Unidesk 4 Support for VMware Horizon Announced at VMworld

Posted by Andrew Nadeau on Aug 30, 2016

We're back in Las Vegas for VMworld 2016, only a few short months after launching the redesigned Unidesk 4 here at Citrix's annual conference. Unidesk 4 won Best of Citrix Synergy - New Technology for bringing industry-leading application lifecycle and image management innovations to Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop. It only made sense to announce that Unidesk 4 now offers these same enterprise-class capabilities for VMware Horizon at VMware's big event. That's what we did in today's press release.

Here's a look at 4 of the capabilities that have VMware Horizon customers so excited about the newest update to Unidesk 4.

1. Eliminate VMware Horizon Image Management Cost & Complexity

Unidesk is the only application lifecycle management solution that also solves the image management challenge. We're showing at VMworld this week how we bring massive image management efficiencies to large-scale VMware Horizon deployments.

Unidesk 4 introduced Unidesk Layered Images™ - standard VHDs and VMDKs that IT creates just by selecting a Windows OS layer and any combination of app layers. Unidesk merges the selected VHD layers together into a single VHD or VMDK - the Layered Image - which can be delivered to any virtual machine. Our unique "below-Windows" architecture that enables the Windows OS itself to be managed as a virtual disk and our one-of-a-kind layering technology that runs outside the Windows guest make this possible.

Layered Images now bring these benefits to VMware Horizon:

  1. Patch-once efficiency. Instead of having to manage a different image for every VMware Horizon pool and parent machine, IT only has to patch Windows and apps once, letting Unidesk create and update all of the Layered Images.
  2. 100% app compatibility. The only way to virtualize and deliver the "last 30%" of apps - agents, drivers, system services, and other apps that need to run before login - is with technology that starts as soon as Windows starts. These apps can be delivered in Layered Images, extending the benefits of accelerated app delivery, simpler app packaging, independent patching, and easy break/fix to all apps.
  3. No impact on login performance. Apps delivered as part of a Layered Image are already loaded and running before users login. There is no latency introduced by having to mount a VHD and merge the file system and registry.
  4. Hypervisor and cloud portability. There will always be a need for multiple images, especially in hybrid cloud and multi-hypervisor environments. As you'll see below, another new innovation from Unidesk enables the same Layered Images to be delivered to different hypervisors and clouds. So while you may need different images, with Unidesk, you won't have to manage them!

2. Integrate & Scale with VMware's Native Tools

VMware already has powerful image delivery and provisioning technologies in VMware Horizon View Composer and Instant Clones. Citrix has powerful technology, too, with PVS and MCS. But what these technologies don't do is manage image content. They have no knowledge of what's inside the images they deliver. This is why the image management problem exists for every large-scale Citrix and VMware implementation.

Unidesk 4 adds seamless integration with these existing tools. Today we announced our new Unidesk Connector for VMware Horizon View Composer, which publishes Unidesk Layered Images through VMware's native provisioning tool. By enabling IT to manage image content once through Unidesk and leveraging View Composer (or Instant Clones) for image delivery, IT can finally eliminate the need to patch and update Windows and apps multiple times.

These connectors also make it very easy to integrate Unidesk into any environment. IT already builds and hands off images to these tools. Now you just use Unidesk to automate and streamline the process.

3. Deliver Apps in Real-Time

While Unidesk app layers can be delivered pre-boot as part of a Layered Image, Unidesk 4 offers a second way to deliver apps. Unidesk Elastic Layering attaches app layers at user login to running virtual machines based on Active Directory user and group membership.

Today, we announced this "hot-add" capability now works for VMware Horizon. VMware customers looking to reduce the cost of VDI can now use smaller pools of non-persistent virtual desktops equal to the maximum number of concurrent users, rather than provision dedicated, 1:1 desktops for every user. Fewer VMs mean less server and storage infrastructure and lower costs.

Elastic Layering also makes app delivery even faster. Desktop reboots are no longer required - just a logout/login.


Unidesk 4 publishes Layered Images through VMware Horizon View Composer and Instant Clones and delivers apps in real-time at login to VMware Horizon VDI desktops and RDSH sessions.

4. Manage Apps Once Across Hypervisors & Clouds

The fourth major innovation we announced today for VMware Horizon are Unidesk Platform Layers™. These layers enable the same Unidesk app layers and the same Layered Images to be deployed to different hypervisors and clouds without re-packaging apps or rebuilding images. For the first time, IT can manage apps and Windows once across different hypervisors, migrate to new hypervisors without costly repackaging, and leverage the cloud for infrastructure-free app delivery and more affordable disaster recovery.

Customer Reactions

What was the reaction to all of these innovations? Attendees were blown away. The many current Unidesk-VMware Horizon customers presenting their VDI success stories in our VMworld booth theater also love the new capabilities and the scalability of our re-designed Unidesk 4 platform.


Unidesk Chief Solution Architect Ron Oglesby demos Unidesk 4 at VMworld 2016

Here's what Henrik Frank, Lead Infrastructure Architect for the Virtual Infrastructure Team at Amdocs said. "Unidesk has enabled us to easily package and deliver all of our apps on one Windows 7 instance, even though all of our VMware Horizon users have very different requirements. As a global company with users in distributed offices, we love Unidesk’s new ability to deliver custom apps at login, enabling us to offer a persistent user experience without a dedicated machine for every user. Being able to seamlessly move our apps and images from VDI to the cloud is another powerful feature that will help us future-proof our end user computing environment going forward.”

What do you think of these new innovations? Comment below!

Topics: VMware Horizon View

Posted by Andrew Nadeau on Aug 30, 2016

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