What’s New in VMware Horizon Version 8, App Volumes, and Dynamic Environment Manager (2103)

March 22, 2021

It’s that time of year again—a newly updated version of VMware Horizon 8 (2103). Lots of new features and enhancements to improve your experience.

The following embedded video describes what’s new in VMware Horizon 8 (2103):

Platform Updates

Platform updates include support for new REST API endpoints, PostgreSQL support for EventsDB, and federated access groups.

New REST API endpoints

Enhancements and improvements to REST API for Horizon 2103 include the following new endpoints:

Inventory: Farms

  • v2 version of List, including all properties (with Pagination/Filters)
  • v2 version of Get, including all properties 
  • Create farm
  • Update farm
  • Delete farm
  • Check name availability

Inventory: Application Pools

  • v3 version of List, adding cloud brokered property
  • v3 version of Get, adding cloud brokered property
  • v2 version of Create, adding cloud brokered property
  • v2 version of Update, adding cloud brokered property
  • Create association of application icon
  • Remove association of application icon
  • Check name availability

Inventory: Desktop Pools

  • v4 version of List, adding cloud brokered property (RDS pools only)
  • v4 version of Get, adding cloud brokered property (RDS pools only)
  • Check name availability

Inventory: Application Icons

  • Create application icon

Config: Access Groups

  • List Access groups
  • Get an Access group

External: Datastore and Datastore Cluster

  • List Datastore clusters
  • Compute Datastore requirement

To learn more about the Horizon Server REST API, explore API endpoints, test, and more, you can use the Swagger open-source tools locally at (https://FQDN/rest/swagger-ui.html). See also the Getting Started with Swagger.

For more information, see Using the VMware Horizon Server REST API.

PostgreSQL support for EventsDB

You can use PostgreSQL 12.x as a database source for the Horizon EventsDB. PostgreSQL 12.x is a mature open-source database with an active development cycle and a strong community. This eliminates the need for costly Oracle or Microsoft SQL servers.

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Federated access groups

You get more granular role-based access control (RBAC) for global entitlements for federation access groups for delegated administration of global entitlements and global sessions.

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Instant Clones

When creating an instant-clone desktop pool, you can specify a list of machine names, and indicate whether the pools are floating or dedicated. On dedicated pools, you can specify a user to entitle the desktop to, which reaches parity between instant and linked clones in Horizon 2103.

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Horizon Console

Enhancements to the Horizon Console include:

  • Horizon Console Updates. Allows you to add domains that do not have a formal trust relationship with the Connection Server domain, and to create entitlements from users / groups in untrusted domains, and to create desktop and application pools in untrusted domains via instant clone domain accounts.
  • Warning for Horizon 5.x clients. Displays a warning message to end users that their client is out of date. The message is from the broker rather than from the client. Global client restrictions settings include a warning for Horizon Client version 5.5.0.
  • Deprecated: Horizon 5.X clients will no longer be supported when connecting to Horizon 8 broker.

Horizon Agent

Improvements to both Windows and Linux Agents are included in Horizon 8 (2103).

Windows Agent

Updates and enhancements to the Windows Agent now include:

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VMware integrated printing:

  • Allows vendor-defined paper sizes for UDP printers
  • Supports use of location-based printers by groups

Maximum of one session running on a physical Windows 10 agent

  • Previously physical PC agents were reporting maximum sessions as 150
  • Allows additional users to connect booting out initial user

VMware Blast:

  • Client and Agent improvements to reach and sustain high frame rates
  • Improved client overload detection and agent feedback loop
  • Improved frame rate smoothness

Deprecated:

  • Horizon 32-bit Agent has been removed

Agent update process:

  • Allows use of MSP to simplify the agent update process
  • Allows agent updates via Personal Computer Lifecycle Management (PCLM)

True SSO and Smartcard support:

  • Fixes True SSO and Smartcard support on Win2004

Linux Agent

Enhancements to the Linux Agent now include:

image 5

Updated operating systems for desktops and app publications, including:

  • RHEL Workstation 7.8, 7.9, 8.1, 8.2, or 8.3
  • Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04

Updated operating systems for instant clone desktops, including:

  • Ubuntu 18.04/20.04
  • RHEL Workstation 7.2 or later, and 8.x
  • RHEL Server 7.8, 7.9, 8.2, and 8.3
  • CentOS 7.8, 7.9, 8.2, and 8.3
  • SLED/SLES 12.x/15.x

No longer supported:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 no longer supported by Linux agent
  • 32-bit Agent

Remote Experience

Improvements to remote experience now include:

  • User Group Policy settings. You can enable or disabled remote printer redirection, both internal and external, and changed during user sessions.
  • Serial Port redirection. Improvements to the serial port redirection increase flexibility to redirect all from client to agent automatically, and to include Motorola DS4208 and COM Port PID and VID CLI.
  • Multi-Window. Microsoft Teams optimizations now include multi-Window support for audio or video calls from a chat window.

Group Policies

Improvements to Group Policy settings now include:

image 6

  • Configure dump count and dump type on program error. The Configure dump count on program error and Configure dump type on program error group policy settings configure the number and size of dump files that can be created.
  • Audio option for single session Windows 10 physical Remote Desktop machine. The Audio option for a single session Windows 10 physical Remote Desktop machine specifies the audio device to use on a Horizon Windows 10 physical machine hosting the remote desktop session.
  • DPI Synchronization Per Monitor. The DPI Synchronization Per Monitor group policy setting adjusts the DPI settings in all monitors to match the client operating system’s DPI setting during a remote session.
  • Limit Tx Rate (KBps). The Limit Tx Rate (KBps) group policy setting allows you to set the transmission rate for print jobs
  • Allow H.264 Decoding. The Allow H.264 Decoding group policy setting configures H.264 decoding for the VMware Blast protocol. 
  • Allow H.264 high color accuracy. The Allow H.264 high color accuracy group policy setting configures high-color accuracy mode for H.264 decoding.
  • Hotkey combination to release input focus. The Hotkey combination to release input focus group policy setting is modified to include a new check box, Minimize the fullscreen virtual desktop after release input focus.

Horizon Clients

Horizon Clients received a variety of updates and enhancements.

Windows Client

Enhancements to the Windows Client now include:

image 7

  • H.264 video compression. Group policy settings now configure:
    -- H.264 decoding for the VMware Blast protocol
    -- High-color accuracy mode for H.264 decoding
  • Hotkey combination to release input focus group policy enhancement
  • Support for Windows 21H1
  • Updated network disconnection messaging
  • Deprecated: The 32-bit Core Remote Experience component for 64-bit machines is gone, as well as the associated installation options.

Linux Client

Enhancements to the Linux Client now include:

  • Keyboard layout sync to remote desktop
  • Support for Blast with HEVC 444 codec with Intel GPUs
  • Deprecated: 32-bit Client

Mac Client

Enhancements to the Mac Client now include:

image 9

  • USB redirection. A new USB setting is added to the Horizon Client settings to configure USB redirection for remote desktops and published applications.
  • Section 508 compliance. A number of usability changes now improve the experience for people with disabilities, including enhancements to the UI and keyboard navigation.
  • DPI synchronization. The DPI Synchronization feature now ensures that the DPI setting in a published application matches the client system's DPI setting.

iOS Client

Enhancements to the iOS Client now include:

image 10

  • Pen redirection. When you use the VMware Blast display protocol, Windows drawing app features are now supported, including pen redirection. You can use an integrated pen as an extension of mouse and touch functionalities. This includes the ability to draw variable line thicknesses according to pen pressure and tilt. Previously, when you used a pen in remote desktops and published applications, the pen behaved in the same way as finger touch. For more information, see Configuring Pen Redirection.
  • Keep Screen Alive. You can now keep your Horizon Client in the foreground by configuring the Keep Screen Alive setting.

Android Client

In this release, enhancements to the Android Client include:

image 11

  • Camera rotation. The camera display in a remote session now rotates when you rotate the device, when using Horizon Client in DeX Dual mode. Previously, the camera display did not change.
  • Pen redirection. When you use the VMware Blast display protocol, Windows drawing app features are now supported, including pen redirection. You can use an integrated pen as an extension of mouse and touch functionalities. This includes the ability to draw variable line thicknesses according to pen pressure and tilt. Previously, when you used a pen in remote desktops and published applications, the pen behaved in the same way as finger touch. For more information, see Configuring Pen Redirection.

Chrome Client

In this release, enhancements to the Chrome Client include:

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  • USB redirection. You can redirect certain USB devices from the Chromebook to a remote desktop.
  • USB device filtering. You can now use the Google Admin Console to configure USB device filtering.

HTML Access

In this release, enhancements to the HTML Access include:

image 13

  • Section 508 compliance. A number of usability changes now make the website safer and more accessible for people with visual disabilities, including enhancements to the screen reader.
  • USB redirection. You can now redirect certain USB devices from the local system to a remote desktop, supported on Chrome browsers only.

Dynamic Environment Manager 2103

In this release, enhancements to VMware Dynamic Environment Manager include:

  • Expanded SyncTool Sync. The SyncTool now also syncs the FlexRepository\Scripts folder.
  • Enhanced Default Printer Roaming. Roaming a user’s preferred default printer is now more robust and supports VMware Integrated Printing.
  • Better Computer Environment Setting Configuration Experience. Agent configuration for computer environment settings has now been simplified.

App Volumes 2103

In this release, enhancements to VMware App Volumes include:

  • Command-line capture. This new option has been added to the installer beyond the App Volumes Manager and agent. You can now select App Volumes Tools when installing on a Windows 10 machine intended for command-line capture. You can use the new appcapture.exe command to package applications without the App Volumes Manager console. With this command, you can automate packaging with silent installers and package in both the VMDK and VHD formats simultaneously. It also provides other useful tools to convert between VHD and VMDK and work with the MSIX app attach formatted packages.
  • Package delivery to any operating system. A new global option, similar to the operating system check box in App Volumes 2.x, is added under Advanced Settings. This option disables the check to ensure that the same operating system is used to package and deliver applications. While App Volumes mandates that congruent operating systems be used for optimum application compatibility, many applications can work across similar Windows 10 and server versions if the OS architecture is the same and if the application supports being transported. 
  • Import Storage Groups. The default Import Storage Groups interval has been changed from 15 minutes to four hours to allow the job to finish for a larger number of packages or slower storage. You can override the default with a shorter interval for your environment, by optionally setting this back to 15 minutes.
  • Managed Storage Locations. On the Managed Storage Locations page, you can now mark a storage as read-only so App Volumes Manager skips writing to that storage when updating a package or an AppStack. Since App Volumes now writes additional metadata in order to track updates made to packages, this feature is added to accommodate deployments where the underlying storage used for package replication is read-only on the target App Volumes instance.

To download the new version, see Download VMware Horizon.

 

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