Vertex Virtual Desktops

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1 Vertex Virtual Desktops Whitepaper Revision 3.1 Updated Tangent, Inc V.2

2 To the reader, I m Ron Perkes and I run the engineering group at Tangent responsible for our virtual desktop solutions. I hope you find this whitepaper informative. This paper is intended to provide information that is useful to you as you study and compare the various approaches to desktop virtualization. If after reading this you are interested in knowing more or testing virtual desktops, Tangent has a comprehensive VDI program that includes webinars, technical briefings, certified support, no-cost pilot programs, and low-cost test beds where you can test and refine your usage cases before placing them into production. I regularly conduct one-hour technical briefings on the topic of desktop virtualization. I am happy to discuss the topic in person with you or your team. Finally, I welcome any feedback or suggestions you might have that would make this document more useful to you as well as the opportunity to be of service to you. Feel free to reach out. Best Regards, Ron Perkes VP Product Engineering Tangent Inc. (650) Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 2 tangent.com

3 ENGINEERING DESIGN OBJECTIVES Tangent engineering set out in 2008 with a goal of reducing desktop virtualization into a keep it simple and cost effective solution amidst complaints that the prevailing solutions were hopelessly complicated, difficult to support, prohibitively expensive, and unable to provide a clear cut return on investment. Pilots often failed due to complex technical issues. Few customers could justify the high startup costs and complex infrastructure requirements. Our goal was to reduce VDI costs by 50%, minimize startup costs, and eliminate 80% of the complexity so that current PC Support personnel could deploy and manage virtual desktops. If possible we also wanted to provide IT with an ability to allow users to easily customize their personal virtual desktop with user-installed applications and other profile customizations. This in theory would extend the reach of virtual desktops well beyond pooled desktops and cookie-cutter deployments for those users needing a custom application set. From an IT perspective such a solution would support a much broader broad spectrum of customized desktops and usage cases. Hopefully this could be done while using one golden master image to greatly simplify desktop maintenance. Tangent working in conjunction with its technology partners is now delivering a solution that addresses all of these stated design objectives. Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 3 tangent.com

4 HOW TANGENT S VERTEX VDI DIFFERS FROM OTHER VDI SOLUTIONS Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 4 tangent.com

5 The preceding diagrams depict how Vertex eliminates expensive complicated infrastructure. Here is a more detailed breakdown showing how Vertex simplifies. Management and troubleshooting are also far easier. BENEFITS OF TANGENT S VERTEX VDI APPLIANCE EASY CENTRALIZED MANAGABLITY. The entire Vertex VDI installation is easily managed from a single management screen. Unlike complex VDI solutions that require network engineers and administrators, Vertex can be managed by your current PC support staff. Troubleshooting is far easier. PERSONALIZED VIRTUAL DESKTOPS. Vertex is flexible and can be used to setup and personalize desktops for the various users or groups in your organization. User installed apps are supported. This is an advanced capability of the Citrix Profiler an Advanced Profile Manager that is bundled at no additional cost. SINGLE INSTANCE MANAGEMENT. Personalized Virtual Desktops as well as pooled desktops can all be managed using a single gold master image to provide a very powerful capability called Single Instance Management. IT can more easily address the disparate needs of a far broader spectrum of users. EASY SETUP AND DEPLOY. Vertex is a complete turnkey solution, eliminating 6-10 infrastructure components. A first gold master image can be up and running in under 2 hours without a professional services contract. The learning curve is minimal. This lowers startup costs $10-$20,000 and eliminates a tall barrier to entry. Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 5 tangent.com

6 LOWER COST PER SEAT. Vertex costs far less to license and deploy than XenDesktop or VMware View, at a capital equipment cost that is usually less than a traditional PC, with an added benefit of far lower management cost. HIGH AVAILABILITY AND UPTIME. Built-in fault tolerance, load-balancing, and failover capability are standard. To achieve high-availability an N+1 configuration is used. Simply add an additional appliance to an existing grid. In addition no downtime is required for patching or updating the grid. SUPPORT FOR IPADS, ANDROIDS, BYOD, AND 1:1 INITIATIVES. Users of these newer ultra-mobile consumer devices can securely access their normal PC applications or even run them remotely. An optional remote access gateway can be cost-effectively added. ELIMINATE DESKTOP REPLACEMENT CYCLES. Vertex provides a service life of up to 10 years. In addition Vertex allows you to convert existing PCs to low-maintenance end points eliminating the need to buy new terminals at an average of $300 to $400 each. THE EASIEST WAY TO KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY UP TO DATE. Moving to Windows 7 or 8 or changing software can be done in minutes without the need to touch end points or buy new PCs. IT can log into a gold master image, quickly apply a change and have it propagate to 100s or 1,000s of linked clones at next login. WHAT THE VERTEX VDI SOLUTION IS MADE OF THE APPLIANCE The Tangent VDI system leverages the Vertex VDI Appliance, along with Citrix and Tangent software to be the heart of the solution. Current production models typically support anywhere from 20 to 100 virtual desktops. A special 10 user test-bed model is also available for organizations who want to develop and refine usage cases prior to large scale deployment. Industry standard VSI test results are available to help in determining the number of appliances required to power a given set of requirements. Densities will vary based upon the applications run on each desktop, the amount of processor cores, as well as the RAM allocated to each virtual desktop. Performance optimized direct-attached storage is included with each appliance and delivers 25 or more disk IOPs per virtual desktop well beyond the IOPs normally specified by Citrix or VMware. This eliminates the cost of expensive SANs and NAS devices and the expensive interconnecting infrastructure. It eliminates having to manage more devices. HDD, SSD, and hybrid arrays are used. Dual data stores are supported. Appliances cluster together to create a computing grid that automatically load balances and provides failover protection. Appliances of different sizes can be mixed together. The grid is modular and designed to be easily expanded as more desktops are virtualized. Adding an appliance to the grid takes only a few minutes. Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 6 tangent.com

7 END POINTS The end-point device is a gateway for an end user to interact with their Virtual Desktop however from the end user s perspective it appears as if all processing is occurring at their physical terminal. Selection of end-point solutions depends on factors such as graphics and display requirements, form factors, needed peripherals, mobility factors, connectivity, and budget. End point devices do not need to have internal optical drives or expansion slots. Since the processing power occurs in the back-office on the Vertex VDI Appliance, end-point devices do not require powerful processors or a large amount of RAM. Re-purposed PCs are a cost effective alternative and can be deployed with their original OS or converted to lowmaintenance PXE-boot Zero Clients. Zero Clients have no onboard operating system or hard drive but instead have the ability to PXE Boot a small operating system and terminal session software for accessing a Virtual Machine. Thin Clients run a slim operating system like Microsoft Windows XP Embedded, Linux, or a system-on-achip (SoC). A broad range of tablets, pads, Macs, e-book readers and smartphones with an RDP terminal session driver or a Citrix HDX Receiver can also be used as end points. Tangent recommends the Citrix HDX Receiver for superior user experience and bandwidth efficiency. Successful VDI deployments require a well thought out endpoint strategy in order to best satisfy end user needs and preferences. SOFTWARE HYPERVISOR The hypervisor s job is to divide up a powerful physical machine into a number of virtual machines that each behave as a standalone PC. Tangents VDI Solution can utilize the VMware ESXi, Citrix XenServer, or Microsoft Hyper V hypervisor. There may be slight differences in the capabilities of one hypervisor versus the others. CONNECTION BROKER A connection broker is required to connect an end user to a virtual machine. The connection broker assesses what type of virtual machine to connect to, load balances to assign a virtual machine from the Vertex appliance that has the greatest availability, moves a virtual machine to another Vertex appliance in the event of failover. It is through the connection broker software that desktop systems are created and managed. Virtual Desktops can be pushed and patched through the connection broker s administration console. Each Vertex appliance includes seat licenses which are Citrix connection broker licenses and Citrix software updates. DESKTOP PROVISIONING Desktop Provisioning is a function of the connection broker. Provisioning allocates the desired amount of memory and resources to a virtual machine. It controls whether the Virtual machine is a follow-me desktop, a kiosk-mode desktop, or a standard desktop. Provisioning also determines which users get which type of desktops. Vertex can be linked to Microsoft Active Directory to quickly provision virtual desktops to Active Directory Users or Groups. Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 7 tangent.com

8 CITRIX HDX RECEIVER A terminal session driver is required for end-point devices to access a virtual machine. Microsoft s Remote Desktop Protocol, standard with most releases of Windows can be used. Citrix s HDX receiver is a far more robust terminal session driver offering dramatic improvement in multi-media and especially video playback. Most endpoint devices using the Citrix HDX receiver will do a good job of video playback at 720P. For those using ipads or Android-powered pads a Citrix receiver can be obtained for free. Each Vertex appliance is quoted with Citrix HDX receiver licenses. PROFILE MANAGEMENT, PERSONALIZATION, AND SINGLE INSTANCE MANAGEMENT Citrix advanced profile management is bundled in at no additional cost and can be used to create Personalized Virtual Desktops (PVDs). PVDs support User Installed Applications and extensive personalization which can be layered on top of a non-persistent virtual desktop to eliminate the need for problematic persistent desktops. A single golden master image can be leveraged to support personalized as well as pooled mode desktops creating single instance management. Organizations with numerous departments or diverse user groups that formerly would have required either persistent desktops, a large number of golden masters, or application-virtualization can in many instances use PVDs as a much easier alternative. Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 8 tangent.com

9 REMOTE ACCESS GATEWAY An optional cost-effective Citrix Remote Access Gateway can be enabled allowing ipads and other devices to easily access a virtual desktop. It can also be used to get users to a virtual desktop from outside the network or to enable IT to access the Vertex Management Console. MICROSOFT WINDOWS LICENSE Tangent cannot provide Microsoft licensing for use on Virtual Desktops. OEM licensing cannot be used on Virtual Desktops. Virtual Desktops running the Windows OS must also be properly licensed through an authorized Microsoft reseller. Those organizations that have a Volume Purchase Agreement, Enterprise Agreement, or Software Assurance can take advantage of substantial discounts. ADVANCED PXE BOOT SOFTWARE Tangent s Advanced PXE Boot Software can be used to convert existing PCs to zero-clients. When a zero-client is turned on it proceeds to load Tangent s Advanced PXE Boot Software over the network. Thirty to forty seconds later the user is presented with the customary Windows login. The PXE protocol does not support wireless devices at this time. IN CONCLUSION The Vertex VDI Appliance reduces infrastructure, complexity, installation time, management, training, and ultimately costs by 50-80% while providing the power and capabilities of all but the most advanced VDI solutions costing two to three times more than Vertex. Vertex provides appliance-like ease of management allowing 100s or 1000s of desktops to be managed via a centrally managed gold-master image and single instance management using your current PC Support staff. Advanced profile management and Personal Virtual Desktops can be implemented to allow users the freedom to add user installed applications, greatly increasing the flexibility to satisfy a broader spectrum of usage cases. Our robust PXE boot solution provides a way to re-purpose end-of-life PCs to eliminate the need to replace end points. Vertex supports the broadest range of end-points including ipads, re-purposed PCs, Phones, Thin Clients, and Zero Clients. With a projected service life of 10 years or 2-3 desktop replacement cycles, a Vertex virtual desktop costs 30 to 50% less than a traditional desktop before calculating in the reduced maintenance costs. Vertex provides an easy path for migrating to Window 7 and beyond without replacing your PCs. Tangent Enterprise Solutions Page 9 tangent.com

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