Evaluation Guide for VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure

VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure

Overview

This evaluation guide introduces you to VMware Horizon® Cloud Service™ on Microsoft Azure. This solution combines the management functionality of the Horizon Cloud Service control plane with the cost-saving capacities of Microsoft Azure, including Azure Virtual Desktops.

Use Horizon Cloud to manage VDI machines and published applications that are hosted in a Microsoft Azure infrastructure, on RDSH servers or Windows 10 or Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session desktops. You have the flexibility to choose the deployment option that best meets the needs of your organization or use cases.

This guide describes the process of deploying Horizon Cloud Service components into your Microsoft Azure capacity. This process creates an entity called the Horizon Cloud pod , which pairs with the control plane. You can then use the control plane to create farms of RDSH servers and Windows 10 or Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session desktops, and to manage and deliver virtual desktops and published applications to your end users. You can also leverage automation to perform basic agent updates to VDI and RDSH server VMs.

Purpose of This Guide

The tutorials in this guide help you evaluate this product through a series of practical exercises. You will deploy the Horizon Cloud manager–based pod into your Microsoft Azure capacity and then explore core capabilities and key features.

Important: The exercises in this guide are for evaluation purposes, based on minimum required resources for a basic deployment, and do not explore all possible features. The resulting environment should not be used as a template for deploying a production environment. To deploy a production environment, see the Horizon Cloud Service documentation.

Audience

This guide is intended for security architects, engineers, and administrators who want to familiarize themselves with, or are in the process of implementing, a Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure infrastructure.

It is assumed that you have familiarity with Windows data center technologies such as Microsoft Azure and Active Directory, and knowledge of VMware Horizon® and VMware Unified Access Gateway™. For a basic description, see What Is VMware Horizon?

You should also be familiar with virtualization technology, cloud computing, network routing, and firewall security architecture. Knowledge of compatibility is also useful when using VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure (see VMware Product Interoperability Matrices).

Note: Not all sections of this guide are necessarily applicable to your particular deployment. Optional sections are marked as such. If you have questions about the specifics of your order, reach out to your VMware sales representative.

Technical Introduction and Features

Horizon Cloud Service delivers virtual desktops and applications using a DaaS (desktop-as-a-service) platform that is scalable across multiple deployment options. The overall Horizon Cloud tenant environment consists of the VMware-hosted cloud service, your designated Azure capacity, which leverages Azure Virtual Desktops, and the VMware software you deploy into that capacity.

Horizon Cloud Service provides a single cloud control plane, run by VMware, that enables the central orchestration and management of remote desktops and applications in your Microsoft Azure capacity. The cloud control plane also hosts the common cloud- and web-based management user interface called the Horizon Universal Console, or console for short.

  1. You first log in to this cloud-based portal, the Horizon Universal Console, to create a Horizon Cloud manager–based pod, which is VMware software deployed into a supported Azure capacity environment. The pods are physically located in your provided capacity environments.

    The underlying software for a Horizon Cloud pod uses pod manager technology from Horizon Cloud, rather than the Horizon Connection Server software that is used in a VMware vSphere® infrastructure.
  2. Once you deploy the pod, you connect, or onboard, it to the cloud control plane.
  3. From there you can create virtual desktops, RDSH servers, multi-session desktop VMs, and assignments of desktops and applications to your end users.
  4. You also have access to all the Horizon Control Plane services, which can expand your control across multiple Horizon cloud environments.

Features and Benefits

Key features of Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure include:

  • Application and desktop delivery: Dedicated and floating desktops are available with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Because Azure Virtual Desktop is used, you get the associated advantages of built-in licensing, special Azure instance pricing, and the Windows 10 or Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session desktop operating system.
  • Low-cost hourly billing and power management options: You benefit from consumption-based pricing for capacity, as well as no upfront costs or termination fees. Horizon Cloud has built-in features that automatically allocate and deallocate RD Session Hosts based on demand. For VDI machines, you can schedule powering off for weekends, holidays, and non-working hours. Details are provided in the Tech Zone document Power Management on VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.
  • Simplified deployment and management: Depending on the complexity of your configuration, it can take as little as 60 minutes to deploy the service to your own Microsoft Azure instance. Even when you have deployments in multiple Microsoft Azure regions, you still use the same cloud-based management UI to configure and manage all your Horizon Cloud environments.
  • Cloud monitoring and image management: You can avoid needing a third party or additional tool to monitor or manage your Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure deployment. Our new cloud-based monitoring feature allows you to keep an eye on your deployment from a single UI. With image management, you have a centralized catalog of version-controlled images that you can replicate across your sites and cloud-connected Horizon pods.
  • Certified Azure Virtual Desktop Solution - VMware is an approved Azure Virtual Desktop provider, which means that customers can leverage the Azure Virtual Desktop benefits from their Microsoft 365 subscription or Enterprise Agreement in Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure. This includes Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, which is exclusive to Azure Virtual Desktop.

Components and Architecture

The core elements of Horizon Cloud Service include:

  • Horizon Cloud control plane, which also hosts the Horizon Universal Console UI
  • Horizon Cloud Manager virtual machine (VM)
  • VMware Unified Access Gateway
  • Horizon Agent
  • VMware Horizon® Client
  • VMware App Volumes™
  • VMware Dynamic Environment Manager™

For a description of how these components work together, along with a logical architecture diagram, see the Deployment Overview section of the Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure Architecture document.

Packaging and Licensing

Two licensing models are available:

  • Per named user: For virtual environments with end users that require dedicated access to VMs throughout the day
  • Per concurrent connection: For virtual environments with a high number of users who share machines throughout the day, such as students or shift workers

Also, two types of subscription license are available:

  • Universal subscription
  • Standard subscription

For both these subscription types, you can purchase either a Horizon version, which includes both desktops and apps, or a Horizon Apps version, which includes published applications only. See the VMware Horizon Subscription Feature Comparison.

Prerequisite Tasks to Perform in the Microsoft Azure Portal

Before you can complete the exercises in this guide, you must provide your own Microsoft Azure IaaS capacity, and configure the Microsoft Azure prerequisites for the Horizon Cloud Service deployment.

Several Microsoft Azure platform components and services are used in a pod, such as Microsoft Azure Database for PostgreSQL Service, Microsoft Azure load balancers, and Microsoft Azure virtual networks (VNets). A full list of platform requirements can be found in the Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure Requirements Checklist for New Pod Deployments.

Before starting the first exercise in this guide, you must acquire a Horizon Cloud subscription license and complete the tasks listed in the For core pod deployment column of the table at the beginning of the Horizon Cloud Requirements Checklist.

  1. To determine the URL for logging in to Horizon Cloud, and the VMware Customer Connect credentials to use:
    1. After you purchase a Horizon Cloud license or make a trial request, VMware sets up a Horizon Cloud tenant account.
    2. VMware sends the Welcome to the VMware Horizon Service email to the email address associated with the purchase order or the trial request.
    3. You read the information in the email and use the hypertext links in the Getting Started section to get to key destinations. For more information, see the product documentation topic about getting started and see the Horizon Services Journey page.
  1. For a list of the Microsoft Azure capacities that are required to be available in the subscription, see the Microsoft Azure Subscription Requirements section of the checklist.
  2. For your convenience, the following product documentation links are provided, which include instructions on completing some of the tasks listed in the Network Requirements section of the checklist.
  1. After you have completed these tasks, gather the subscription-related information you will need later, when you run the pod deployment wizard, as described in the product documentation topic Subscription-Related Information for the Horizon Cloud Pod Deployment Wizard. This type of information includes the Microsoft Azure subscription ID, application ID, directory ID, and so on.
  2. Finally, gather the information required for configuring gateway settings:
    1. See the topic Specify the Horizon Cloud Pod's Gateway Configuration for the settings involved.
    2. Prepare the TLS/SSL certificate file, which you will need to upload when using the pod deployment wizard, as described in the product documentation topic Convert a Certificate File to the PEM Format Required for Pod Deployment.

Deploying a Cloud Manager–Based Pod in Horizon Cloud Service

Now that you have gone into the Microsoft Azure portal and performed the tasks described in Prerequisite Tasks to Perform in the Microsoft Azure Portal, you are ready to deploy a Horizon Cloud Service pod and bind it to an existing Active Directory domain. These exercises are sequential and build on one another, so make sure to complete each exercise in this section before going to the next.

Exercise: Run the Add Pod Wizard

For your convenience, the following table lists the information that you will need supply when completing the wizard. Before you start, you might create a spreadsheet that contains your settings so that you can copy and paste the information into the wizard. For instructions about obtaining this information, see the previous chapter, Prerequisite Tasks to Perform in the Microsoft Azure Portal.

Table 1: Information for the Add Pod Wizard

VMware Customer Connect user name

                                                                                                                 

VMware Customer Connect password

 

(Subscription) Environment

 

Subscription ID (in UUID form)

 

Directory ID (in UUID form)

 

Application ID (in UUID form)

 

Application key
(key value for the client secret of the service principal)

 

Virtual network

 

Management subnet (CIDR)

 

VM subnet (CIDR)

 

NTP server

 

FQDN of the Azure load balancer’s public IP (for the load-balanced Unified Access Gateway appliances)
(This is the FQDN that end users will use to access the service, unless they use the Universal Broker URL.)

 

DNS address

 

Certificate (location of the PEM file you will upload)

 

DMZ subnet

 

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Deploying a Cloud Manager–Based Pod, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. Log in to Horizon Cloud Service, at http://cloud.horizon.vmware.com by using your VMware Customer Connect (previously called My VMware) account ID and password, and click Accept in the Terms of Service window.
  2. In Horizon Universal Console, in the Capacity section of the Getting Started page, in the Microsoft Azure row, click Manage > Manage Subscriptions.
    Alternatively, you can complete this information by clicking Manage > Add Pod, and then adding the subscription information on the first page of the wizard.
  3. Complete the fields in the Manage Subscription – Microsoft Azure window, copying and pasting from the spreadsheet you created before you started this exercise, and click CONFIRM.
  4. Back in the Capacity section of the Getting Started page, in the Microsoft Azure row, click Manage > Add Pod.
  5. From the Apply Subscriptions drop-down list, select the subscription you just added, and click NEXT.
  6. On the Pod Setup page, make up a pod name and select a city and Azure region that are nearest to your end users.

    For the example of the pod name shown in the video, we use the pod name hc-atl-001. The hc means Horizon Cloud pod, as opposed a private data center Horizon pod. We use the airport code atl to indicate the city of Atlanta because this pod is for the employees in Atlanta. The number 1 is used in case we add more pods later.

  7. Turn off High Availability (for this exercise), and scroll down to the Networking section.

    High Availability deploys a second pod manager, for increased availability, but keep in mind that this also means an increase in the infrastructure capacity you pay for.

  8. Complete the fields in the Networking section, copying and pasting from the spreadsheet you created before you started this exercise, and click NEXT.
  9. Complete the required fields on the Gateway Settings page, copying and pasting from your spreadsheet, and then upload the security certificate. Click VALIDATE AND PROCEED.
    Use the default settings for fields that are not required.
  10. On the Summary page, review the settings and click SUBMIT.
    After the pod components are downloaded to the region you specified and building the pod is complete, a green check mark appears on the Getting Started page, next to Microsoft Azure. This process can take a while to complete.

In the next exercise, you will bind the pod to an existing Active Directory domain.

Exercise: Bind the Pod to an Active Directory Domain

Next, you will register Horizon Cloud with the Active Directory domain that you want to use with this pod. This step is required before you can actually start creating virtual desktops and apps and assigning them to end users.

For your convenience, the following table lists the information that the wizard requires. Use the table to create a spreadsheet for copying and pasting information into the wizard. For instructions about obtaining this information, see the Active Directory Requirements section of the Horizon Cloud Requirements Checklist.

For details about the requirements for bind accounts and join accounts, also see  the product documentation topic Service Accounts That Horizon Cloud Requires for Its Operations. For details about DNS, see Configure the DNS Server Settings Needed by the VNet Topology You Will Use for Your Horizon Cloud Pods in Microsoft Azure.

Table 2: Information for the Register Active Directory Wizard

NetBIOS name
(of the AD domain that the pod can see—name without “.com”)

                                                                                   

DNS domain name (name with “.com”)

 

Protocol (use the default, LDAP)

 

Bind username

 

Bind password

 

Auxiliary bind username

 

Auxiliary bind password

 

Primary DNS IP

 

Join username

 

Join password

 

Super Administrator user group (must include a domain-join account)

 

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Binding the Pod to an Active Directory Domain, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. Log in to Horizon Cloud Service, at http://cloud.horizon.vmware.com by using your VMware Customer Connect account ID and password.
  2. In the General Setup section of the Getting Started page, in the Active Directory row, click Add.
  3. Complete the fields in the Register Active Directory window, copying and pasting from the spreadsheet you created before you started this exercise, and click DOMAIN BIND.
  4. Complete the fields in the Domain Join window, copying and pasting from your spreadsheet and click SAVE.
  5. In the Add Super Administrator window, add the Active Directory group that includes the domain-join account, and click SAVE.

    This setting ensures that at least one of your Active Directory domain's user accounts is granted permissions to log in to this Horizon Universal Console and perform management actions now that the AD domain is configured for this customer account.

    You are returned to the login window.

  6. Log back in, first with your VMware Customer Connect account, and then with an Active Directory user account from the group that you just assigned.

Horizon Cloud now has the necessary domain-join account needed for those system operations involving joining desktop-related virtual machines to the domain. Also, user accounts from the registered Active Directory domain can be selected for desktop and application assignments.

Exercise: Configure the Universal Broker

Through a single Universal Broker FQDN, users can access assignments from any participating pod in any site in your environment. The Universal Broker has connectivity to and awareness of all your Horizon Cloud pod deployments and assignments. You can provide end users with roaming desktops and home desktops, regardless of the end user’s location and virtual desktop location.

No internal networking between your pods is required. Pods that use Universal Broker do not require line of sight to each other. Global load balancers are also unnecessary. Universal Broker maintains direct connectivity with every pod participating in multi-cloud assignments and stays aware of the availability status of each pod. Note, however, that the Azure load balancer that sits in front of a pod’s Unified Access Gateway virtual appliances is still required to provide load balancing of the Unified Access Gateways within each pod.

With Universal Broker, you can build assignments that are resilient to disasters caused by an inability to connect to a particular pod. You can also assign more than 2,000 users to the same VDI assignment across multiple pods. Even though each individual Horizon Cloud manager–based pod is limited to 2,000 concurrent user connections, or 2,000 VDI desktops in a single Microsoft Azure subscription, a single assignment can draw on the resources provided by multiple pods.

Important: For guidance on sizing your production deployment, be sure to see the reference architecture document Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure Architecture and the product documentation.

In this exercise, you set up the Universal Broker using a VMware-provided fully qualified domain name.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Configuring the Horizon Universal Broker, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

Important: Before you begin this exercise, verify that you have satisfied the DNS requirements and port requirements, as listed in the product documentation topic Configure the Universal Broker Settings. To use the VMware-provided FQDN, you must enter the DNS name of a valid subdomain in your network configuration that represents your company or organization.

  1. On the Getting Started page of the Horizon Universal Console, go to General Setup > Broker, and click Go.
  2. Click Set Up to specify a new configuration, and in the FQDN page of the wizard, select VMware Provided.
  3. Enter the DNS name of a valid subdomain in your network configuration that represents your company or organization, and click NEXT. As you type, the DNS name you type is added to the brokering FQDN.

    Note: For the example in the video, the subdomain name acme is used. The Broker URL field then displays https://acme.vmwarehorizon.com. This is the URL end users type into the Horizon Client or into a browser to access their desktops and apps.

  4. On the Authentication page, accept the defaults and click NEXT. We will not use two-factor authentication for this exercise.
  5. On the Settings page, scroll through the list to learn what the various options are. You can click the Info icons for descriptions. Click NEXT.
  6. On the Summary page, click FINISH.

Now that the Universal Broker is configured, it can associate deployed pods with the VM images that you will create next. The broker will later be able to connect users to the nearest available pod that has the correct desktop and application assignments that use those images.

Creating a Virtual Desktop or RDSH VM Image

Creating a Windows OS image that you can use for VDI desktops or session-based desktops or published applications involves:

  1. Importing a VM from the Azure Marketplace – Installs and configures the appropriate agent-related software for use in Horizon Cloud
  2. Pairing the VM with Horizon Cloud – Explicitly pairs the VM with Horizon Cloud and makes it active for converting to an image
  3. Customizing the VM – Can include installing applications and drivers, configuring OS-level settings, and performing optimization tasks
  4. Converting the VM to an image – Runs Sysprep and publishes, or seals, the image

Exercise: Import a VM from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Although it is possible to manually build and import a VM, the preferred method, and the method we use in this exercise, is to use the Import VM wizard to automate the process. Besides creating a VM with the specific operating system you choose, the import process installs the Horizon Cloud–related agents.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Importing a VM from the Azure Marketplace, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

Important: Before you begin this exercise, verify that you have valid and eligible Microsoft licenses that entitle you to create the Windows-based desktop VMs and RDSH server VMs to use in your Horizon Cloud tenant environment. For more information, see the Microsoft article Azure Virtual Desktop Pricing.

  1. On the Getting Started page of the Horizon Universal Console, go to Desktop Assignment > Import VM, click Go, and click IMPORT in the in the Imported VMs window.

    Alternatively, you can expand the Inventory list in the left pane of the Horizon Universal Console, select Imported VMs, and click IMPORT in the right pane.

  2. In the Destination Pod section of the wizard, select the location and pod that you configured earlier, in Exercise: Run the Add Pod Wizard.
  3. For the OS, select a desktop operating system, such as Windows 10 Pro 21H1.

    Note: The process of importing a virtual machine with a Windows Server OS is virtually the same as for a desktop OS.

  4. For the rest of the Virtual Machine Details options, leave the defaults, except do turn on the option Enable Public IP Address so that you can access the VM through an RDP connection.

    For this exercise, use the defaults for the other options, which help ensure that the import process goes smoothly. To learn more about any of the options, click the Info icon next to the option.

    If you wanted to create a GPU-enabled desktop, you could turn on the Include GPU option and then later install NVIDIA drivers, as described in the product documentation topic Install NVIDIA Graphics Drivers in a GPU-Enabled VM Imported in Horizon Cloud.

  5. Set the admin credentials that you want to use for the local administrator account, which is outside of the network domain and has privileges necessary perform any action on the machine.

    Important: Because you did not turn on the option to join the VM to a domain, no one will be able to log in to this VM unless they use the credentials that you specify in this section. Therefore, take care to record these credentials so you can retrieve the information later.

  6. In the Properties section, create a name; for example: win-10-pro, and expand the ADVANCED OPTIONS section.
  7. Scroll through the list of Horizon Agent features, and click the Info icon next to the various options to learn what they do. For this exercise, we will use the default settings.

    The Dynamic Environment Manager Agent and vRealize Operations Desktop Agent are not listed but will also be installed. You do not need to run separate installers for each agent.

  8. Click IMPORT.

    Importing a VM can take 30 to 45 minutes. Refresh the Imported VMs page to see updates to the status. You might see the following status changes when you periodically refresh the page:

    (Creating VM)

    Not Paired
    (Restarting VM)

    Not Paired
    (Installing Agents)

    Not Paired
    (Restarting VM)

    Not Paired
    (Bootstrapping)

    Not Paired
    (Restarting VM)

    Not Paired
    (Import Successful)

  9. After the import is finished and the status says, Not Paired (Import Successful), select the check box next to the VM and select More > Reset Agent Pairing. After a few minutes, the status changes to Active.

Note: Because we are using the Universal Broker, and the Horizon Image Management Service is turned on by default, we could have alternatively imported the VM by clicking Images - Multi-Pod in the left pane and then clicking New in the right pane. Multi-pod images can be shared across multiple pods.

Exercise: Customize the Windows VM

After you import a VM and pair it to Horizon Cloud, but before you convert it into a published image, you customize the VM's guest operating system. This process includes installing applications and configuring the Windows environment settings that you want your end users to have in their VDI desktops or RDSH shared session desktops. For RDSH-published applications, you log into the server VM, change the server to RD-install mode, so that you can install applications for a multi-user environment, and then install those applications.

Tip: The following steps describe the typical process you would follow after importing the VM to get it ready for your end users. For the purposes of this tutorial, however, this procedure is completely optional. Instead of following these steps, you could simply use the imported VM as it is, without customization, and continue on to publish the image, create an assignment, and connect to the resulting virtual desktop or published application.

  1. In the Horizon Universal Console, go to the Inventory > Imported VMs page and verify that the VM you want to customize appears in the list and has the status of Active.

    If not, you might need to re-import the VM, reset the agent repairing, or both. For the procedure, see Exercise: Import a VM from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.
  2. Using the IP address listed next to the VM on the Imported VMs page, make an RDP connection to the VM, and use the local admin credentials that you set when you imported the VM. Enter the username as \username.
  3. Install any third-party applications that you want to include in the base VM:
  4. Customize any Windows environment settings and install any special drivers you want your end users to have.
  5. Sign out of the Windows operating system.

Note: If you were actually creating a VM to use in your production environment, VMware recommends that you also use the VMware OS Optimization Tool and perform the other tasks described in the product documentation topic Five Key Steps to Take with Your Golden Images.

Exercise: Convert an Imported Azure VM to a Published Image

When you convert an imported VM to a published image, Sysprep runs to customize the image and reset the local admin password. The VM then goes through a Horizon Cloud sealing process. After publishing is complete:

  • If the VM is a Windows desktop VM, you can create VDI desktop assignments.
  • If the VM is an RDSH server VM or a Windows Enterprise multi-session VM, you can create a farm, which you can then use to create application assignments or session-based desktop assignments.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Converting an Azure VM into a Published Image, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

Important: Before you begin this exercise, verify that you have an imported VM whose status is Active. If you need to import a VM, see Exercise: Import a VM from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Also verify that you know which credentials you want to use for the local admin account.

  1. In the Horizon Universal Console, expand the Inventory list in the left pane, select Imported VMs, select the VM that you want to convert, and click the MORE drop-down list.

    You can use the MORE button to either publish the image to a single pod, and be listed on the Images page, or move the VM to the Images – Multi-Pod page, so that you can then publish the image to be used in multiple pods, with the Horizon Image Management Service.

  2. For a single pod, select Publish to Images and complete the New Images wizard:

    Alternatively, to start this wizard, from the Getting Started page, you can go to Desktop Assignment > Create Image, click Go, and click NEW on the Images page. Or, from the Inventory list, you can select Images, and click NEW on the Images page.

    1. In the Convert Virtual Machine to Image section of the wizard, select the location and pod that you configured earlier, in Exercise: Run the Add Pod Wizard.
    2. For Desktop, select the imported VM that you want to convert to an image.

      In the OS Properties section, the image name is automatically populated with the desktop name you selected.

    3. For company name, type the company name that you want to have appear in the About Windows dialog box as the registered organization and owner.

      The publishing process sets the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\RegisteredOwner to this value.

    4. Select the appropriate time zone.
    5. Set the admin credentials that you want to use for the local administrator account, and click PUBLISH.
  3. If, instead of publishing the image for use in a single pod, you want to use the image in multiple pods, after selecting the VM in the Imported VMs list, select MORE > Move to Multi-Pod Images, and perform the following steps:

    Important: You need an imported VM to do the following procedure. If you had only one imported VM and already used it to publish an image to a single pod, you can quickly create a new imported VM by selecting that image on the Images page and clicking DUPLICATE. Once the duplicated VM appears on the Imported VMs page, you can proceed with the following steps:

    1. In the Move to Multi-Pod Images wizard, specify an image name; for example, you can base the image name on the desktop name.
    2. Specify a marker name. Markers are used by the Horizon Image Management Service for desktop assignments and automatic updates.

      For example, to change which version of an image a particular group of users gets, you could later simply move the marker to a different image version. For more information, see the product documentation topic Working with Markers.

    3. Set the admin credentials that you want to use for the local administrator account, and click MOVE.

      The VM no longer appears on the Imported VMs page, but now appears on the Images – Multi-Pod page.

    4. When the image version displays a status of Deployment Complete, select that version, click the ellipses button (. . .), and select Publish.

      Because you specified the image name and admin credentials when moving the VM, you are not prompted to supply them in this Publish Image wizard, as you were when publishing the image to a single pod.

    5. Specify the company name and time zone, and click PUBLISH.
  4. To monitor the publishing process, go to Monitory > Activity, and on the Admins tab, periodically click the refresh button. Click the description name to see details about the progress of the process.

Now that you have converted the VM into an assignable image, you can either create a desktop assignment, if the VM contains a single-session Windows desktop OS, or create a farm, if the VM contains a Windows Enterprise multi-session desktop OS or a Windows Server OS.

Deploying a Farm of RDS Hosts

With Horizon Cloud, you can easily create farms of Windows RDS hosts, which can include Windows Server VMs as well as Windows 10 and Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session VMs. These machines serve multiple user sessions simultaneously, allowing multiple users to connect to the same published desktop or published application. Having a farm of RDS hosts provides scalability and high availability and enables zero downtime during maintenance periods.

Ideally, you provide the resources that users need to do their jobs without delays, and at the same time, avoid the cost of unused resources that are powered on but sitting idle. Horizon Cloud provides power management capabilities for the Microsoft Azure servers so that VMs are automatically powered on and off and deallocated, as needed. The result is that farms can automatically scale out to the maximum size when necessary and scale down to minimum size when not needed. This reduces cloud capacity costs, as well as computing costs for deallocated servers.

Optional Exercise: Tag VM Types and Sizes

Microsoft Azure offers hundreds of VM types and sizes that you can use with Horizon Cloud. You must select from among these hundreds of models when creating a VM farm or a desktop assignment. One strategy for simplifying things is to create and use tags for the models of Azure VMs you want to use. You can then quickly find the model by specifying the tag in search criteria.

For more information, see the Microsoft article Sizes for virtual machines in Azure and see the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine series page.

To review the list of specific Microsoft Azure VM types and sizes that are supported for use with Horizon Cloud, see VMware Knowledge Base article Microsoft Azure VM Types and Sizes for Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure (77120). This KB also lists the VM types that are GPU-capable.

In this exercise, you will add a tag to a VM model that is GPU-capable, for end users that need to use graphics-intensive applications.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Tagging Types and Sizes, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. In the Horizon Universal Console, navigate to Settings > VM Types and Sizes.
  2. To see which VMs are already tagged as “VMware Recommended,” click the filter icon in the Tags column and type in any of the letters from the tag name.
    For example, type V, and you can see that there are 11 VMware Recommended types. All of them have at least 2 vCPUs.

    Tip: You can further filter the list by clicking and using the filter icon in one or more of the other columns.

  3. Remove the filter by deleting the letters in the filter window and clicking the X to close the window.
  4. To find the model that you want to tag, click the filter icon in the VM Name column and type NV.
    The NV models are displayed.
  5. Select the row for the Standard_NV6 VM and click Add Tag.
  6. For the tag name, enter GPU and click Add.
    The tag name now appears in the Tag column, and later, when you create a farm or a desktop assignment in Horizon Cloud, you can quickly find this model by specifying that the tag equals GPU.

For more details about adding tags and filtering VM types and sizes, see the product documentation topic Managing VM Types and Sizes for Farms and Assignments in the Horizon Universal Console.

Exercise: Create a Farm

In this exercise, you create a farm of Windows Enterprise multi-session VMs that will later be used for providing published applications.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Creating a Farm of VMs, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

Important: Part of completing the New Farm wizard involves verifying that you have valid and eligible Microsoft licenses that entitle you to create Windows Enterprise multi-session VMs to use in your Horizon Cloud tenant environment. For more information, see Client Access Licenses and Management Licenses and see Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session FAQ.

  1. Verify that you have an assignable image that can be used to create a farm:
    1. From the Inventory > Imported VMs page of the Horizon Universal Console, import a Windows Enterprise multi-session VM and reset agent pairing.
      For instructions, see Exercise: Import a VM from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.
    2. Publish the imported VM so that the image appears on the Inventory > Images page of the Horizon Universal Console.
      For instructions, see Exercise: Convert an Imported Azure VM to a Published Image.
  2. Go to the Inventory > Farms page and click NEW.
  3. In the New Farm wizard, make up a name for the farm. For the example in the video, we used EntMulti-Farm, meaning a farm of Windows Enterprise multi-session desktops.

    The name you enter is automatically used for the VM name.

  4. If desired, alter the VM name. For example, in the video, we used EntMulti, meaning that the VM is a Windows Enterprise multi-session VM.

    When the farm is created, the VMs in the farm will use this name and then append incremental numbers to the name; for example, EntMulti0001, EntMulti0002.

  5. For farm type, leave Applications selected.
  6. Scroll down to the Use Multi-Pod Images option, and turn that option off.

    Important: For this exercise, we are using the default settings for almost everything. To learn more about any of these settings, click the Info icon next to the setting name. For more details about a setting, see the tables in the product documentation topic Horizon Cloud Pods - Create a Farm.

  7. In the Images drop-down list, make sure that the image for the Windows Enterprise multi-session VM is selected, and scroll down to the Farm Size section.
  8. For Max VMs, change the setting to 2.
  9. Select the check box I confirm that I have an eligible license for this Windows OS.
  10. Scroll down to see what the other settings are, expand the Advanced Properties list, to see those options, and click NEXT.
  11. Follow the prompts to complete the wizard, but for this exercise, use the default settings, and click SUBMIT on the Summary page.

    Again, for this exercise, we are using the default settings for almost everything. To learn more about any of these settings, click the Info icon next to the setting name. For more details about a setting, see the tables in the product documentation topic Horizon Cloud Pods - Create a Farm.

  12. To monitor the progress of farm creation:
    1. On the Farms page, click the name of the new farm, to go to its detail page, and click the System Activity tab. You can see the progress of VM creation for each of the VMs in the farm.

      Note: When the farm is first created, the system deploys the number of VMs specified in the Max VMs field, and then powers off the VMs except for the number specified for Min VMs. In this example, you see two VMs being created, and after creation, one of the VMs will be powered off.

    2. When creation of the VMs in the farm is complete, go back to the main Farms page, and you see a green dot next to the farm name, indicating that farm creation was successful.

Many power options are available for the VMs in a Horizon Cloud farm, including setting schedules for powering certain numbers of VMs off at certain times. You can either set these options when you create the farm or edit the farm later to make changes or add or remove schedules. For a full discussion of these options, see the document Power Management on VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, available on VMware Digital Workspace Tech Zone.

Exercise: Add Applications from the Farm

Now that you have created a farm, in this next exercise, you create published applications by auto-scanning the farm and selecting which applications to publish. The auto-scan feature scans the Windows Registry of the RDSH VM’s operating system. The New Application wizard allows you to add multiple applications with just one trip through the wizard.

If auto-scanning fails to display an application you want to publish and that you know is installed in the image, you can instead add the application manually, by specifying the path to the application in the RDSH VM's operating system.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Publishing Applications from the VM Farm, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. Go to the Inventory > Applications page of the Horizon Universal Console and click NEW > Auto-Scan from Farm.
  2. In the New Application wizard, on the General Information page, if the desired location, pod, and farm are not selected, select the ones you want to use from the lists, and click NEXT.
  3. On the Applications page, after the farm is scanned and the list of applications appears, select the check boxes next to the applications you want to publish and click NEXT.

    You might need to page through the list to see all the applications available.

  4. On the Attributes page, you have the following options:
    • For Display Name, you can change the name that end users see for this application on their client devices.
    • For Parameters, enter any command-line parameters you want used when the application is launched.
    • For Start Folder (sometimes called the Start In folder), you can optionally set the current directory for the program that is launched. You might use this field if the app is an older application and must be launched from a specific folder. You can also use this folder to control what data is immediately available to a program when it is started.
  5. Click NEXT, and click FINISH on the Summary page. You are returned to the Applications page.
  6. Verify that all the applications you selected are listed and that a green dot appears next to each, indicating success.
  7. If you selected any Windows UWP apps, you must enable a group policy on all the VMs in the farm, which is beyond the scope of this guide. See the product documentation topic Enable a Horizon Agent Policy to Allow Running Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Applications.

Important: Instead of, or in addition to, publishing applications that are installed in the OS of the VMs from the farm, you can use VMware App Volumes. With this product, application containers called App Volumes packages are deployed once to a single central le share and can be accessed by thousands of desktops within seconds without end-user installation. App Volumes packages are virtual disks that contain all the components that are required to run an application, such as executables and registry keys. App Volumes simplies application maintenance, deployment, and upgrades.

Assigning Applications and Virtual Desktops to End Users

At this point, you have imported one or more Azure VMs and created images from which assignments can be created. The exercises in this chapter demonstrate how to create a single-pod application assignment and a multi-pod VDI desktop assignment. One exercise also demonstrates the end user’s experience of accessing a desktop or published app.

Exercise: Create an Application Assignment

Now that you have created a farm and added applications from the farm, as described in the exercises from the previous chapter, Deploying a Farm of RDS Hosts, you can assign those applications to end users.

In this exercise, you create an application assignment, but the process is very similar when creating a session-based desktop assignment:

  • For application assignments, you must first create at least one farm of type Applications and then add applications from that farm or farms. When creating the assignment, you select from the applications that you added.
  • For session-based desktop assignments, you must first create a farm of type Desktops. When creating the assignment, you select the desktop assignment type of Session, and then select the farm.

For both types of RDSH server farm assignments—application and session-based desktop—after you select the applications or desktop farm, you select the users who will be assigned to the applications or desktops.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Creating an Application Assignment, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. Go to the Assign Desktops & Apps > RDSH page of the Horizon Universal Console and click NEW.
  2. Click the Applications icon.
  3. In the New Application Assignment wizard, on the General Information page, if the desired location and pod are not selected, select the ones you want to use from the lists, type in a name for the assignment, and click NEXT.

    For the example in the video, the assignment name is sales-dept-core, meaning core applications for the Sales department.

    Note: You are not prompted to select a farm because you will be able to select applications from all the application farms in the pod.

  4. On the Applications page, select the check boxes next to the applications you want to use in this assignment, and click NEXT.
  5. On the Users page, search for and select the users and groups for this assignment, click NEXT, and on the Summary page, click FINISH.
  6. Navigate to the Assign Desktops & Apps > RDSH page and verify that the assignment now appears in the list.

Exercise: Assign Users to a Home Site for Multi-Cloud Assignments

Because you are using the Universal Broker, set up as described in Exercise: Configure the Universal Broker, you can use the Sites tab on the Capacity page to associate each pod with a particular site. The pod can then participate in multi-cloud assignments.

When we deployed a pod, as described in Exercise: Run the Add Pod Wizard, we had not yet set up the Universal Broker, so we were not prompted to select a site. After we configured the Universal Broker, the Horizon Cloud pod we created was automatically added to a default site, called Default-Site.

Besides associating pods with sites, in this exercise, we will also use sites to assign home sites to groups of end users. Home sites define where Universal Broker should look when fulfilling an end user’s connection request. Then when we create desktop and app assignments, we can specify whether the users get their assignment from their home site or from the site nearest to where they are logging in from.

In this exercise, you will:

  • Create a new site and also rename the default site.
  • Edit a pod to associate it with the new site.
  • Assign groups of users to home sites.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Assigning Users to a Home Site, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. In the Horizon Universal Console, expand Settings in the left pane and click Capacity.
  2. Click the Sites tab, and click NEW.
  3. Type in a site name, such as the name of the city to associate with the site, and click SAVE. For the example in the video, we use New York.
  4. To rename the default site, which already has a pod associated with it, select the radio button next to Default-Site, and click EDIT.
  5. Select and delete the default name, type in a new name, and click SAVE. For the example in the video, we use Atlanta.
  6. Click the Pods tab, select the pod, and click EDIT.
  7. On the Subscription page, click NEXT.
  8. On the Pod Details page, for the Site field, note how you could use the list of existing sites to associate the pod with a different site. Or you could select New to create a new site and associate it with this pod.
  9. Cancel out of the wizard.
  10. In the left page, under Settings, click Users & Groups.
  11. On the Users & Groups page, click NEW, and in the Find Users field, enter the first few letters of a user or group name that you will later want to use when assigning desktops.
  12. Select the user or group from the results that are returned, and then repeat the process to add another group.
  13. Select the check box next to one of the groups you added, click ASSIGN HOME SITE, and then select the site that is already associated with a pod.

    For the purposes of this exercise, you created a new site, to see what that process is like, but if that site name is not associated with a pod, do not use it as a home site for users.

  14. Click NEXT, and then click FINISH on the Summary page.

You will now be able to make use of these settings in the next exercise, where you create a desktop assignment.

Exercise: Create a VDI Desktop Assignment

Now that you have created a virtual desktop image, as described in the exercises in the chapter Creating an Image, you can assign that desktop to end users.

Note: In this exercise, you create a single-user VDI desktop assignment, rather than a multi-user session-based RDSH desktop assignment. Creating an RDSH desktop assignment is very similar to creating an RDSH application assignment. The few differences are described in the previous exercise, Exercise: Create an Application Assignment.

The video demonstration shows how to create a multi-pod assignment. The fields in the wizard for a multi-pod assignment are the same as those for a single-pod assignment, with a few additional fields pertaining to the use of multiple pods.

Regardless of whether you are creating a single-pod assignment or a multi-pod assignment, you must decide whether the assignment will use floating desktops or dedicated desktops.

  • Dedicated desktops – Each desktop is assigned to a specic user. A user logging in for the rst time gets a desktop that is not assigned to another user. The user always gets this same desktop after logging in, and this desktop is not available to any other user. If you have 200 users, you will need 200 dedicated desktops.

    Note: If an application installed in the VM requires that the host name never change, you might need to use a dedicated desktop.

  • Floating desktops – Users get a random desktop every time they log in. When a user logs out, the desktop is deleted. With automatic deletion, you keep only as many VMs as you need at one time. If you have 200 users but only 100 of them are working at the same time, you will need only 100 floating desktops.

    Note: Floating VDI desktop assignments provide more flexible pool management capabilities than dedicated VDI desktop assignments, but floating desktops do not provide persistence of user data, settings, or profiles. You can, however, use VMware Dynamic Environment Manager to provide the experience of this type of persistence. See the Dynamic Environment Manager product documentation.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Creating a VDI Desktop Assignment, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

Important: Part of completing the New Farm wizard involves verifying that you have valid and eligible Microsoft licenses that entitle you to create Windows Enterprise multi-session VMs to use in your Horizon Cloud tenant environment. For more information, see Client Access Licenses and Management Licenses and see Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session FAQ.

  1. Verify that you have an assignable image that can be used to create a multi-pod assignment:
    1. From the Inventory > Images – Multi-Pod page of the Horizon Universal Console, if you do not already have a desktop on this page whose status shows Available, click NEW to import a Windows desktop VM.

      Note: Because you are importing a multi-pod image, you must specify a marker in the Import wizard. Markers are used by the Horizon Image Management Service for desktop assignments and automatic updates.

      For example, to change which version of an image a particular group of users gets, you could later simply move the marker to a different image version. For more information, see the product documentation topic Working with Markers.

      Important: After you type in the marker name, when you see the marker name appear below the field, you must select it to create a tag that appears in the field. If you only type the name but do not select it, the tag will not appear in the field.

    2. To publish the imported VM after you complete the wizard, click the image name on the Multi-Pod Images page, and on the details page for that image, select the version (1.0) in the list, click the ellipses button (. . .), and select Publish.
    1. In the Publish wizard, specify the company name and time zone, and click PUBLISH.
  2. Go to the Assign Desktops & Apps > VDI page and click NEW > Microsoft Azure.
  3. Complete the General Information page, as follows:
    1. In the New Desktop Assignment wizard, for Desktop Type, select Floating.

      Important: For this exercise, we often use the default settings for the various options. For more details about a setting, see the tables in the product documentation topic Horizon Cloud Pods in Microsoft Azure - Create a VDI Multi-Cloud Assignment in Your Horizon Cloud Tenant Environment.

    2. For Assignment Name, type in the name you want end users see when they select their desktop. For the example in the video, we use Win-10-desktop.
    3. For scope, for a multi-cloud deployment, select Any Site.

      You created sites and associated them with pods in Exercise: Assign Users to a Home Site for Multi-Cloud Assignments.

    4. For Connection Affinity, leave the default, which is Nearest Site.
    5. In the Select Pods section, if you have more than one pod, select two of them, and click NEXT. If you have only one pod, select it and click NEXT.
  4. Complete the Desktops page, as follows:
    1. In the Fixed Attributes section, leave the defaults. For descriptions of each option, click the Info icon next to the option. A brief discussion of the options is provided in the video.
    2. In the Flexible Attributes section, turn on the option Use Multi-Pod Images, and select the multi-pod image you published.

      If you do not use a multi-pod image, you must select an image for each pod that has been imported and created on that pod.

    3. Select the marker name that you created when you imported the multi-pod image.
    4. For VM Names Prefix, if desired, alter the VM name. The prefix is taken from the assignment name you gave, but it is truncated.

      In the video the prefix Win-10- is used, and when the VMs are created they will take this name, and an incremental number will be added to the VM name.

    5. Scroll down and select the check box I confirm that I have an eligible license for this Windows OS.
    6. Use the default settings for the rest of the options on this page, and click NEXT.
  5. Complete the Capacity page, as follows:
    1. Click the >> arrows to expand the first (or only) pod.
    2. Change the Min VMs setting to 1, and change the Max VMs setting to 2.
    3. If you are using separate subnets for desktop VMs versus management VMs, turn on Specify VM Subnet(s), and select the subnet.
    4. If you have more than one pod, expand the second pod and use the same settings as from the previous steps.
    5. Click NEXT.
  6. On the Users page, search for and select the users and groups for this assignment, click NEXT, and on the Summary page, click FINISH.
  7. Navigate to the Assign Desktops & Apps > VDI page and verify that the assignment now appears in the list.
  8. Monitor the assignment creation process, as follows:
    1. On the Assignments – VDI Desktops page, click the assignment name.
    2. On the assignment’s detail page, click the System Activity tab, and click the refresh icon to keep updating the status.

      Note: The activity list is pod-specific. To see the activity for another pod, select the pod from the list above the table.

      Assignment creation takes a while. The example from the video took 20 minutes.

    3. Click the Summary tab. When the desktop assignment is complete, the word Complete appears at the top of the tab, and on the main Assignments – VDI Desktops page, the word Complete appears in the Configuration column for that assignment.

Many power options are available for the VMs in a VDI desktop. For a full discussion of these options, see the document Power Management on VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, available on VMware Digital Workspace Tech Zone. For more information on any of the wizard settings, and especially the advanced settings, see the tables in the product documentation topic Horizon Cloud Pods in Microsoft Azure - Create a VDI Multi-Cloud Assignment in Your Horizon Cloud Tenant Environment.

Exercise: Connect to the Virtual Desktop or App as an End User

After you have nished creating desktops and app assignments, you are ready to explore end-user connection options. End users can connect to desktops and applications using dierent Horizon Clients, including desktop and mobile clients. VMware provides native Horizon Clients for iOS, Android, Chrome, macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Alternatively, end users can use the HTML Access web client by entering a URL, using the following format:

https://<FQDN>

The FQDN that is used depends on whether the assignment is for a single pod or multiple pods:

  • For a single-pod assignment, the FQDN can resolve to the public IP of the Azure load balancer that fronts the Unified Access Gateway appliances associated with the pod, or to the FQDN for the Universal Broker.
  • For a multi-pod assignment, the brokering URL can either be a VMware-provided name or a custom brokering URL you have configured. The VMware-provided FQDN includes the DNS name of a valid subdomain for your company; for example, https://acme.vmwarehorizon.com. For this exercise, you use the name you created in Exercise: Configure the Universal Broker.

VMware recommends using the Horizon Universal Broker. Through a single Universal Broker FQDN, users can access assignments from any participating pod in any site in your environment.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Logging In to a Virtual Desktop or App as an End User, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

Important: The following exercise uses the free Horizon Client software to connect to a desktop or app assignment. If you do not already have this software installed on your client endpoint, go to the Download VMware Horizon Clients page, and download and install Horizon Client.

  1. On your client computer, start VMware Horizon Client the same way you would start any application.
    For example, on a Windows PC, double-click the desktop icon.
  2. In the VMware Horizon Client window, click the New Server button.
  3. When prompted, enter the FQDN for accessing the assignments, and click Connect.
  4. In the Login dialog box, enter the user name and password of a user who is entitled to the desktop or published applications, and click Login.
  5. In the selector window, to launch an application or desktop, double-click the icon for the application or desktop.

    Note: If the user has only one assignment and it is a desktop assignment, the selector does not appear, and the user is automatically logged in to the desktop.

The login process is similar if you are using the Horizon HTML Access web client. You simply open a browser window and enter the FQDN as the address.

This exercise showed you how to use Horizon Client on a desktop or laptop computer. You can also use Horizon Client on a tablet or phone. For OS-specific instructions, go to the VMware Horizon Client Documentation page.

 

Monitoring and Analytics

The Cloud Monitoring Service (CMS) allows you to monitor capacity, usage, and health within and across all cloud-connected Horizon pods, though this guide focuses on those pods that use Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure. Monitoring includes dashboard, activity monitoring, and reporting features, which provide the following benefits:

  • Real-time monitoring: Provides alerts for common desktop and server issues.
  • Contextual metrics: Generates in-depth information about user experience and resource usage.
  • Historical utilization: Provides the ability to visualize usage with perspective on capacity, concurrency, and uniqueness. The system allows you to go back in time, to visually evaluate differences in how your resources are consumed by your deployment.
  • Endpoint landscape: Facilitates understanding access patterns by protocol, client type, and location.

The result is that you have one place to go to get all the details you need to monitor the health and performance of your Horizon Cloud implementation.

Exercise: Explore the Dashboard and Activity

The Dashboard gives you an overall picture of your environment: pod health status, capacity and resource utilization, and end-user activity. On the Activity page, you can see the details for administrative actions, end-user activity, and audit logs.

Important: To get more activity to appear on the Dashboard, log in to a desktop or published app, or both, as an end user before performing this exercise. That way, the Dashboard can collect user session data to display for you.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Exploring the Dashboard, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. In the Horizon Universal Console, to explore the Dashboard, expand Monitor in the left pane and click Dashboard.
    1. Click the filter icon under the map to hide certain types of pods. If you have only pods that use Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, you will see only one check box.
    2. Click the tabs in the pane to the right of the map to see current information about issues and sessions.
    3. Hover over an issue or session to see a pop-up window with more details.
    4. Back on the main Dashboard Overview tab, scroll down to see the Utilization and Session charts below the map.
    5. Place your cursor over the charts to drill down to more information.
    6. On the Sessions tile, click the VIEW button to drill down. This takes you to the Sessions tab of the Dashboard.
    7. Use the filters to change the amount of time, the location, or the pod.
    8. Scroll down to see the various charts.
  2. To explore the Activity page, in the Horizon Universal Console, expand Monitor in the left pane and click Activity.
    1. On the Admins tab, select a different time span, such as 48 hours instead of 24.
    2. Click the All Status list to see the status choices.
    3. Click Export Report, to export the table as comma-separated values.
    4. Click the Users tab and use the filter icon in the Description column to refine the list. For example, enter reconnect or some other word that appears in at least one entry.

      Tip: Notice how the filtering icon changes to indicate that filtering is being used. You must select and delete the text to remove the filter.

    5. Click the Audit Logs tab and create a complex filter, first, by clicking the plus sign next to the default 24 Hours in the Time Period list, and then selecting additional criteria.

Exercise: Explore Reports, Notifications, and Helpdesk Features

Many reports provide information about end users' desktop and application sessions, as well as the overall health of the pod deployment. For some reports, the Cloud Monitoring Service collects and stores user-session information to report on utilization over time, trending, and historical analysis.

You can easily look up users and VMs to access useful troubleshooting information, including the client's IP address, type of client being used, and how long it took to log in. You can also find charts depicting CPU usage, memory usage, network and disk performance, and more. Buttons are available to reset, restart, shut down, or power off the VM, or send the user a message.

If you set up VMware Workspace ONE® Assist™ for VMware Horizon®, you can even join the user session and have remote control over the device to troubleshoot and fix problems. This integration is beyond the scope of this guide, but for more information, see the video VMware Workspace ONE Assist for VMware Horizon – Feature Walk-through.

Important: To ensure that there is data to see during this exercise, log in to a desktop or published app, or both, as an end user before performing this exercise. That way, you will be able to search for a user or desktop and see data displayed by the Helpdesk feature.

Note: The following video, VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure: Exploring Reporting and Help-Desk Features, demonstrates how to perform this procedure. For your convenience, the steps are also provided in text format below the video.

  1. To verify that the Cloud Monitoring Service is enabled:
    1. In the Horizon Universal Console, expand Settings in the left pane and click General Settings.
    2. Scroll down to the Monitoring section.
    3. Click the pencil icon next to Monitoring, and make sure both Cloud Monitoring Service and Session Data are turned on. Click Save.
  2. To explore reports, expand Monitor in the left pane and click Reports.
    1. Click the tile for the VDI Applications Usage report. By default, the report lists the applications that were launched during the last 7 days.
    2. Click Last 7 Days and select a different time period from the list.
    3. Click EXPORT, and complete the dialog box that appears by providing a report description, selecting a time period and schedule, if desired, and entering your email address in the Notify Others field.
    4. Click EXPORT, and in the confirmation box that appears, click GO TO MY REPORTS.
    5. On the Exported Reports tab, when the status shows Complete, select the check box for the report and click DOWNLOAD.

      The report is downloaded as a CSV file, which you can open with other tools, such as Microsoft Excel.

  3. To explore the Helpdesk feature by searching for a user:
    1. In the menu bar at the top of the page, next to Horizon Universal Console, click Users.

      You can see from the list that it is possible to search for either user names or VM names.

    2. In the text box next to Users, enter the name of a user and then select the user from the list of search results that are returned.
    3. In the window that appears, click DESKTOPS.

      If you logged in to a virtual desktop before starting this exercise, there will be a connected desktop in the table.

    4. Select the check box next to the desktop and explore the action buttons above the table.

      With the desktop selected, the buttons for Power Off, Shut Down, Restart, and Reset are available.

    5. Click APPLICATIONS at the top of the window.
    6. Above the table, click in the Filter field and type in some letters that you know are part of at least one of the application names.

      Notice how the filtering icon changes to indicate that filtering is being used. You must select and delete the text to remove the filter.

    7. Click ASSIGNMENTS at the top of the window, and see what information is returned.
    8. Click SESSIONS at the top of the window, and click an item in the Computer Name column of the table to drill down and see the details.
    9. In the detail window, click SEND MESSAGE, complete the dialog box, and click SEND MESSAGE.
    10. In the detail window, click the Processes tab, and scroll down to see all the processes that are running on this virtual desktop.
  4. To explore the Helpdesk feature by searching for a VM:
    1. In the menu bar at the top of the page, next to Horizon Universal Console, click Users and select VMs.
    2. In the text box next to VMs, enter the first few letters of a VM name and then select the VM from the list of search results that are returned.
    3. Select the check box next to the desktop name in the table and explore the action buttons above the table.

      With the desktop selected, the command available include Restart, Roll back the Agent version, Power Off, Log Off, Disconnect, and more.

    4. Explore the other tabs for this desktop by clicking the System Activity and User Activity tabs.

      Note that you can use the EXPORT button to export the entries to a CSV file.

  5. To explore the Notifications feature, expand Monitor in the left pane and click Notifications.
    1. Try selecting a different time period from the default, which is 24 Hrs.
    2. Next to Type, click the filter icon and type in Error to see if there were any error messages.
    3. As an alternative way to view notifications, in the menu bar at the top of the page, click the bell icon and scroll through the list notifications.

Frequently Used Together with Horizon Cloud

As powerful as the Horizon Cloud Service solution is on its own, the solution becomes even more robust when used with companion products such as Dynamic Environment Manager and App Volumes, to create just-in-time desktops.

To enhance user experience, you can integrate VMware Workspace ONE® Access™ to create a full self-service catalog that users can sign into once to access dozens of apps and virtual desktops. Finally, for really responsive helpdesk support, you can integrate Workspace ONE Assist for Horizon. Helpdesk admins can join a session and remotely troubleshoot and control the virtual desktop in question.

This chapter briefly describes each of these companion products.

Dynamic Environment Manager

For desktop assignments that use floating desktops, one way of delivering a personalized experience for end users is to integrate VMware Dynamic Environment Manager. Even for dedicated desktops, Dynamic Environment Manager can be used to enforce security policies, and to save users’ documents and other data to a central file share. Here is an overview of how Dynamic Environment Manager works:

  1. The Dynamic Environment Manager agent is installed automatically when you import an Azure VM into Horizon Cloud. The installation directory is
    C:\Program Files\VMware\Horizon Agents\User Environment.
  2. IT can then set up policies and settings using the Dynamic Environment Manager management console.
  3. When a user logs in to their virtual desktop or published app, for example, policy settings such as drive and printer mappings and shortcuts are automatically configured according to the set policy. Application settings can also be predefined.

    Policies can be contextual; for example, for security purposes, the ability to print can be turned off if the user is accessing their virtual desktop from home.
  4. When a user logs off, whatever settings the user has personalized can be saved and stored in their user profile on a file share. With the folder redirection feature, user data, including documents, pictures, and so on, can also be stored on a central file share.

For more information, see the Dynamic Environment Manager product documentation.

App Volumes

With the VMware App Volumes application delivery and lifecycle management tool, enterprises can deploy packaged apps to VMs by using virtual disks. IT does not need to configure individual desktops or applications. You can reduce the number of gold images that must be maintained by moving the applications into manageable packages.

Important: Setting up App Volumes in Horizon Cloud is much simpler than setting up the on-premises version. With App Volumes in Horizon Cloud, the App Volumes server is built into the Horizon pod manager, and the database is the Azure-provided PostgreSQL database system, which is already configured.

Here is an overview of how App Volumes works in Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure:

  1. In the Horizon Universal Console, an administrator creates and adds an App Volumes application. As part of the app package creation workflow, the system captures an app package natively within Horizon Cloud. The package contains all the components that are required to run an application, such as executables and registry keys.
  2. When importing an Azure VM into Horizon Cloud, to create a virtual desktop or RDSH server farm, an administrator can turn on the option to install the App Volumes agent in the VM.
  3. IT deploys the package by creating an application assignment, and the package becomes available for use within seconds without end-user installation. As soon as a user logs in to their virtual desktop, or as soon as an RDSH server starts up, the app package attaches to the VM. This simplies application maintenance, deployment, and upgrades.
  4. Dynamic Environment Manager policies can also be applied to App Volumes packages.

For more information, see the product documentation topic App Volumes Applications for Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, and see the VMware Tech Zone video App Volumes on Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure.

Workspace ONE Access

When end users first log in, VMware Workspace ONE Access can check identification and note what permissions the user account has. The user then sees a personalized self-service catalog of applications and virtual desktops. Workspace ONE Access provides conditional access controls and single sign-on (SSO) for software as a service (SaaS), web, and cloud resources.

When Workspace ONE Access is used to integrate Workspace ONE with Horizon, instead of launching the Horizon Client software and selecting from only Horizon desktops and apps, end users can use either a web browser or the Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub app to access a catalog containing Horizon Cloud desktops and published apps along with other web apps and cloud resources. For more information, see the Platform Integration section of the VMware Workspace ONE and VMware Horizon Reference Architecture.

Workspace ONE Assist for Horizon

To enhance Horizon Cloud helpdesk capabilities, you can set up VMware Workspace ONE Assist for Horizon, which allows administrators or helpdesk personnel to join the user session and have remote control over the device. For more information, see the video VMware Workspace ONE Assist for VMware Horizon – Feature Walk-through, and see the Workspace ONE Assist for Horizon product documentation.

Summary and Additional Resources

Now that you have completed the exercises in this guide, you should have a basic deployment of Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure. First, you deployed a pod and configured the Universal Broker. You then created one multi-pod golden image of a VDI desktop and one single-pod image an RDSH server. You also set up a farm from that RDSH VM image, and assigned desktops and applications that your end users can securely access from any device. Finally, you used the Horizon Universal Console for unified health monitoring and reporting, and you explored the helpdesk features.

Although the basic environment you just set up is for evaluation purposes only, you can now explore further on your own as you evaluate this offering. When you are ready to deploy a production environment, see the Horizon Cloud Service documentation.

Additional Resources

Getting Started with the VMware Horizon Service

Mastering Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, Tech Zone activity path

Horizon Services Journey focus page

Horizon Control Plane Services Technical Resources focus page

Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure Architecture

Horizon Cloud Evaluation Guide, YouTube playlist, which includes all the videos from this guide

Changelog

The following updates were made to this guide:

Date

Description of Changes

2022/01/03

Original publication date.

About the Author and Contributors

The following authors, contributors, and subject-matter-expert reviewers collaborated to create this tutorial.

Author

This guide was written by Caroline Arakelian, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, End-User-Computing Technical Marketing.

Contributors

  • Rick Terlep, Staff Technical Marketing Architect, End-User Computing, VMware
  • Cindy Carroll, Technical Marketing Manager, End User Computing, VMware

Feedback

Your feedback is valuable.

To comment on this paper, contact VMware End-User-Computing Technical Marketing at euc_tech_content_feedback@vmware.com.

 

 


 

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