VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care Solution Reference Implementation Case Study for European Healthcare Provider

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1 VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care Solution Reference Implementation Case Study for European Healthcare Provider Including Architecture for 25,000 End Users in a Multi-Datacenter Implementation TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER

2 Table of Contents. Introduction... 5 About VMware Reference Implementation Case Studies Executive Summary Implementation Overview Project Overview...6 Lessons Learned...7 Architecture Overview Conclusion...8 About VMware Horizon View... 9 VMware Horizon View Solution Components Region Hovedstaden Reference Implementation Overview Business Drivers, Business Case, and Benefits Business Drivers Business Case Business Benefits Project Overview VMware Expertise Implementation Timing Lessons Learned Architecture Overview Region Hovedstaden VDI Solution Elements VMware Infrastructure VMware Horizon View End User Persona, Session and Device Design Devices External Access Application Provisioning Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) About the Authors References Additional Resources About VMware TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 2

3 Appendix A (Architecture Design) Horizon View Pod Horizon View Block Horizon View Management Block Logical Storage Design Storage Design Overview Logical Network Design Standard vswitch Infrastructure Distributed Virtual Switch Infrastructure Network Physical Design Specifications Network Optimization for PCoIP Load Balancing Architecture Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Disaster Recovery (DR) View Connection Server Architecture Redundancy Datacenter Outage of LOCATION Floating Desktops Datacenter Outage of LOCATION Floating Desktops Recovery of a Datacenter Floating Desktops Appendix B (Technical Design Specifications) Horizon View Management Block View Connection Server Specifications View Connection Server Availability Horizon View Desktop Pool Specifications Parent Desktop Virtual Machine Virtual Hardware Specifications Horizon View Desktop Operating System Specifications Horizon View Desktop OS Optimizations Operating System Deployment Methodology Horizon View Policies Active Directory Integration Dedicated OU for Horizon View Desktop, Server, and User Accounts Group Policy Objects Antivirus Scanning and Updates VMware ThinApp Application VMware vsphere Clusters VMware vsphere High Availability VMware vsphere Distributed Resources Scheduler (DRS) TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 3

4 Resource Pools Horizon View Pod Horizon View Block View Composer Design Specifications View Events View Events Database View Events Connection Details Sizing VMware ESXi Hosts CPU Sizing Memory Sizing Sizing Shared Storage Horizon View Desktop Disks and Datastores Desktop Datastore Configuration Specifications Storage Performance Requirements Virtual Desktop Storage Workload TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 4

5 Introduction This document provides a reference implementation case study for VMware Horizon View at a Danish healthcare customer. The case study represents a 25,000-user environment deployed across multiple physical locations, based on the VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care desktop solution. The intended audience for this document is the technical decision-maker who is considering deploying VMware Horizon View at scale. The Executive Summary and Business Drivers, Business Case, and Benefits sections of this document are also suitable for non-technical decision-makers. The purpose of this document is to illustrate how this technical solution can provide tangible business benefits. The document includes an overview of business benefits and cost savings (where possible), an architectural overview and its bill of materials, and key configurations used to deploy the solution. About VMware Reference Implementation Case Studies A reference implementation case study shows how specific customers in a variety of locations and industry verticals have deployed and benefited from VMware Horizon View. A reference implementation describes in detail the project approach, architecture, and business benefits at a real customer site, and provides lessons learned for that particular deployment. These implementations are often built on reference architectures validated by VMware. While a reference implementation is often built on best practices, sometimes tradeoffs are made to meet project requirements or constraints. When a reader references these implementations, it is critical to understand where the architecture has deviated from best practices, and where improvements can be made. This is easily achieved by comparing a reference implementation to reference architecture documentation provided by VMware. For further information regarding this and other technical reference architectures, visit VMware Horizon View 5.2 Design resources on the VMware Web site. This case study is intended to help customers IT architects, consultants, and administrators involved in the early phases of planning, design, and deployment of VMware Horizon View solutions. The purpose is to provide an example of a successful architecture that represents specific industry vertical challenges met, and the benefits gained from the solution. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 5

6 Executive Summary By the mid-2000s, the Danish government faced an extraordinary challenge. The legacy IT systems at many of its healthcare providers were negatively impacting patient care. Excessive login and access times to applications and data were causing doctors and nurses to spend less time in front of each patient. IT departments were spending their efforts on setting up and maintaining individual PCs for each clinical worker. The situation was so out of balance that the Danish government legislated their healthcare providers to improve it. For one healthcare region, Region Hovedstaden (Region H), administrators developed a bold plan to transform their point-of-care desktop system. Region H deployed a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution, which significantly reduces the person-hours that it takes for healthcare professionals to access applications and data. IT now deploys a common desktop to all healthcare workers with a universal PC configuration. This saves time in setting up and provisioning desktops, fixing them, and deploying applications. Two-year project 25,000 users with access to the solution 8,000 concurrent virtual desktops Figure 1: Implementation Highlights Implementation Overview Region H named the project Effective System Access (ESA). Region H tasked its IT department with implementing the ESA program for 25,000 healthcare workers, providing them with an effective, fast, and agile workspace, accessible from any device, anywhere. IT managers evaluated a number of possible solutions as the platform for ESA, and chose the VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care solution, based on VMware Horizon View. The IT organization at Region H viewed VMware technology as the cornerstone of its VDI solution. We chose VMware for this project because of its product and engagement flexibility, which we saw in the pilot phase, said Morten Møllegaard, lead technical project manager. This has lived up to our expectations during the production implementation. Project Overview When the Danish healthcare system tasked Region Hovedstaden with providing an effective, fast, and agile workspace for 25,000 clinical workers, the implementation team quickly identified several key drivers. There was a need to streamline application delivery across multiple desktop types, as well as provide secure remote access for doctors and healthcare workers. Even more important was the directive to drastically lower clinicians login and reconnect times, while allowing users to keep the same desktop between sessions. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 6

7 Region H launched the project in October 2009 with an initial assessment of three different solutions. After almost 12 months of financial and technical validation, in November 2010 the IT department chose VMware as the vendor for the solution. From December 2010 to December 2011, Region H implemented a pilot infrastructure, and a full production environment, including load testing, working closely with VMware. Working with VMware has proven to be a great benefit for the project, said Møllegaard. This way we got quick and direct access to SMEs, and we got focus from VMware management. Further, we have had great use of our TAM (Technical Account Manager) when a service request for some unknown reason got delayed, he could push it forward, and we always had a VMware internal speaking for the customer. Lessons Learned As is common with customers deploying new technology for the first time, Region H faced many challenges along the way. The key lessons learned were divided among Project, Technical, and Operations categories, as outlined in Figure 2. Project Technical project management needed Invest in educating users on the benefits of VDI and how to use it Keep it simple don t add more to project scope than needed Phased approach to deployment In a large organizations, decisions take time ESA has a lot of interfaces to other projects and operations in Region H Work closely with vendors Technical Ensure you understand the impact and benefits of upgrades and patches Ensure your infrastructure adequately supports VDI, specifically networking and storage Optimize OS image Validate applications work as expected over a remote protocol or with redirected devices Validate the SAN can provide the necessary IOPS for good user experience Operations Operational staff need to have good knowledge of infrastructure and implementation and how to monitor it Implementing VDI involves many different technical aspects from basic infrastructure to general usage of smarts cards in the organization Changing the operations organization during implementation adds further complexity Have a process in place to apply updates and patches Figure 2: Key Lessons Learned Architecture Overview Region Hovedstaden opted for a solution that implemented VMware Horizon View across two datacenters to allow for 24/7 operation of the platform. Horizon View is the software component that brokers client requests, and authenticates and allocates virtual desktops to users. The design follows the VMware best practice reference architecture approach of Horizon View blocks, which together make up a single 10,000-desktop pod. The IT organization duplicated the pod approach in a second datacenter to provide multisite failover and disaster recovery. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 7

8 Conclusion In less than two years since Region Hovedstaden launched the ESA project with its initial design and implementation, the healthcare system was able to bring all 25,000 users into the production environment, with support for up to 8,000 concurrent users. IT based the solution on 24/7 support requirements, as users must be able to access the platform at any time. With the ESA solution End-users save substantial time on a daily basis, with logins shortened from 45 minutes to 3 to 5 minutes. Users experience improved productivity, as they are now able to transfer an open work session among different terminals. Region H has reduced support costs when using zero clients IT is able to provision zero client endpoints at a time savings of one hour each. Users have single sign-on and simplified access to the applications they need. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 8

9 About VMware Horizon View VMware Horizon View is a desktop virtualization solution that simplifies IT manageability and control while delivering the highest fidelity end-user experience across devices and networks. The VMware Horizon View solution helps IT organizations automate desktop and application management, reduce costs, and increase data security by centralizing the desktop environment. This centralization results in greater end-user freedom and increased control for IT organizations. By encapsulating the operating systems, applications, and user data into isolated layers, IT organizations can deliver a modern desktop. IT organizations can then deliver dynamic, elastic desktop cloud services such as applications, unified communications, and 3D graphics for real-world productivity and greater business agility. Unlike other desktop virtualization products, VMware Horizon View is built on and tightly integrated with VMware vsphere, the industry-leading virtualization platform, allowing customers to extend the value of VMware infrastructure and its enterprise-class features such as high availability, disaster recovery, and business continuity. VMware Horizon View delivers important features and enhancements that improve the performance, security, management, and flexibility of virtual desktops. Support for VMware vsphere 5 leverages the latest functionality of the leading cloud infrastructure platform for highly available, scalable, and reliable desktop services. For additional details and features available in VMware Horizon View, see the release notes. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 9

10 VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care Solution Reference VMware Horizon View Solution Components Typical VMware Horizon View deployments consist of several common components, shown in Figure 3, which represent a typical architecture. The solution includes VMware Horizon View components as well as other components commonly integrated with Horizon View. Private Cloud (vsphere) Na t Apive Th p i VirnApp tu Ap al Sho p r Th tcut V View Composer Parent Image VM Linked Clones iew OS VM VM VM VM Ag e Vir inap to tua p l Ap p nt VM VM Hy VM pe r (E viso SX rs ) vcenter ThinApp Virtualized Application Repository Local Mode Only View Administrator (Browser) View Connection Server(s) View Transfer Server(s) MS Active Directory Local Mode Only For PCoIP Direct Connect Local Mode Only View Security Server(s) External Network Internal Network Local Connection Remote Connection Intermittent Network Connection Horizon View Clients Android Tablet ipad Zero Client Thin Client Windows Horizon View Client Macintosh Horizon View Client Windows Horizon View Client with Local Mode Figure 3: VMware Horizon View Solution Components T E C H N I C A L W H I T E PA P E R / 1 0

11 Region Hovedstaden Reference Implementation Overview The Danish healthcare system tasked Region Hovedstaden with providing an effective workspace for 25,000 clinical workers in their region, with the overall business objective of implementing the ESA program. ESA would streamline application delivery across multiple desktop types, utilize single sign-on (SSO), and drastically lower the time that clinicians were spending on login and application launches. The IT organization at Region H implemented the VMware Horizon View solution over a two-year period, including testing and user education. They also designed for platinum service, which benefits users with 24/7 support, and a stable platform that takes into account business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR). The following reference implementation study tells the story of how Region H successfully addressed each of the requirements of the program. It shows how Region H and its key partners were able to plan and implement a VDI solution that serves 25,000 total users and up to 8,000 concurrent desktops, efficiently and costeffectively, in just 24 months. It also describes key lessons learned along the way valuable information and insights for other companies contemplating their move to VDI. Business Drivers, Business Case, and Benefits Region H set out to build ESA from a set of guidelines given them by the Danish Healthcare Institute, to lower user time spent on login, connect, and reconnects, and for users to be able to keep the same desktop between sessions. The overall project goal was aligned with the requirements of an effective, fast and agile platform VMware Horizon View. Business Drivers Healthcare workers waiting 45 minutes or more for desktop access throughout the day Old and ineffective remote access for doctors Slow access to applications and data Users unable to access desktops remotely IT managing many different distributed PCs Business Case Users save time on login and when moving locations VDI meets Danish government requirements IT saves time on setup of client devices IT saves time on administering and fixing desktops VDI approach to ESA deemed best TCO/ROI Business Benefits Fast access to software, especially when zero clients are used Common desktop to manage Ease of updating applications to the VDI desktop Single sign-on (SSO) Remote access to desktops outside RegionH network Constant availability Figure 4: ESA Business Drivers, Business Case, and Business Benefits TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 11

12 Business Drivers The key driver behind the move toward VDI came from a directive to lower the login and reconnect times experienced by health workers. Prior to ESA, Region H clinicians wasted an average of 45 minutes each day waiting to log in to a desktop. The issue was that workers shared PCs, and had to log in and log out each time they wanted to access their applications. The situation was compounded because they had to start up their applications each time. Large user profiles, and transferring data from the datacenter to a PC, also caused slow login times and further frustration. In addition, there was no secure remote access for doctors and healthcare workers who needed to access applications and data from outside the hospital. Maintaining and managing full PCs deployed across 13 hospitals, often with different configurations, was an administrative nightmare for the IT organization. Fixing PCs remotely, applying patches, and generally dealing with machines with different application sets, cost IT time and money. Business Case The business case for moving to VDI was clear for Region H, based on the projected time-savings users and the IT organization would gain with the new solution. Danish government legislation mandated the ESA system. Based on the evaluation of three different solutions, VMware was chosen based on its ability to meet requirements and the overall cost. It s common for VDI to provide extensive OpEx savings for IT; but in this case the key benefit was that it reduced the huge number of man-hours wasted by healthcare professionals when accessing applications and data. From an IT perspective, time-savings were seen across the board, from client device setup and desktop provisioning, to fixing desktops and deploying applications. Application virtualization allowed IT to deploy a common desktop to all users, saving time by managing a common PC configuration. Business Benefits The benefits of the system were realized immediately. Doctors and nurses could complete a first-time login to their desktop within two minutes and a reconnect in only seven seconds, regardless of their location, saving huge amounts of time each day. By using single sign-on, the users had to authenticate only once to access their applications. Doctors were also given the ability to access their desktop sessions securely from outside the hospital. This functionality provides greater flexibility for the Region H workforce. The benefits of deploying small, easy-to-clean, healthcare friendly zero client devices with lower management overhead, freed the IT organization to focus on improving the centralized infrastructure. IT manages desktops in the datacenter by using VMware View Composer technology alongside application virtualization, with VMware ThinApp to deploy stateless desktops. This allows IT to manage a single common desktop image from a central management console. VMware ThinApp also provides the ability to update and fix applications from a single central repository, without having to fix applications on individual PCs, saving time. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 12

13 Project Overview As with any project the size and scope of the Region Hovedstaden VDI implementation, multiple partners were involved in the overall solution deployment. In this case, the prime contractors were Dell, which provided computers, network infrastructure, and storage; NNIT, which provided services and a proof of concept; VMware, which delivered services and technical advice; Imprivata Software, which provided single sign-on (SSO); and other partners. Solution Assessment Upgrade / Patch Proof of Concept Tuning / Expansion Pilot (User Acceptance) Phased Rollout Load Testing Figure 5: Region Hovedstaden Project Phases It has been a long road to the goal but by being agile and faithful to the initial goal, we have managed to give our 25,000 users a good and stable solution, said Morten Møllegaard, the lead project manager. One of the most important things in a project like this is to make all major vendors work as one, due to the complexity and the many moving components that make up the solution. We have succeeded in this with the help of VMware as a key partner in their Lighthouse program, said Møllegaard. VMware Expertise VMware Lighthouse and VMware Professional Services Organization (PSO) were engaged early in the project phase. Working with VMware Lighthouse and PSO has proven to be a great benefit for the project, as we got quick and direct access to SMEs from VMware, as well as a clear focus from the VMware management level, said Møllegaard. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 13

14 Implementation Timing Undertaking a project like ESA for Region H would by far be the largest healthcare VDI solution in Northern EMEA. It has set new standards for VDI-based computing in the region, and required detailed planning and a phased approach. In late November 2010, the IT organization chose VMware Horizon View as the platform that would fulfill the project requirements. After this decision, the assessment, design, and implementation phase began. In early 2011 the request for tender went out for both the hardware and software required for the solution, and not long after IT chose the infrastructure platform that VMware vsphere and Horizon View would be mounted on. As the design, implementation, and load testing began, shortcomings in the existing infrastructure were uncovered. While this led to small delays, it also served as a basis upon which the ESA project team found it could work more closely with the existing IT operations at Region Hovedstaden. Less than a year after the request for tender went out, the first users were able to access the ESA platform. This was a phased approach where user education was a big part of the success. Each hospital had its own onboarding process, where resources across the project helped make sure that the rollout was a success, and each user learned how to best leverage the ESA platform for their daily work. The user onboarding and education took months. It has been an ongoing effort between all the vendors involved in the project, with support from VMware to help ensure that upgrades and changes to the platform follow VMware and vendor best practices. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 14

15 Lessons Learned Projects at this scale will almost always face challenges, and this was no exception at Region Hovedstaden. Agile project management was key to why these challenges can now be referenced as lessons learned rather than causes for failure. Project Technical project management needed Invest in educating users on the benefits of VDI and how to use it Keep it simple don t add more to project scope than needed Phased approach to deployment In a large organizations, decisions take time ESA has a lot of interfaces to other projects and operations in Region H Work closely with vendors Technical Ensure you understand the impact and benefits of upgrades and patches Ensure your infrastructure adequately supports VDI, specifically networking and storage Optimize OS image Validate applications work as expected over a remote protocol or with redirected devices Validate the SAN can provide the necessary IOPS for good user experience Operations Operational staff need to have good knowledge of infrastructure and implementation and how to monitor it Implementing VDI involves many different technical aspects from basic infrastructure to general usage of smarts cards in the organization Changing the operations organization during implementation adds further complexity Have a process in place to apply updates and patches Figure 6: Key Lessons Learned The overall solution was made up of technologies from several key vendors including Dell, Cisco, VMware, Teradici, Imprivata, F5, and Microsoft. Ensuring that all vendors were integrated into the project and working with the project team was critical, and this integration was a focus of the project management team from the beginning. A technical implementation of a VDI solution is only part of the challenge in such a large project. An even more critical component is integration and user adoption of the solution. Region H learned early on that user education, alignment with internal policies, and user onboarding go hand-in-hand. One of the challenges in every large organization is that organizational decisions take time to complete, as they can potentially have an impact on the daily work of thousands. The IT organization, therefore, made sure that the leadership at Region H was involved in decision-making, so they were able to plan ahead and keep everyone up to date with progress, changes, and challenges. A VDI project touches upon many components, from the end user to back-end systems, including everything from smart-card solutions to printers, network optimization, different endpoints, and so on. IT had a directive to keep the solution as simple as possible, to not overcomplicate an already complex project. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 15

16 As the project progressed, it became apparent that any changes made to the environment would have to be treated as add-ons to the overall goals. This made for a more agile approach, where Region H kept a clear focus on the initial project plan, but was also able to evaluate and take on new requests and requirements as they came up. This also aligns well with the approach of managing the many small projects that make up a complete VDI project, as they are much more complex to handle than just one big project. Integration, user education, infrastructure changes, and unforeseen challenges made the project management team at Region H realize how complex a project like this can be. The integration aspect of the ESA project uncovered shortcomings or technical challenges in the existing infrastructure. This also had a positive impact, as the ESA project helped streamline and optimize the existing infrastructure already in place. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 16

17 Architecture Overview The VDI solution selected by Region Hovedstaden is a hosted model where desktops are virtualized and run on Type 1 hypervisors hosted in two datacenters. VMware Horizon View is tightly integrated into VMware vsphere 5.1, which provides ease of management and less complexity than comparable VDI solutions. Region H deployed the solution on Dell computers and EqualLogic storage technology. For this implementation, IT designed a building block based desktop solution capable of supporting 1,800 virtual desktops. This ensures that the architecture is repeatable and scalable for future expansion. The solution includes the typical components necessary to integrate up to 10,000 users into a Horizon View pod, which can be managed as a single unit by leveraging a 1,800-user building block as the single replicated entity. Figure 7 details the architecture for the Horizon View pods. Two pods were deployed, with one in each datacenter used by Region H for BCDR scenarios. ~1,800 Users ~1,800 Users ~1,800 Users ~1,800 Users View Block View Block View Block View Block vsphere Cluster vsphere Cluster vsphere Cluster vsphere Cluster View Desktop Pools View Desktop Pools View Desktop Pools View Desktop Pools ESXi Hosts ESXi Hosts ESXi Hosts ESXi Hosts Shared Storage Shared Storage Shared Storage Shared Storage Switched Ethernet Network vcenter-block 1 vcenter-block 2 vcenter-block 3 vcenter-block 4 Composer Block 1 Composer Block 1 Composer Block 1 Composer Block 1 SSO vsphere Web Client SSO vsphere Web Client View Connection Server View Connection Server View Connection Server View Connection Server View Connection Server View Security Server View Security Server View Connection Server AD/DNS/DHCP MSSQL (Mirrored) Imprivata Appliance (Mirrored) Dell Management Server Workload vsphere Cluster Server Workload ESX Hosts Server Storage (Dedicated Arrays) VMware View Management Block View Pod Figure 7: Architecture Overview TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 17

18 The IT organization architected the VDI solution to accommodate View 5.1, a release that provides enhanced scalability and functionality over previous versions. View 5.1 includes the ability to use multiple tiers of storage to run virtual desktops, and great improvements in PCoIP performance. It also features better support for USB peripherals, which was a critical component in Region Hovedstaden s use cases. The VDI desktops are hosted in two datacenters with duplicate infrastructures running on dedicated Dell hardware. The hardware runs the VDI desktops and View Connection brokers, while the VMware vcenter servers run within dedicated hardware separate from the desktop workloads. The load between datacenters is handled manually via DNS records (see Figure 6), as well as by a F5 BIG-IP solution that provides users with seamless external access to their data. Region Hovedstaden VDI Solution Elements Zero clients Users connect to their virtual desktop via hardware devices, or software clients installed on existing PCs. Depending on the configuration of the load balancers, they are directed to one of the two datacenters. F5 BIG-IP The LTM and APM perform the role of the load balancer, redirecting incoming external connections to the datacenter where the user has their desktop available. This logic is based on Active Directory group membership. Connection brokers Five connection brokers exist within each datacenter, and are hosted on the dedicated infrastructure hardware. They perform the initial authentication and desktop allocation as well as monitor the state of the desktop session. Horizon View block The underlying vsphere infrastructure is built on Dell and EqualLogic, and configured per Dell and VMware best practices. Management block The VDI vcenter servers (five per datacenter) are hosted within the dedicated management block hardware. Infrastructure components All infrastructure components are hosted local to the Horizon View solution domain controllers, file servers, print servers, etc. are as close as possible to the actual desktop. VMware Infrastructure The VMware vsphere infrastructure is deployed on Dell technology. The Horizon View blocks are based on Dell PowerEdge M910 blades with 32 cores and 256GB RAM. The management block runs on Dell PowerEdge M610 servers containing 16 cores and 64GB RAM. Each datacenter is sized for up to 6,000 8,000 active desktop sessions, even though only 3,000 are running during normal operations. Sizing for 6,000 8,000 per datacenter accommodates the full load should an outage happen at one of the datacenters. Following VMware best practices, the Horizon View pod-and-block design introduces a vcenter for every 2,000 desktops one for every Horizon View block. Note: The initial hardware sizing was for 1,500 users per block, with the potential to add additional hardware to allow up to 2,000 desktops. At the time of this writing, the maximum capacity is 1,800 users per block. TECHNICAL WHITE PAPER / 18

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