Horizon licensing questions

I have some questions regarding the licensing for VMware Horizon. We are looking to deploy a VDI infrastructure using Horizon for approx 30-60 user desktops. We are still in the planning phases.

We have 2 hosts licensed with VMware vSphere 6 Essentials and 1 vCenter Server 6 Essentials license. Purchasing a third host for development and testing.

Its my understanding that this excludes Horizon all together. What additional licensing would we need to allow us to use Horizon in this scenario? Since we’ve got the vCenter essentials can this simply be upgraded with a new license or does it need to be migrated away and perform a new install?

I am admittedly very confused reviewing the licensing documentation. Thanks for your feedback.

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  1. Here’s your answer… you have two options of licensing horizon 1) a full horizon bundle or 2) horizon add-on. The bundle gives you licenses for vSphere for desktop (enterprise plus commonality), vcenter, to run the virtual desktops. Now horizon add-on is meant to tack on your existing vSphere server farm. This will be a lower cost option.

    Then you need to pick your edition. Horizon standard most likely or if you’re looking to leverage AppVolumes then go Horizon Enterprise.

    Finally named or concurrent users. Note that horizon standard is only offered as concurrent user. Named user is 1:1 of the employees you want to access a Vdi session. Concurrent users are more like lab environments or shift workers. So let’s say you have 1000 employees but only 800 will be running Vdi sessions. You’d then license 800 concurrent users.

  2. I have deployed Horizon 7 Enterprise for my customer recently.

    The licensing for Horizon 8 (recently announced) is actually a bundle of vSphere for Desktop(Equivalent to vSphere Enterprise Plus), vCenter for Desktop, Instant Clone (now available in Standard to replaced Linked-Clone, a great news). It is licensed by either Named or Concurrent users however Standard edition only has the Concurrent user option.

    Please note that there are some changes to the bundled license in Horizon 8:


    – No more vSAN Advanced for Desktop- vRealize Operation for Horizon(if you want to have advanced monitoring for your desktop, now VMware actually reselling ControlUp)

    For the Horizon Add on, it is actually meant for the “top up” of the VDI licenses when you already have the Horizon bundle. e.g. you need to buy more CCU license as your number of users grows. It **~~is available~~** [edited typo]***can’t*** be purchased without Horizon bundle. That’s what I understand from the VMware Account Manager.

    In short, when you buying Horizon Standard, you will have a duplicate sets of vCenter and vSphere Licenses. However, VMware said you are only allow to run management workload like vCenter, AD, DNS…etc. and VDI workload if you choose to apply the vSphere for Desktop license. Normal server workloads are not allowed but it is solely based on trust.

  3. There are a couple of different Horizon licenses that provide various features. I believe Horizon is licensed by the number of desktops you plan to deploy. Horizon has its own product keys and includes keys for Desktop Hosts (ESXi with unlimited sockets) and vCenter Server.

    No reinstallation of ESXi is necessary, you just enter the key(s) into vCenter Server and assign the new key to your hosts.

    Having said all that… Horizon is a big project and system for 30 to 60 desktops. I would say the same till that number exceeded 100 or 150.

    If you’re not 100% sold on Horizon yet, I would suggest you give Remote Desktop Services Host a look. RDSH is a role built into Windows Server that let the server serve desktops or applications (or both).

    RDSH requires a lot less training and experience than does Horizon and a lot less day-to-day support.

    I am a Horizon engineer. It’s what I do and have done for about a decade. It’s a great product for hundreds to tens of thousands of desktops. For a small desktop deployment, however, there are alternatives.

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