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Skype for Business

The Only Virtualization Solution for Skype Meetings Just Got Even Better!

Over a year and a half after Citrix and Microsoft introduced our jointly developed solution for delivering Skype for Business in virtualized environments — whether on-premises or in the cloud — the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack remains the only virtualization …


  

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VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business

Optimizing Skype for EUC Is the Only Way to Go

You can run Skype for Business inside Horizon 7 virtual desktops without negatively affecting the virtual infrastructure and overloading the network. During Skype audio and video calls, all media processing takes place on the Windows client machine, instead of in the virtual desktop,.

To learn more about the Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business, watch the following two videos (each 10 minutes long) that provide a technical overview of the technology and offer some insights to its performance-enhancing characteristics.

Technical Overview for the Horizon Virtualization Pack (Video Presentation)

The technical overview for the Horizon Virtualization pack video covers the following topics:

  • Challenges delivering Skype audio and video media
  • How it works
  • Key benefits and capabilities
  • Architecture
  • External accessibility
  • Installation steps
  • Supportability
  • Troubleshooting and configuration
  • Resources

Horizon with Skype for Business Testing (Video Results)

The Horizon with Skype for Business Testing video demonstrates VMware Horizon 7 with Skype for Business for audio and video call scenarios. The video provides a series of test cases that show the benefits of the Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business. The video offers both qualitative and quantitative test results that compare two Horizon 7 deployment scenarios that include and exclude the Virtualization Pack.

The difference does not seem significant at first, but the impact is more far-reaching when you consider performance when scaling beyond the resource consumption of two sessions. When sites try to scale EUC workloads based on Skype for Business, the importance of using the Virtualization Pack becomes paramount, as is evident from the details of this study.

The testing environment consisted of:

  • VMware Horizon 7.2
  • VMware Client 4.5
  • Skype for Business
    • Server: Office 365
    • Client: Office 2016 Pro Plus, 32-bit
  • Horizon 7 test lab
    • Located in Washington state
    • Two Windows 10 Enterprise 64-bit virtual desktops
  • Horizon 7 test clients
    • Located in North and South Florida
    • Two Windows 10 systems

The configuration scenarios for the point-to-point video-call testing included:

  • Test 1: The first test scenario was configured for a point-to-point video call using the VMware Real-Time Audio-Video (RTAV) feature included with Horizon 7. Although RTAV supports webcams and audio devices, it is not the most efficient means for delivering Skype due to the media hairpinning and transcoding method that this technology uses. However, RTAV does serve as sufficient fallback for times when the Virtualization Pack cannot be used.

Testing was staged with virtual desktops hosted in Washington, and the client endpoint devices across the U.S., 3,000 miles away in Florida. There was over 100 ms of network latency that separated the virtual desktops from the endpoints. This is a great example of why media hairpinning is very costly; the audio and video from the local endpoints was sent to the virtual desktops, exchanged among the Skype clients, transcoded as part of the remote delivery protocol, and then finally delivered to the endpoints coast-to-coast a second time.

  • Test 2: The second test scenario was configured for a point-to-point video call using the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business feature included with Horizon 7. The Virtualization Pack is the optimized, best approach for delivering Skype because the audio and video media is delivered directly to and from the client endpoint devices without transcoding, and is routed out-of-band to the remote delivery protocol.

Test 2 used the same hosting environment, client endpoint devices, and network conditions as the first test scenario. Because the Virtualization Pack was enabled for this configuration, the audio and video media exchanges were contained in the endpoints and never traversed across the country. A clearer, better user experience can be observed in the captured footage while substantially fewer EUC infrastructure resources were consumed when compared to the first test scenario.

Be sure to watch the video in its entirety for other data points and details, as well as another testing scenario using a single desktop session.

 

Summary

These two videos provide a technical overview of the Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business and demonstrate the performance-enhancing characteristics of the technology.

  • VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business – Technical Overview
  • VMware Horizon and Skype for Business Demonstration

 

The post VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business appeared first on VMware End-User Computing Blog.

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What’s New in VMware Horizon 7.2 and Horizon Client 4.5

We have just announced the general availability of VMware Horizon 7.2 and Horizon Client 4.5. This is a significant release for our flagship product, with improvements across the board—from scalability and user experience to deep technical innovations and improved policy controls. Let us dive straight in and highlight the key technical advances this release delivers.

Horizon 7.2

What&#rsquo;s New Highlights

Horizon Help Desk Tool
  • Provides user-session details for the Horizon 7 environment.
  • Single console for troubleshooting and solving user issues.
Workspace ONE mode
  • Forces using Workspace ONE when the client supports it.
  • Optionally blocks clients that do not support it.
Reuse AD account for instant-clone pool
  • Create a new computer account only if it does not exist.
Graphics settings from snapshot
  • SVGA settings / vGPU profile from master snapshot.
ADM template removal
  • Only ADMX in 7.2.
Increased scale
  • Pod , Cloud Pod Architecture, and Connection Server.
Storage improvements
  • Storage DRS cluster, storage policy-based management, encryption, local storage.

Horizon Help Desk Tool

The Horizon Help Desk Tool provides a tailored troubleshooting interface for the help desk that is installed by default on the Connection Servers. To access the Horizon Help Desk Tool, navigate to https:///helpdesk, where CS_FQDN is the fully qualified domain name of the Connection Server, or click the Help Desk button in the Horizon Administrator console.

The Horizon Help Desk Tool reduces workload for administrators and provides quick troubleshooting and metrics for the help desk.

The tool allows help desk staff to easily perform the following tasks on the user machine:

  • Restart, Logoff, Reset, and Disconnect
  • Remote Assistance
  • Send Message

You can obtain the following metrics for the client and virtual machine:

  • Client
    • Username
    • Client IP, Name, and OS
    • Protocol, TX Bandwidth, and Frame Rate
  • VM
    • Computer Name
    • Agent Version
    • Session State and State Duration, Logon Time and Duration, and Session Duration
    • CPU, Memory, Latency, and Logon Segments
    • Connection Server
    • Pool
    • vCenter

To get logon segments in the help-desk feature, you need to enable timingProfiler writes to the event database on each Connection Server:

vdmadmin -I -timingProfiler -enable

For detailed information on the Horizon Help Desk Tool, see the VMware blog post Help&#rsquo;s on the Way with the New VMware Horizon Help Desk Tool.

Watch this quick demo of the Horizon Help Desk Tool to see it in action:

Workspace ONE Mode

Workspace ONE mode secures access to Horizon 7 by allowing applications and desktops to launch only from Workspace ONE. This setting enforces access policies per application or per desktop. You enable Workspace ONE mode on the Connection Servers. When a user connects to a Workspace ONE mode-enabled server in Horizon Client, they are redirected to the Workspace ONE portal to launch desktops or applications, and the Horizon Client will no longer show other items that are available to launch. You also have the option to disable clients that do not support Workspace ONE mode.

See Workspace ONE mode in action in this short demo:

Reuse AD Account for Instant-Clone Pool

You can now rebuild a virtual machine in an instant clone and keep all machine assignments by reusing the computer account.

Graphics Settings from Snapshot

Instant-clone desktop pools inherit graphics settings from the vCenter Server parent-VM snapshot:

  • Memory
  • Number of monitors (with a new maximum of four)
  • Resolution

Just as with the SVGA settings, the vGPU profile for an instant-clone desktop pool is automatically selected when you select the snapshot of the vCenter Server parent VM.

All Active Directory Group Policy Templates Are Available as ADMX

All policy settings have been migrated to ADMX, and ADM is now deprecated and no longer included with Horizon 7. With all settings now in the ADMX templates, managing Horizon 7 is more streamlined and simpler than ever because now all templates can be placed in a central store, and no redundant copies need to be made into Sysvol.

Scalability

Horizon 7.2 increases scalability for Cloud Pod Architecture deployments to now support up to 120,000 sessions across 12 View pods and five sites. Additionally, Horizon 7 can now support 4,000 desktops with a single VMware vCenter Server for linked-clone, full-clone and instant-clone deployments.

Local Storage Support for Instant Clones

You now have the option to use local storage as a low-cost storage tier for instant clones. However, for high-availability events, this requires careful pool capacity planning and adds complexity to vSphere host maintenance, which you would not have with vSAN.

Ability to Select Storage DRS Clusters for Full Clones

It is no longer required to select all storage devices belonging to a Storage DRS Cluster; you can now directly select the cluster for easier administration.

vSAN and Storage Policy-Based Management Improvements

Horizon 7.2 adds support for vSAN encryption and provides updated storage policy-based management for finer granularity.

Horizon Agent 7.2 for RDSH

What&#rsquo;s New Highlights

Smart Policies for applications
  • Extend support from desktop to remote applications.
Session pre-launch
  • Launch application on broker login.
  • Can be enabled per application.

Smart Policies for Applications

Smart Policies give administrators granular control of a user&#rsquo;s desktop experience. You can dynamically control a variety of Horizon 7 features based on user, device, and location. Horizon 7.2 now introduces Smart Policies for RDSH applications. Smart Policies for applications, together with tags, can control the behavior of published applications.

Following are client properties mapped to User Environment Manager properties:

Volatile Registry Key User Environment Manager Property Value
viewClient_Broker_GatewayLocation Client location Internal/External
viewClient_Launch_Matched_Tags Launch tag(s) Tags (comma)
viewClient_Launch_ID Pool name Pool ID

Edit the Connection Server settings to add a tag for a desktop pool. The tag can be any string value, for example, Internal or External.

Then, from User Environment Manager, create a Smart Policy and reference the tag name.

Or if you want this policy to apply only to specific applications, you can make the condition more specific, for example, only for applications that have Secure in their pool name:

But remember that the pool name that launched the session is evaluated at user-session launch time, so you cannot differentiate between applications on the same farm. If you want to differentiate, separate the applications with nonmatching settings into different farms and use OR to add all the applications to the conditions.

Session Pre-Launch

Administrators can configure a published application so that an application and remote desktop session are launched immediately after a user has authenticated to the Connection Server. When the user starts the session from Horizon Client, the session loads almost instantly. The pre-launch setting enables faster start times for frequently used applications. From the Horizon 7 Administrator console, you can configure pre-launch, as follows:

It is recommended to enable this option only for applications that the user will almost certainly use immediately after launching, to minimize unnecessary load on the farm. To further reduce impact, you can set a timeout for unused pre-launched applications, as follows:

To minimize impact even further, you can set a reasonable maximum amount of users, as determined by testing on the RDSH servers, and configure session load-balancing based on CPU and memory load, leaving enough headroom for boot storms.

For more information, see Configuring Load Balancing for RDS Hosts in View Administration.

Horizon Agent 7.2

What&#rsquo;s New Highlights

Recursive Unlock
  • Single unlock of the client device also unlocks the virtual desktop or published desktop.
USB over virtual channel
  • USB-redirection port consolidation.
HTML5 content redirection (beta)
  • Redirect HTML5 from agent to client.
Blast Extreme SHA-256
  • Upgraded to use the latest security algorithms.
Horizon Agent DX11
  • Complete rewrite of the D3D9 renderer.
Skype for Business GA
  • General availability.

Recursive Unlock

The Recursive Unlock feature unlocks all remote sessions after the client machine has been unlocked. After the user logs in to the server, remote sessions such as published applications, RDSH desktops, and Windows desktops are unlocked. This feature removes unnecessary authentication steps for the user.

Requirements for this feature include:

  • The Windows client device must be domain-joined
  • The user logging in to the client must be the same user logged in to the remote session
  • Enable the client setting Log in as current user
  • Enable the Group Policy setting Unlock remote sessions when the client machine is unlocked in ComputerPoliciesVMware Horizon Client ConfigurationSecurity.

USB over Virtual Channel

You can enable USB redirection without opening the firewall port 32111. USB over virtual channel allows USB over a side channel.

Configure this registry setting as follows:

  • Key path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREVMware, Inc.VMware VDMAgentConfiguration
  • Key name: UsbVirtualChannelEnabled
  • Key value: true

HTML5 Redirection (Tech Preview)

The HTML5 redirection feature allows video content redirection for websites that do not use Adobe Flash Player. Benefits of this feature include reduced CPU usage and smoother video playback.

HTML5 redirection requires:

  • Windows 7 or Windows 10 Enterprise for the agent and client OS, with VMware Horizon 7 HTML5 redirection package (available by request)
  • Google Chrome 58 with extension, from Chrome Web Store
  • Setting URL lists in the registry, for example:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesVMware, Inc.VMware HTML5MMR]

"enabled"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesVMware, Inc.VMware HTML5MMRUrlWhiteList]

"https://vimeo.com/*"=""

"https://www.youtube.com/*"=""

Note: Tech Preview features and capabilities arenot supported for production deployment. These features are available to test in a lab or UAT environment as a preview of potential upcoming innovations. You can provide feedback to improve these features throughVMware Communities.

Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business

Optimized audio and video calls are now possible with Skype for Business inside a virtual desktop without negatively affecting the virtual infrastructure and overloading the network. All media processing takes place on the client machine instead of in the virtual desktop during Skype audio and video calls. Using native Skype codecs, bandwidth usage is equivalent to native Skype for Business calls.

For detailed information on this feature, which is now generally available, see the VMware blog post VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business (Beta) Is Now Available!.

Horizon Client 4.5

The Horizon Client has been updated, too, with availability of an XBox One Client in the Windows store, a new installer UI for Windows, dual-monitor support for HTML Access, SSO for RHEL/CentOS 7.x, and KDE and CDR support for Linux.

What&#rsquo;s New Highlights

For more information, see the Release Notes on the Horizon Clients Documentation page.

With all these great additions, it is easy to see why we are so excited about this release. We invite you to see it all yourself by visiting the Horizon 7.2 download page and the Horizon Clients download page.

 

The post What&#rsquo;s New in VMware Horizon 7.2 and Horizon Client 4.5 appeared first on VMware End-User Computing Blog.

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VMware Horizon 7.2 GA: What’s New with Skype for Business, a New Help Desk Tool & More

Today, we are excited to announce the general availability of VMware Horizon 7.2, the next release of the premier platform for virtual desktops and applications. With the release of Horizon 7.2, customers get:

  • An improved Microsoft Skype for Business user experience,
  • A new tool to enable generalist IT staff to resolve the majority of end-user issues,
  • Greater scalability and
  • Updates to Linux virtual desktops.

Skype for Business

With Horizon 7.2, our optimized solution for Skype for Business is now officially supported with Windows clients. Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, this allows you to deliver Skype for Business in a virtual desktop while also delivering a great user experience—securing collaboration, simplifying management and reducing costs.

Note: For those interested in the Skype for Business solution for Linux clients, email to request access to the private beta.

Help Desk Tool

Because Horizon 7 is often deployed at very large scales, customers asked us for a tool so frontline or help desk IT staff can quickly troubleshoot and remediate issues—without needing to pull in specialist Horizon administrators. We listened.

Horizon 7.2 introduces a new Help Desk Tool, which provides IT admins with level one and two help desk functionality. Administrators can look up users and find their sessions; initiate Microsoft Remote Assistance; send user messages and, if needed, disconnect, log off and even reset desktops to quickly remediate and get the user up and running.

Scalability

Speaking of scale, it gets even better. Horizon 7.2 increases scalability for Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA) deployments to now support up to 120,000 sessions across 12 View pods and five sites. Additionally, Horizon can now support 4,000 desktops with a single VMware vCenter Server for linked-clone, full-clone and instant-clone deployments.

Instant Clone Technology, a key component of JMP (Just-in-Time Management Platform)and a major initiative for the Horizon team, has been updated to enable reuse of preexisting Active Directory (AD) accounts for instant-clone pools. Additionally, super video graphics array (SVGA) video memory settings can now be configured in the master virtual machine (VM), and the pools will inherit these settings. Instant Clone Technology has also been extended to support local datastores.

Linux Desktops

Last but not least, VMware Horizon 7.2 for Linux provides a plethora of new capabilities that broaden the use case for Linux desktops. This includes key features such as USB redirection, client drive redirection (CDR), HTML access with audio capabilities and support for Red HatEnterpriseLinux (RHEL) 6.9 x64 and CentOS 6.9 x64.

We are very excited about this release as we continue to deliver innovation in our market-leading products. We invite you to see for yourself and take a look at some of our resources below for more information:

  • Skype for Businesssolution page
  • Help Desk Toolblog
  • Horizon 7download page
  • Horizon Clientdownload page

The post VMware Horizon 7.2 GA: What&#rsquo;s New with Skype for Business, a New Help Desk Tool & More appeared first on VMware End-User Computing Blog.

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Synergy Milestone! 200,000 Users Served Daily by Optimization Pack for Skype for Business

Thank you, customers, for your perfect timing!

Just in time for our Citrix Synergy 2017 conference in Orlando this week, we hit a major milestone in adoption of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business that Citrix and


  

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Citrix and Microsoft: A Year of Achievement … and We’re Just Getting Started

One year ago at Citrix Synergy, Citrix and Microsoft kicked off a powerful expansion of our partnership to help our customers securely embrace the cloud and mobility, extending and deepening our long-time partnership which spans 25 years. We announced Azure …


  

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Coming Soon: VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business GA Release

As a follow up to our previous announcement on VMware Horizon with Skype for Business, we are happy to share that we will be releasing the generally available (GA) version of the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business next month.

The upcoming release of the Horizon Virtualization Pack will include a GA release of the Horizon Media Engine for Windows clients and a private beta release of the Horizon Media Engine for Linux clients. Additionally, an updated Horizon Media Proxy will be embedded with the Horizon agent as an optional install.

Some highlights of the new virtualization pack include:

  • Point-to-point audio and video calls
  • PSTN calls using the dial-pad
  • Remote connectivity through the Microsoft Edge Server
  • Call-forward, transfer, hold and resume
  • Voicemail integration
  • Music on hold
  • Support for Skype for Business 2015 and 2016 clients (see release notes)
  • Support for Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business 2015 Server and Office365 deployments
  • Support for VMware Blast Extreme and PCoIP
  • Support for persistent and non-persistent desktops
  • Support for Horizon desktops (on premise and cloud)

 

The Horizon Media Engine for Windows clients will be available as an optional install with the Horizon Windows client. For customers interested in testing out the private beta of the Horizon Media Engine for Linux, please email .

Come visit us at Citrix Synergy booth 309 next week to see Horizon + Skype for Business in action.

Because you liked this blog:

  • VMware + Microsoft: Delivering an Even Better Skype for Business Experience
  • The Next Horizon: Introducing Horizon 7.1, Horizon Apps & Horizon Cloud
  • Get Ready for Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure

The post Coming Soon: VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business GA Release appeared first on VMware End-User Computing Blog.

Read more..

Coming Soon: VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business GA Release

As a follow up to our previous announcement on VMware Horizon with Skype for Business, we are happy to share that we will be releasing the generally available (GA) version of the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business next month.

The upcoming release of the Horizon Virtualization Pack will include a GA release of the Horizon Media Engine for Windows clients and a private beta release of the Horizon Media Engine for Linux clients. Additionally, an updated Horizon Media Proxy will be embedded with the Horizon agent as an optional install.

Some highlights of the new virtualization pack include:

  • Point-to-point audio and video calls
  • PSTN calls using the dial-pad
  • Remote connectivity through the Microsoft Edge Server
  • Call-forward, transfer, hold and resume
  • Voicemail integration
  • Music on hold
  • Support for Skype for Business 2015 and 2016 clients (see release notes)
  • Support for Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business 2015 Server and Office365 deployments
  • Support for VMware Blast Extreme and PCoIP
  • Support for persistent and non-persistent desktops
  • Support for Horizon desktops (on premise and cloud)

 

The Horizon Media Engine for Windows clients will be available as an optional install with the Horizon Windows client. For customers interested in testing out the private beta of the Horizon Media Engine for Linux, please email .

Come visit us at Citrix Synergy booth 309 next week to see Horizon + Skype for Business in action.

Because you liked this blog:

  • VMware + Microsoft: Delivering an Even Better Skype for Business Experience
  • The Next Horizon: Introducing Horizon 7.1, Horizon Apps & Horizon Cloud
  • Get Ready for Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure

The post Coming Soon: VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business GA Release appeared first on VMware End-User Computing Blog.

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Meet the Geeks of Match.Geek

What do you think when you hear the word “geeks”? Quickly now, first reaction.

For those of us who plan the Citrix Synergy flagship event, the word has rockstar status. Geeks are the heroes of one of our most popular


  

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VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business (Beta) Is Now Available!

Co-authored by Frank Anderson, Solutions Architect, Desktop Technical Marketing, VMware

The Horizon 7 product team is excited to announce that the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business (beta release) is now available for download. Organizations can use the virtualization pack with Skype for Business to make optimized audio and video calls within Horizon 7 desktops without negatively affecting the host infrastructure.

The VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business is comprised of two components, the Horizon Media Proxy and the Horizon Media Engine. The Horizon Media Proxy acts as a proxy between the Skype for Business client (located on the virtual desktop in the data center) and the Horizon Media Engine (located on the endpoint device). The Horizon Media Engine is responsible for processing all audio and video packets and sending the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) stream directly to the other endpoints. In this initial beta release, the Horizon Media Engine is available for Windows clients only.

Delivering the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business

The Media Proxy works hand-in-hand with the Media Engine to deliver audio and video while preserving the native experience of the Skype for Business client. Media is sent to and from the client devices outside of the remote display protocol, which both ensures an optimal user experience and minimizes the performance impact to the Horizon 7 infrastructure such as host resources and network bandwidth.

Focus for the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack

The virtualization pack benefits organizations that use Skype for Business to make audio and video calls. Features such as instant messaging do not require or benefit from the virtualization pack.

Better Unified Communications in the Making

VMware is, and has been, committed to providing the best user experience for Skype for Business. Since 2013, VMware has supported the Microsoft Lync VDI plug-in. Support will continue for this plug-in; the virtualization pack will evolve as an optimal and more extensive approach.

Microsoft and VMware announced a collaboration at VMworld Europe 2016 to deliver an even better solution for virtualizing Skype for Business. Watch the video Tech Preview Coming Soon – An Even Better Experience for Skype for Business and Horizon 7 to hear Raj Gopalakrishnan, Microsoft CTO for Skype for Business Engineering, and Shawn Bass, VMware CTO for End-User Computing, discuss this thrilling partnership.

In addition, the video SfB Video Broadcast: Ep. 35 VMware & VDI in Skype for Business, co-presented by Paul Cannon, Microsoft Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Tony Huynh, VMware Director of Product Management, covers the details of the beta release and answers questions from interested organizations.

This is a highly strategic area for both companies because over 70 percent of organizations using Horizon 7 also use Skype for Business to communicate, and Microsoft reports that organizations using Skype for Business make three billion minutes of audio calls per day and three trillion minutes of video calls per day.

Where to Download and Provide Feedback

You can go to the Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business beta community site to download the virtualization pack and also provide feedback directly to the product team. Alternatively, you can directly email the Horizon 7-Skype for Business product team.

Note: This virtualization pack is a beta release and therefore should not be used in production environments. The solution will not be supported by VMware support services.

The post VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business (Beta) Is Now Available! appeared first on VMware End-User Computing Blog.

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