What is our primary use case?
We're a payroll company and understandably security is pretty important for us. When a user takes a laptop home you have to manage encryption in case they lose it. With everything in our data center, there's no risk of lost data because everything is run in the VDI. That's our primary use case for this product. I'm a systems engineer and we are customers of VMware Horizon View.
What is most valuable?
This product is great for desktop management, particularly when it comes to all the upgrades. It enables you to update one golden image, save it and basically deploy it. Any user logging in will get that new DDI and you've only had to upgrade one machine. The other advantage is that because you're pushing out this image, it's a clone of the original so everybody has the same experience. That's not always the case when people use different laptops, adjusting and tweaking them. It makes management a lot easier. There's also the huge savings we've had with the pandemic because everybody had to work from home. Even if there weren't enough laptops to go around, almost everybody has a home computer. It was just a matter of installing Horizon on your home computer and connecting to the office using two factor authentication. They made it really simple.
What needs improvement?
I believe documentation could be improved. There's a product in the solution called DEM, which is for screening applications or importing settings into a particular app. In VDI machines your profile's replicated or just live-streamed from the supplier server. Things like Google Chrome, with all its different application settings and passwords and whatever, is stored in zip files that are extracted when you log in. Horizon works with this but documentation is lacking. The applications have changed so much, but the company doesn't seem to be keeping up with that. The product needs to be simplified, have more documentation, and some predefined applications so that users don't have to re-engineer things each time.
For an additional feature, it would be great if they had automatic replication of all the stored profiles so we're not having to use third party tools to do the replication of their users' profiles. It would mean that you can use it as a disaster recovery server, as well as just active-active across data centers.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using this solution for five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's important to set it up correctly and maintain it properly. Once it's working, it's really stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This solution is scalable, we currently have around 300 users and about five people who take care of everything connected to the product, including maintenance upgrades and everything. We'll expand usage if the business grows.
How are customer service and technical support?
There are certain aspects of technical support that are good and you can get a quick response. At other times there are issues where the blame game kicks in and you have to wait for somebody to take ownership of the problem. They're generally okay.
How was the initial setup?
In this instance we were implementing in two data centers and introducing not only a VDI, but also replicating all the data from one place to the other. Deployment involved building Microsoft clustered file servers and setting up replication between those two file servers and then mirroring the configurations. It probably took us about six months but we were doing other things at the same time. If we'd focused only on that, I think it would probably have taken about a week or two. It depends how much effort is put in.
What was our ROI?
We definitely have an ROI. Previously, we had to patch every single laptop which was a drastic pain. With everybody now working from home, that created a whole bunch of new challenges but with VMware everything's saved in our network so no matter what's happening on the home network it's not carrying over into our business.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The product requires a Microsoft license for the operating system, which is standard. If you want support and upgrades, you pay for that.
What other advice do I have?
This is a great product but it's a massive product and you can't do anything with Horizon View alone. It requires all the other products flying together with it. It's a very complex product and it takes a lot of time to become knowledgeable about it. It's crucial to have decent hardware before implementing this solution because it's fairly resource intensive. If this is new to you, be prepared for a fairly long project because there are so many moving pieces and it's fairly complex, and it requires having a lot of things in place before you can even begin.
I rate this solution an eight out of 10.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?