1 White Paper Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp By Mark Bowker October, , Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved
2 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 2 Contents Executive Summary... 3 Virtualization is Sweeping Through the Data Center... 3 Citrix XenDesktop Enables Choice and Simplicity... 5 Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix... 6 Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with NetApp... 8 Virtual Desktop Image Deduplication... 8 Thin Provisioning... 9 Citrix StorageLink Adapter for NetApp... 9 Business Continuity... 9 Disaster Recovery... 9 Common Storage Pool... 9 Desktop Virtualization Implementation Considerations Conclusion All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of the Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at (508) This ESG White Paper was developed with the assistance and funding of Citrix and NetApp.
3 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 3 Executive Summary Deploying desktop virtualization challenges the IT infrastructure at a variety of levels storage, servers, and end point devices. Any efficiency and TCO gains from desktop virtualization can quickly be wiped out by the costs of additional hardware, software, and support to support these initiatives. Citrix XenDesktop and NetApp storage systems provide an optimal combination of virtual desktop management, multiple deployment models, application virtualization, and storage management solutions to minimize virtualization s impact on IT infrastructure and deliver on the promise of a more efficient, secure, and easier to manage desktop environment without compromising the user experience. It is essential that customers choose the right desktop virtualization solution and storage strategy to match user requirements, whether it is a shared desktop environment for task workers or customized work environments for office workers. Storage management technologies from NetApp, such as data deduplication, thin provisioning, and business continuity solutions, complement Citrix s desktop delivery components. Citrix delivers unique value with its virtual desktop provisioning capabilities and dynamic desktop assembly to optimize the deployment and management of a next generation desktop virtualization solution while NetApp maintains the chain of efficiency with highly optimized storage management solutions. Virtualization is Sweeping Through the Data Center The mass adoption of virtualization is one of the biggest data center transformation initiatives to hit the IT world in years. It is sweeping its way across companies and receiving rave reviews. Once its initial benefits are recognized, IT is anxious to continue virtualization initiatives throughout the entire IT landscape. Server virtualization is experiencing the first wave of success as companies look to consolidate, improve resource utilization, and enable disaster recovery solutions for the server and application infrastructure. Server virtualization has already proven to reduce capital costs, lower IT operational costs, and introduce broad improvement in overall IT efficiency of production applications. While it is true that some organizations may opt to limit the use of server virtualization to test and development environments in order to learn how to operate the technology without any risk to mission-critical business applications and data, a recent ESG Research Report has already revealed that 81% of current adopters are using server virtualization in production environments to some extent. What s more, many users surveyed by ESG appear to be increasingly comfortable with the use of virtual machines for their most demanding application environments as almost half (46%) currently run Tier 1 applications on virtual machines and 33% plan to do so in the future (see Figure 1). Figure 1. Tier 1 Application Usage on Virtual Machines Would you say that your organization currently runs "Tier 1" applications on virtual machines? (Percent of respondents, N=365) No, and we have no plans to, 19% Don't know, 1% Yes, 46% No, but we plan to, 33% Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2007.
4 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 4 Due to the successful results associated with server virtualization, the next wave of virtualization adoption is poised to target the desktop operating environment. As successful as server virtualization has been, the opportunity for desktop virtualization is exponentially greater. Thousands, and potentially tens of thousands, of desktops connect to hundreds of servers and many of the same benefits of server virtualization can be applied to the mass of desktop operating environments spread throughout organizations. Desktop virtualization should lead to application virtualization and device independency, both of which Citrix can provide. Many existing and emerging solutions focus solely on VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) as a solution to solve the challenges at the endpoint. Speaking with clients, ESG has found that businesses view desktop virtualization as a hybrid of technologies that need to be seamlessly assembled to offer user flexibility, enforce corporate policy, and deliver optimum experience. VDI is one technology, of many, that is well suited for specific use cases, but not well suited for broad adoption across most companies. Citrix XenDesktop takes into consideration a much broader set of users and matches the technology with the user s specific role and responsibility. VDI is an emerging technology solution in which an end-user s entire desktop environment including the operating system, applications, storage, and user preferences is hosted in a central data center and accessed remotely by the user. In a VDI solution, a hypervisor-based virtualization layer enables a single physical server to host many concurrently-available end-user desktop environments, as shown in Figure 2. Figure 2. Virtual Desktop infrastructure (VDI) Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, An alternative method of deployment is shared desktops, in which multiple users share the same desktop environment, as shown in Figure 3. A single, centrally stored and maintained image is accessed by many users. Customers may choose to deploy this method if subsets of users require identical operating environments to perform their daily tasks. One image serves the needs of many users, enabling administrators to simply manage a single image rather than multiple unique operating environments.
5 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 5 Figure 3. Shared Image to Many Users Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, Virtualizing the desktop involves multiple pieces of technology working in harmony to provide a robust solution that has the stability, performance, and achievable cost model required for adoption throughout the organization. However, one weak link can quickly break the chain of efficiency and risk the success of the entire implementation. Citrix and NetApp are working together to maximize the available networked storage infrastructure and deliver a cost effective, stable platform that surpasses end-user expectations and leverages available IT resources to the fullest. Citrix XenDesktop Enables Choice and Simplicity Citrix XenDesktop enables businesses to deploy desktop virtualization in multiple ways: hosted shared desktops, local VM desktops, streamed desktops, blade PC desktops, and hosted VDI desktops. XenDesktop is one product: one license from a single vendor delivers all these use cases. Users also have the option of leveraging both client side and server side compute models, depending on the use case, and can apply the technology to a broader set of constituents without compromising the end-user experience. End-user desktops are some of the most challenging assets to manage and control in an IT environment. XenDesktop is a desktop virtualization solution that meets the requirements of a broad set of users running Windows-based desktops at a variety of locations on a number of endpoint devices. Citrix s desktop virtualization solutions help companies regain control of the desktop with these additional benefits: A single solution. XenDesktop integrates all the capabilities of Citrix XenApp, enabling users to access entire desktops and applications hosted on XenApp from a single solution. Such flexibility facilitates delivery of both applications and desktops to a wide range of users from a single product. Citrix FlexCast delivery technology is used across all the solutions to ensure an optimal user experience. An optimal user experience. XenDesktop delivers enhanced HDX technologies to improve reliability, availability, compatibility, and user experience when delivering applications and desktops over the network. Citrix HDX technology offers Flash multimedia support, 3D graphic acceleration, VoIP compatibility, and improved USB peripheral support for devices such as a webcams. Citrix s FlexCast delivery model leverages XenDesktop 4 for deployment to a wide range of end-users to meet performance and security requirements. Device independence. XenDesktop users can leverage Citrix Receiver to access their applications and desktops from any PC, Mac, thin client, or smartphone. Those that choose to implement Citrix Dazzle will also be able to empower end-users with a self-service application store, allowing them to manage the specific applications they require for productivity.
6 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 6 An open architecture. XenDesktop 4 can leverage existing virtualization, storage, and endpoint investments to simplify deployments and leverage existing infrastructure. Citrix StorageLink technology helps to streamline the management of networked storage. Along with the benefits of desktop virtualization comes an investment in architecture to provision, store, manage, and deliver desktop images on a massive scale. Figure 4 shows an example of a desktop virtualization architecture and all of its many moving pieces. The figure clearly shows the potential complexity of the architecture and emphasizes the importance of maintaining the benefits of virtualization throughout the entire infrastructure stack. Figure 4. VDI Architecture Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, Figure 4 also shows how the entire environment relies on the networked storage infrastructure. Operating systems, applications, and user data are all stored on networked storage as opposed to the traditional relatively inexpensive disks spinning inside desktops and laptops. The shift from internal to networked storage at the endpoint device is an important transition that requires careful consideration. Deploying hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of virtual desktop images will have a significant impact on networked storage. Citrix and NetApp have solutions that make efficient use of the investment in networked storage capacity and hypervisor server resources while maintaining performance, reliability, and manageability. Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix Desktop virtualization is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are different paths to take that will depend largely on the task of the end-user. Each member of the workforce plays a different role and requires access to different applications. Some end-users require a highly customized and personalized workspace, while, for example, call center or customer support departments may only need access to a small set of applications to perform their job responsibilities the operating system has no real impact on their productivity. Some users need the same environment every time they log on and some employees can fully perform their individual job functions with a bare bones, locked down operating environment. The key take away is that there are numerous deployment scenarios and the most efficient desktop virtualization technology must be applied to the individual user type whether via VDI, shared desktops, or streamed OS solutions.
7 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 7 VDI is one of the options customers can choose as they embark upon their desktop virtualization initiatives. In the VDI scenario, there are two distinct image management strategies. Each has unique advantages and disadvantages that must be carefully considered: One Image per User: As shown in Figure 6, each user has a dedicated virtual desktop image that includes a unique operating system, applications, and user data. The images are centrally stored, managed, and secured. End-users access their personalized images from a variety of endpoint devices, including desktops, laptops, thin clients, and even mobile devices in some cases. The important point is that each image has to be individually managed, patched, upgraded, backed up, and secured. End-users that require a highly customized operating environment and make modifications to the operating systems on a regular basis will require this type of deployment scenario. Figure 5. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, Shared Image across many users: Due to the common data shared between multiple operating environments, it s feasible to consider separating the operating system, applications, and user settings as shown in Figure 7. In this use case, a single operating system image is shared and provisioned for many users, instantaneously delivering management, infrastructure overhead, and storage capacity efficiencies. Individual users leverage a common image, log on to receive personalized user settings such as desktop images, icon placement, and network drive mappings and applications are either streamed or presented to the virtual machine, stored centrally for security and manageability purposes. This method of deployment lends itself to improved flexibility, simplified maintenance, and significant VDI infrastructure efficiencies. The OS image is streamed essentially broadcasted to all the virtual desktops on demand, leveraging the high speed networking infrastructure in the data center to provide a faster boot time and more responsive system than with SATA connected hard-drives on traditional PCs. Pools of standard imaged VMs allow for an instant-on experience while enabling green computing as all unused VMs outside of the pool are powered off. Most importantly, the desktop provisioning approach makes it simple to update the standard image. The single image is taken offline, updated, and put back online. Any VM subsequently powered on will simply boot to the newly updated image.
8 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 8 Figure 6. Operating system, Application, and User Settings Separation Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, Citrix XenDesktop has the ability to meet both deployment methods to match the individual requirements and tasks of the end-user. Citrix XenDesktop is specifically designed to deliver highly customized and personalized desktop images as well as standard shared images all while keeping the best end-user experience in mind. Much in the same way server virtualization and Citrix XenServer have had a significant impact on the underlying networked storage infrastructure, Citrix XenDesktop deployments have the potential for a far greater impact on the networked storage infrastructure. Storing primary and secondary copies of virtual desktop images, regardless of the deployment method, will take up considerable capacity, demand superior performance, and remain highly available. NetApp networked storage systems have key features that are able to extend the value of desktop virtualization into the underlying networked storage infrastructure. Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with NetApp As previously mentioned, the first efficiency gained is Citrix s ability to deploy the most optimal desktop virtualization solution for the user type. Second, applications are separated from desktop OS. Third, Citrix utilizes a single operating system image for multiple users. With scalability being a major concern in desktop virtualization deployments, Citrix vastly improves efficiencies by not requiring a unique individual OS image for each user. These are the first steps in maximizing desktop virtualization efficiency. By leveraging efficient storage management technologies, the storage impact of all the other elements of the desktop virtualization solution, including user file storage, user profiles, etc., can be optimized. Also, some users cannot be served by single image provisioning, requiring strategies on the storage side. Virtual Desktop Image Deduplication If a company chooses to deploy unique virtual desktop images for each individual user, it must consider the amazing amount of duplicate data between the images. For example, an image running a Windows XP operating system has arguably 100% the same data as any other image running Microsoft Office productivity applications. The amount of duplicate data is staggering and, when combined with backup and replicated copies of the virtual machine images for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes, the sheer amount of capacity consumption can quickly turn the TCO calculation upside down. NetApp storage systems offer a cost effective approach to deduplicating virtual desktop images storing only unique data. NetApp estimates that desktop virtualization deployments will use up to 50% less storage than traditional storage systems, which results in instant savings. IT can now confidently deploy individual images to endusers and efficiently store the individual images at massive scale.
9 Thin Provisioning White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 9 Capacity utilization is another major concern when deploying desktop virtualization. Desktops are dynamic environments that constantly change on an hourly basis. Planning for the best use of capacity can be a burden for any IT department as desktop virtualization still has some unknown variables to be discovered. NetApp FlexVol enables the storage of virtual desktop images on a thin provisioned volume that can dynamically expand as the deployment scales. Thin provisioning is an excellent example of how the benefits of virtualization extend throughout the data center and should be considered at all layers. NetApp FlexVol has the potential to drive higher utilization rates without affecting performance, stability, and reliability. Citrix StorageLink Adapter for NetApp Provisioning and managing storage at the rapid pace with desktop virtualization demands can be a burdensome task that consumes valuable IT time. Citrix and NetApp have developed one-click storage integration for server administrators. The Citrix StorageLink Adapter for NetApp plugs into the Citrix XenCenter management suite and enables the management of thin provisioning, snapshots, cloning, data deduplication, backup, and recovery. This integration saves valuable time, empowers the server and desktop administrators, and simplifies the deployment and management of the networked storage infrastructure. Citrix StorageLink Adapter for NetApp supports XenServer 5.5 and Microsoft Hyper-V. Fibre channel and iscsi are both supported, as is disaster recovery integration with SnapMirror and FlexClone. Business Continuity A great advantage of deploying a desktop virtualization solution is the ability to consistently back up and instantaneously recover virtual desktop images. In the physical world, this was a difficult task that often resulted in extended end-user downtime and loss of productivity. In today s virtual environment, virtual desktop images can be backed up on a regular basis and quickly recovered in the event of data corruption, application incompatibility, or a rogue virus. NetApp storage systems require no additional load on the physical servers to provide a space efficient full backup of the virtual desktop image. IT administrators can maintain a daily history on disk and even choose to store that disk image on immutable (WORM) storage. Disaster Recovery Careful disaster recovery (DR) planning is a must have in a desktop virtualization deployment. Now that end-user productivity relies heavily on the availability of the infrastructure, the entire operating environment has to remain available even in the event of a local site failure. NetApp storage systems have the ability to replicate data to a remote site for DR purposes. The desktop images are always available on a secondary site should the primary site experience a failure. Common Storage Pool Desktop virtualization implementations are often part of a large data center consolidation and/or virtualization initiative. An overarching goal is to make efficient use of all resources and enable a data center that can instantaneously respond to change based on business policy. One of the best ways to achieve this is to leverage a single common pool of storage. NetApp s unified storage enables virtual desktops, virtual servers, applications, and user data to all utilize a commonly managed storage pool that can expand data across multiple sites. NetApp enables users to best match protocols with design criteria. CIFS and NFS can be used for user data while iscsi and Fibre Channel can be utilized for the backend Citrix XenServer, XenDesktop, and Citrix XenApp (the new name for Presentation Server) deployments. It s a one-size-fits-all deployment choice.
10 White Paper: Desktop Virtualization Efficiencies with Citrix and NetApp 10 Desktop Virtualization Implementation Considerations Desktop virtualization solutions have some very attractive benefits that, when carefully deployed, can make great strides across the entire business. It s imperative that when making IT infrastructure decisions, the end-user experience is always a top priority. Without maintaining and improving the end-user experience, desktop virtualization implementations will fail. There are multiple cost variables to consider when deploying desktop virtualization that include the solution as well as the networked storage infrastructure. The right choice of desktop virtualization solution, including VM-based VDI and shared desktop solutions, is imperative. Deploying a separate application virtualization infrastructure minimizes image complexity and the impact on virtualization infrastructure. A single desktop image drastically reduces the storage impact of desktop virtualization solutions and makes it much easier to maintain. Networked storage will be a part of most, if not all, desktop virtualization production deployments and the decision a company makes will impact the end result in terms of management, performance, and cost. Regardless of the deployment method, it s important to consider the impact desktop virtualization will have on capacity and how the storage system can help maintain efficient capacity utilization with technologies like data deduplication and thin provisioning. The storage system also has to be ready to scale with the adoption of desktop virtualization as it moves from evaluating to piloting and into production. Desktop virtualization has multiple deployment strategies to match the different types of workers. But regardless of strategy, the infrastructure has to be ready to respond and deliver a superior user experience. End to end consideration of the entire desktop delivery infrastructure will ensure that IT administrators can efficiently provision, manage, support, and optimize the entire stack of technology required to run and maintain a robust desktop virtualization ecosystem. Conclusion It is unrealistic to think that desktop virtualization will replace 100% of current end-user environments, but it is feasible to see it have widespread adoption across all industries and markets. It is in its early adopter stage and there is significant progress to come. Businesses are trying to determine which solution to hang their hats on while IT technology vendors jockey for position. The ultimate winner is the IT department that recognizes the benefits of desktop virtualization early on and can begin deployments on a highly optimized infrastructure. Existing Citrix XenApp customers have the unique opportunity to further consider how they can extend its benefits into a XenDesktop deployment. Since these customers are already using client virtualization solutions, they understand the benefits of centrally hosted and streaming applications. Citrix XenDesktop has the ability to extend the benefits of client virtualization and efficiently deliver a centrally managed and secured personalized desktop environment. NetApp s networked storage systems further extend the value and efficiencies of desktop virtualization deployments into the underlying storage infrastructure. Desktop virtualization deployments rely heavily on networked storage and NetApp s robust set of features nicely complement such environments. NetApp helps customers significantly reduce virtual desktop storage, quickly provision desktops, maintain continuous access to desktop images, and ensure compliance of desktop data. Tight integration and consideration of networked storage efficiencies have the ability to deliver a desktop virtualization infrastructure that can adapt to the needs of the business while carefully considering the costs of the overall deployment. IT can regain control of the desktop environment, manage images from a central location, and still deliver a personalized environment to the end-user. Citrix XenDesktop combined with NetApp networked storage solutions, has the capability to deliver a hard-hitting win for desktop virtualization deployments.
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White Paper The Benefits of Virtualizing Citrix XenApp with Citrix XenServer This white paper will discuss how customers can achieve faster deployment, higher reliability, easier management, and reduced
Virtualized Disaster Recovery from VMware and Vision Solutions Cost-efficient, dependable solutions for virtualized disaster recovery and business continuity Cost-efficient, dependable solutions for virtualized
IBM PureFlex and Atlantis ILIO: Cost-effective, high-performance and scalable persistent VDI Highlights Lower than PC cost: saves hundreds of dollars per desktop, as storage capacity and performance requirements
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Windows 7 made easier with Citrix XenDesktop www.citrix.com For nearly two decades, Microsoft and Citrix have delivered significant value to customers, and we re excited to expand our work around desktop
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