need some idea to implement VDI project

Hi people,

Apart from replacing the old aging desktop fleet hardware, what are other scenario where VDI can be helpful ?

at the moment I can only think about replacing the dedicated DR suite in the offsite location with the VDI so that the user can connect to the DR desktop from virtually anywhere with Internet connection.

Any kind of help and response would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Software, Applications and OS updates are quicker and easier to roll out, lack of support required, lack of maintenance.
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Tony JLead Technical ArchitectCommented:
I'd be asking a more fundamental question of why you think VDI fits the use case?

If all you're after are published desktops then you can do this with far less complexity, much lower cost and simpler management with a simple RDS farm behind an RDS web gateway.

Unless you run applications that, for example, require a desktop OS and simply won't run on RDS then you may have a use case that is valid.

Alternatively, if you have a very low user count then a free solution such as XenDesktop Express from Citrix may be viable.

Sure, Hanccocka makes some valid points but they're equally - perhaps more - valid with RDS.

Lack of support - well it may be that users are more easily acclimatised to a VDI environment because it is, after all, a desktop they will still access it differently to what they're used to and backend support can be more costly and problematic due to the extra components and complexity.

Rather than trying to fit your scenario to the technology you need to ask the question of what you want to achieve and then select the relevant technology to go with it.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would also check the following Whitepaper, which compares and contrasts VDI...

http://www.pqr.com/images/stories/Downloads/whitepapers/vdi%20smackdown.pdf

(you will need to register for above, but it's worth the registration and download!)

http://www.wtslabs.com/Downloads/TSAtoZ.pdf
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the quick reply, what I'm trying to achieve now is to get rid of the dedicated off site DR suite which is currently sitting outside of the city far away in a suburbs with around 40-60 workstations which is now about 3 years old. paying this building lease itself is costing me more than $100k per year.

So my goal here is to simplify the DR process by eliminating the traditional DR scenario where users must be in that offsite DR suite.

my current idea is to implement Citrix VDI - XenDesktop so that user can access the environment through any internet capable PC.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Yes, I have read the VDI smackdown doco, it sounds great to implement VDI.

one other scenario that I can think of is to replace the current Windows Server 2003 terminal server which is used by 20 users at the same time configured as 2x Unicast NLB cluster nodes.

replacing 16x Windows XP VM which is currently used as jump boxes for remote vendor support to our business critical application. Highly secure Windows XP SOE with tight GPO and strict firewall rule access on each VM.

so if anyone can or know any good reason on top of that examples, feel free to share it here.

Thanks
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What you also need to remember is you will also need 2x as many Windows OS Licenses, if accessing from a Windows PC.

Or are you thinking of replacing all with Zero or Thin Clients?

16 PCs - it's very high cost to implement VDI for 16 VMs.

It would be easier just to create 16 VMs, and ask users to RDP to them.
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Casey HermanCitrix EngineerCommented:
You could probably roll out VDI in a box and all the bells and whistles that go with it. Its a lot cheaper to implement.  

My gripe with VDI is it seems to be resource intensive. It is truly dynamic though. We had looked at it for our operation and it was going to take extra hardware to give our users a good experience. We have always been a citrix shop and I used to be a hater until I truly learned how everything worked.

We found that we could deploy less hardware needed to run a Published Desktop on Xenapp 6.5. So we went that route.

We are 99.9 percent virtualized and we have about 15 pc's in the entire company. The rest are HP thin clients for our 2000+ user base. Kinda nice to drop ship a thin client and it auto configures the entire device via DHCP. So the user can unbox it (brand new), set it up and once they see the xenapp login, they can put their creds in and go. Without me touching anything.  (I work hard to be lazy)

Application streaming into the published desktop has been an amazing feature that we are really enjoying. (Install once and deploy as a portable application to the published desktops)

You can do something similar with Remote desktop services and Remote app via RDS. Not saying you have to drink the citrix koolaid but if you have the budget for it and take your time, I think it is the better option.

Just my 2 cents..

-Casey
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basrajCommented:
VDI is not for all everyone. You have to do it based on the use-cases. Remember you would need more storage compared to shared desktops. Also the big showstopper is MS VDA licenses. If you are using 10 THin client or BYOD devices then you may need that much VDA licenses. So you have to plan accordingly based on your use-cases.
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compdigit44Commented:
To add onto basraj's comment reagarding storage...

VDI deployments generate a lot of I/O do to the nature in which user interact with a desktop OS like WIndows 7 or 8

I would suggest you work with your storage vendor to calcite your current storage IOPS's and future IOPS's require with VDI.
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Casey HermanCitrix EngineerCommented:
XenServer supposedly has some magic juice that is supposed to be able to store the image for VDI in ram for deployment but I have not tried this myself as we are a vmware shop. The IOPS are definitely and issue due to "Boot-Storming" and other factors.
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compdigit44Commented:
What type of SAN do you have??? Also have many disks per enclosure
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
I have the old EMC CX4-240 array and also the newer model EMC VNX 5300 array.

yes It does have 15 disk per DAE ranging from 7200 rpm SATA-II up to 15k rpm FC-SAN
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compdigit44Commented:
No offence but 15K FC drive are not going to give you the IOPS to full support a VDI environment
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
So should I use SSD and data deduplication at the Block level ?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We DeDupe at the Block Level it's very efficient, we also use SSD technology for VDI.

We've been using and deploying/implenting Fusion-IO products since 2008/2009, Fusion-IO have come along way, and now their products are OEM and rebranded by HP and Dell.

We have been using the IO-DriveDuo 640GB, sized accordingly for the number of VDI desktops required.

http://www.fusionio.com/products/iodrive-duo/

Dell R810 - 128GB 24 Cores - 80 to 100 Concurrent VMs per host
FusionIO IO-DriveDuo 640GB
(~200,000 IOPS and >800MB/s throughput per card)
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compdigit44Commented:
Ideally you should have your storage vendor or HP, Dell etc.. come in and evaulate your environment and give you recommendations on a VDI storage solution that would best fit your needs and future growth.
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Casey HermanCitrix EngineerCommented:
On you VNX 5300 can you add the FastCache and FastVP pieces to it?  That will give you the IO you need.

To be honest here. This was a major factor in why I set things up the way I did for our company. We went the Xenapp route and I publish a full desktop. So I have a bunch of virtual 2008 r2 servers that supply the desktop.  Way less resources needed.  With the user experience features installed user gets a windows 7 looking desktop.  It is very fast since once a user loads an application it gets cached for all users. For example, outlook.

Here is a video I made of a brand new out of the box wyse zero client logging into the desktop.  There is a DHCP option that tells the wyse client where to get its config. We since have ditched the wyse units and bought HP but it works the same for the hp clients. We just ship them to the site and DHCP configures the client automatically. Then once they get a login screen the just log in. It is really sweet to be honest. This setup allows passthrough of flash drives, printers, scanners, and webcams. The local server drives are locked down other than actual network drives that are mapped via policy.  So this is a published desktop within xenapp 6.5.

Xenapp 6.5 Published Desktop on Wyse Zero client

-Casey
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Wow. I've never thought that before.

Smart idea, because this is for just 40-50 users login at the same time during the DR test scenario, I guess using Windows Server 2008 R2 RDS + Citrix XenApp is supposedly cheaper to host it on Vmware ESXi 5.1

So how about the licensing pricing in overall ?

Microsoft Windows 7 desktop OS + VDA license vs. Windows Server 2008 R2 / 2012 RDS CAL
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What do your users require RDS (sessions) or VDI (virtual machines) ?
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Casey HermanCitrix EngineerCommented:
40-50 users I would run about 3-4 windows server 2008 r2 VM's and 1 for the zone data collector and web interface. You should have more than that to make the controllers more redundant but budget generally comes into play. If you want remote access you can add a pair of virtual netscaler vpx's to the mix they can do other stuff besides citrix and can load balance things like exchange and websites. The desktops servers should have something close to this 2 cores and 16 gig of ram.

Xenapp - Windows server 2008 licenses, RDS cals for 50 users. 50 user cals, 50 Citrix licensing is per user.Licensing for office for that many users if you are running office or outlook. If you have citrix of any flavor they will do a trade up on licenses.

So the VDI model will use a license for 50 win 7 boxes, plus user 50 cals, 50 vdi cals (if memory serves) 50 licenses for office.

To quote me exactly for that but that is close to what you will have to get!

Microsoft gives you a discount for virtualizing too.

The licensing game sucks but when you get it all straightened out, you are done with it.

Tips for doing this...

There is a windows optimization guide that you can follow for tweaking the servers on citrix's site.  Apply all these settings via group policy, including registry hacks. Work hard to be lazy.. trust me you will appreciate this method.

Create a vm template "Golden image" that when you update a piece of software or a feature, that the template contains the update. Snapshots are valuable to have on the templates. You can snapshot the server then sysprep and xenapp prep the template with everything installed. Then clone it. The clone will be a new sysprep'd / xenapp prep'd the server. IF a server ever breaks you can destroy it and redeploy another server easily. Assign a name, join it, start the ica services and it will be ready to go once the printer driver replication takes place. Assign it to its application and you are done. If you need to update the template, revert the snapshot before the sysprep. Upgrade what you need too. Snapshot it, Re-sysprep and xenprep it. shut it down. take a snapshot this is your new image now. Delete the oldest snapshot.

Keep your printers simple. IE try to have all hp printers with a hp universal drive for example. Then you only need one driver. You can use powershell to replicate other drivers.

Disable chimney offloading in the template. This sends network processing straight to the CPU vs the emulated NIC and cuts a bunch of overhead.  I would do this on the profile file servers as well.

Install office with the "setup /admin" and create a admin file to be installed with that copy of office. This admin file will contain all the information needed to connect to your email server and saves a lot of hassle.  So when you are done you can run "Setup /adminfile \\fileserver\adminfilelocation\adminfile.msp"  You can configure as much or as little as you want with this method including the key to be used with office.

Use the citrix Universal Profile manager. This in combination with roaming profiles goes for a good user experience no matter where they are logged in.
article on that Citrix Profile management and Roaming profiles
Seperate your citrix user profile location from your roaming profile location.
Then if something happens you can just delete the citrix profile and all their files and favorites are still there the next time they log in even though they had all of their custom settings reset.


Disable hardware graphics rending in all office products, Internet explorer and whatever else via a GPO pushed reg hack. (Unless you have a GPU card that vmware can access)

In that video there were 20 people logged into that server for testing. All with published desktops. I can watch 1080p video via HDX technology. (I played the transformers 2 trailer a lot on youtube.. )

The above things will contribute to a good experience.

-Casey
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
What do your users require RDS (sessions) or VDI (virtual machines) ?

i believe he users don't really care as long as they can resume their daily activity during the DR situation, so in this case I assume that the Windows Server 2008 R2 with RDS, the app can then delivered by Citrix XenDesktop while enabling some compatibility mode for the old legacy terminal application which talks to the mainframe.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would opt for RDS (sessions) in a DR situation, this is what we have setup for many companies, for DR at new offices. (in case the offices were also destroyed!).
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Tony JLead Technical ArchitectCommented:
I said RDS in my very first answer. Why overcomplicate it?

You could put in RDS servers and if you want an RDS web gateway. Users can log onto the gateway and get their RDS connections.

You can even effectively load balance RDS these days.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks !
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