Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) made Easy

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1 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) made Easy HOW-TO Preface: Desktop virtualization can increase the effectiveness of information technology (IT) teams by simplifying how they configure and deploy endpoint devices, manage desktops, and support end user applications. In this era of BYOD and social collaboration the boundaries of work and personal space is collapsing increasing the pressure on IT to ensure enterprise security is not compromised while maintaining efficient business application experience. VDI helps IT in better managing the security needs for desktops and applications. Finally enterprises benefit from improved operational efficiency and IT security. Even in light of the significant benefits with VDI traditionally IT teams face numerous challenges in adopting a VDI environment. Beginning with program virtualization, keeping user interfaces personalized across terminals, image management and storage optimization to name a few. There are several new components to learn and manage. This document provides a detailed explanation of how to setup VDI from a real lab evaluation that delivers secure and reliable virtual desktops to end users. We are hoping this guide will help IT to understand VDI, the components involved and how they can be integrated. 1

2 In this evaluation we identify the key components that are needed to build a scalable VDI solution. The limited setup brings 200+ VDI desktops that can service different user types providing each user a personalized experience. Key VDI Components Unidesk virtual desktop management framework Unidesk s desktop layer technique offers easy administration and storage optimization of transient virtual desktops in combination with the modern personalizable properties of permanent desktops. Unidesk desktops boot from a virtual C: drive that consists of various independent layers. Unidesk's web-based management console allows you to operate all desktops dynamically from the same, independently stored operating system and applications. All user-specific settings, including installed programs, are stored by means of patches and updates in the base layers defined by IT. Pure Storage All Flash Array FA-405 Pure Storage offers all-flash storage for practically every workload. In particular, the Purity FlashReduce technology permits inline data reduction, including duplication, compression and thin provisioning with variable block sizes. The duplication and compression functions of Pure Storage work perfectly with all applications; however the best results are achieved with VDI. With a data reduction rate of >10-to-1, Pure Storage can provide VDI more cost effectively than other solutions. Pure FlashProtect offers % availability, active/active HA architecture, RAID-3D, Dual Parity+ protection and end-to-end data integrity are combined to provide effective protection for your precious corporate data. VMware Horizon View 5.5 in conjunction with Unidesk VMware Horizon View offers virtualized and remote desktops and applications by means of a single platform and allows users to access all of their windows and online resources by means of a unitary work environment. This unitary environment enables desktops, applications and online services to be provided securely for users. Users benefit from device, location and media independence. Even though this involves virtual desktops that run on remote servers, to the user it feels like he is sitting at a "normal" PC. From the end-user's perspective, the login procedure for a virtual desktop is the same as for a local PC: the name and password are entered in the same way, but the difference is that they access the virtual desktop. Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6900 The Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6900 is a 10/40 GigE switch offering maximum port density in a small space. Its high speed, extremely low latency, broad functionality and OPEN programmable interfaces make it ideal for particularly complex networks. OS6900 modular platform and "loss-less" Ethernet technologies enable to bring together both server and storage connectivity in a single instance. 2

3 3

4 Lab Test Setup Physical Topology Diagram Pure Storage FlashArray FA-405 configuration The FlashArray has two active/active controllers and a shelf with 4 TB raw Flash storage. Four 10 GB SFP+ iscsi ports are connected to Alcatel Lucent OmniSwitch 6900-X20. The Pure Storage VMware vsphere Best Practices Guide was used for the iscsi configuration. There was no need to make any special adjustments to the Alcatel- Lucent OmniSwitch for iscsi. Virtual Desktop Server configuration: Two identical Dell Poweredge R720 servers were used to host the virtual desktops and the two Unidesk Secondary CachePoint appliances. The servers were connected to the Alcatel Lucent OmniSwitch 6900-X20 with two SFP+ connections (DAC) and this iscsi connection was used to access the FlashArray LUNs. Processor: 2 x Intel Xeon 2.6 GHz (16 cores in total) 4

5 RAM: MHz (16 GB X 16) HBA: 2 x Intel X520 DP 10 Gbit/s DA/SFP+ server adapter NIC: Quad port Broadcom BCM Gigabit Ethernet vsphere: ESXi Network configuration: A VM was used as a domain controller, providing AD, DNS and DHCP. Two VLANs were used: one for the virtual desktops produced and another for the management network, including the ESXi hosts. An Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6900 and OmniSwitch 6450 were used for this purpose. Logical Topology Diagram Management Framework VMs: o Active Directory, DNS and DHCP o VMware Horizon View 5 Connection Broker o VMware Virtual Center Server 5.5 Appliance o A Login VSI Admin VM which also provided the Login VSI-Share 5

6 o Five Login VSI launchers, each of which starts 50 sessions o Unidesk Management Appliance and Master CachePoint For the scalability of the environment it is important to use a reliable and efficient infrastructure. That's why all management and infrastructure VMs have been installed on separate ESXi servers. This would allow provisioning of the AD, DNS and DHCP instances into separate, dedicated machines so as to give users a faster environment and an architecture that can readily scale up/ down. The individual servers are produced with Windows 2008 R2 template including updates and clones for the various infrastructure VMs. The VMware View Connection Broker was configured with 4 vcpus and 8 GB RAM. The 5 Login VSI Launcher VMs were also Windows 7 SP1 VMs with the 4 vcpus and 4 GB RAM required by Login VSI. The Unidesk Management Appliance and the Master CachePoint are provided while the Unidesk environment is being installed and each requires 2 vcpus and 2 GB RAM. Software provided by the Unidesk layer Horizon View: Horizon View Client 5.5 Login VSI: Target device components Programs: MS Office 2010 Standard, Acrobat Reader 10, Flash 10, Mozilla Firefox, Java, DoroPDF, Freemind, 7zip Microsoft Windows 7 basic image configuration vcpu: 1 RAM: 2 GB Network card : 1 x Vmxnet adapter vstorage adapter: 1 x LSI Logic SAS adapter Virtual disk: 40 GB for the basic image The benchmarking tool Login VSI Pro 4.1 Login VSI is 100% vendor neutral and is used to test virtual desktop interfaces like VMware Horizon View, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and other Windows-based VDI solutions. Login VSI is used by all known hardware and software manufacturers for testing and benchmarking purposes and is recommended by leading IT analysts and users. Login VSI operates with standardized workloads. This makes the results of the test objective, verifiable and reproducible. That's why we chose Login VSI as a test tool. Source: 6

7 . VSI Manager Virtual machine with Windows Server 2008 R2 with 4 GB RAM and 4 vcpu This machine already provided the following Login VSI components: o Login VSI Management Console o Login VSI Session Monitor o Login VSI Analyzer o Login VSI release (for programs, data and logs) VSI Launcher 5 virtual machines with Windows 7 SP1 per 4 GB RAM and 4 vcpu These machines each initiate 50 VMware View sessions on the target machines VSI Target 250 virtual desktops produced with Unidesk, with Windows 7 SP1 installed and 2 GB RAM each and 1 vcpu Each virtual machine has been configured so that it could execute the relevant programs of the workload as a Login VSI target. Lab Performance Tests & Results During the test, the Login VSI software measures the response times for every type of activity performed on the desktop. At some point, the response times will exceed a given limit, referred to as the VSImax. The number of virtual machines on which the Login VSI scripts are running at this point (in other words the number of users logged in) indicates the maximum number of supported desktops for the relevant test. A number of pre-existing workloads are available from Login VSI we decided on the knowledge worker workload", aiming to simulate more demanding desktop users. 7

8 Knowledge worker workload This workload simulates a demanding desktop user who uses the Internet, Office documents and PDFs. For details see: Workloads.pdf When a session is started, the workload runs in a loop. This takes about 15 minutes. Each loop opens and uses the following: o Microsoft Outlook for reading s. o Microsoft Internet Explorer for visiting websites and playing videos (e.g., a 480p film trailer). This is opened three times in each loop. o Microsoft Word: One instance is opened for measuring the response times and another for editing a document. o Adobe Reader and Doro PDF Printer: A Word document is printed and viewed as a PDF. o Microsoft Excel: A large table is selected at random and opened. o Microsoft PowerPoint: A presentation is viewed and altered. o FreeMind (a Java-based mind mapping program) o 7-Zip (a free data compression program with a high compression rate) Performance Results Test: 200 desktops are started and 200 users log in within 15 minutes (boot storm) VSImax: 8

9 As the graphic shows, VSImax was achieved with 192 machines. At this point, processor performance on the two ESXi hosts was 100%. 9

10 Latency & IOPS: The latency during read access was less than one millisecond over the entire period. During read access, the threshold value of 15 milliseconds was not exceeded. The average number of IOP on the storage was around 2,000 and around 18,000 at peak loads only. Network/bandwidth: 10

11 The maximum bandwidth used on the two ESXi hosts was 16 MB/s. The maximum bandwidth achieved on storage was 238 MB/s. Key Highlights Login VSI showed that processor performance should be a major consideration when choosing the ESXi hosts. VSImax was already achieved with 192 machines in our test. A boot storm was simulated: 200 machines were started and 200 users logged in within 15 minutes, despite which latency was at less than one millisecond. Pure Storage 100 GB of storage capacity was required for 200 desktops. Unidesk significantly reduced the capacity required on storage; thanks to virtualization and eliminating image duplication. Assuming that the Pure Storage FA-405 array can supply around 100,000 IOPS and the Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6900-X20 up to 1.28 Tbit/s data throughput (with a latency time of less than one microsecond), if configured with the appropriate number of ESXi hosts, this environment could be capable of providing at least 1,000 desktops for knowledge workers. Conclusion This VDI guide helps in identifying the key components that are efficient and easy to operate and install. This setup can be tailored to build a high availability VDI platform that allows IT to scale up/down based on demand. The VDI environment continues to provide personalized user experience with improved mobility while simplifying IT to better manage workloads with less number of resources. 11

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