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VMware expands VD management tools for Microsoft Azure

VMware's latest Horizon virtual desktop management tools improve the performance of the product on Microsoft Azure. The changes appear in the Horizon Control Plane.

VMware has added management capabilities to its Horizon platform for delivering virtual desktops from Microsoft Azure.

This week, the company launched Azure-focused improvements to the Control Plane tool within Horizon, a platform to deliver virtual desktops from a cloud infrastructure provider or a private data center. IT staff members can use the Horizon Control Plane to manage all VMware virtual desktops.

VMware added four significant Control Plane services for Azure customers:

  • The Universal Broker connects virtual desktops and apps to users based on criteria like network capacity, location and company settings.
  • The Cloud Monitoring Service allows IT staff members to see their company's virtual desktop and app performance in real time.
  • The Image Management Service provides a central place for IT to update and distribute virtual desktop images.
  • Finally, the Application Management Service simplifies app delivery and updates by separating them from desktop image management.

VMware executive Shankar Iyer said the new features reduce the complexity of managing Horizon virtual desktops on Azure. They should also help IT staffs maintain the performance of the desktops.

Forrester Research analyst William McKeon-White agreed, saying the enhancements could make the Horizon product more attractive to the growing number of potential buyers. Analysts said more companies are turning to virtual desktops as an efficient way to secure, manage and deliver the business applications used by corporate employees working from home.

Microsoft Azure is the second-largest infrastructure-as-a-service provider in the U.S., behind AWS. Therefore, VMware has to have Horizon on Azure, even though Microsoft is a competitor in the virtual desktop market.

"VMware is saying we want to go where our customers are going," said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Bowker.

This month, Microsoft launched Windows 365, an Azure-based desktop-as-a-service product that runs on the web browser in a Windows PC, Mac or mobile device. Microsoft also sells another product called the Azure Virtual Desktop.

Along with the Horizon update, VMware announced that IT professionals would soon use its Workspace ONE Assist tool to troubleshoot problems in Horizon virtual desktops. Before, IT staff could use the tool to control only mobile devices or physical PCs to fix problems.

VMware will release the Workspace ONE Assist update by the end of October.

Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) is a division of TechTarget.

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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