Why Choose VMware vsphere for Desktop Virtualization? WHITE PAPER

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1 Why Choose VMware vsphere for Desktop Virtualization? WHITE PAPER

2 Table of Contents Thin, Legacy-Free, Purpose-Built Hypervisor More Secure with Smaller Footprint Less Downtime Caused by Patches... 4 Standardized Platform for All Virtualization Needs Better High Availability Better Resource Management Optimized for VDI Summary WHITE PAPER / 2

3 Many organizations are looking at virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions to reduce administrative overhead as well as provide a more secure, mobile, and reliable desktop computing environment for end users. A successful deployment requires planning and careful decisions, with the first challenge being choosing the right platform to host the virtual desktop implementation a decision that can make or break the entire transformation. Key considerations for choosing the best VDI platform for your organization include: Does the platform provide a secure foundation for all the virtual desktops that my organization needs? Can it be standardized on the same platform as our existing server virtualization? How will the choice impact future migration to a cloud environment? Do the platform s features, reliability, and high availability meet our business requirements? Is the platform optimized to run VDI workloads? This paper discusses the unique advantages of VMware vsphere as a platform for desktop virtualization. Thin, Legacy-Free, Purpose-Built Hypervisor VMware vsphere is a thin, purpose-built hypervisor that sits between the virtual desktops and the underlying physical hardware. In comparison, the architecture of other products relies on the installation of a Windows or Linux operating system. The vsphere approach is free of the legacy issues associated with general purpose operating systems, such as security and reliability problems and patching requirements. Figure 1: VMware vsphere Hypervisor Architecture versus Hypervisors That Depend on Legacy Operating Systems WHITE PAPER / 3

4 More Secure with Smaller Footprint When it comes to security, size does matter. A benefit of the vsphere hypervisor architecture is that it has a much smaller footprint than other platforms the vsphere 5.5 installation footprint is less than 200MB. Industry experts agree that thinner is better from a security perspective. 1 The more code deployed, the larger the attack surface exposed to potential threats, and more patches are required to thwart attacks. Minimizing the code mitigates the security risk. 2 Less Downtime Caused by Patches With a smaller footprint and no OS legacy issues, vsphere requires fewer patches than competing technologies. Take Microsoft Hyper-V as an example: Windows Server 2012 R2, like other Windows OS versions, is haunted by the infamous Patch Tuesdays. Every month, IT must apply important or critical patches, most of which have nothing to do with virtualization, to Hyper-V hosts. And then the virtual desktops must be taken offline while the host reboots. In a VDI environment, this process can cause a huge productivity loss and end-user dissatisfaction. Managing and coordinating the downtime can also be a nightmare for administrators. Standardized Platform for All Virtualization Needs With VMware, you can standardize all your virtualization infrastructure on a single platform. Standardization helps to reduce OpEx by simplifying and streamlining management. Customers who need to extend their data centers into the cloud can move their workloads, including VDI workloads, to VMware vcloud Hybrid Service or vcloud Powered Service Providers and continue using the same tools and processes with which they are already familiar. Because vcloud Hybrid Service is built on vsphere, customers can standardize all their virtualization and cloud computing needs on a single platform. Better High Availability High availability is an important consideration for any VDI project. With virtual desktops running in the data center, end users depend on the availability of virtualization hosts. vsphere provides cost-effective, scalable failover protection, and it has no dependency on DNS resolution. Instead, it relies on multiple communication paths to assess the health of a host and its virtual desktops. 1. Gartner, Inc. A Downside to Hyper-V. Neil MacDonald, February 11, Microsoft, Inc. Mitigate Security Risks by Minimizing the Code You Expose to Untrusted Users. MSDN Magazine. Michael Howard, November, WHITE PAPER / 4

5 Better Resource Management With hundreds of virtual desktops running on the same host, resource contention and sharing efficiency can be a challenge, and any mishandling can affect performance and result in user dissatisfaction. vsphere offers outstanding control mechanisms for CPU, memory, I/O, and network consumption to provide an optimal end-user experience. CPU and memory reservations, limits, and shares can be applied to individual virtual desktops as well as resource pools shared by virtual desktops with similar user profiles. Competitors may offer similar functionality, but it is configurable only per virtual desktop, not as a scalable solution. vsphere employs advanced techniques to optimize memory consumption, including transparent page sharing, guest memory ballooning, and memory compression. This degree of memory management sophistication is unmatched by any of its competitors. vsphere customers can operate with a higher VDI virtual machine density to reduce server costs. 3 Resource consumption in desktops depends on end-user activity and is often uneven and unpredictable. VMware vsphere Storage DRS and VMware vsphere vmotion can dynamically balance the load on hosts in a cluster by moving virtual desktops from one host to another without causing downtime for users. Compared to similar features in competing products, vmotion is also easier to configure. Optimized for VDI Desktop virtualization faces some challenges that are not common in server virtualization because the characteristics of desktop workloads are I/O- and network-intensive, involve a large number of instances, and support direct user interaction. As the leader in server virtualization and the inventor of desktop virtualization, VMware is uniquely positioned to innovate new techniques in storage, security, and graphics to optimize the vsphere platform specifically for virtual desktops. VMware Virtual SAN is hypervisor-converged storage software that abstracts and pools server-side flash and disk storage to create a resilient, high-performance, persistent storage tier at the hypervisor layer. Virtual SAN removes the dependency on expensive SAN, reduces deployment complexity, and provides linear scalability. Content Based Read Cache (CBRC) is a vsphere host RAM cache for virtual machine disk format (VMDK) blocks frequently accessed by virtual machines. By leveraging CBRC in vsphere, VMware View Accelerator improves View performance during I/O storms, which can occur when many desktops start up or run antivirus scans at once. Instead of reading the entire Windows OS from the storage system over and over, a host can read common data blocks from the cache. VMware vsphere Storage APIs Array Integration is an API framework that offloads certain storage tasks from the vsphere hosts to the storage arrays. VMware View Composer Array Integration is built on top of it and allows linked clones to be created with the native cloning capability of storage arrays, accelerating desktop provisioning speed and reducing CPU usage on the host. Space-efficient sparse virtual disk is a new VMDK format in vsphere. This disk format enables View to reclaim the unused disk space in virtual desktops. In addition, customers can use linked clones to implement persistent desktops that consume very little storage capacity. 3 Gartner, Inc. How to Choose Between Hyper-V and vsphere. Thomas J. Bittman, October 9, WHITE PAPER / 5

6 VMware vshield Endpoint is the only solution that offloads antivirus and antimalware agent processing to a dedicated, secure virtual appliance delivered by VMware partners. This solution allows customers to manage antivirus and antimalware policies for virtualized environments with the same interfaces they use to secure physical environments. vshield Endpoint improves consolidation ratios and performance by eliminating antivirus storms, streamlines antivirus and antimalware deployment and monitoring in View environments, and satisfies compliance and audit requirements through logging antivirus and antimalware activities. 3D graphics is the most demanding requirement for VDI. View offers a variety of 3D graphics options for different user profiles. For task workers who use only basic 3D applications, a vsphere host without a physical GPU card can render 3D graphics with CPU power. For mid-range users who use 3D productivity tools and require some graphics performance, vsga virtualizes the physical GPU and allows multiple users to share a single graphics card. For high-end users, vdga presents the physical graphics card directly to the virtual desktop for dedicated use. Summary VDI is a key initiative for many organizations moving toward cloud-based end-user computing in the post-pc era. Choosing the right virtualization platform for VDI is both challenging and critical to the success of this transformation. As the pioneer and leader in virtualization, VMware vsphere stands out as the best platform for VDI and cloud computing. It provides a feature set that is unmatched in reliability, performance, scalability, security, and high availability. Over half a million customers trust VMware for their critical workloads. VMware vsphere supports VMware Horizon 6 with View, the leading VDI solution. Horizon with View enables standardization on a common platform, dramatically cutting the cost of adopting these innovative solutions. VMware, Inc Hillview Avenue Palo Alto CA USA Tel Fax Copyright 2014 VMware, Inc. All rights reserved. This product is protected by U.S. and international copyright and intellectual property laws. VMware products are covered by one or more patents listed at VMware is a registered trademark or trademark of VMware, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. All other marks and names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies. Item No: VMW-WP-WHYCHOOSEVSPHDKTPVIRT WEB

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