VMware® Horizon Mirage™ software centralizes the entire desktop contents in the data center for management and protection purposes, distributes the running of desktop workloads to the endpoints, and optimizes the transfer of data between them.

The Horizon Mirage components integrate into a typical distributed infrastructure, with the following relationships between the system components:

Horizon Mirage clients connect to a Horizon Mirage server, either directly or through a load balancer.

The administrator connects to the system through the Horizon Mirage Management server.

Horizon Mirage servers and the Management server share access to the back-end Horizon Mirage database and storage volumes. Any server can access any volume.

System Components
Relationships between Horizon Mirage components in a typical distributed infrastructure

Endpoint devices installed with the Horizon Mirage client can run a centralized virtual desktop (CVD) or convert an existing desktop to a CVD. See Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD).

The Horizon Mirage client software runs in the base operating system and makes sure the images at the endpoint and the CVD are synchronized. The client does not create or emulate a virtual machine. No virtual machines or hypervisors are required. The Horizon Mirage client software can run on any Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisor.

The Horizon Mirage Management server, located in the data center, is the main component that controls and manages the Horizon Mirage server cluster.

The Horizon Mirage Management console is the graphical user interface used to perform scalable maintenance, management, and monitoring of deployed endpoints.

Through the Management console, the administrator configures and manages clients, base and app layers, and reference machines. The administrator uses the Management console to perform operations such as update and restore, and monitors the system operation through the dashboard and event logs.

The Horizon Mirage Web Manager enables help-desk personnel to respond to service queries, and the Dashboard feature assists the Protection manager role to ensure that user devices are protected. The Web Manager mirrors Horizon Mirage Management console functionality. For more information, see the Horizon Mirage Web Manager Guide.

The Horizon Mirage servers, located in the data center, manage the storage and delivery of base layers, app layers, and CVDs to clients, and consolidate monitoring and management communications. You can deploy multiple servers as a server cluster to manage endpoint devices for large enterprise organizations. It is good practice to keep the server on a dedicated machine or a virtual machine. However, a server can be co-hosted with the Management server.


The server machine must be dedicated for the Horizon Mirage server software to use. It must not be used for any other purposes. For hardware requirements and supported platforms, see the Horizon Mirage Installation Guide.

CVDs represent the complete contents of each PC. This data is migrated to the Horizon Mirage server and becomes the authoritative copy of the contents of each PC. You use the CVD to centrally manage, update, patch, back up, troubleshoot, restore, and audit the desktop in the data center, regardless of whether the endpoint is connected to the network. A CVD comprises the following components:

Base layer defined by the administrator, which includes the operating system (OS) image plus core applications such as antivirus, firewall, and Microsoft Office. A base layer is used as a template for desktop content, cleared of specific identity information and made suitable for central deployment to a large group of endpoints.

App layers defined by the administrator, which include sets of one or more departmental or line-of-business applications, and any updates or patches for already installed applications, suitable for deployment to large numbers of endpoints.

Driver profile defined by the administrator, which specifies a group of drivers for use with specific hardware platforms. These drivers are applied to devices when the hardware platforms match the criteria that the administrator defines in the driver profile.

User-installed applications and machine state, including unique identifier, hostname, any configuration changes to the machine registry, DLLs, and configuration files.

Changes to data, applications, or the machine state made by end-user are propagated to the data center. Conversely, all changes that the administrator makes to the base layer or app layers in the data center are propagated to the endpoints. Administrators can identify data that does not need to be protected, such as MP3s, or other files that are considered local only to the endpoint.

A Horizon Mirage reference machine is used to create a standard desktop base layer for a set of CVDs. This layer usually includes OS updates, service packs and patches, corporate applications for all target end-users to use, and corporate configurations and policies. A reference machine is also employed to capture app layers, which contain departmental or line-of-business applications and any updates or patches for already installed applications.

You can maintain and update reference machines over time over the LAN or WAN, using a Horizon Mirage reference CVD in the data center. You can use the reference CVD at any time as a source for base and app layer capture.

A Horizon Mirage branch reflector is a peering service role that you can enable on any endpoint device. A branch reflector can then serve adjacent clients in the process of downloading and updating base or app layers on the site, instead of the clients downloading directly from the Horizon Mirage server cluster. Using a branch reflector can significantly reduce bandwidth use during mass base or app layer updates or other base or app layer download scenarios. The branch reflector also assists downloading hardware drivers.

End users can use appropriate login credentials and the Horizon Mirage file portal to access their data from any Web browser. The file portal front-end component runs on any server machines that have IIS 7.0 or later installed, and the back-end component runs on the Management server.

The Distributed Desktop Optimization™ mechanism optimizes transport of data between the Horizon Mirage server and clients, making it feasible to support remote endpoints regardless of network speed or bandwidth. Distributed Desktop Optimization incorporates technologies that include read-write caching, file and block-level deduplication, network optimization, and desktop streaming over the WAN.

The Horizon Mirage Edge server is the secured gateway server that is deployed outside the Mirage data center environment. The Horizon Mirage Edge server meets the enterprise security and firewall requirements and provides a better user experience for Mirage clients that access the Horizon Mirage servers through the Internet. The Edge server seamlessly integrates with the Horizon Mirage system with minor modifications to the Mirage system and protocol.