A client of mine has asked me to spec up a solution for the following:
2 X ESX servers - with load balance and fail over
VDI for up to 60 static desktops
There is more specific details but for my question that information should do. My question is:
Can anyone recommend what components I need to put this in place? I have plenty of VMWare ESX experience at virtualising Servers but I haven't got into the VDI side of things. I am also spec'ing up MS Hyper-V too and hoping someone might give me pros and cons there too?
I don't have VDI implemented yet, but we are preparing us into it. As far as I am aware, VMware recommends, that max count of Virtual Desktop is 8/core, so if You have 2cpu 4-core, then one ESX host should handle ~64 Virtual Desktops.
I will have more official information on 5th of march, as we will have VMware/Citrix presentation on site lead by VMware/Citrix representatives about VDI/XEN solution for desktops.
They will only want to put VIEW or VDI machines on this cluster correct? I have had performance issues trying to run View Pools alongs side production machines.
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Product wise look at the VMware View bundles. You will neeed VMware ESX Enterprise (or Foundation w/HA) + VMware View . Some bundles exist.
Hosts however. You may want to look at some quad quad core as 60 workstations may push dual quad cores. Also look at the amount of memory involved for each instance.
Other hardware would be the desktop involved. If those already exist then you need the VMware View client else you may be looking at a desktop refresh as well.
Other options can be using something like NComputings L230 device or similar. Since you are static VMs you can go with other connection brokers as well.
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Are you looking to virtualise any server workloads, or is it just VDI?
If just VDI, I would go with the following...
2 servers, 4-way quad core / 32-64GB / 8nics - should do nicely with plenty of headroom
NICS / Memory is all so cheap
Use VMware View Composer with the linked clone technology (VMware quotes 35% uplift in performance due to caching benefits + up to 80% reduction in storage)
the SAN or Unified storage platform design you choose for your given workloads is the most critical decision... and flexibility/scalability is key
Personally, my two cents - I am a big fan of tiering protocols as well as storage - especially when mixing VMs with various IO workloads.
For storage I prefer a unified storage platform - offers all the goodies (FC/iSCSI/NFS) - greatest flexibility, and tier your storage
CIFS is extremely handy in VDI / View as it gives you the flexibility of folder redirection (eg. My documents)
The reason I like tiering...
If your IO requirement is low-mid, you can select ip based connectivity (iSCSI / NFS) with slower (cheaper) disk
If your IO requirement is mid-high - FC on faster (more expensive) disk
hope this helps
Disks are very important when designing for view. As disks grow larger, and especially with cloning technology (which saves even more disk space), you could put for example 100 desktops on 300GB spindles in RAID1 with easy, STORAGE-wise. But think of it: 100 users are going to pund on these two disks... It is just not going to work. So you also have to figure out how many users you put on a single disk. Differences in number of IOPS between SATA and SAS/FC 15K disks is also huge... So try to use more smaller, fast disks (which is a best practice for every situation which requires high disk I/O counts). 36GB-15K on sale anywhere???
64 users is a very small amount for View, so it is not likely you'll see issues. Just make sure you do not put too many users on too slow disks and you'll do fine. Look at RAID10, since RAID5 probably makes you waste space anyway while you could gain the advantage of RAID10 for free (since you are probably designing for performance not capacity).
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With all being said, I would added another storage solution is NetApp is great choice for VDI purposes with deduplication and Flexclone where you can clone your volumn nicely especially duplicate thousands of VDI XP clients scenario. But in this case, 60 VDI clients wouldn't be much so it can be done manually with linked clone technology from VMware View Composer. I would think about buying 2 large ESX hosts or 3 medium ESX hosts just to cover N+1 design failure. Both options are fine with 60 VDI and I would give them 512MB RAM for each XP client and it works fine and increase as demand.
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