The Virtualization Practice

Desktop Virtualization

Desktop Virtualization covers VDI (centrally hosted desktops), Desktops as a Service (DaaS), desktop virtualization via client side hypervisors, and shared server technologies. Major areas of focus include when and where centralized desktop offerings are appropriate and not appropriate, ...
how management of remote desktops combined with management of mobile devices leads to a better managed and more productive end user computing environment, how to deliver the performance that end users require, and the impacts of using remote desktop technologies upon organizational security. Covered products and vendors include the VMware Horizon Suite, Horizon View, Horizon Mirage, VMware ThinApp, Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenClient, and Microsoft Remote Data Services.

Like a new college student, fresh from the flush of new found freedom to expand their horizons, Citrix appear to have had a case of the munchies. First Citrix’s portfolio was extended with the acquitisition of Kaviza. More recently, the purchase of RingCube. The desktop virtualisation techhnologies acquired will help strengthen Citrix’s virtualised desktop offering. VDI-in-a-box offering simplicity of deployment, providing options for the SMB and MSP spaces; and vDesk providing a layering functionality giving greater VDI scalability with an improved personalisation offering.

VMware view to release RTO profile solution. Is this lagging behind Citrix who have bought Ringcube? View now has profile management – but that isn’t user virtualisation. Does VDI need User Virtualization, or does User Virtualization need VDI? User Virtualization has the capacity to extend across desktop delivery boundaries because the user workspace, their applications and data are no longer bound to the desktop OS. Solutions available from vendors such as AppSense, UniDesk and RES. To deliver virtual desktops for the enterprise, it is not simply a case of managing profile load time better: many users need greater customisation than a shared desktop can deliver. In an enterprise environment VDI is not the only method of delivering desktops. A complete user virtualization solution needs to be able to accommodate, not only centralised hosted desktops, but off-line use as well and standard desktops.

Windows boot IO and storage performance impact on VDI

With Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) initiatives adoption being a popular theme associated with cloud and dynamic infrastructure environments a related discussion point is the impact on networks, servers and storage during boot or startup activity to avoid bottlenecks. VDI solution vendors include Citrix, Microsoft and VMware along with various server, storage, networking and management tools vendors.

A common storage and network related topic involving VDI are boot storms when many workstations or desktops all startup at the same time. However any discussion around VDI and its impact on networks, servers and storage should also be expanded from read centric boots to write intensive shutdown or maintenance activity as well.

VMware has made significant changes to the recently announced vRAM based pricing. The single most significant change is that potential barriers to the virtualization of memory intensive business critical applications have been eliminated by ensuring that no application no matter how big can cause a charge of more than 96GB to be levied against the pool of available vRAM.

One of the reduced criticisms of View, and one of the most frequent weapons used against it, has been the relatively poor performance characteristics of PCoIP across high latency low bandwidth WAN connections. Until today, VMware has been following the standard line of denying there is a problem until you are able to solve it. Now, solution in hand Vittorio Viarengo, VMware’s head of all things desktop (officially Vice President, End User Computing)is willing to share Gartner’s perspective on View’s strengths and weaknesses.

Performance Management for Desktop Virtualization (VDI) and Presentation Virtualization (SBC)

Ovum’s research found that desktop virtualization currently represents approximately 15% of the business PC market. However, this figure is dominated by the Presentation Virtualization model (12%), typically used in call datacenter-type environments, and has been for the last 10 years. If PV/terminal services are excluded, the next generation of solutions aimed at CIOs, from the likes of Citrix, Quest and VMware, hold less then 3% of the market, showing that many CIOs are holding back from taking the plunge.

With the announcement of vSphere 5.0, VMware has kept its word on only having VMware ESXi for the physical host operating system. This is the first release of vSphere with just VMware ESXi as an option. I must admit that I was not a big fan of the concept when it was introduced as an option in the 3.x days. I had a very slick automated process in place that was one of my pride and joys at the moment and VMware ESXi was just lagging behind in functionality compared to what I was able to do with VMware ESX. My attitude started to change with the release of VMware ESX 4.1 as presented in an earlier post and now that vSphere 5.0 is announced I must admit that I think VMware has gone about this process of a cutover to ESXi quite well and the functionality that is presented in this release is quite impressive.