Vblock Solution for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp

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1 Vblock Solution for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp Version 1.3 April 2014

2 THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS." VCE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Copyright 2014 VCE Company, LLC. VCE believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. 2

3 Contents Introduction...5 Solution overview... 5 Key results...5 Purpose... 5 Audience... 6 Feedback...6 Technology overview... 7 Vblock Systems... 7 Vblock Systems Vblock Systems EMC... 9 VMware vsphere VMware ESXi VMware vcenter Server...9 Citrix... 9 XenDesktop XenApp Microsoft...13 Active Directory...13 Domain Name System...13 Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol...13 SQL Server Architecture...15 Logical configuration Hardware and software Design considerations Storage...19 Network Virtualization...22 Validation...24 Environment Objectives and design Login VSI EMC Unisphere...27 vsphere vcenter Server XenDesktop Test procedure

4 Results and analysis Summary...28 Individual test results Maximum capacity testing...32 Scaling example...33 Conclusion Next steps

5 Introduction The proliferation of mobile workers using thin and zero clients is putting companies under increasing pressure to deliver enterprise applications on hosted virtual desktops over LAN or WAN, with the user experience and reliability of a conventional physical desktop. IT departments are tasked with providing these services with quick evaluation and implementation timelines, lower initial and ongoing costs, and adherence to growing security guidelines and concerns all with existing skillsets and personnel. Solution overview VCE is a leading innovator of intelligent converged infrastructure systems. Customers rely on VCE for the fastest deployment of infrastructure and applications, the highest application performance and availability, and the lowest total cost of ownership. The Vblock Solution for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp uses Vblock Systems to provide a converged virtualized infrastructure comprising best-in-breed components from Cisco, EMC, and VMware to offer organizations superior performance, high availability, and simplified management and to deliver a high-definition user experience with Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. Vblock Systems are pre-configured for faster, simpler deployments and include management tools that allow IT departments to simplify and reduce costs for day-to-day operations and maintenance, as well as seamless support after the sale. Vblock Systems are not just delivered as a converged package, IT departments manage them and VCE supports them as an integrated IT investment. Combined with Vblock Systems, Citrix HDX technology provides a high-definition, desktop-quality user experience over a wide range of devices and network topologies. Key results Vblock Systems 320 with EMC VNX 5500 can easily support the following per-blade deployments with acceptable CPU, memory, and storage utilization; and acceptable application response times: 110 XenDesktop PVS streaming hosted virtual desktops 140 XenDesktop MCS pooled persistent or non-persistent hosted virtual desktops 300 XenApp hosted shared desktops300 XenApp hosted shared desktops Purpose This document describes the architecture, design considerations, validation, and performance data for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp providing hosted virtual and hosted shared desktops and enterprise-grade performance on a Vblock Systems 320 with VNX We have used the results of this validation to provide a scaling strategy for customer deployments. 5

6 Audience This document is intended for enterprise and service provider decision makers and system administrators deploying large-scale end-user computing environments with Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. Feedback To suggest documentation changes and provide feedback on this paper, send to Include the title of this paper, the name of the topic to which your comment applies, and your feedback. 6

7 Technology overview Vblock Systems VCE represents the next evolution of IT, one focused on the next generation data center and the future of cloud computing. VCE seeks to eliminate the challenges that consume today's data center resources. VCE designs and delivers Vblock Systems, which seamlessly integrate leading compute, network and storage technologies. Through intelligent discovery, awareness and automation, Vblock Systems provide the highest levels of virtualization and application performance. Vblock Systems are unique in their ability to be managed as a single entity with a common interface that provides customers' end-to-end visibility. The Vblock System 300 is an agile and efficient data center class system, providing flexible and scalable performance. It features a high-density, compact fabric switch, tightly integrated fabric-based blade servers, and best-in-class unified storage. The Vblock System 700 is an enterprise-class mission-critical system for the world's most demanding workloads and service levels. It includes the industry's best director-class fabric switch, the most advanced fabric-based blade server, and the most trusted storage platform. Each Vblock System has a base configuration, which is a minimum set of compute and storage components as well as fixed network resources. Within the base configuration, certain hardware aspects can be customized. Together, the components offer balanced CPU, I/O bandwidth, and storage capacity relative to the compute and storage arrays in the system. For more information, go to Compute components The compute components in Vblock Systems are built on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) line of products. The individual components include one or more blade server chassis, included compute blades, I/O modules, and the fabric interconnects that connect the unified fabric to the rest of the environment. Network components The network components in Vblock Systems consist of various models of Cisco Nexus and MDS storage switches. This includes the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series, Cisco Nexus 5000 Series, Cisco Nexus 1000V, Cisco Catalyst 3000 Series, and the Cisco MDS 9000 Series switches. Storage components Vblock Systems are built with either EMC VNX or Symmetrix VMAX-based storage arrays. The Vblock 300 ships with VNX-based arrays and the Vblock 700 ships with VMAX arrays. Virtualization components Virtualization components include VMware ESXi, VMware vcenter Server, and VMware vsphere. 7

8 Management components All Vblock System 300 and 700 models include an Advanced Management Pod (AMP). The AMP provides a single management point for Vblock Systems that provides the following benefits: Monitors and manages Vblock System health, performance, and safety Provides fault isolation for management Eliminates Vblock System resource overhead Provides a clear demarcation point for remote operations The AMP has two deployment options: mini-amp and high availability (HA) AMP. The mini-amp is an economical single-server system with reduced costs for switches and licenses and optional packages for networking, backups, and data duplication. The HA AMP is a two-server system that uses a local disk to boot VMware vsphere ESXi and shared storage for the Vblock Systems management servers. It is designed to be a highly available, out-of-band management environment. In addition to the components described above, the AMP leverages Cisco UCS rack-mount servers, Cisco Catalyst 3000 Series switches, and EMC storage. Vblock Systems 720 The Vblock System 720 is an enterprise, service provider class mission-critical system in the Vblock System 700 family, for the most demanding IT environments - supporting enterprise workloads and SLAs that run thousands of virtual machines and virtual desktops. It is architecturally designed to be modular, providing flexibility and choice of configurations based on demanding workloads. These workloads include business-critical enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and database, messaging, and collaboration services. The Vblock 720 leverages the industry's best director-class fabric switch, the most advanced fabric based blade server, and the most trusted storage platform. The Vblock 720 delivers greater configuration choices, 2X performance and scale from prior generations, flexible storage options, denser compute, five 9s of availability, and converged network and support for a new virtualization platform that accelerates time to service and reduces operations costs. Vblock Systems 320 The Vblock System 320 is an enterprise and service provider ready system in the Vblock System 300 family, designed to address a wide spectrum of virtual machines, users, and applications. It is ideally suited to achieve the scale required in both private and public cloud environments. The Vblock 320 has been engineered for greater scalability and performance to support large enterprise deployments of mission-critical applications, cloud services, VDI, mixed workloads and application development and testing. The Vblock 320 delivers greater configuration choices, 2X performance and scale from prior generations, flexible storage options, denser compute, five 9s of availability, and converged network and support for a new virtualization platform that accelerates time to service and reduces operations costs. Every Vblock 320 is available with the market-leading EMC VNX storage arrays. 8

9 EMC The Vblock Solution for Citrix XenDesktop uses the VNX-based storage arrays provided in Vblock Systems. The EMC VNX series is a dedicated network server optimized for file and block access that delivers highend features in a scalable and easy-to-use package. The VNX series delivers a single-box block and file solution that offers a centralized point of management for distributed environments. This makes it possible to dynamically grow, share, and cost-effectively manage multiprotocol file systems and provide multiprotocol block access. Administrators can take advantage of simultaneous support for NFS and CIFS protocols by enabling Windows and Linux/UNIX clients to share files by using the sophisticated file-locking mechanisms of VNX for File and VNX for Block for high-bandwidth or for latency-sensitive applications. VMware vsphere 5 When using VMware vsphere 5 as the hypervisor for XenDesktop, the vsphere 5 components are built on an infrastructure incorporating ESXi 5 hosts connected to local and shared storage. Shared storage can be on a network file system (NFS), Internet Small Computer System Interface (iscsi), or Fibre Channel SAN, as dictated by the enterprise. VMware ESXi 5.1 VMware ESXi delivers the base hypervisor functions for the vsphere environment that hosts the virtual desktops. VMware vcenter Server VMware vcenter Server provides the infrastructure to manage multiple ESXi hypervisors as a single infrastructure cluster. The vcenter Server allows administrators to configure resource clusters and manage storage and high-availability functions across the environment. In a XenDesktop configuration. VMware vcenter can be configured as a virtual machine (VM) running on the ESXi infrastructure, or on a physical server, based on high-availability requirements. Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 The Vblock Solution for Citrix contains the following XenDesktop components: XenDesktop site Provisioning Services 9

10 Machine Creation Services Web Interface Licensing Server Desktop Delivery Controller Software and tools XenDesktop site A XenDesktop site forms the boundary of the Citrix VDI management. It includes the brokers, Provisioning Servers, Web Interface, SQL Servers, and all the hypervisor pools where the VMs are located. Provisioning Services 6.1 PVS can be used for provisioning non-persistent hosted virtual desktops. PVS takes a different approach from traditional imaging solutions by changing the relationship between hardware and the software that runs on it by streaming a single shared virtual disk image rather than copying individual images to individual machines. Unique user settings are preserved in a personal vdisk. At the top level of the PVS infrastructure is the PVS farm. The farm provides a farm administrator with a method of representing, defining, and managing logical groups of PVS components into sites. All sites within a farm share the farm's Microsoft SQL database. A PVS farm also includes local or network shared storage and collections of target devices. Web Interface The Web Interface provides user access into the XenDesktop environment. It accepts user credentials and passes them to the XenDesktop site for authentication and enumeration using an ICA connection between the user and the connection broker. Once authenticated, Web Interface manages the initiation of the end user sessions to their virtual desktop. A high-availability configuration is recommended for the Web Interface to avoid service disruption. Licensing Server The Licensing Server is responsible for managing the licenses for all XenDesktop 5.6 components. Licensing Servers have a 30-day grace period, which allows the system to function normally if the server becomes unavailable. Because of this grace period, redundancy in the Licensing Server component is not required. Desktop Delivery Controller The Desktop Delivery Controller provides the link between the Web Interface and the XenDesktop site. It serves as the brokerage service between the end device and the desktops. The Desktop Delivery 10

11 Controller enumerates resources for the users and directs user launch requests to the appropriate hosted virtual desktop. It is recommended that at least two controllers be deployed per XenDesktop site to provide high availability. As the site grows, additional controllers may be required for scalability. Machine Creation Services MCS can be used to provision both persistent and non-persistent hosted virtual desktops. MCS connects vcenter to the ESXi hosts using the vsphere API. The API then directs the ESXi host to build the hosted virtual desktops from the master image VM and to create, start, stop, and delete VMs. MCS uses the same mechanism to thin-provision a hosted virtual desktop from a master image in the hypervisor pool and uses identity management functionality to overcome the security identity (SID) requirements typical with cloning. MCS snapshots or replicas created with MCS must reside on the same logical unit number (LUN) where they will be provisioned to the end devices. Software and tools Virtual Desktop Agent Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) is a software agent that resides on the hosted virtual desktop and provides the communication interface between the XenDesktop infrastructure and the Windows desktop operating system. A user cannot connect to a VM unless the VDA is installed in the image. PVS Agent The Provisioning Services (PVS) Agent is the software that is installed in the virtual disk that allows PVS to control the machine and to use its NIC as a substitute hard drive controller. Citrix Receiver Receiver is easy-to-install client software that lets the user access enterprise data, applications, and desktops from any computing device, including iphones, Android-based smartphones, ipads, Windows Mobile devices, Blackberry devices, and Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux desktops. HDX Technology HDX technology is a set of capabilities that delivers a high-definition desktop virtualization user experience for any application, device, or network. By incorporating network and performance optimizations, hardware products, and advanced software algorithms, HDX technology unleashes the full power of virtualized applications and desktops. This technology enables enterprises to offer virtualized applications and desktops with a LAN-like experience over a WAN connection. 11

12 XenApp 6.5 The Vblock Solution for Citrix contains the following XenApp components: XenApp server farm Zone data collectors Web Interface Data Store Licensing Server (see XenDesktop) XenApp Server Farm A XenApp server farm is the top-level administrative unit of the XenApp management service. All servers within a farm are managed as a unit, enabling the configuration of features and settings for the entire farm, rather than configuring each server individually. Applications or resources are published for availability to users at the farm level, establishing configuration settings that pertain to all instances of the application running in the farm. Servers in a farm share a single data store of the farm's configuration information. Zone data collectors A zone is a collection of XenApp servers that share the same data collector. The zone data collector is responsible for managing all of the dynamic information in the farm. Dynamic information consists of items that change often, such as connected sessions, disconnected sessions, and server loads. Data collectors are responsible for knowing the global state of the farm by maintaining the list of connected sessions. The other main responsibility of the data collector is to determine the leastloaded server that is hosting a load-balanced published application or desktop. Web Interface The Web Interface provides access to XenApp applications through a standard Web browser using dynamic HTML pages. All published applications are accessed through the Web Interface, as well as through Citrix Receiver (formerly called Online Plugin or ICS client). Users connect to a specified URL with a browser or through the Receiver, and are presented with all of their available applications. Data Store The data store is the database where servers store static farm information, such as configuration information about published applications, users, printers, and servers. Each server farm has a single data store. 12

13 Microsoft The Vblock Solution for Citrix contains the following Microsoft components: Active Directory Domain Name System Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Microsoft SQL Server Active Directory Active Directory is required in a XenDesktop deployment for authentication and authorization. VDI desktops in a XenDesktop environment need to be able to register with a controller or multiple controllers so that they can be managed by the broker and allow connections by clients. Remote Desktop Service and license is installed as part of Citrix XenApp validation. Domain Name System To register target devices with the Display Data Channel (DDC), Domain Name System (DNS) is required. During the registration process, the DDC performs a DNS query and attempts to communicate with the target device using the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the registering machine. The target devices typically obtain their IP addresses through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and then dynamically update their Host (A) records in DNS. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Another key infrastructure component is DHCP. Desktops created using the MCS deployment (linked clones) method use DHCP for connectivity. Desktops running XenDesktop from PVS use DHCP as part of the Preboot Execution Process (PXE). SQL Server SQL Server, a relational database management system, provides the foundation for the overall XenDesktop solution. All information pertaining to configuration, hosted virtual desktops, and current usage is kept within the database. The SQL Server is critical to the continuous operation of the XenDesktop site. If the database goes offline, no new users can connect to a hosted virtual desktop, but currently connected desktops continue to function. The SQL database should be made highly available through the implementation of SQL load balancing or clustering. 13

14 SQL Server provides a repository of persistent information for vcenter Servers, as well as for the farm settings in XenDesktop Controller, including the following: Farm configuration information Published application configurations Server configurations XenApp administrator accounts Printer configurations 14

15 Architecture Logical configuration A standard Vblock System 320 configuration with VNX 5500 is combined with Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp servers and Web Interfaces to provide shared, streamed, and pooled desktops to users with appropriate security and authentication. Redundancies are built in for virtualization and desktop management, and workloads are balanced across the Web Interfaces to ensure high availability and optimum performance. The Vblock Solution for Citrix is configured in the following fashion, as illustrated in the following figure: End point devices connect through the firewall to the load balancers, reaching the Web Interface in the DMZ. The private network connection goes to the network aggregation core load balancer in the network aggregation layer to provide load balancing for the Web Interfaces. The Web Interface performs initial authentication and enumeration operations. The Citrix License Server allocates the license. Redundant XenDesktop controllers control desktop management. The management infrastructure is installed and configured on a two-host cluster. The SQL data store contains the system configurations and object tracking. vcenter Server hosts the hosted virtual desktops. vsphere Servers, along with the VDI infrastructure and connection brokers, are installed on the Vblock System. Machine Creation Services (MCS) or Provisioning Services (PVS) provides desktop image creation and delivery. The Network core provides the interactions necessary to establish a VDI session using a XenDesktop controller. There is one cluster of pooled hosted virtual desktops (PoD) and one cluster of streamed hosted virtual desktops. 15

16 The virtualization layer provides management through vcenter. Figure 1: Vblock Solution for Citrix logical configuration The following table describes the VMs in the Citrix management stack used in this solution: Table 1: VMs used in the Citrix management stack for this solution Virtual Desktops XenDeskto p Controller (MCS) Provisionin g server (PVS) XenApp Controller Web Interface License Server SQL Server database Application version NA 5.6 FP build R2 Standard Operating system Windows 7 Enterprise Edition 64- bit Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise vcpu RAM (GB)

17 Table 1: VMs used in the Citrix management stack for this solution Virtual Desktops XenDeskto p Controller (MCS) Provisionin g server (PVS) XenApp Controller Web Interface License Server SQL Server database vdisk storage (GB) GB (C:) for OS 60 GB (D:) for SQL databas e and transact ion logs Hardware and software The following tables list the hardware and software used to validate this solution. Table 2: Hardware Layer Hardware Quantity Compute Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server 1 chassis 1 Cisco UCS B200 M3 (management and virtual desktops) 6 Cisco UCS B200 M2 (Login VSI) 1 Cisco UCS 6248UP Series Fabric Interconnects or Cisco UCS 61x0XP Series Fabric Interconnect 2 RAM (GB/blade) 256 CPU, 8 cores per socket 16 Network Cisco Nexus 1000V Series virtual Switch Cisco Nexus 5548UP Series IP Switch Cisco MDS 9148 Series Fibre Channel storage Switch The Vblock Systems 320 with VNX 5500 can hold up to 64 Cisco UCS B200 M3 blades. 17

18 Table 2: Hardware Layer Hardware Quantity Storage VNX Table 3: Software Software Citrix XenDesktop Version 5.6 FP1 Citrix XenApp 6.5 Provisioning Server 6.1 VMware vsphere 5.1 MMicrosoft SQL Server Windows server OS Windows desktop OS 2008 R2 Standard 2008 R2 Enterprise Windows 7 Enterprise Edition 64-bit 18

19 Design considerations Storage EMC VNX 5500 This solution uses the following VNX storage features: Block-based storage over Fibre Channel (FC) to store the VMDK files for XenApp. The Unified Storage Management plug-in provides seamless integration with VMware vsphere to simplify the provisioning of data stores or VMs. File-based storage over the NFS protocol to store hosted MCS hosted virtual desktop, and CIFS protocol to store hosted MCS hosted virtual desktop, and CIFS protocol to store user data and the Citrix Profile management repository. This has the following benefits: Redirection of user data and Citrix Profile Manager data to a central location for easy backup and administration Single instancing and compression of unstructured user data to provide the highest storage utilization and efficiency VMware vsphere The storage configuration provisioned over FC allows the vsphere cluster to store the VMDK images for management, PVS, and XenApp servers; the storage provisioned over NFS to support the MCS hosted desktops; and CIFS to redirect user data and provide storage for the Citrix Profile Manager data. This solution uses the following storage deployment: 5 SAS disks in RAID 5 RAID GROUP 0 to boot the ESXi hosts, with 20 GB boot LUNs for each of the hosts 10 x 600 GB SAS 15K disks in RAID 5 Storage Pool 1 to store virtual desktops, with FAST Cache enabled for the entire pool 2 x 1 TB FC LUNs for the management VMs 1 x 1 TB FC LUN for 10 XenApp Servers providing hosted shared desktops 1 x 2 TB FC LUNs for PVS streaming hosted virtual desktops 8 x 200 GB Flash drives for EMC VNX FAST Cache, with no user-configurable LUNs on these drives 20 x 300 GB SAS 15K drives in RAID 5 Storage Pool 2 with NFS to store MCS hosted virtual desktops 19

20 5 x 500 GB NFS mount points carved out of the storage pool to support MCS hosted virtual desktops 1 x 500 GB NFS mount point carved out of the storage pool to support a write cache on the local hard drive for PVS streaming hosted virtual desktops 8 NL-SAS disks in the RAID 6 Storage Pool 3 to store user data and roaming profiles, with FAST Cache enabled for the entire pool 4 x 2 TB LUNs carved out of the storage pool to create two CIFS file systems FAST Cache enabled on both storage pools to store the FC and CIFS file systems used by the hosted virtual desktops 2 shared file systems for profiles and user data management hosted virtual desktops: One file system for the Citrix Profile Manager repository One file system to redirect user storage residing in home directories. (Redirecting user data out of the base image to the VNX for files enables centralized administration, backup, and recovery, and makes the desktops more stateless. Each file system is exported to the environment through a CIFS share.) Network The following network configurations are important for this solution. A Nexus 7000 Switch in the aggregation layer provides all layer 3 VLAN network capabilities to Vblock systems, as well as other core components like the ACE load balancer. The load balancer is connected to the Nexus 7000 with a specified VLAN. The Nexus 5548 Switches built into the Vblock Systems 320 are connected directly to the Nexus 7000 for all network services. 20

21 Downstream from the Nexus 5548s, everything is connected per a standard Vblock System 320. All the hosts and VMs are inside the Vblock System 320, receiving layer 3 network service from the Nexus Figure 2: Vblock 320 network aggregation In the Citrix XenDesktop solution, all network interfaces on the vsphere Servers use 10 GbE connections. All hosted virtual desktops are assigned an IP address by using a DHCP server. The following table shows the Nexus 1000V distributed Switch configuration in the vcenter Server. Table 4: Nexus 1000V configuration Port group name VSPHERE-DATA-UPLINK Vblock_infra_mgmt Use Uplink port group for vsphere hosts Citrix XenDesktop management infrastructure 21

22 Table 4: Nexus 1000V configuration Port group name Vblock_esx_mgmt Vblock_esx_vmotion Vblock_cifs Hosted_desktop_2392 Streamed_desktop_2393 Use vsphere host management networks vsphere host vmotion networks Citrix XenDesktop User Share repository for Profile management MCS hosted virtual desktops and hosted shared desktops PVS hosted virtual desktops Virtualization Vblock Systems virtualization uses vsphere components ESXi and vcenter Server. For a Citrix XenDesktop solution, clustering uses vsphere for the virtual container design. The XenDesktop environment clustering design implementation, components, and characteristics are described in the following tables for the Cisco UCS B200 M3 used in this solution: Citrix management infrastructure cluster XenDesktop MCS persistent and non-persistent pooled hosted virtual desktops XenDesktop PVS streaming hosted virtual desktops XenApp hosted shared desktops vsphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) is enabled on the management cluster and continuously monitors utilization across vsphere hosts in the management and security clusters and intelligently allocates available resources among VMs. It also balances computing capacity within the cluster. VMware HA is enabled for the management cluster to provide easy-to-use and effective high availability for all the management VMs in the event of physical server failure. In the case of server failure, HA will restart the affected VM on the spare server. DRS and HA were disabled on the production clusters for validation since each validation was done on a single blade. Table 5: Citrix management infrastructure cluster Component Characteristic ESXi hosts 3 Data store (FC) Network DRS 1 x 2 TB 2 x 10 GbE uplink connectivity for each host Enabled 22

23 Table 5: Citrix management infrastructure cluster Component HA Characteristic Enabled Table 6: XenDesktop MCS persistent and non-persistent pooled hosted virtual desktops Component Characteristic ESXi hosts 1 Data store (NFS) Network DRS HA 5 x 500 GB 2 x 10 GbE uplink connectivity for each host Disabled for validation Disabled for validation Table 7: XenDesktop PVS streaming hosted virtual desktops Component Characteristic ESXi hosts 1 Data store (FC LUN) Write cache on local drive (NFS LUN) Network DRS HA 1 x 2 TB 1 x 500 GB 2 x 10 GbE uplink connectivity for each host Disabled for validation Disabled for validation Table 8: XenApp hosted shared desktops Component Characteristic ESXi hosts 1 Data store (FC) Network DRS HA 1 TB 2 x 10 GbE uplink connectivity for each host Disabled for validation Disabled for validation 23

24 Validation This section describes how VCE validated the Vblock Solution for Citrix: Environment Objectives and design Results and analysis Environment The Citrix test environment was as described in the Architecture section. We used Login VSI to generate desktop workloads and gathers in-session VDI performance data in order to validate the solution under simulated Knowledge Worker medium workload conditions. Table 9: Login VSI launcher characteristics Component Value Cisco UCS B200 M2 1 CPU cores 12 RAM 96 GB Login VSI version 3.7 Launcher VMs 6 Sessions per aluncher VM 25 Launcher VM vcpu 2 Launcher VM RAM 4 GB Table 10: XenDesktop MCS characteristics Component Value Cisco UCS B200 M2 1 CPU cores 16 RAM NFS LUNs for XenDesktop 256 GB 5 x 500 GB 24

25 Table 10: XenDesktop MCS characteristics Component Value Hosted virtual desktops per LUN 35 Table 11: XenDesktop PVS characteristics Component Value Cisco UCS B200 M2 1 CPU cores 16 RAM FC LUN NFS LUNs for write cache local CIFS share for vdisk repository 256 GB 1 x 2 TB 1 x 500 GB 1 x 500 GB Table 12: XenApp characteristics Component Value Cisco UCS B200 M2 1 CPU cores 16 RAM FC LUNs 256 GB 1 x 1 TB XenApp Servers 8 Objectives and design The objective of this validation is to quantify scalability by measuring the number of XenDesktop hosted virtual desktops and XenApp hosted shared desktops that can be deployed on a single Cisco UCS B200 M3 blade with acceptable utilization and user experience. We performed this validation using MCS for persistent and non-persistent desktops, and PVS for non-persistent desktops. Target ranges for this validation are: CPU: maximum 85-90% Memory: maximum <100% Storage processor: maximum <50% Application response times: <4 seconds 25

26 Login VSI We used Login VSI to: Simulate medium application workloads Measure in-session resource utilization and response times to ensure target utilization and user experience Workload We used a Knowledge Worker medium workload because it consumes more memory and CPU resources due to the increased number of applications simultaneously running, which addresses most hosted virtual desktop user classes. Eight applications simultaneously open Minimum 20% user activity, with simulated users opening and closing files every 30 seconds We allocated 2 GB RAM to each hosted virtual desktop and used the Login VSI parameters in addition to the medium workload: 130 ms per character type rate Reduced idle time to 40 seconds We used 20 instances of the Login VSI launcher to generate the application workloads described in the table below, using locally installed applications and increasing workspaces to determine the optimum number the solution can support with acceptable user experience. Table 13: Application workloads Application Microsoft Outlook Internet Explorer Microsoft Word Microsoft Excel Microsoft PowerPoint Bullzip PDF Printer and Acrobat Reader 7-Zip Notepad Workload Browse 10 messages Leave one instance continuously open and continuously browse a second instance Measure response time for one instance; review and edit document in a second instance Open a very large randomized spreadsheet Review and edit one presentation Print Microsoft Word document to PDF and review in Acrobat Reader Use the CLI to zip all session output Open and print a file 26

27 Metrics We measured response times for the following transactions: Transaction Refresh (RFS) Load Open Notepad Print Find Zip Description Copy a random document, a PowerPoint file, and an Outlook file from the server to the local drive Launch Microsoft Word Open a Microsoft Word document Launch Notepad Print a Notepad file Find a term within a Notepad file Zips a random PowerPoint file EMC Unisphere We collected storage processor data from EMC Unisphere, which is used to manage the VNX array. vsphere vcenter Server We collected XenApp Server CPU and memory utilization data from vcenter Server. XenDesktop We tested the deployment using Login VSI to launch and run the applications listed in the previous table using VSI launcher clients hosted on a separate LUN so as not to interfere with performance testing and validation. During testing we measured CPU utilization, memory utilization, storage processor utilization, and application response times. Test procedure We used the following test procedure to ensure consistent results: Before each test, all desktop VMs and clients were cleanly started. All desktop VMs and client launchers were idled until start up services on the operating system settled down and memory and CPU on the launchers showed no utilization. Test Phase: At least two Login VSI loops were executed in each active session. Logoff: All users logged off after VSI completion. 27

28 Test run reports and data were generated. All desktop VMs and clients were shut down. Results and analysis Summary In all validations, CPU, memory, storage processor, and application response times were within acceptable ranges, validating 140 MCS hosted virtual desktops, 110 PVS hosted virtual desktops, and 300 XenApp hosted shared desktops per Cisco UCS B200 M3 blade. Type Desktop count ESXi CPU (%) ESXi memory (GB) XenApp Server CPU (%) XenApp Server memory (GB) Storage (%) Application response time (ms) PVS <10 <900 MCS persistent MCS nonpersistent <10 < <20 <700 XenApp <5 <4,000 28

29 Individual test results CPU and memory utilization CPU and memory were within acceptable ranges of ~90% for this solution. Figure 3: CPU and memory validation results for XenDesktop and XenApp 29

30 Storage processor utilization Storage processor performance ranged from less than 5% to less than 20%, well below our goal of less than 50%. Figure 4: MCS persistent virtual desktop 140-user storage processor utilization Figure 5: MCS non-persistent virtual desktop 140-user storage processor utilization 30

31 Figure 6: PVS non-persistent virtual desktop 110-user storage processor utilization Figure 7: XenApp 300-user storage processor utilization 31

32 Application response times Application response times were well below our target of 4,000 ms for all XenDesktop deployments and below our target of 4,000 ms for the XenApp deployment. Figure 8: XenDesktop application response times Figure 9: XenApp application response time Maximum capacity testing After completing validation for 140 MCS hosted virtual desktops, 110 PVS hosted virtual desktops, and 300 XenApp hosted shared desktops, we increased to 150 and 120 XenDesktop hosted virtual desktops, and 320 XenApp hosted shared desktops and recorded the following results. Many of the figures are 32

33 within the % range, indicating this is near the maximum a single Cisco UCS B200 M3 can support on a Vblock 320. Table 14: Maximum capacity results Type Desktop count ESXi CPU (%) ESXi memory (GB) XenApp Server CPU (%) XenApp Server memory (GB) Storage (%) Application response time (ms) PVS <20 <900 MCS persistent MCS nonpersistent <10 < <20 <700 XenApp <20 <4,000 Scaling example You can scale resources for larger XenDesktop and XenApp deployments on Vblock Systems. For example, based on our validation results you can host 1,000 XenDesktop hosted virtual desktops or XenApp hosted shared desktops on a Vblock Systems 320 with VNX 5500 using the following components. Component MCS PVS XenApp Cisco UCS B200 M3 blades for virtual desktops Cisco UCS B200 M3 blades for management (n+1) 2 (n+1) 2 (n+1) Controllers (VM) 2 (n+1) 2 (n+1) 2 (n+1) SQL Server databases (VM) Storage 18 TB NFS data store 2.5 TB write cache 500 GB vdisk repository 2 TB shared file systems used for profiles 10 TB shared file systems used for user data management 18 TB FC LUN 2 TB shared file systems used for profiles 10 TB shared file systems used for user data management 2 TB FC LUN 2 TB shared file systems used for profiles 10 TB shared file systems used for user data management XenApp Servers (VM) NA NA 20 33

34 Component MCS PVS XenApp Web interfaces (VM) 2 (n+1) 2 (n+1) 2 (n+1) 34

35 Conclusion The Vblock Solution for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp provides service providers and organizations a high-level architectural description with detailed design considerations for providing Citrix hosted and virtual shared desktops on a Vblock Systems 320. Using a building block approach, we validated this solution on a single Cisco UCS B200 M3 and have provided sample scaling recommendations for a 1,000-desktop deployment example. This solution provides intelligent and optimal resource utilization, enterprise-class user experience for medium workloads, and HA for rapid failover in the event of physical server failure. Next steps To learn more about this and other solutions, contact a VCE representative or visit 35

36 About VCE VCE, formed by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel, accelerates the adoption of converged infrastructure and cloud-based computing models that dramatically reduce the cost of IT while improving time to market for our customers. VCE, through Vblock Systems, delivers the industry's only fully integrated and fully virtualized cloud infrastructure system. VCE solutions are available through an extensive partner network, and cover horizontal applications, vertical industry offerings, and application development environments, allowing customers to focus on business innovation instead of integrating, validating, and managing IT infrastructure. For more information, go to All rights reserved. VCE, Vblock, VCE Vision, and the VCE logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of VCE Company, LLC. and/or its affiliates in the United States or other countries. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

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