Technical Brief. Userful Multiplatform Desktop Virtualization Software

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1 Technical Brief Userful Multiplatform Desktop Virtualization Software

2 SUMMARY: This Technical Brief will summarize the installation and set up of Userful Multiplatform desktop virtualization software. It will examine each of the four areas where the Userful solution is different, and discuss the impact these differences have on virtual desktop delivery and management, endpoint performance, and ROI. Introduction Userful Multiplatform desktop virtualization software creates a browser-managed virtualization appliance that makes it simple and affordable for any organization to deploy and maintain high-performance virtual desktops. Userful's approach to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) differs from traditional VDI solutions in four key areas, that combined create a lower-cost, higher-performance and far simpler virtualization solution than others available on the market. 1. Userful replaces the complex multi-server data center found in traditional solutions with a simple, scalable browser-managed appliance. Deploy one or several appliances to accommodate installations of varied sizes. 2. Userful uses simplified client hardware devices, such as the ViewSonic SC-U25, that have no operating system or moving parts (and so are less likely to fail). These clients maximize performance, improve security and significantly reduce endpoint costs. 3. Userful uses easily customizable containers to deliver virtual desktops, a concept borrowed from server virtualization to deliver just enough virtualization at each endpoint, significantly increasing performance and flexibility. 4. By bundling hardware and software together with a simple but powerful browserbased VDI setup, Userful has made VDI management easy and simple by reducing management complexity, a key barrier to traditional VDI adoption. Server Appliance and SC-U25 Value VDI Client Setup Userful Multiplatform desktop virtualization software installs from a single CD onto a bare metal x86 64-bit PC or server. Userful recommends an Intel Core i7 system or better. The install includes a base Operating System (CentOS) and hypervisor (VirtualBox) for virtual desktops as well as end user applications (Browser, office suite, productivity tools, and one-click easy install of thousands of free software applications for a range of business, educational and other uses). Equipping the PC or server with a solid-state driver (SSD) can achieve even faster performance for a modest additional hardware cost.

3 "Userful has made VDI management easy and simple by reducing management complexity" The hypervisor (Oracle Virtual Box) supports a broad range of virtual machine guests including Windows 7 and Windows 8. Client devices are connected to the server simply by plugging them into the Local Area Network (LAN). All clients must be on the same subnet as the server and gigabit switches are recommended for all connections. Newly added client devices automatically discover the server within the LAN. If the installation includes multiple servers, administrators can easily move zero client devices between servers for load balancing and configure the SC- U25 client devices to automatically switch to a secondary server in the event of an unlikely and unexpected server failure. Each client device has audio in and out ports, four USB ports, a power adapter and a gigabit LAN port. Two USB ports are used for the keyboard and mouse and two USB ports are left free for local use. Monitor resolutions can be centrally set and managed and different desktops can have different monitor resolutions Once installed, users can immediately begin work using any of the preconfigured profiles (such as cloud desktop, signage player, Linux desktop, browser kiosk). Alternatively, the administrator can upload a Windows 7 or Windows 8 virtual machine (VM) using an OVA file for use with any of the desktops. If the administrator does not already have an OVA file of their desired desktop, they can easily use their laptop or desktop PC and windows install media to create an OVA file using the cross-platform Oracle VirtualBox software (which installs easily on Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms). Image 1 This diagram illustrates setup with multiple switches. For best performance when using multiple switches, minimize the number of switches between clients and server. For recommended specs and install notes, please see the Appendix.

4 Local Virtualization with a Browser-managed Appliance Much of the complexity of traditional virtualization comes from its use of data centers and server farms. A typical VDI deployment leverages many different servers. A typical VDI includes: Computer servers running the selected hypervisor SAN storage servers A protocol (RDP or HDX) A virtualization management platform Connection brokers Client devices Load balancers Integrating all of the expensive components of a traditional VDI infrastructure is a lengthy and complex process. Userful replaces all of the components and integration requirements with an all-in-one, scalable appliance approach. Additionally, operating over the wide area network (WAN), as most traditional VDI solutions do, depends on the speed and reliability of the WAN, adds complexity for set up and maintenance, and can create performance lags and reliability issues for end users. While it allows administrators to support deployments with anytime, anywhere desktops for customers with fixed infrastructures (who don't need to access windows desktops from a mobile device or alternate locations), the data-center / server farm approach to VDI adds unnecessary complexity and costs that often make VDI an impractical solution. For any fixed infrastructure desktop deployments, Userful s approach of using a local server appliance is more cost effective, easier to manage, and will result in higher performance. While traditional VDI can be deployed on a local server rather than hosted on a server farm, the traditional VDI solutions are designed to operate over a WAN. Because of the complexities that result, performance will still be limited and the support overhead will be high. Userful Multiplatform, on the other hand, was designed to run from a local server appliance. The architecture is optimized for use within the LAN which results in simpler set-up, reduced management overhead, and increased performance at each endpoint True Value VDI Clients Userful Multiplatform works with simplified hardware devices, such as the ViewSonic SC-U25 Value VDI client, as opposed to more expensive traditional thin clients. By using Value VDI clients which have no processor, no memory, no operating system, all of the processing is handled on the server, with the clients essentially acting as network graphics cards, sound cards, and USB hubs in communication with the server over the local network. The result is that these clients are between 25% and 50% less expensive than conventional thin clients. Because they have fewer components, these client devices also have longer life spans that typically last up to 10 years or more and

5 Image 2 This image illustrates the extra layer needed to encode/decode the remote protocols that traditional VDI solutions use to transfer data across the network. Even if the VDI server is placed inside the LAN, because it s set up to operate from the WAN, all data is still encoded then decoded. Image 3 ViewSonic SC-U25 Value VDI Client have lower failure rates. In combination with the performance-optimized Userful server software, value VDI clients provide two to three times the multimedia performance of a conventional thin client. With Userful Multiplatform, the server talks directly to the graphics adapter rather than compressing and decompressing everything through an intermediary protocol such as RDP or HDX. This direct connection means significantly lower latency and better performance. A single core i7 pc can play independent 720p videos simultaneously on 20 desktops* with Userful Multiplatform. It can reach this kind of performance because there is no intermediary layer, each of the clients is really just a video card and the server is doing all the processing. Containers Deliver Virtual Desktops Userful delivers virtual desktops using containers, similar to a concept that has been adopted in server virtualization. Userful employs containers to efficiently isolate the operating system and/or application functionality in order to deliver the OS and functionality that the end user needs and thereby ensure a more efficient, cost-effective and flexible VDI only using full virtual machines where required. Instead of offering a full virtual machine, operating system and all, to every desktop (which is the approach used by traditional VDI solutions), the container approach allows administrators easier customization, more flexibility, and higher performance. The administrator can quickly setup and customize containers using the browser-based control center and make multiple containers available at each endpoint. Some of these containers may offer a full virtual machine (e.g., with the Windows Operating system) while other containers may have a lighter load delivering just a kiosk desktop, signage player, a chrome-based cloud-client desktop, or a pre-configured Linux desktop. By using a full virtual machine only when needed, the system operates at maximum efficiency. It also increases flexibility as it allows the same server to support non-

6 traditional use cases such as digital signage and touch screens which would ordinarily be cost and performance prohibitive with traditional VDI. Administrators can create containers for specific use cases like these and ensure high performance by minimizing overhead in each of these containers. Use of containers also improves ROI. Most VDI solutions limit operating system options by only delivering Microsoft Windows. The annual Microsoft VDA licensing costs are currently one of the highest costs for virtual desktops. By using containers, administrators can offer Microsoft Windows desktops to those who require them, and a lighter more efficient solution to those who do not require it. Saving on both server and licensing costs while helping transition users to the cloud, and also giving users a lighter, simpler, and faster desktop experience. Browser Management Simplifies Setup and Support The Userful Control Center is a browser-based application that allows administrators to set up, manage, and control the virtual desktops on the network. It is a drag-and drop-simple interface that can be accessed over the LAN with or without an Internet connection. It can also be accessed remotely using firewall port forwarding. Image 4 This diagram illustrating Userful Multiplaform s architecture shows the server appliance supports multiple containers to deliver a variety of desktops to each end point. As illustrated in Image 4, administrators use any browser to access the control center which is the interface for managing virtualization containers which are used to deliver desktops to the end points. Once the administrator sets up the correct plugins in the Userful Control Center, the administrator can deploy any of those desktops to any endpoint connected to that server. The administrator can also create an optional welcome screen that gives the end users a choice of profiles to log into (for example a user could walk up to a station that offered a choice of either a Windows 7 desktop or a Chrome-based Cloud desktop). As illustrated in Image 5, the Userful Control Center allows administrators to map different screens to use different profiles allowing a scenario where one server appliance can support a mix of users, some on Microsoft Windows, others using Chrome-based cloud desktops, while still other screens are mapped to display digital signage or for kiosk or touch screen use. Image 5 This screen shot of the Userful Control Center Screen shows multiple screens, each of which can be assigned to a different desktop type with drag-and-drop ease.

7 Userful Multiplatform works with simplified hardware devices, such as the ViewSonic SC-U25 Value VDI client, as opposed to more expensive traditional thin clients. Virtual Machine Container for Use with Windows VDI Setting up a Windows Virtual Machine is easy with Userful. The included hypervisor is Oracle's open source Virtual Box. Because it is free to download, administrators can download it to any PC and use that PC to create the golden master image. All the administrator needs to do is upload an *.OVA file to the Userful Control Center and then that Windows Image can be used on any endpoint connected to that server. If any updates are needed, the Administrator makes the changes only in the Golden Master and re-uploads it. Virtual machines can be set as locked clones which always return to their original image once reset, which will eliminate tampering and keep all desktops identical throughout the life of the deployment. For those who do not want static desktops, clones can also be unlocked. Userful s approach to virtualizing Windows allows for a variety of approaches to licensing including VDA licenses (recurring) and Diskless COA (one time license). There are also other Microsoft licensing agreements that include Virtualization rights. Microsoft licensing is the responsibility of the end user. Userful does not manage, police or enforce Microsoft Windows licensing but encourages customers to ensure compliance with all software licensing requirements. Web Browser Session Container Firefox: launches specified URL in Firefox web browser. Chrome: launches specified URL in Google Chrome. Chrome: Kiosk: launches the desired URL in a full-screen mode, onto every station mapped to that session container, without any control tab or menu. User navigation is limited to hyperlinks on the HTML pages served. Chrome: Cloud Session: launches accounts.google.com as the default URL and user can open the desired URL through new tab in full-screen mode. Other Containers Cloud Desktop allows administrators to launch a "light-weight" Chrome-based environment, a locked-down desktop experience with no start menu, but still allows administrators to make local applications (e.g. office suite) available to end users. This

8 minimal graphical interface will allow users to access fewer applications. Signage Player allows administrators to launch multiple media files (videos) on a continuous loop using the built-in signage player. Appendix Recommended Server Specifications As with stand-alone desktops, the user experience in a VDI environment depends on several factors: The speed and power of the CPU The available system memory (RAM) The demands made upon the system by the operating system and applications The speed and capacity of network connections and hardware With virtualization, these factors influence the maximum user capacity of a given system configuration. The following are the recommended system requirements for Userful Multiplatform. Image 6 This screen shot of a Chrome-based Cloud Client desktop shows the locked down desktop with a full screen browser that also includes a tray at the bottom of the screen (circled). This gives users access to locally installed applications. Using the Control Center, administrators can choose which locally installed applications are available and which are not. Optimizing for Performance of Virtual Machines The BIOS of the host PC must be configured to enable the hardware virtualization CPU setting. Though not required, performance will be better with a solid-state drive (SDD). In particular, it is recommended to store the VM images on SSD. Ensure that sufficient system resources, especially RAM, is available for all cloned desktops. For optimal setup it is generally recommended that administrators should double the minimum RAM to allow for extra capacity (due to failover or growth) or if it s anticipated that users may perform memory intensive tasks on the host PC. Data Storage Active Directory can be integrated into Windows virtual machines running on Userful Multiplatform. Though it is possible to configure both VMs and the native desktop containers to save to the appliance hard drive, it is strongly recommended instead that that all user data be stored either in the Cloud (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) or on a NAS. This way it can both be easily backed up, or if desired, accessed remotely or from

9 other devices. Userful Multiplatform also supports shared storage to allow users to temporarily store and easily transfer and access files between different stations and across different containers. Shared storage system is housed and managed on the host PC where users can copy and temporarily store their content (from laptops, mobile devices, or PCs). The Control Center provides various configuration settings and optional password protection feature. Shared storage is not automatically backed up. It is possible to install Userful Multiplatform on servers with hardware RAID or to manually configure software RAID during the install process, but again, it is suggested that the Userful appliance be treated as a replaceable appliance and that critical data be stored on a NAS. This approach makes replacing or upgrading the Userful appliances or the golden master VMs simple and worry free, and all the user data and critical files are stored in a single easily backed-up location. Cloned VMs can be bound to an Active Directory domain. Failover for High Availability Failover requires two host PCs to be located on the same subnet; if that is the case, then if one host PC fails, a system administrator can view and "take over" the SC-U25 client devices that were assigned to the "failed" host PC. Please refer to Managing Network Zero Client/Failover for detail information. Other Configuration Notes Even when using networked client stations, it is important to keep one station connected to the onboard video card in order to see startup messages. SC-U25 client devices must be on the same subnet as the host PC to function. Userful recommends deploying no more than 30 stations on a given subnet. Using Cat-5e network cable, connect each device to a gigabit-capable switch (or router, depending on network setup). A good quality router is needed to act as a DHCP server to give IP addresses to the networked client devices, unless using a static IP address for each device. Support Website For detailed setup instructions, or to access the User Guide and additional support manuals, visit For more information, please contact a ViewSonic representative at (888) or visit *This performance is based on the native containers (cloud desktop, signage, browser kiosk, etc.). When using a full Windows virtual machine, an extra layer is added which hinders performance and reduces the number of videos users can play simultaneously. Userful is a trademark of Userful Corporation. Corporate names and trademarks stated herein are the property of their respective companies. Copyright 2014, ViewSonic Corporation. All rights reserved. [ C-08/14] ViewSonic Corporation (909)

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