Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center and Cloud

VDI “The Missing Questions” #5: How does 1vCPU scale compared to 2vCPU’s?

More and more this novel idea of user classifications and workload profiles is being used to separate VDI user allocations. I’ve worked with many customers who prefer to stack rank their users based on the importance of their role/job function and the typical applications that user needs in their role as a means to (hopefully) gain a more appropriate VDI resource allocation. Again – this is a great idea and a good excuse for organizations to take a long hard look at their users and the applications they use day to day.

In case you are finding this blog for the first time, we have been attempting to defy blog physics and host a series of blogs – this requires the use of a manually updated table of contents:

  1. VDI “The Missing Questions” #6: What do you really gain from a 2vCPU virtual desktop? 
  2. VDI “The Missing Questions” #7:  How memory bus speed affects scale
  3. VDI “The Missing Questions” #8: How does memory density affect VDI scalability?
  4. VDI “The Missing Questions” #9: How many storage IOPs?

You are Invited!  If you’ve been enjoying our blog series, please join us for a free webinar discussing the VDI Missing Questions, with Tony, Doron, Shawn and Jason!  Access the webinar here!

Most of the time the three main items separating user classes are:

  1. vCPU quantity
  2. Memory allocation
  3. Disk space

The first sort of pitfall that I see occasionally is too much granularity in the workload profiles. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a good view into your users and applications that you see the need to support and manage 5 different user classifications – that’s great news! But most of the time it comes down to 3 particular types of user classifications:

  1. Gold (Multiple vCPU’s, a lot more RAM and disk space than other folks)
  2. Silver (Could be a couple of vCPU’s, usually more RAM than the OS calls for, can be required for specialized apps, etc)
  3. Bronze (These are almost always single vCPU and minimum amount of RAM profiles)

A good sort of buildup approach to start determining your workload profile requirements must take into consideration the users and compute requirements based on the apps those users will be running. In most cases, the Operating System you choose will be the foundation to start your buildup approach. The aging Windows XP platform is quickly being consumed by Windows 7 in the corporate workspace. There are few folks out there continuing to stand up net new systems for users and using Windows XP. This is for a number of reasons – most new PC’s and their manufacturers (not to mention this little company called Microsoft) are not developing drivers and supporting the workhorse XP operating system. Let’s be honest, Windows XP came out in 2001. Windows XP is older than my twin girls that are in 4th grade! It was a good ride, but it must come to an end. You probably noticed that I haven’t mentioned Windows 8 yet. After all, it is the newest desktop Operating System (OS) that Microsoft has out. There are a couple of reasons for this: Most corporate users don’t jump onto the latest OS because they have to support many users, must test/qualify their applications on a new operating system and as we all know – anything new usually has fixes and enhancements to follow. Plus, as a general rule of thumb, the first Service Pack must come out before anyone will give real consideration to mass deployment in any organization. Beyond the general newness of the Windows 8 OS, it will be interesting to see how “Corporate America” will integrate the new look and feel of Windows 8. With that being said, we have Windows 7 which came out in 2009 and already has Service Pack 1 with a host of subsequent updates. This is the OS that most folks are planning their VDI environments for. Per Microsoft, the requirements for Windows 7 are as follows:

Read More »

Tags: , ,

Distributed VDI for Enterprise Branches

IT managers are in an interesting situation – all the developments in virtualization, compute, and mobility are bringing new opportunities for architecting an efficient IT infrastructure. They are looking for ways to do more with less infrastructure. These developments are accelerating resource centralization, with more and more critical assets moving into the enterprise headquarters and data center and this is creating a ripple effect on branch and remote offices. To meet regulatory compliance and cost-control requirements, many organizations are optimizing resources and reducing complexity in the branch office. Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

New Midmarket VDI Solutions For Cisco and VMware Partners

Cisco and VMware share a long track record of joint innovation and integrated solution development, providing differentiated capabilities and benefits for our partners and customers. Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is a great example of technology that raises the performance bar and dramatically simplifies the data center operational environment by delivering a compute platform purpose-built with scalable virtualization in mind. Meanwhile, VMware Horizon View is uniquely suited to delivering a total desktop virtualization solution that simplifies IT management, increases security and increases control of end-user access while centrally delivering desktop services from the cloud, which drives down costs.

When you pair Cisco UCS with VMware Horizon View-you get the best of both worlds: truly scalable, easy to manage, end-to-end solutions that dramatically improve price-to-performance ratios for desktop virtualization deployments.

Large enterprises began adopting Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) as customers sought more secure, scalable and cost-effective means to deliver desktop workspaces to end-users. These days, VDI helps enterprises support growing trends like Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD), or as some of our VMware friends call it, Spend-Your-Own-Money (SYOM). As a result, Cisco and VMware have been successfully delivering VDI solutions to enterprise customers for the last two years.

But what we’ve heard from you, our trusted channel partner community, is that it’s harder to build the business case for VDI with customers who are in the midmarket space. Not only do these customers have fewer seats to virtualize, but they’re also usually without the resources or time to decipher how all of the moving parts associated with VDI fit together. How do we enable them to benefit from VDI without the significant CAPEX hurdle, or the costs associated with scaling once their needs grow? And how do we provide them with simpler, more cost efficient solutions?

Check out how partners benefit from a tremendous midmarket VDI opportunity.  Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

VDI “The Missing Questions” #4: How much SPECint is enough

February 25, 2013 at 6:35 am PST

In the first few posts in this series, we have hopefully shown that not all cores are created equal and that not all GHz are created equal. This generates challenges when comparing two CPUs within a processor family and even greater challenges when comparing CPUs from different processor families. If you read a blog or a study that showed 175 desktops on a blade with dual E7-2870 processor, how many desktops can you expect from the E7-2803 processor? Or an E5 processor? Our assertion is that SPECint is a reasonable metric for predicting VDI density, and in this blog I intend to show you how much SPECint is enough [for the workload we tested].

You are here. As a quick recap, this is a series of blogs covering the topic of VDI, and here are the posts in this series:

Addition and subtraction versus multiplication and division. Shawn already explained the concept of SPEC in question 2, so I won’t repeat it. You’ve probably noticed that Shawn talked about “blended” SPEC whereas I’m covering SPECint (integer). As it turns out, the majority of task workers really exercise the integer portion of a processor rather than the floating point portion of a processor. Therefore, I’ll focus on SPECint in this post. If you know more about your users’ workload, you can skew your emphasis more or less towards SPECint or SPECfp and create your own blend.

The method to the madness. Let me take you on a short mathematical journey using the figure below. Starting at the top, we know each E5-2665 processor has a SPECint of 305. It doesn’t matter how many cores it has or how fast those cores are clocked. It has a SPECint score of 305 (as compared to 187.5 for the E5-2643 processor). Continuing down the figure below, each blade we tested had two processors, so the E5-2665 based blade has a SPECint of 2 x 305… or 610. The E5-2665 blade has a much higher SPECint of 610 than the E5-2643 blade with just 375. And it produced many more desktops as you can see from the graph embedded in the figure (the graph should look familiar to you from the first “question” in this series).

And now comes the simple math to get the SPECint requirement for each virtual desktop in each test system:

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Quick Guide to #CiscoDC Activity at #VMwarePEX

February 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm PST

For everyone in the VMware Partner Community, next week marks the gathering of technologists to learn, train, and generally get together. Cisco has some great opportunities to do all of the above.

The easiest way to stay up to date? Follow us @CiscoDC. If you’re not on Twitter, find me, give me 5 minutes, and let’s see if I can convince you to join your community of peers.

/Lecture

Here are some VMware PEX highlights:

Boot Camp: Connect, Discover, Learn with Cisco
Monday, February 25, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Session ID: SPO2400
The Cisco Boot Camp is dedicated to educating and enabling partners to sell and deploy Cisco solutions successfully.

Breakout Session: Cisco Unified Data Center: From Server to Network
Wednesday, February 27, 12:30–1:30 p.m.
Speaker: Satinder Sethi, VP, Server Product Management and Data Center Solutions, Cisco

Demos: Cisco Booth 1015!

  • VDI: Cisco UCS with VMware View
  • Cisco Servers: Cisco Unified Computing System with VMware
  • Cisco Nexus 1000V Family
  • Cisco Unified Management
  • Branch Office Consolidation with Cisco E-Series Server
  • EMC VSPEX Proven Infrastructure

Also in Cisco Booth 1015, we’ll be shooting multiple episodes of Engineers Unplugged! Drop by to see some of the superstars of IT in full whiteboard action. Topics range from automation to virtualization to SDN. Send me a Tweet @CommsNinja if you’d like to participate!

But wait, there’s more, in addition to the fantastic official networking/social events at VMware PEX, we’re gathering as Geeks Without Borders to kick things off Sunday Night. Come out, meet your colleagues in person, say hello.

Speaking of community, be sure to sign up for our growing Data Center Virtualization Community, to hang out with the Cisco experts virtually.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,