Newbie -- Xendesktop 5 -- What do I need

I have a client who wants to setup an office using virtual desktops.  He has a beefed up server (8 cores, 48GB RAM & SAN).  

This will be a create everything from scratch environment.

I need to know what I will need to implement this in a LAN only environment, and also for future growth, a WAN environment.

How many servers will I need (i.e. AD Server, etc...), will I need the Gateway (?) for LAN only implementation..

Lost and want to get caught up to speed very quickly as he is calling tomorrow for my input.

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This is a huge topic honestly and the first question needs to be if you need XenDesktop or if XenApp or Remote Desktop will do for you.  Though to answer your question:

-You need Active Directory.
-You'll need at least one Desktop Delivery Controller, which can be a VM.
-You will likely want to use Provisioning Services requiring at least one server, preferably physical.
-You'll need some sort of hypervisor (XenServer, VMWare, or Hyper-V).
-You might want XenApp to augment application delivery options.
-You don't need a Gateway for LAN only access, only for users access off your network.
-There are a few infrastructure servers you'll need: Web Interface and License server, both of which can be virtual machines.
-Most of these require a SQL database, so you are looking at SQL Express at a minimum though better to go with SQL.
kurtbmillerAuthor Commented:
Wow.  That's alot of servers.  Doesn't seem like a cost savings for 30 workstations when you have to build this kind of infracture.  But he is insistent on this possibility.

FWIW - My background is that I have virtualized servers using VMWare server (free windows server) and use VMWare Desktop frequently.

Sounds like I need a physical server for:

AD server
Provisioning Server (don't know what this is)
Hypervisor (have to buy XenServer on top of XenDesktop?)
Virtual Server

On the VM Server:
- Desktop Delivery Controller Server
- licensing server
- web Interface server
- SQL server (probably have to go SQL express at first)

Hypervisor --  not sure what you mean by this.  Is this the machine that the XenDesktop server runs off?

Sorry -- I'm being called in at the top of the ninth and we are down by 2 runs. I.E. - I've got a big challenge here.

Provisioning Services is used to stream operating systems to physical or virtual servers from a single golden image offering agility and consistency.  Will these 30 VMs be static (will users be allowed to modify) or read only?

The hypervisor is used to host virtualized machines (desktops or servers).  You don't necessarily need a physical server for AD as it can be virtualized.  If you buy XenDesktop you'll receive XenServer along with it.

I'm not sure the investment is worth it for 30 machines.  Have you looked at XenApp or Remote Desktop?
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kurtbmillerAuthor Commented:
The clients for the most part would not need to change their environment as it's for a doctors office EMR solution.

He would like to have a couple of desktop scenarios.  Some with OpenOffice, some with MS Office, etc...  Perhaps this is where the ZenApp server comes into play?  

His basic goal is to minimize his support costs long term, and possibly to bring remote offices inboard with this solution down the road utilizing a WAN solution.

If he went With RDP he needs To purchase a low end destip regardless and I think he was hoping to avoid that and go with wyse terminals.

I don't know anything about XenApp server or what it even does.

If you were in my shoes, how many physical servers would you purchase (knowing he has the one already)?  And for the server that will host the Virtual, is the free edition of VMWare Server acceptable?


With XD5 you don't necessarily need PVS to handle read only VMs.  MCS is an option as well, though it puts more strain on your hypervisor storage.

If I was building this solution from the ground up I would do PVS necessitating at least one physical server.  The rest I would virtualize.  

I don't know enough about VMWare to tell you that answer.  I'm sure it would work, though you are likely losing some features; perhaps VMotion, which is important in a virtualized environment.  Keep in mind, if you buy XenDesktop you'll get Xenserver licensing.
kurtbmillerAuthor Commented:
I guess I am confused.  How would you virtualized servers without VMWare?  Is XenServer an alternative to VMWare Server?

PVS is the provisioning services, correct?  Does this server have to be a beefy one?

Can the XenServer fulfill the Virtualization of the AD server, the XD5 Server, and the rest all at once?  I guess that is where I am most confused.

I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel as far as what does what, and how it would physically be setup.

Yep, XenServer and Hyper-V are alternatives to VMWare.

PVS is Provisioning Services.  PVS needs RAM and multiple network interfaces typically divided in to two VLANs.

XenServer can handle the virtualization of AD, the XD infrastructure, and the XenApp infrastructure.

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kurtbmillerAuthor Commented:
Yuck.  VLans?  Seen them but never set them up (yet).  

Thanks for all the assistance tonight.

Based on your input, it sounds like we could install XenServer on his beefed up machine, buy a decent server for the PVS, and go for broke, utilizing a handful of virtual servers.  Shouldn't be too terrible once I sit down and actually get it all configured.

Thanks again.
You really want to use VLANs with PVS to isolate your streaming traffic.  It isn't a necessity, though it is best practice.  It sounds more complex than it really is.  Once you start playing around with it the pieces will come together.
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