So this is the Million Dollar Question, right? You, along with the executives sponsoring your particular VDI project wanna know: How many desktops can I run on that blade? It’s funny how such an “it depends” question becomes a benchmark for various vendors blades, including said vendor here.
Well, for the purpose of this discussion series, the goal here is not to reach some maximum number by spending hours in the lab tweaking various knobs and dials of the underlying infrastructure. The goal of this overall series is to see what happens to the number of sessions as we change various aspects of the compute: CPU Speed/Cores, Memory Speed and capacity. Our series posts are as follows:
You are Invited! If you’ve been enjoying our blog series, please join us for a free webinar discussing the VDI Missing Questions, with Doron, Shawn and myself (Jason)! Access the webinar here!
But for the purpose of this question, let’s look simply at the scaling numbers at the appropriate amount of RAM for the the VDI count we will achieve (e.g. no memory overcommit) and maximum allowed memory speed (1600MHz).
As Doron already revealed in question 1, we did find some maximum numbers in our test environment. Other than the customized Cisco ESX build on the hosts, and tuning our Windows 7 template per VMware’s View Optimization Guide for Windows 7, the VMware View 5.1.1 environment was a fairly default build out designed for simplicity of testing, not massive scale. We kept unlogged VMs in reserve like you would in the real world to facilitate the ability for users to login in quickly…yes that may affect some theoretical maximum number you could get out of the system, but again…not the goal.
And the overall test results look a little something like this:
E5-2643 Virtual Desktops
E5-2665 Virtual Desktops
As explained in Question 1, cores really do matter…but even then, surprisingly the two CPUs are neck and neck in the race until around 40 VM mark. Then the 2 vCPU desktops on the quad core CPU really take a turn for the worse:
When a VM has two (or more) vCPUs, the hypervisor must find two (or more) physical cores to plant the VM on for execution within a fairly strict timeframe to keep that VM’s multiple vCPUs in sync.
MULTIPLE vCPU VMS ARE NOT FREE!
Multiple vCPUs create a constraint that takes time for the hypervisor to sort out every time it makes a scheduling decision, not to mention you simply have more cores allocated for hypervisor to schedule for the same number of sessions: DOUBLE that of the one vCPU VM. Only way to fix this issue is with more cores.
That said: the 2 vCPU VMs continue to scale consistently on the E5-2665 with its double core count to the E5-2643. At around the 85 session mark, the even the E5-2665 can no longer provide a consistent experience with 2vCPU VDI sessions running. I’ll stop here and jump off that soap box…we’ll dig more into the multiple vCPU virtual desktop configuration in a later question (hint hint hint)…
Now let’s take a look at the more traditional VDI desktop: the 1 vCPU VM:
With the quad-core E5-2643, performance holds strong until around the 60 session mark, then latency quickly builds as the 4000ms threshold is hit at 81 sessions. But look at the trooper that the E5-2665 is though! Follow its 1 vCPU scaling line in the chart and all those cores show a very consistent latency line up to around the 100 session mark, where then it becomes somewhat less consistent to the 4000ms VSImax of 130. 130 responsive systems on a single server! I remember when it was awesome to get 15 or so systems going on a dual socket box 10 or so years ago, and we are at 10x the quantity today!
Let’s say you want to impose harsher limits to your environment. You’ve got a pool of users that are a bit more sensitive to response time than others (like your executive sponsors!). 4000ms response time may be too much and you want to halve that to 2000ms. According to our test scenario, the E5-2665 can STILL sustain around 100 sessions before the scaling becomes a bit more erratic in this workload simulation.
Logic would suggest half the response time may mean half the sessions, but that simply isn’t the case as shown here. We reach Point of Chaos (POC!) where there is very inconsistent response times and behaviors as we continue to add sessions. In other words: It does not take many more desktop sessions in a well running environment that is close to the “compute cliff” before the latency doubles and your end users are not happy. But on the plus side, and assuming storage I/O latency isn’t an issue, our testing shows that you do not need to drop that many sessions from each individual server in your cluster to rapidly recover session response time as well.
So in conclusion, the E5-2643, with its high clock speed and lower core count, is best suited for smaller deployments of less than 80 desktops per blade. The E5-2665, with its moderate clock speed and higher core count, is best suited for larger deployments of greater than 100 desktops per blade.
Next up…what is the minimum amount of normalized CPU SPEC does a virtual desktop need?
Tags: citrix, cpu, UCS, vdi, virtual desktop, virtualization, VMware, vxi
By Leszek Izdebski, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)
The past few years have brought sweeping transformation to television—a trend that will only accelerate in the coming decade. Following up on a 2011 study on the future of television, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) recently examined the ways disruptive technology and user behavior trends are impacting TV advertising. We identified four major trends that will transform advertising and the viewer experience.
1. Channels Will Go Away
While we do not believe that all future distribution will be through on-demand unicast technologies, consumers will not think about “channels” as the means of accessing programming. Adoption of video on demand, Intelligent Programming Guides and personal video recorders (PVRs) is shifting viewing from linear broadcasts on a TV screen to a multiscreen, multi-device, multi-modal, on-my-schedule, user-controlled experience. Brands and networks will no longer be able to ensure that ads placed in specific episodes will have sufficient audience reach. This behavioral shift will force advertisers to focus on new forms of addressable advertising: Read More »
Tags: 3D printers, ad buying, advertising, branded entertainment, channels, Cisco, haptics, IBSG, interactive, marketing, multiscreen, on-demand, Personalization, product placement, Service Provider, targeted, television, user involvement, video
In the world of fashion, one-size-fits all has very limited appeal. People come in all shapes and sizes, with tastes, preferences, and needs that are equally diverse. So too are the diverse approaches and use cases that are driving interest in Software Defined Networking (SDN), automation, simplification, orchestration, and other solutions. Service providers are exploring technologies for more efficient, flexible, and cost-efficient network operations that will in turn make their businesses more agile and competitive.
Last year at Cisco Live in San Diego, Cisco introduced a broad vision and strategy ̶ The Cisco Open Network Environment ̶ an evolutionary approach that not only includes SDN but also encompasses an array of solutions, products, and technologies that are applicable to most, if not all, use cases that are much broader than what SDN alone could address. Since then, as part of our “Build, Buy, and Partner” strategy, we have announced newly developed technologies and products accompanied by strategic company acquisitions that add tools to enhance visibility, orchestration, programmability, and other capabilities to Cisco offerings.
At the end of January at Cisco Live in London 2013, we discussed a variety of solutions that we are working on with service providers to start their journey toward making their networks more programmable. From custom routing and traffic processing, to security applications and automation of fulfillment and assurance, here are just a few of the use cases explored and implemented by early adopters of our technologies that were discussed: Read More »
Tags: Open Network Environment, SDN, Service Provider, software defined networking
Hills, hills and more hills but the view is amazing and does everyone here have a device tracking them? Stream of consciousness, yes, and my thoughts after participating in last weekend’s Coastal Trail Run along with 599 other runners.
Race bib with chip on the back that tracks runners progress.
Most of whom were connected to some sort of device to help track their progress or just to communicate with family and friends during their race. Whether it was an iPhone app that syncs a playlist and shows your progress, some kind of satellite tracking device like a Garmin watch or just the simple bib with the tracking device right in it – all runners were connected. As soon as I got on the shuttle bus that took us to the start line I saw several people snapping photos because not only are runners more connected now than ever before but they also share their experience on social media sites. You could say it’s a way to keep them honest and seek out encouragement as they continue to train for the next race.
Tracking chip on back of race bib
High Tech Athletic Gear
The gear everyone was wearing was also laced with technology. Compression socks, Kinesio tape, every kind of contraption to hold water you can think of and running tights to stay warm. My Dad used to run and constantly tells me, “We didn’t have all that stuff you have now, I used to cut the feet out of your Mom’s pantyhose to stay warm.” Well Dad – we’ve got all that “stuff” now and so much more. For example, the Connected Athlete, which is a simple shoe insole one can use to track activity all day long. The Connected Athlete leverages the Cisco Intelligent Network and ACM Systems’ smart-insole wireless sensor technology, to help improve an athlete’s performance and reduce the chance of injury. So you don’t need a gadget strapped to you at all times, with this technology you can really get a sense of your activity throughout the day just by putting the insole in your shoe. The gear athletes wear to improve performance is constantly changing and improving. Just this week the Warriors announced the players will be wearing new compression style short-sleeved uniforms that will apparently allow for optimal performance.
View during Coastal Trail Run
Times Have Changed
Yes, times have changed, and the way technology is used to enhance an athlete’s performance will continue to evolve. But the end result stays the same- at least for me. Running helps clear the mind, it’s an excellent cardio workout, it helps lower blood pressure and at the same time I get to experience views like this and then turn around and share it with family and friends through a social networking site.
Tags: connected athlete, network