Horizon Components and Architecture

VMware Horizon is comprised of industry-leading solutions for all aspects of desktop and application management and delivery.

Individual components can be used to address end user needs, or you can combine them to provide a comprehensive, just-in-time management platform that scales to cover the most demanding customer environments.

Before you scale your production environment though, you need to understand what components are available to you, and how to deploy them properly.

This module provides you with a brief overview of Horizon components. The remaining modules in this lab will give you hands-on experience deploying and configuring them.

This brief section of the lab is for informational purposes only. There are no associated lab steps.

Horizon Logical Architecture

With the introduction of Horizon 7 Enterprise Edition, VMware is drawing on the best of mobile and the cloud, offering greater simplicity, security, speed, and scale in delivering on-premises virtual desktops and applications with cloud-like economics and elasticity of scale.

Additionally, Horizon 7 can now be deployed on VMware Cloud on AWS.

Each component of the platform can run independently, and addresses specific needs. As these components are combined and integrated, they complement each other adding new and unique capabilities.

Horizon Components

The following provides a brief description of the Horizon components.

Connection Server

  • An enterprise-class desktop management server that securely brokers and connects users to desktops and published applications running on VMware vSphere VMs, physical PCs, blade PCs, or RDSH servers.
  • Authenticates users through Windows Active Directory and directs the request to the appropriate and entitled resource.

Horizon Agent

  • A software service installed on the guest OS of all target VMs, physical systems, or RDSH servers. This allows them to be managed by Connection Servers and allows a Horizon Client to form a protocol session to the target VM.

Horizon Client

  • Client-device software that allows a physical device to access a virtual desktop or RDSH-published application in a Horizon 7 deployment. You can optionally use an HTML client for devices for which installing software is not possible.

Unified Access Gateway

  • Virtual appliance that provides a method to secure connections in access scenarios requiring additional security measures, such as over the Internet.

Horizon Console

  • A web application that is part of the Connection Server, allowing administrators to configure the server, deploy and manage desktops, control user authentication, initiate and examine system and user events, carry out end-user support, and perform analytical activities.

VMware Instant Clone Technology

  • VMware technology that provides single-image management with automation capabilities. You can rapidly create automated pools or farms of instant-clone desktops or RDSH servers from a master image.
  • The technology reduces storage costs and streamlines desktop management by enabling automatic updating and patching of hundreds of images from the master image. Instant Clone Technology accelerates the process of creating cloned VMs over the previous Composer linked-clone technology. In addition, instant clones require less storage and are less expensive to manage and update.

RDSH servers

  • Microsoft Windows Servers that provide published applications and session-based remote desktops to end users.

Enrollment Server

  • Server that delivers True SSO functionality by ensuring a user can single-sign-on to a Horizon resource when launched from VMware Identity Manager, regardless of the authentication method.
  • The Enrollment Server is responsible for receiving certificate signing requests from the Connection Server and then passing them to the Certificate Authority to sign.
  • True SSO requires Microsoft Certificate Authority services, which it uses to generate unique, short-lived certificates to manage the login process.

JMP Server

  • JMP (pronounced jump), which stands for Just-in-Time Management Platform, represents capabilities in VMware Horizon 7 Enterprise Edition that deliver Just-in-Time Desktops and Apps in a flexible, fast, and personalized manner.
  • The JMP server enables the use of JMP workflows by providing a single console to define and manage desktop workspaces for users or groups of users.

Cloud Connector

  • The Horizon 7 Cloud Connector is required to use with Horizon 7 subscription licenses and management features hosted in the VMware Horizon Cloud Service.
  • The Horizon 7 Cloud Connector is a virtual appliance that connects a Connection Server in a pod with the Horizon Cloud Service.


  • The Composer server is only required when using linked-clones.
  • This is the legacy method that enables scalable management of virtual desktops by provisioning clones from a single master image. The Composer service works with the Connection Servers and a VMware vCenter Server.

vSphere and vCenter Server

  • The vSphere product family includes VMware ESXi and vCenter Server, and it is designed for building and managing virtual infrastructures. The vCenter Server system provides key administrative and operational functions, such as provisioning, cloning, and VM management features, which are essential for VDI.

Just-In-Time Management Platform

The Just-in-Time Management Platform (JMP), is the next-generation desktop and application delivery platform.

JMP includes:

  • Horizon Instant Clone Technology for rapid desktop provisioning
  • App Volumes for streamlined application delivery and lifecycle management
  • User Environment Manager technology to manage and persist user settings

JMP allows components of a desktop or RDSH server to be decoupled and managed independently in a centralized manner, yet reconstituted on demand to deliver a personalized user workspace when needed.

JMP is supported with both on-premises and cloud-based Horizon 7 deployments, providing a unified and consistent management platform regardless of your deployment topology.

The JMP approach provides several key benefits, including simplified desktop and RDSH image management, faster delivery and maintenance of applications, and elimination of the need to manage full persistent desktops.


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