A Review of Horizon View 5.3 Limits and Maximums

Giving continuity to my Horizon View Limits and Maximums series (VMware View 4.0 | VMware View 5.0 | Horizon View 5.2) I am now releasing an updated version for Horizon View 5.3.

As an administrator or architect you should always ensure your designs are within the product’s Maximums and Limits in order to be entitled to VMware Support.

Horizon View 5.3 introduced new features and improvements, specially adding supportability for multiple different OS and VSAN integration in Technology Preview mode. This Horizon View release is not particularly focused on scalability, like the previous release and you will not see any differences when comparing with Horizon View 5.2.



The limits may vary according to the releases in use. The limits in this post are specific to Horizon View 5.3 and vCenter Server 5.5.


· 180 VMs per NFS export with VAAI support – NEW!
For Horizon View 5.3 VMware decided to utilize NFS exports instead of SCSI LUNS. For this reason this is a new number in my limits table. Please note that this is not an effective limit, but rather a recommended number based on VMware’s tests.


[Click the image to enlarge]

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 4.48.33 PM






Horizon View 5.3 introduces Tech Preview for VSAN. Administrators may start testing Horizon View with VSAN in a dev/test environment; but please remember that there’s no VMware support for the integration at this point in time.

VSAN reduces CAPEX for Horizon View deployments by leveraging inexpensive server disks for shared storage, avoiding the capital expense of specialized hardware.VSAN helps to reduce OPEX by greatly simplifying, and in most cases eliminating, day-to-day storage configuration and provisioning activities, yet allowing administrators to scale Horizon View deployments on-demand by adding hosts on the fly or hot-adding disks to existing server nodes.

If want to learn more about the VSAN benefits for Horizon View please refer to my article How does VMware VSAN help Horizon View?


As I aforementioned, VSAN is not supported with Horizon View 5.3. However, VMware ran validation tests before shipping the product. Here are the numbers validated by VMware.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 4.22.07 PM





If you decide to deploy VSAN with Horizon View in you test/dev lab environment you should ensure your deployment is within the tested numbers for a successful Technology Preview.


This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net.


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    • Phil S on 10/28/2013 at 8:27 am

    Thanks for this info – can you please provide links to official VMware supporting documentation? On a recent call to VMware Support, they could not confirm/validate your View 5.2 claims regarding VMs per Datastore with VAAI. Thanks!

  1. Phil, you need to refer to the Horizon View Architecture Planning Guide for official numbers from VMware. The issue here is that VMware has not officially published the VMs per Datastore with VAAI.

    • Phil S on 10/29/2013 at 5:50 am

    Thanks, Andre – I am familiar with the Planning Guide. So, how are you able to publish your limits chart? Is it based on your own lab testing? Thanks, again!

  2. Phil, the numbers come from the internal VMware QE team and they represent what has effectively been tested with test bed. Can you go beyond these NFS numbers? Yes. Each environment is different and it’s impossible to test all possible configurations. I can publish these numbers because I have access to the smart people doing the internal functional and scalability tests. Please note these are not mine lab tests, it’s VMware. However, I recommend you to always stick to official VMware published numbers when possible.

    • Phil S on 10/29/2013 at 7:37 am

    Excellent! Thanks for the info and great site!

    • forbsy on 11/18/2013 at 9:59 am

    Hi Andre. The NetApp Solutions Guide for View (tr-4181) states that they recommend 250 vms/datastore over 1GbE and 1,250 vms/datastore over a 10GbE link. Should we be following those recommendations, or what you stated – 180vms/datastore?

  3. forsby, the numbers above have been validated by VMware. If your storage vendor recommend a different number you should follow them. However, ensure you stay within limits. In this case, the limit is more a testing limit. As long you have acceptable latency you will be fine.


    • Chris on 04/24/2014 at 1:42 am

    Hi are your figures for number of VM’s per LUN correct? I believe from 5.0 it should be < than 128 for VMFS datastores.

    • forbsy on 04/24/2014 at 1:48 pm

    <128 for vmfs with vaai? Not sure why anyone would go vmfs for virtual desktops – unless they had no other option.

    • Chris on 04/24/2014 at 3:56 pm

    Indeed I was referring to VMware’s documentation, If using VMFS datastores limit the number of linked clones per datastore to 128. I don’t see VAAI mentioned so assume this is without

  4. @forsby and @Chris, you need to understand that supported numbers never come from engineering. Engineering may have designed the feature to support as many desktops as you require. However, when this hits QA they will only be able to test a subset of it and normally is in alignment with the hardware and tests beds they have in place. I have seen many times features that have been under-tested just because the infrastructure was not there to test. Unfortunately this is a reality in many software companies, including VMware.

    • forbsy on 04/26/2014 at 10:15 am

    Hi Andre. Understandable. I’m just saying that NFS has a clear advantage on vm density over VMFS.

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