VMware Horizon 6 on Coho DataStream Reference Architecture Whitepaper

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1 VMware Horizon 6 on Coho DataStream 1000 Reference Architecture Whitepaper

2 Overview This document is intended as a reference architecture for implementing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions on the Coho DataStream 1000 using VMware Horizon 6 (with View) on VMware vsphere ESXi 5.5 & vcenter 5.5. This reference architecture was validated with performance testing conducted using Login VSI (www.loginvsi.com). Login VSI is the industry standard load testing solution for centralized virtualized desktop environments. The goal for this reference architecture is to provide design guidance for a realworld test scenario of virtual desktop workloads at scale. For user VMs, we deployed Microsoft Windows 7. We tested the OfficeWorker and PowerWorker Login VSI profiles with 1,000 desktops to showcase two typical workload scenarios. In this paper, we present performance data as well as best practices for running VMware Horizon on the Coho DataStream 1000 scale out storage solution. Why Coho for your VMware Horizon Deployment? Virtual desktops place great demands on your virtual infrastructure, especially when it comes to the storage hosting that infrastructure. The readwrite ratio is typically 40-60, meaning that solutions designed with consideration for eliminating write overhead attributed to RAID, such as Coho s, are particularly well suited to run VMware Horizon. Coho s RAID-less, object-based NFS storage pool implementation provides high levels of performance and granular VM visibility not possible with traditional LUN-based approaches. The result is an offering that is simple to manage with little or no maintenance required. The Coho DataStream 1000 s scale-out storage architecture enables you to start small with a VDI pilot and auto-scale seamlessly as the number of desktops grows without a big upfront capital expense investment or time-consuming reconfiguration. High performance PCIe Flash SSDs paired with hard drives deliver effortless performance for IO sensitive virtual desktops while balancing cost. Why pay for an all-flash array to address intermittent VDI performance issues like boot storms when you can buy just the right amount of flash to deliver high performance without breaking the bank? Virtualization-specific features including VM-specific QoS, support for VMware s vstorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) and single datastore management ensure a fast and easy setup and simplified management experience. Goals and Objectives After reviewing this document, you should have a solid understanding of the benefits of running your Horizon implementation on the Coho Data storage appliance as well as the performance capabilities of the platform. Our solution delivers a compelling cost per desktop and the simplicity and ease of scaling the platform as your VDI environment grows. 2

3 Summary of Findings Horizon View Pool Specifications 1,000 dedicated, linked-clone desktops Login VSI Results VSImax average: 1413 VSImax threshold: 1879 Audience The intended audience for this paper is virtualization and storage administrators or anyone planning a VDI implementation using VMware Horizon 6 (with View). Basic virtualization, networking and enterprise storage experience is helpful, but not required. To create a medium-sized VDI environment, we deployed 1,000 linked clone Windows 7 virtual desktops and performed a standard workload test via Login VSI. Tests resulted in a VSImax average of 1413, which is well below user acceptable maximums. In fact, the VSImax average number that we attained is one of the best in the industry. The VSImax threshold of 1879 was not reached, meaning that the system could handle many more VDI desktops without modification given additional testing infrastructure. All VMs ran successfully and with good performance within a single NFS datastore, reducing the need for any manual interaction with or set-up of the storage. 3

4 Coho Data Solution The Coho DataStream storage system is based on open commodity hardware in modular building blocks that makes it easy to scale from TBs to PBs with zero reconfiguration. Each 2U (rack unit) DataStream 1000h chassis houses two dense MicroArray modules that contain PCIe SSDs and disk drives with a dedicated controller and networking that installs and rebalances your storage system in under 10 min. By leveraging innovations in software-defined networking, the Coho DataStream architecture is the only storage product on the market to use an OpenFlow-enabled 10GbE network fabric to intelligently place, route and load balance data across distributed nodes to eliminate the latency issues of other scale-out storage solutions. Application-specific profiles and data access frequency drive automated tiering to disk drives so that you never have to manage storage tiers. Each 2U DataStream chassis of MicroArrays delivers 180K IOPS (random 80/20 read/write, 4K block size) so running out of performance is never an issue. Performance intensive, random I/O workloads and latency sensitive VDI sessions can co-exist without affecting each other with the use of workload profiles and application aware auto-tiering. Choosing a storage platform that predictably scales both capacity and performance is critical: traditional monolithic storage scales-up with limited performance while most hybrid or all flash arrays offer high performance without scale-out, creating more management headaches as you grow. The Coho DataStream offers hybrid flash and disk in a scale-out architecture that delivers the high IOPS and low latency to address the toughest boot storms of a VDI deployment while balancing capacity cost with the use of spinning disks for the remaining steady state performance. Growing your VDI deployment is simple with 15 minute plug and play provisioning, fully automated performance tuning and dynamic load balancing. As new generations of hardware become available, they can be integrated seamlessly and co-exist in the same VDI storage cluster with zero migration disruption for true investment protection. For more information on the Coho Data solution, go to: 4

5 Benefits No need to manage multiple volumes and/or LUNs for VDI deployment No tuning or performance tweaks required; system works out of the box without any modifications for demanding VDI workloads Optimal data placement based on system load is built into Coho storage switch and automatically enabled for fast, seamless load balancing VMware certified vsphere APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) NAS Plugin for offloaded cloning operations (via VMware VCAI; View Composer Array Integration) Grow from small to large sized deployments quickly and easily by adding more chassis to the cluster as your environment demands; new capacity and performance is increased automatically Design Guidelines We implemented an enterprise-level deployment of the Coho DataStream hardware, including 2 SDN switches and 1 DataStream chassis to provide the best price/performance ratio given the desire to deploy 1,000 VDI desktops. The server hardware to support the solution was designed with resiliency and high performance in mind, comprised of 10 ESXi hosts in an HA/DRS-enabled cluster, combined with vcenter for management purposes with visibility and ease of management in mind. We wanted to implement the NFS protocol for storage connectivity. This provides both simplicity and enhanced visibility into the environment at a per-vm level. 5

6 Solution Overview Figure 1 (left) is a logical representation of the VMware Horizon View Reference Architecture with the Coho DataStream. The components all exist within the confines of a single datacenter and include the various VMware and Microsoft VMs required for the View deployment and operation as well as the virtual desktops, ESXi hosts, vsphere cluster, and storage that make up the infrastructure. Figure 1: Reference Architecture Diagram (Logical) This represents what we refer to as a VDI pod building block. This infrastructure can be replicated to multiple independent sites as separate clusters of server, storage and network to scale your VDI deployment from 1,000 to 10,000 or more depending on the size and geographical requirements of your organization. For more info on what this might look like, see Appendix A. Reference Architecture Configuration As part of this reference architecture we configured a single chassis Coho DataStream 1000h system along with a pair of SDN switches to simplify the implementation. From the host side we configured (10) ESXi hosts with HA and DRS enabled. The Windows 7 desktop VMs were configured with 2GB RAM and 2 vcpus each to allow for the testing of both the OfficeWorker and PowerWorker profiles via Login VSI. 6

7 Server Configuration From the vsphere host side, we configured 10 ESXi hosts with HA and DRS enabled. These servers were provisioned with 256GB of RAM and (2) 8-core Intel CPUs to provide the capacity and power to host 1,000 virtual desktops. These were deployed in single cluster and connected to each other and to the datacenter network with 10GbE throughout for the best performance available given the design constraints. Total available cluster memory was 2560GB of RAM and 319Ghz of CPU power to host the highly changeable workload and allow for sufficient capacity for failovers as well as boot storms and other maintenance operations. You can see the configuration of the vsphere cluster as well as the individual ESXi hosts in Figure 2, below. Figure 2: Server Design Diagram 7

8 Network Configuration This solution is designed with a redundant network path via a dual switch configuration. This path is used only for NFS storage connectivity between the backend nodes and the switches and between the ESXi hosts and the switches. The SDN switches sit at the center of the design and make up what we call the direct connect method of connectivity, which will provide the absolute best level of performance. If desired, you can also utilize an intermediate switch to connect to your pre-existing network core via the indirect connect method, which is detailed in the right hand portion of this diagram. Figure 3:Network Design Diagram 8

9 Hardware Configuration 26TB of total usable space, comprised of a combination of (4) PCIe flash cards and (12) SATA spinning disks per chassis (10) ESXi servers each with (2) 8-core 2.0GHz processors and 256GB of memory (2) Coho 10GbE SDN switches for host side and storage connectivity, leveraging OpenFlow (2) 10GbE ports for management, VMkernel, vmotion and VM Network connectivity Coho VAAI NAS plugin installed on each ESXi host Note: For the best performance, the intermediate switches should enable 10GbE connectivity from end-toend. It is also recommended that these switches be no more than one hop away from the SDN switches, which come as part of the Coho solution. 1GbE connectivity is supported, but will not provide you with optimal levels of performance for VDI or other performance intensive workloads. So ware Configuration The environment was deployed with enterprise redundancy in mind from the software perspective as well: Redundant Active Directory servers for user authentication, DNS & DHCP vcenter Server on virtualized Windows deployment Separate virtual machine for the MSSQL database server There are various software components from VMware that are required as part of a working deployment of VMware Horizon Suite. Below are details on each of those components with specs used in this reference deplodyment. vcenter Update Manager deployed for ESXi hosts updates vcenter Operations Manager for environmental monitoring and analysis 9

10 Horizon View Connection Server VMware Horizon View Connection Server handles the provisioning and management of the virtual desktops and acts as a connection broker between clients and the VDI VMs. This server can support up to 2,000 simultaneous connections. You can also create up to two more instances of this server to provide high availability for the connection broker. The Connection Server can log events to a centralized database running either Oracle Database or Microsoft SQL Server for the purposes of monitoring and troubleshooting. Note: Only one Horizon View Connection Server was used in this reference architecture. This creates a single point of failure but provided better simplicity during testing. Production deployments should use multiple Connection Servers to provide connection broker resiliency. Attribute Specification Server Quality 1 Physical/Virtual Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Virtual 8 (vcpu) 32GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 100GB allocated (20GB used) Windows Server 2012 R2 Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 1: Horizon View Connection Server Specifications 10

11 Figure 4: Add Desktop Pool Wizard - Type Figure 5: Add Desktop Pool Wizard User Assignment 11

12 Figure 6: Add Desktop Pool Wizard vcenter Server Figure 7: Add Desktop Pool Wizard Desktop Pool Identification 12

13 Figure 8: Add Desktop Pool Wizard Desktop Pool Settings 13

14 Figure 9: Add Desktop Pool Wizard Provisioning Settings 14

15 Figure 10: Add Desktop Pool Wizard View Composer Disks 15

16 Figure 11: Add Desktop Pool Wizard Storage Optimization 16

17 Figure 12: Add Desktop Pool Wizard vcenter Settings 17

18 Figure 13: Add Desktop Pool Wizard Advance Storage Options 18

19 Figure 14: Add Desktop Pool Wizard Guest Customization 19

20 Horizon View Composer VMware Horizon View Composer is used for the creation of linked clones. It works with the Connection Server to rapidly provision storage-efficient virtual desktops for use in the VMware Horizon View environment. These linked clone desktops can be either dedicated or floating virtual desktops in an automated pool; we used an automated pool with dedicated desktops here. This server is also used for maintenance operations, such as refresh & recompose which are used for ongoing maintenance of the View environment. Attribute Specification Server Quality 1 Physical/Virtual Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Virtual 8 (vcpu) 32GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 100GB allocated (20GB used) Windows Server 2012 R2 Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 2: Horizon View Composer Specifications 20

21 vcenter Server To manage and support the VDI environment, we also leveraged vcenter Server. This VM coordinates the provisioning of VMs into the appropriate resource pools and allows for load balancing of VMs across hosts in the cluster via DRS as well as HA for the restart of VMs in response to host failures. Attribute Specification Server Quality 1 Physical/Virtual Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Virtual 8 (vcpu) 16GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 40GB allocated (30GB used) Windows Server 2012 R2 Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 3: vcenter Server Specifications 21

22 Microso SQL Server The Microsoft SQL Server VM supports both the vcenter as well as the Horizon View Composer event database. Both databases are hosted on a single SQL Server instance specified in the table below. Attribute Specification Server Quality 1 Physical/Virtual Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Virtual 8 (vcpu) 32GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 100GB allocated (50GB used) Windows Server 2012 R2 Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 4: Microsoft SGL Server Specifications 22

23 Microso Active Directory Server To closely approximate a customer s enterprise environment, we set-up Active Directory as part of the reference architecture. This server provides authorization and authentication as well as DNS and DHCP services to the hosts and VMs in the environment. 2 instances of Active Directory were deployed for HA requirements. Attribute Specification Server Quality 2 Physical/Virtual Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Virtual 4 (vcpu) 4GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 100GB allocated (10GB used) Windows Server 2012 R2 Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 5: Microsoft Active Directory Server Specifications 23

24 Login VSI Login VSI, Inc. delivers industry-standard testing solutions for virtualized desktop and server environments. The world s leading virtualization vendors use the flagship product, Login VSI, to benchmark the performance and scalability of their solutions. Enterprise IT departments use Login VSI in all phases of their virtual desktop deployment from capacity planning, to load testing, to change impact prediction for more predictable performance, higher availability and a more consistent end user experience. With minimal configuration, Login VSI works in VMware Horizon View, Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) and any other Windows-based virtual desktop solution. For more information, download a trial at Note: For information about the Login VSI testing infrastructure specifications for this reference architecture, see Appendix (TBD). Windows 7 For the purposes of the reference architecture we tested with the 64-bit edition of Windows 7. This is the standard for enterprise VDI deployments at the current time. It provides the best combination of performance and functionality for the majority of VDI workers, from the typical office worker to power users. We configured the desktop VMs as follows: Attribute Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Specification 2 (vcpu) 2GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 60GB allocated (30GB used) Windows 7 Enterprise Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 6: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop Specifications 24

25 Other To fully optimize the guest OS for the virtual desktops, we leveraged the VMware OS Optimization Tool (VMware Labs) which can be downloaded here: https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vmware-os-optimization-tool. This tool shuts down unneeded services and tunes Windows for operation in a virtual desktop environment. Sizing Guidelines For a medium sized deployment of 1,000 desktops, we recommend a 2 switch, 1 chassis solution. Note: If your use case doesn t require high availability; it is perfectly fine to deploy only a single switch. We recommend deploying 10GbE networking throughout the environment to provide the best possible performance. For simplest deployment, we recommend deploying a single desktop pool to fully leverage VMware s VCAI cloning capability for linked clones desktops. Below, we list the pool specifications that we used in the deployment. These may vary based on your use case, however, these parameters should work for a standard deployment of office worker style Windows desktops. Type User Assignment Assign on first login vcenter Server Use View Composer Unique ID Display Name Automated Dedicated Assignment Yes vsc.cohodata.com (COHODATA\vmware) Yes w7-pool_a N/A Access Group / Desktop Pool State Enabled 25

26 Type Remote Machine Power Policy Automatic logoff after disconnect Connection Server restrictions Allow users to reset their machine Refresh OS disk after logoff Default display protocol Allow users to choose protocol 3D Renderer Automated Take no power action Immediately None No Never PCoIP Yes Disabled Max number of monitors 1 Max resolution of any one monitor HTML Access Adobe Flash quality Override global Mirage settings Mirage Server configuration Enable provisioning Stop provisioning on error Virtual Machine Naming VM naming pattern Provision all machines up-front 1680x1050 Disabled Disabled No N/A Yes Yes Use a naming pattern w7-a_{n:fixed=4} Yes Max number of machines 1,000 Number of spare (powered on) machines 1,000 26

27 Type Minimum number of ready (provisioned) machines during View Composer maintenance operations Persistent Disks Disk size Drive letter Disposable File Redirection Disk size Drive letter Default image Automated 0 Redirect Windows Profile 2048 MB D Redirect disposable files to non-persistent disk 4096 MB Auto w7-pool_a-parent-vm w7-pool_a-snapshot Virtual Machine Folder /Datacenters/Santa Clara/vm/Horizon 6/ Pools Host or cluster /Datacenters/Santa Clara/host/Cluster Resource pool User VMware Virtual SAN Datastore Minimum number of ready (provisioned) machines during View Composer maintenance operations Persistent Disks Disk size Drive letter Disposable File Redirection Disk size /Datacenters/Santa Clara/host/Resources No /Datacenters/Santa Clara/host/Cluster/ coho-test Storage overcommit: Conservative 0 Redirect Windows Profile 2048 MB D Redirect disposable files to non-persistent disk 4096 MB 27

28 Type Datastore Domain AD container Guest Customization Power-off script name Power-off script parameters Post synchronization script name Post synchronization script parameters Description Use native NFS snapshots (VAAI) Use View Storage Accelerator Disk Types Regenerate storage accelerator after View Storage Accelerator Blackouts Domain AD container Guest Customization Power-off script name Power-off script parameters Post synchronization script name Automated /Datacenters/SantaClara/host/Cluster/ coho-test Storage overcommit: Conservative cohodata.com(vmware) CN=Computers Use QuickPrep N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes OS disks 7 day(s) N/A cohodata.com(vmware) CN=Computers Use QuickPrep N/A N/A N/A Post synchronization script parameters N/A Table 7: Horizon View Connection Server Pool Settings 28

29 Testing Results The results from Login VSI are presented below. You can see from the results that the solution detailed here can easily handle the 1,000 virtual desktop workload. Note: The Coho solution can most certainly support additional virtual desktops, but given our internal license limitations with Login VSI, only 1,000 desktops were tested for this reference architecture. Figure 16: Login VSI Results VSImax v4 Detailed Figure 17: Login VSI Results VSI Detailed (I/O) 29

30 Conclusions Coho s DataStream architecture is a great fit for VDI deployments from small to large. We were able to successfully run 1,000 virtual desktops out of the box, without any modifications to the system, providing ease of management and implementation. 10GbE connectivity was enabled throughout the solution so as not to create any bottlenecks for management, vmotion, or storage connectivity. The Login VSI tests resulted in an average IO response time of 7ms, which is very respectable and indicative of adequate storage performance. Virtual desktops were deployed with 2GB of RAM and 2 vcpus, which allowed all of the Login VSI tests to run without system saturation and with results that are inline with end-user performance expectations. Acknowledgements VMware EUC team Coho Data Operations team Coho Data Engineering team Coho Data Marketing team Appendix A Globally Distributed Deployment As an addendum to this whitepaper, we present what a globally distributed, scale-out version of this reference architecture would look like when deployed at multiple offices throughout an organization. This is what is typically referred to as a pod building block approach. This shows deployments with a couple different scales, from a small site of a couple hundred users, to a large site deployed for several thousand users, all with a standard approach and common management for each site, with the ability to grow sites independently based on business requirements. 30

31 Figure 18: Globally Distributed Deployment Appendix B Login VSI Test Configuration For those interested in the details of how we performed the testing, we present the Login VSI configuration here, in case you want to run these tests in your environment for evaluation purposes. Login VSI has a couple of key components, namely the management console and the launcher VMs. The Login VSI File Share is used to manage and monitor the test as well as to provide the content to the VDI desktops to run their tests against. The launchers are the clients that the test uses to connect to the Horizon Connection server pool. 31

32 Login VSI File Share (VSIshare) The Login VSI File Share includes the following components: Management Console Launcher Analyzer Session Monitor Data library Most of the management of the Login VSI system as well as monitoring and analysis of the test results is done on this system. This system also shares the files that are needed for each of the VDI clients to perform the tests. Below are the specs for this system. Attribute Specification Quantity 1 Physical/Virtual Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Virtual 8 (vcpu) 8GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 100GB allocated (20GB used) Windows Server 2012 R2 Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 8: Login VSI VSIshare Specifications 32

33 Launcher The launcher VMs are used to perform the client login to the environment being benchmarked. As such these machines will have (in our example) the VMware View Client installed to allow them to connect to the pool hosted on our View Connection Server and perform the load test. The recommendation is to have no more than 25 client sessions per launcher, so for the purposes of the 1,000 session test, we deployed 40 launchers as detailed below. Attribute Specification Quantity 40 Physical/Virtual Processor Quality Memory Size NIC Quality/Speed Disk Size Operating System Virtual 2 (vcpu) 4GB (1) VMXNET3 adaptor (10GbE) 40GB allocated (17GB used) Windows 7 Enterprise Vmware Hardware Version 10 Table 8: Login VSI Launcher Specifications 33

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