For more details, see Using Group Policy Settings to Configure Horizon Client.


What’s New with Horizon Clients

The new release brings a variety of new features and enhancements to the entire Horizon Client family, including the ability to connect to all ports automatically, support for USB Microscopes redirection, custom USB forwarding, the ability to share time zone data from the client, and much more.

Horizon Clients

Horizon Client for Windows

This release provides Windows 10 2009 support, as well as improvements that include the ability to:

  • Connect all ports automatically via Serial Com Port Redirection via GPO
  • Decouple Serial and Scanner Client and Agent side components, including mismatched versions
  • Run the OPSWAT Media Validation Agent from a local system account; previously ran only under user’s context
  • Copy and paste 1000 files and folders from client to agent and vice versa, including desktops and applications (Windows client only)
  • Maintain one-way trust with login as current user without Kerberos (port from 7.13)

Horizon Client for Linux

As well as improvements to device certificate authentication for the Linux client, the following options are also now supported:

  • Redirecting USB Microscopes
  • URL redirection with Chrome
  • Ability to use a local input method editor with published application (already on Windows and Mac clients, and includes ability to change languages)