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What's new with VMware Horizon 6.2, EVO SDDC and Project Enzo?

VMworld may have been a letdown in terms of desktop virtualization news, but VMware did announce Horizon 6.2 and update its EVO:RACK plans, which should interest large VDI shops.

Although VMware didn't reveal much about Project Enzo at VMworld, the company did unveil some important new features in Horizon 6.2 and rebrand its hyper-converged infrastructure offering, which could be a fit for large organizations running VDI.

Project Enzo, VMware's cloud-based workspace management platform and its answer to Citrix's Workspace Cloud (CWC), is now available as a beta to qualified customers. VMware has some other irons on the fire, recently renaming its EVO:RACK offering for large enterprises as EVO SDDC and adding a new automation engine, called EVO SDDC Manager.

Dive into more detail on each of these products, including the major differences between Project Enzo and CWC.

What's new in Horizon 6.2

VMware released Horizon 6.2 and Horizon 6.2 for Linux, which feature Skype for Business, as well as NVIDIA GRID support for high-end 3D application delivery via Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) or VDI. The Horizon View Composer linked clones feature will simplify RDSH app deployment and management, allowing VDI admins to update their entire RDSH farm in one fell swoop.

Horizon 6.2 also includes improved load balancing to help admins keep RDSH hosts balanced based on specific resource metrics. And admins can easily scale VMs across multiple data center sites, because Horizon Apps now integrates with VMware's Cloud Pod Architecture, which enables centralized management for View virtual desktop pods.

In terms of security, VMware Horizon 6.2 combines forces with VMware Identity Manager to give users the protection of two-factor authentication. In addition, if users access the network from outside the corporate firewall, a new lightweight appliance will secure their connections.

Other big developments in Horizon 6.2 include the ability to open a remote app from Windows Explorer with File Type Association and the opportunity to double the number of users a VM can support by relying on the all-flash VMware Virtual SAN. On top of that, Horizon 6.2 will support Windows 10.

A look at Project Enzo

VMware conveniently announced Project Enzo during Citrix Synergy this year to take some wind out of Citrix CWC's sails.

Project Enzo has two main components. The first is the Cloud-Control Plane, a cloud-based management layer that gives admins the power to setup, deliver and monitor virtual desktops and apps, as well as make changes to desktops, apps and policies on a group-by-group basis.

The second key component is Smart Node technology, which combines technology from App Volumes, VMware User Environment Management and vSphere 6's Instant Clone capability into one tool, allowing admins to create more than 2,000 virtual desktops in less than 20 minutes, according to VMware.

The major difference between Project Enzo and CWC is that Citrix's product can run on any cloud, while Enzo has to run on VMware vCloud Air. This makes CWC a more flexible option because it doesn't tie IT admins to one particular cloud offering.

VMware gives EVO:RACK a new name

EVO:RACK is no more. VMware rebranded its yet-to-be-released hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) product for large enterprises as EVO SDDC. The company said EVO SDDC will have the same meat on its bones as EVO:RACK -- with vSphere, Virtual SAN 6.1 and NSX 6.2 combining to power compute, storage and networking on a single layer of software on an x86 server.

Like the smaller EVO:RAIL offering, this HCI product can work in VDI shops by allowing admins to get virtual desktops up and running even faster. With EVO SDDC, VDI admins could turn on the system and start spinning up VMs within 15 minutes, without any performance issues or disruptions for end users, according to VMware.

The bigger news, though, is a new feature called EVO SDDC Manager, which automates the power-up, provisioning and monitoring of virtual and physical resources. EVO SDDC Manager makes the resources from multiple server racks look like they came from a single rack by consolidating the information into one management pane. Admins can use this pooled data to determine the workload domain capacity of each rack based on its individual resource needs. EVO SDDC Manager also takes control of lifecycle management for both the hardware and software stack that comes with EVO SDDC.

With a new Horizon iteration and the upcoming EVO SDDC and Enzo products, VMware VDI shops have a lot to consider when it comes to updating their virtual desktop environments.

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