What’s New in VMware Horizon View 5.2 (Beyond Marketing)

VMware has just announced VMware Horizon View 5.2 and has also lifted the NDA. Despite being a .2 release the VMware View and Horizon Suite teams added a significant number of features that improve View performance, scalability and user experience.

Following the format of my previous articles What’s New in VMware View 5.0 (beyond Marketing) and What’s New in VMware View 5.1 (beyond Marketing)  I am going to introduce some of the new features that don’t necessarily make to the marketing press releases but also represent major product improvements.


Please note that this blog post is not reviewed in any way by my employer (VMware) and may not exactly reflect exactly how the product is being shipped. Please refer to the product Release Notes for official information from VMware.


Let’s start with the New Features…




  • Efficient Use of Storage Capacity with SEsparse Disks   

Horizon View 5.2 leverages a new vSphere capability that implements a new disk format for VMs on VMFS that allow for grain reduction size & more efficiently utilization of allocated blocks by filling it with real data. Unused space is reclaimed and View Composer desktops stay small. For a deep-dive on the technology read Space-Efficient Sparse Virtual Disks and VMware View. SEsparse reduces storage capacity requirements (lower CAPEX) for Persistent Desktops, even on lower-tier hardware.



End User Experience

  • Unified Client with View Desktops in Horizon

When co-installed with Horizon Suite the View Desktop pools are connected into Horizon Suite after they are provisioned. The Horizon Suite provides a single point of access for end users to their desktops, data and applications. Horizon Suite supports SSO brokering user to the available desktops based on entitlement policy.


  • Clientless HTML5 Access to View Desktops & Apps 

Access to View desktops and applications via Horizon is possible from any modern device using a remote protocol delivered through any HTML5 capable web-browser.This is the technology previously code-named AppBlast. It will direct users to existing View desktops leveraging Horizon View Security Server for network routing when available. This is a true install-free access to virtual Desktops.




  • Hardware Accelerated 3D Graphics

Horizon View 5.2 leverages a new vSphere capability that enables shared access to physical GPU hardware for 3D and high performance graphical workloads. Virtual desktops still see abstracted VMware SVGA device for maximum compatibility & portability, but use Accelerated 3D Graphics , enabling truly high performance graphics in a cot effective manner with multiple VMs sharing a single GPU resource. The solution is fully compatible with hosts lacking physical GPUs (for vMotion, DRS, etc).

There are 2 modes supported:

    • vSGA (Shared Graphics Acceleration)      
    • Software 3D renderer

I’ll talk more about the 2 different acceleration modes on another post.


  • Improved Video Chat with MSFT Lync Support 

Horizon View 5.2 provides Microsoft Lync 2013 client support, including full support for UC VoIP and Video on both RDP and PCoIP. This new feature enable a tighter integration between Microsoft Lync and Office applications with full collaboration capabilities. Some of the features are:

    • Compresses USB webcam traffic upstream for reduced bandwidth usage
    • Leverages UDP based channel for improved WAN performance
    • Enabling improved performance of USB media devices


  • Windows 8 Desktop Support

Horizon View 5.2 now fully supports Windows 8 virtual desktops as guest OS. It also comes aligned with the Windows 8 Client Support. If you are running Windows 8 tech-preview mode with VMware View 5.1 you will be glad to know that a number of bug have been resolved. Here is a short list:

    • Support for running Windows 8 on 2D desktops
    • A new Print Redirection codebase has been introduced that supports Windows 8, and also fixes a number of outstanding issues.


  • PCoIP New Features
    • Support for MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) network devices
    • PCoIP GPO settings take effect immediately when changed (host side only).
    • Relative Mouse enablement (supported by latest Windows View client)
      • Some 3D applications (certain CAD applications and most games) read the mouse in a “relative mode”. At the same time, to minimize roundtrip latency VMware View normally remotes mouse in an “absolute mode”. The engineering team added the ability for the user to activate “relative mouse mode”.
    • Multi Touch enablement (supported by latest Windows View client)
      • Windows 8 supports Multi-touch events on compatible hardware (i.e. can recognize multiple simultaneous fingers on a touch screen). When running in Metro mode, Metro Applications are designed ground-up for multi-touch interaction. When connecting to a Windows 8 desktop in “Metro mode” from a touch screen enabled Windows 7 and Windows 8 end-points, multi-touch remoting can generate a better user experience.


  • PCoIP Security Improvements
    • Port scanners that scan PCoIP Security Gateway now pass successfully
    • OpenSLL upgraded to a more secure version
    • Weak SSL ciphers removed


  • PCoIP Performance Improvements
    • Image caching supported on Teradici APEX card and Tera2 Zero Clients
    • Improved image cache management and compression
    • Bandwidth reductions in both the LAN and WAN environment
    • Support for vertical offset caching
    • Improved responsiveness and fluidity during scrolling




  • Horizon Based ThinApp Entitlement for View

Horizon View 5.2 provides a tight linkage of View ThinApp Entitlement to the Horizon Workspace and includes a migration tool to help admins to import the current pool-based entitlements to the Horizon Workspace user/group entitlements. This approach unifies application entitlement across all end user devices & virtual desktops.


  • Large Pools with more than 8 hosts

The 8 host cluster limit for Linked Clone pools using VMFS has been removed. The new limit is 32 hosts per cluster across the board for all pool types, Linked Clone or not. The added feature may completely change how VMware View deployments are designed and deployed for many customer.


  • Support for 10,000 virtual desktops per vCenter Server

Horizon View now supports 10,000 virtual desktops per View pod with a single vCenter Server instance. In previous versions VMware had only validated 2,000 virtual desktops per vCenter Server.


  • Multi-VLAN support

Multiple Network Label Assignment is is being introduced with Horizon View 5.2. This is a powerful feature that allow administrators to utilize a single base image and assign it to multiple different VLANS or PortGroups. This first release comes only with PowerShell support; no Admin UI integration. I’ll talk more about this feature in an upcoming post.


  • Data caching for fast Admin-UI response with large lists of desktops and sessions


  • Provisioning, Rebalance, Recompose performance increase
    • More than 2X improvement on end to end provisioning time
    • Significant improvement on pool rebalance time
    • Availability of Rolling Refit Maintain allowing for a configurable minimum number of READY desktops during refit operations that support both automatic and semi-automatic linked clone pools


  •    Integrated Service Console in VC Web Client

This is a Tech-Preview feature. This new feature is a View plugin for the vSphere Web Client making vCenter Web Client “aware” of Horizon View objects like Users, Desktops & Pools. Having a single pane of glass enable administrators to easier provide desktop support & troubleshooting, increasing Admin efficiency and reducing View-Admin to VC-Admin “whiplash”.




  • VC Virtual Appliance Support

Horizon View 5.2  fully supports virtual appliance based vCernter deployments, eliminating vCenter dependencies on Windows, enhancing View Deployment Flexibility, making it easier to install and upgrade, and potentially providing Windows license cost reduction. If you want to deep-dive a little bit more on the subject I recommend reading Reduce Windows Server License count in VMware View.


  • New Admin Dashboard Look & Feel

The new Admin dashboard UI has the same look and feel as vSphere 5.1 Web UI.




  • SSL Protocols and Ciphers
    • Horizon View 5.2 Raises the security bar by excluding weak protocols and ciphers
      • SSL protocols and cipher suites have been adjusted
      • PCT and SSLv2 eliminated
      • SSLv3 and Triple-DES disabled by default
    • Allows customers to adopt stronger ciphers
      • Connection servers and security servers configurable through LDAP
      • PCoIP components can be configured to use 256-bit AES
  • SSL Certificates and Port Numbers
    • PCoIP Server and Security Gateway can be configured to use a different certificate
    • Service Framework port number is now configurable on agents and transfer servers
    • Service Framework no longer listens on connection servers or security servers



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




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    1. Thanks! Could you help to quantify “Bandwidth reductions in both the LAN and WAN environment” since there was reduction in the previous releases. Thanks from the little red dot! e1

      • forbsy on 02/24/2013 at 7:52 pm


      • forbsy on 02/24/2013 at 7:54 pm

      Is the HTML5 access limited to RDP only?

      • Youngchun Cho on 02/25/2013 at 12:20 am

      Could we receive hardware specifications of the server and storage used in the “VMware View fully virtualized GPU NVIDIA VGX [VIDEO]”? We are planning to undergo a Proof Of Concept for PCB design software(cadence etc..) and a design starting point is urgently needed. Or if possible could we receive a contact point from the Dell Solution Center End User Computing Team?

      • JD on 02/25/2013 at 2:58 pm

      Do we need Horizon Suite to enable HTML5 access to virtual desktops?

    2. HTML5 access is provided with the “Blast” protocol, its completely new and does not rely on RDP.

    3. You will need a NVIDIA Workstation-class GPU like Quadro 4k/6K, Tesla or VGX K1/K2. Make sure that the server have the appropriate power-connector to power the GPU.

    4. No, this is a feature of Horizon View and does not need Horizon Workspace or other components from the Suite.

      • Ricardo Espada (@crash_pr) on 02/28/2013 at 10:56 am

      Is there an official supported GPU list or documentation that i can reference to? We are looking in to this feature for our VDI upgrade. The only ones offered by Dell right now are the tesla.. and i need to get some pricing on them..

    5. Please refer to Joel Lindenberg’s response above… A oficial list of supported cards should be available when Horizon View goes GA.

    6. can I upgrade the 5.1 environment to 5.2 with the same license?

    7. When the suite (or at least View 5.2) will be available for download?


    8. It’s available today!


    9. HTML5 Access isnt available yet it seems which I noticed after the upgrade (which went flawless!), any news if this will be available in horizon view and when?

    10. hoberion,

      HTML5 access and Horizon integration will come with a Feature Pack soon to be published. I cannot talk about roadmaps and dates unfortunately.


      • LATommy on 03/05/2013 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Andre,
      great articles! thanks

      do we have to upgrade to Horizon View 5.2 to take advantage of the Workspace features? or does work space work independently from Horizon View?

      Are they separate products that compliment each other? or they all have to be deployed together?


    11. LATommy, you don’t need Horizon View in order to use Horizon Workspace. However, without View you do not get VDI desktop instances with single sign-on for your users.


      • LATommy on 03/06/2013 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks Andre! We can move forward with looking at this product.

      • Neal on 03/07/2013 at 1:52 pm

      Can you explain this?

      PCoIP GPO settings take effect immediately when changed (host side only).

    12. @Neal-

      This feature is being reported – and somewhat misunderstood – but I understand why.

      First, let’s talk about how things work today…

      Currently if you change any values for PCoIP via the registry (or via GPO which ultimately changes the registry) the PCoIP Server process ignores the updates. This is because it only examines those settings at session establishment. Once the session is up, those values are not checked again. So in order to actually apply a change, you have to disconnect and reconnect to the desktop as this forces the PCoIP Server process to examine the new values and use those when it negotiates the session with the client.

      This has been a thorn in my side for a while as I have built tools (and have ideas for new tools) that can benefit from, or only be implemented if the ability to dynamically change parameters without a disconnect is available. Things like the PCoIP Configuration Utility can be greatly enhanced with this feature. So I kicked and screamed and was told the feature would finally ship with View 5.2.

      The initial implementation for this was planned to address PCoIP “tuning” parameters, items like FPS, BTL, Image Quality, Bandwidth limits, etc. and this was mostly due to my prodding – tuning is where most of my tools and expertise lies with PCoIP. The new feature would allow those settings to be changed in the registry, and have the PCoIP Server process notified, and re-apply those values dynamically. No more disconnect/reconnect – awesome!

      In the currently shipping product however, not all of the tuning parameters made it in, in fact, just two did to my knowledge (however in earlier beta code many more parameters worked in real-time). The two that I can confirm as working are Max FPS, and Audio session bandwidth limit. Not useless, but not quite useful on their own either. Still, the important thing is that this feature/capability is “in”. Ideally the extra tuning parameters will be addressed in a coming View Feature Pack, or perhaps a point release well before the year is over.

      So while you’ll see “Dynamic GPO settings” within feature lists for View 5.2, it’s not really conveying exactly what this feature does and, in fact, it gives people the wrong idea that ALL GPO options can now be changed and applied dynamically – they can’t, at least not yet. There are a few settings outside of pure tuning that come to mind as being useful to dynamically toggle – Clipboard policy has come up as one, USB device policy is another I think could be interesting. But certain items like encryption might never work – kinda hard to change that mid-stream probably. As this feature evolves you may see those items added, but for the near-term don’t expect anything beyond further implementation of the tuning parameters.

      I hope this clears things up.

      • Mike on 04/16/2014 at 3:15 am

      Does Horizon View 5.2 support VMware Horizon View client side certificate? I mean is it possible to configure SSL certificate on client side as server side is already possible.

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