VMware Horizon Architecture: Planning Your Deployment — Hysolate

  • Components of VMware Horizon
  • Architecture Design for VMware Horizon VDI
  • Memory Requirements
  • CPU Req u ire m ents
  • Disk Size

VMware Horizon Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Architecture

Organizations looking for a quick hybrid architecture set up can start with VMware Horizon, vSphere, Microsoft RDSH, and virtual desktop servers running on-premise, using a cloud-based control plane.

Components of VMware Horizon

VMware Horizon is composed of infrastructure components, VDI components, and user management components.

Virtualization Infrastructure

vCenter Server

The central management system of VMware vSphere. vCenter can be deployed on physical or virtual machines.

ESXi Hypervisor

This is the server that runs the VMs for your virtualized desktop workloads. It is managed by vCenter Server.

VDI Infrastructure

Horizon View Connection Server

This is the central management server that accepts connections from virtualized desktop users, authenticating them via Active Directory. It stores a copy of the organization’s LDAP database.

View Composer

A component that must be installed on each vCenter Server. Manages vCenter Server virtual desktop storage, improving storage efficiency through linked cloning. It creates a clone of a user’s storage from the base virtual hard disk (VMDK), comparing the user’s data to the parent disk and storing only the user’s unique data locally. This technique can save 50–90% of disk space, however it means that virtual desktops are dependent on their parent disks.

Horizon Administrator

A web-based interface for managing Horizon VDI. VMware recommends using a separate Horizon Administrator instance for each Horizon Connection Server. Using this interface, administrators can add vCenter Servers and View Composers to the View configuration.

View Agent

A component that must be part of all VMs the Horizon View Connection Server needs to manage. There should be an agent deployed on each machine that is served to users as a virtual desktop. It provides features important for virtualized desktops, including support for USB and peripherals, printing, and monitoring connectivity.

Horizon Client

Allows the user’s virtualized desktop to interact with the View Connection Server, and authenticate via the Active Directory server on the Connection Server. It can be installed on Windows, MacOS or Linux.

User Management Infrastructure

Workspace ONE UEM

VMware Workspace ONE is a platform that lets you deliver applications to any device, with integrated access control, central application management and endpoint management. It is based on VMware unified endpoint management (UEM) technology, and integrates with VMware Horizon, sharing the same identity system.

Application Delivery

There are two components VMware uses to deliver applications to users:

  • ThinApp — provides agentless application virtualization. Users can access remote applications without having to install software on their personal devices.

Architecture Design for VMware Horizon VDI

The design of a typical Horizon deployment is based on pods. A pod can have varying hardware configurations, and may have different versions of Horizon and vSphere.


There are two primary options for virtual desktops in VMware Horizon — persistent and non-persistent.

Non-Persistent Desktops

If virtual desktops are non-persistent, after disconnecting or restarting, VMware Horizon does not keep any user data, such as user settings, application settings, or bookmarks. All desktops are identical, copied from the same master image. You can use folder redirection to maintain user-specific data — the user’s settings are stored in a central location and applied to all desktops that the user logs into.

  • Easier maintenance of updates, because only one master image needs to be updated
  • Improved security, because any desktop have a lifespan of up to one day before it is refreshed from a master image
  • User settings data is also backed up centrally, further conserving storage

Persistent Desktops

This option enables users to store data on their desktops, and regain access to the data each time they connect or reboot. You do not need methods like folder redirection to copy user data to another desktop. In addition, users can directly install or manage individual applications on their desktops, even if those applications do not exist for other users, and without using app virtualization.

  • Desktop updates need to be managed, typically using a solution like Altiris or WSUS
  • Security is less robust because desktops can remain persistent for months, and users may install software or make configuration changes that introduce vulnerabilities
  • User settings are not backed up centrally, so may be lost in case of loss of the virtualized desktop

Memory Requirements

RAM accounts for most of the cost of server hardware, so it is important to determine the correct storage allocation when planning a virtual desktop deployment. Too little RAM increases the use of Windows paging, which hurts end user performance. Conversely, if too much RAM is allocated, the guest operating system page file, swap file and suspend files may become too large and affect storage capacity.

CPU Requirements

When calculating CPU requirements, collect information about the average CPU utilization of different types of employees in the company. During your POC, use performance monitoring like Perfmon or the ESXi utility esxtop to determine the average and maximum CPU utilization of each group.

Disk Size

Ensure that each VM has just enough storage space for operations systems, user content and applications. This is typically smaller than the size of a disk included on an employee’s workstation. Make a special effort to reduce the size of the operating system, because this will result in a large storage saving across your data center.

  • Windows page file is, by default, 150% of RAM
  • Log files require approx. 100MB per VM

Democratizing your Desktop Environment with Hysolate

Hysolate is an innovator in the isolated workspace-as-a-service space. An isolated workspace bridges the gap between enterprise endpoint security and user productivity. Hysolate is the first solution that lets organizations easily create an isolated workspace on both corporate and non-corporate devices, and manage them from the cloud.

  • Providing secure corporate access from unmanaged user-owned devices, using a strong, VM-based, isolated workspace.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store