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VMware Horizon DaaS hosts Windows client OS and Server images

With VMware Horizon DaaS, you can host Windows client OSes and Server images in the cloud or in your data center. If you decide to use Windows XP, 7 or 8 desktops, however, remember that you'll have to supply licenses and factor in those costs.

VMware Horizon DaaS can seem confusing because it's both a platform and a service, but that's where the confusion ends. It's easy to install and use.

The important thing to get straight about VMware Horizon DaaS is that it's a platform you can buy and host in your own data center, but you can also buy it through VMware or through one of VMware's partners.

Horizon DaaS lets you host Windows XP, 7 and 8 desktops, as well as Windows Server-based images. You can also choose to deploy persistent or non-persistent desktops. The downside is that you have to supply your own licenses, which can drive up the price per desktop. Before you start, read up on all the specs on Horizon DaaS, including where desktops are hosted, how much work you need to do to set them up and the price per seat.

How it works: Horizon DaaS is based on the Desktone platform. Users can access Windows client OSes (XP, Windows 7 and 8), or Windows Server (2008 R2 or 2012) desktops. If you choose to go with the client OS, you'll need to bring your own Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licenses. But, if you go the Server route, VMware can provide Remote Desktop Services Client Access Licenses because those have a Service Provider License Agreement, whereas the VDA licenses don't. You can create either persistent or non-persistent desktops that stream to users via PCoIP or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

You can use your on-premises Horizon View with Horizon DaaS to manage cloud-hosted and regular virtual desktops from the same interface, and you can host desktops in any cloud that you want. VMware Horizon DaaS comes with a 99.9% SLA.

You can buy access to Horizon DaaaS three ways. You can purchase the platform from VMware and host it on-premises in your own data center. Rather than a subscription, you pay a one-time fee, plus maintenance. You can also buy the service through a provider, either VMware or a third-party that partners with the company. Or, if you go through VMware directly as a provider, the company hosts your desktops on its vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS).

What you'll have to do:  You create desktops and map them to users through the VMware Horizon DaaS Enterprise Center Console dashboard. Select whether desktops should be client OS or Server-based, enter the number of desktops you want to create, identify whether they should be persistent or non-persistent and choose either the Standard or Advanced model. This creates a pool of desktops. You can then assign individual users to specific desktops, or you can use AD groups to assign users to desktops. Desktops must be created in a pool.

What users have to do: Users need their AD credentials. If you host desktops across multiple clouds, users will also need to know which cloud their desktop is hosted in. Users can access their desktops via VMware Horizon View clients directly, or via the VMware Horizon DaaS Desktop Portal through the View Client, RDP or the Horizon View Blast Protocol. There are View clients for Windows, MAC, Linux, iOS, Android and zero clients.

What it costs: There are two models to choose from: Standard and Advanced. Both have 30 GB of storage for persistent or non-persistent disks. The Standard model costs $35 per user and per month for 1 vCPU with 2GB RAM. Advanced is $50 for 2 vCPUs with 4GB RAM. There is a 50 desktop minimum. Remember that if you use Windows client OSes, you'll foot the bill for licenses as well.

This was first published in July 2014

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