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As Deadline Nears, Now is the Time to Upgrade VMware Horizon

The VMware Horizon desktop and application virtualization platform has been instrumental in supporting the remote work requirements of organizations worldwide. But with the last version of Horizon 7 nearing End of General Support, now is the time to make plans for an upgrade to Horizon 8.

Horizon 7.13 will reach End of General Support in October. After that, VMware will no longer provide security patches, bug fixes, OS updates or hardware support. Organizations should begin the upgrade process well in advance of the October deadline to ensure there are no support issues with this critical technology.

Upgrading from Horizon 7 is a significant project involving several high-level tasks. According to VMware’s technical notes, the upgrade path involves a dozen or more processes that must be performed in a specific order. Additionally, some older versions of Horizon 7 have features that won’t be supported in Horizon 8 and must be uninstalled before proceeding with the upgrade.

Why 8 is Great

VMware’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution delivers immense business value by enabling workers to securely and remotely access desktops and applications. According to a 2021 study by IDC, Horizon produces benefits worth an annual average of more than $350,000 for every 100 users, and yields an average five-year return on investment of 413 percent.

VMware Horizon 8 introduces several new key capabilities, including:

  • More deployment options. Horizon 8 can be deployed either on-premises or in a variety of public clouds, including VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure VMware Solution and Google Cloud VMware Solution. Desktop-as-a-Service options are also available on Microsoft Azure and Horizon Cloud on IBM Cloud.
  • New instant clone capabilities. IT teams can directly provision instant clones without requiring a parent virtual machine, which frees up memory resources and increases the number of possible desktops per host.
  • New RESTful APIs. Applied through a new HTML-5 management console, these interfaces enable increased automation of administrative tasks such as monitoring, entitlements, and user and machine management.
  • Enhanced support for unified communications and collaboration. An optimized experience for Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom helps meet the demand for more collaboration tools to support distributed workforces.
  • Linux-hosted applications. Linux applications can now be published directly from a Linux server in the VMware Horizon platform, helping reduce costs associated with licenses from other operating system platforms.

Consider Deploying VxRail

When planning your upgrade to Horizon 8, keep in mind that serving up desktop environments from the data center can consume significant resources. That’s why many organizations deploy VDI on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) that tightly integrates compute, networking and storage into a single platform running on industry-standard hardware.

An ESG study finds that using HCI for VDI delivers a range of other benefits as well, such as improved scalability, ease of deployment, improved TCO and reduced capital expenditures. Given those benefits, it might be wise to deploy HCI in combination with a Horizon 8 upgrade.

The Dell EMC VxRail appliance is a great choice for running Horizon. In addition to providing all the key resources for VDI, VxRail is specifically optimized for Horizon virtual desktops and applications. VxRail includes VMware VSAN storage virtualization software, vSphere server virtualization software and vCenter server management software. With Horizon running on VxRail, virtual desktops are dynamically assembled on demand, ensuring users get clean and personalized desktops each time they log in.

If you are running an older version of Horizon, Cerium can help you develop an upgrade path that will ensure no loss of support for this critical technology. Our engineering team can help you navigate the multistage upgrade process, and we’ll test all aspects of the deployment to ensure there are no issues. Give us a call at 800-217-0933 or fill out this form to arrange a consultation.

We're Here to Help!

The VMware Horizon 7 desktop and app virtualization platform reaches End of General Support in October. The network engineering team at Cerium Networks can help you prepare for the tricky upgrade to Horizon 8. Call us to learn more.

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