I believe that Citrix XenDesktop and Microsoft Hyper-V offer the best VDI experience and System Center the best management solution for this configuration (as well as many others). I work with NetApp and have becoming increasingly impressed by the NetApp / Cisco offerings – FlexPod and then when combined with Citrix / XenDesktop, a killer proposition for easy, reliable VDI. I’ve also included AppSense in the mix as I’ve also been working with them around their User State Virtualisation technology and where it fits both VDI and physical desktops.
These whitepapers overlap various aspects of the above, so here they are:
Reference Architecture-Based Design Citrix XenDesktop Built on FlexPod Using Cisco Unified Computing System, Microsoft Hyper-V, and NetApp Storage
Some of the key points are:
- The hosting of Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Virtual Desktops (VDI) and Hosted Shared Virtual Desktops models and FlexCast with Microsoft Hyper-V on Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers and NetApp storage were successfully validated.
- The validated environment consisted of a completely virtualized infrastructure with virtual machines hosted by Microsoft Hyper-V. All the virtual desktop and supporting infrastructure components including Active Directory, Citrix Provisioning Server, and the Citrix XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controllers were hosted in a virtual machine environment on Microsoft Hyper-V.
- The tested design showed linear scalability when expanding from 1 server to 16 servers. The performance testing showed that the same user desktop experience and response times were achieved with 110 desktops running on 1 server as with 1760 desktops running on 16 servers.
- The integrated management model and rapid provisioning capabilities of Cisco UCS Manager makes it easy for scaling the number of desktops from small pilots on a single UCS chassis to very large organization-wide deployments running on tens of chassis.
- The testing validates that the tested reference architecture can scale linearly from 1 chassis to 4 chassis and beyond without making any changes to the design or infrastructure components. This also requires the proper backend storage scaling as provided by NetApp storage.
- Desktop virtual machine "Boot-up" or "Logon" Storms (from rapid concurrent or simultaneous user logons) need to be considered in the server and storage design as they have largest substantial scalability impact on this solution as well as VDI environments in general. The reference architecture represented in this document was able to handle the additional stresses presented by the most extreme boot-up and log-on storm conditions.
Managing Microsoft Desktop Virtualization
This whitepaper covers the following topics:
- Desktop Virtualization: Overview of desktop virtualization technologies including user state, application, and operating system virtualization.
- System Center Products: Overview of System Center products that provide management of desktop virtualization, including System Center Configuration Manager, System Center Operations Manager, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
- Managing Desktop Virtualization:
- Managing User State Virtualization: Overview of the technologies that manage user state virtualization and how it is important for a complete desktop virtualization solution. o
- Managing Application Virtualization: Deep dive on how Configuration Manager and Operations Manager manage Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) and RemoteApp™.
- Managing Operating System Virtualization: Deep dive on how Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, and Virtual Machine Manager manage Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), RDS Session virtualization and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
An alternative to thin clients for the Enterprise
The third whitepaper has a contentious title, but is still worth a read. The document state’s its purpose is “to familiarize organizations with Microsoft Windows Thin PC. The secondary purpose is to evaluate the value of thin client computing in the enterprise and explain the options available from Microsoft as a complete management solution.” Examining both aspects is of importance, so reusing existing hardware to provide thin client access as well as the options for the use of thin clients.
The case for think clients is presented as below:
Expanding Business Benefit and Lowering Costs Through Desktop Optimization
This paper explains the benefits of a well managed environment. Many people looking at VDI get Desktop Optimization benefits as they implement improved management as part of their move to VDI. VDI is not required to get these benefits, however using Microsoft, Citrix, NetApp and Cisco means that benefits can be delivered to both the VDI and physical computers across your estate. The whitepaper says …
IDC research finds that a well-managed environment will consistently outperform an inconsistent or poorly managed environment, delivering better uptime, lower cost of management, fewer help desk calls in general a better end-user experience. So it should not come as a surprise that advanced management tools, when applied and used properly, will offer a positive return on investment (ROI) over a period of three years.
AppSense User Virtualization Platform - The strategic role of user virtualization
The final piece I will include is AppSense. User State Virtualisation is a strong growing area where AppSense can relieve the hot spots and make movement between virtual and physical environments seamless, whether Windows 7, RDS, 32-bit or 64-bit or even older versions of Windows.
Thu, Jan 12 2012 8:08 AM