VMware Horizon Licensing Explained: How Does It Work?

VMware Horizon is a virtual desktop and application delivery platform. Released in late 2021, the latest VMware Horizon 8 version touts new features, including an improved image-cloning technique, closer integration with security tools, a virtual environment optimization tool for Windows, on-demand application delivery, support for user profiles on Microsoft OneDrive, and recording support for RDSH (Remote Desktop Session Hosts) applications. VMware also announced a change in the VMware Horizon 8 licensing types in mid-2021. This article takes a detailed look at the different VMware Horizon 8 models and their license types.

Transition to Subscription Licenses

VMware Horizon has always been available in any of two license models: named user (NU) and concurrent connection user (CCU). An NU license is ideal for environments with staff that require dedicated access to a virtual machine (VM), while a CCU license is ideal for environments where users share access to a VM.

Regardless of the license model, organizations used to have a couple of licensing options available when using Horizon 8, namely, perpetual licensing, and subscription or term licensing. A perpetual license allowed customers to pay a one-time fee for lifetime use. With a subscription license, VMware Horizon 8 customers had to pay for the license every year. If they stopped paying, they lost access to the platform.

However, VMware stopped issuing perpetual licenses for VMware Horizon 8 in early May 2021. Horizon 8 continues to be available as a subscription license, whether deployed fully on-premises or using a hybrid of on-premises and cloud deployment.

Existing customers can continue using their on-premises environments without redeployment if they choose to do so. At the same time, VMware is hoping that customers will take advantage of upgrading to the hybrid and cloud deployment options available with Horizon 8.

Customers that do not want to utilize the hybrid and cloud options in Horizon 8 can still avail themselves of the Enterprise Term Subscription license.

Explanation of Horizon SaaS Subscription License Types

The VMware Horizon 8 Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription licensing types are:

Comparison of VMware Horizon Licenses

The table below shows the available features in each of the Horizon 8 subscription license types.

Feature Horizon Universal Horizon Standard Horizon Apps Universal Horizon Apps Standard Horizon Enterprise Edition
License Type Subscription Subscription Subscription Subscription Subscription
Named User Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Concurrent User Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
On-Premises Deployment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Public Cloud Deployment Yes Yes Yes Yes Federal Only
Hybrid Cloud Deployment Yes No Yes No Federal Only
Multi-Location Deployment Yes No Yes No Yes
Windows and Linux VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) Yes Windows Only No No Yes
RDSH Desktops and Apps with Instant and Full Clones Yes No Yes Full Clone Only Yes
Linux-Hosted Applications Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Power Management Yes Yes Yes Yes No
REST APIs (application programming interfaces) Yes No Yes No Yes
App Catalog with Single Sign-On (SSO) Access Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Screen Capture Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Desktop Recording Yes No Yes No Yes
Optimized Audio and Video Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Parallels RAS: An Alternative to Manage Hybrid Cloud Setups

It can be hard to navigate the complex structure of VMware Horizon licensing. For organizations looking to set up their own hybrid cloud environments for virtual desktop and application delivery on both Windows and Linux, ParallelsĀ® Remote Application Server (RAS) provides a suitable alternative.

Parallels RAS streamlines application and desktop delivery by managing your VDI, RDSH, and Azure virtual desktop environments from a single pane of glass. Moreover, it provides smart-wizards and automation tools that make it easy to perform administrative tasks. Your IT administrators can even avail themselves of free certification training to further ease their transition to the tool.

Parallels RAS offers a single license model that gives you full access to its capabilities. It not only requires less hardware and resources to set up compared to its competitors, but it also lets you use low-cost thin client devices within your environment. It even allows you to refactor your old physical devices into thin clients to further save on costs.

See how you can use Parallels RAS for virtual application and desktop delivery!

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