VMware Horizon Cloud Review

Just like using a desktop and makes it easier to bring everything up, but very expensive

What is our primary use case?

We don't internally use it, but we have clients who use it. 

I have used it myself in my prior job. We were not using the shared version where you share resources. We had dedicated resources for each desktop, which was one of the reasons why it was a little bit more expensive. This was one of the things I wanted to change before I left because you had people with 8 gigabytes of RAM and two processors assigned to them, but they were just doing emails. 

Every once in a while, they would use full resources while doing complex Excel tasks or something like that. They needed these resources all the time because whenever they didn't have them, the machine would freeze upon them for a little while and then start working, but that is not conducive to being efficient. The only solution was to give them more processing and memory. Unfortunately, that drives up costs because there is a cost associated with every processor and RAM you use. That's really the driving cost of it.

I started getting the shared version where it would fluctuate with what is needed from a pool. In other words, if you had a pool of 120 gigabytes, it would fluctuate depending on the users' needs. If you put 40 users on 128 gigabytes, it is going to be cheaper than giving 40 users 8 gigabytes, which is 320 gigabytes. You cut your costs with that.

How has it helped my organization?

It made things a lot easier. The job I was doing was for a non-profit organization, and we were all over the place. People would be doing things in different locations and going through different clients, donators, and so forth. VMware Horizon Cloud made it very simple and quick to bring everything up. All they needed was an internet connection, and things would work for them. It made things very efficient.

What is most valuable?

I honestly liked the application itself because it was just like using a desktop. You could copy and paste, inside and outside, and you could use multiple monitors. You could access it anytime, anywhere, no matter whether you were in the office or out of the office. I could leave the office, go somewhere, go back in, and everything would be there. I could just leave it up and running. I absolutely love this feature in VMware Horizon Cloud.

What needs improvement?

It is very expensive. Its price needs to be improved.

They can do a better job with external resources such as a USB or a hard drive. When I tried to connect using these external resources, it failed a lot of times. I had to do a shared connection with a local laptop and then connect from a network standpoint, rather than through VMware Horizon point. They definitely have weaknesses with external connections. A lot of companies probably don't let people use external connections because it defeats the purpose of having a cloud solution and keeping the data in a secure area. You can copy to an external device, and you can lose the data. A lot of companies may not focus on this feature, but if you are providing it, you should make it work.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using VMware Horizon Cloud for five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability was great. It never went down. It was solid. We had one problem early on because we were on an outdated version where it just locked up, and we had to do a reboot of the main server to get everything back up, but that was very early on. Once we got the newest version, everything was fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability was very easy. It was a matter of shutting it off and turning it back on, and you have everything you need. You could even do some of the things in real time. If you needed more memory up to a certain point, you didn't even need to reboot. You could just put the memory on, and it would start taking advantage of it.

We had 150 users, and it was all the way from the CEO down to the clerk. It was the only real service. The rule of the business was that everything that you work on has to be on that equipment. You were not supposed to do anything locally on your computer.

How are customer service and technical support?

We had a managed service provider who handled it, so we never had to deal directly with their technical support. We contacted the managed service provider if any support was ever needed, which worked effectively. We never really had to call VMware technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used RDP. We had the service, but obviously, RDP has a lot of security flaws. Generally, you are just logging into another machine. With that, you still need machines running and so forth. Technically speaking, although it was VMware, I could get into RDP if I had turned it on. You don't really save much with RDP, and you can't really use it outside the office unless you have it managed to that particular machine for the IP address, whereas VMware Horizon Cloud goes by the domain. You have a web service, a public IP, and the name of the machine assigned to it, and you log in. It knows where to go. With RDP, you can't really do that. Mainly, it was just the higher technical sites that used the RDP version.

The other benefit of VMware was that it allowed us to buy cheaper computers. We didn't need top of the line computers. There could be $500 notebooks, and they would work fine because it was all in the cloud, and it wasn't using local resources.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. It wasn't very difficult. Another nice thing was that when I updated servers and so forth, I could do a snapshot. If something failed, I could just restore it rather quickly. It was very functional from that standpoint as well.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is too expensive as compared to other solutions because of which we don't use it that much. We tend to go more for Hyper-V or Azure just because VMware licensing is quite up there. We sway people away from VMware Horizon Cloud. We have some clients who already have it. They stay on it for a little while, and then most of them end up moving off when we provide them a better solution that isn't as license heavy cost-wise.

What other advice do I have?

Its price is the biggest issue. I didn't have any issues with the product itself. It worked efficiently and effectively. I never really had any issues that I can think of. It is overall a very solid product. 

I would advise others to first do a cost analysis. Make sure that it benefits the business mainly from the cost perspective. Make sure that you have a person who is very knowledgeable and knows how to implement shared resources in an environment. That was one of the issues we had. People who deployed it before I got there didn't understand how to properly deploy it to be most effective from a resource standpoint. There were a lot of wasted resources because they dedicated them to everybody while allocating them out.

I would rate VMware Horizon Cloud a seven out of ten. Price is a pretty big talking point for most companies.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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