Making sure your users don’t go to sleep (or worse) waiting to log-on
Hi Everyone! I am the team lead Technical Marketing Engineer for Cisco Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions on UCS and Nexus. While I have done some blogging in my time – this is my first blog for Cisco. I have been in this space for over 22 years, before “virtualization” was called that, working with published applications and published desktops (MetaFrame and early RDP.)
With the Citrix and EMC teams, I have been focused for the past few months on validating what I think is a really exciting solution – even if I say so myself. So recently not much time for blogging I am afraid.
Over the last couple of years we have seen desktop virtualization, specifically Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVD,) become increasingly more mainstream – but today we are really experiencing an upsurge of deployments – and not just pilots – but full blown multi-thousand seat deployments.
As you are probably aware the worst nightmare is that you deploy the solution and the users don’t adopt it because it doesn’t provide them the user experience they need or want.
One of the key requirements for success is an infrastructure that won’t just provide the right experience for the first few hundred users – but that will scale linearly as you grow into the many thousands.
You can rely on Cisco Validated Designs to deliver for you! We use real world test scenarios to insure that you can implement our designs in your environment and be successful.
The keys to a successful deployment of a large scale HVD environment start with:

• Detailed characterization of the virtual workloads
• Desktop Broker that supports efficient streaming capabilities
• Reliable, fast User Profile management
• Compute platform that provides linear scalability, rapid expandability, and excellent management tools across hundreds to thousands of servers
• Network infrastructure that provides the right amount of bandwidth to the right traffic
• Storage system that is capable of efficiently handling massive IOs, both on the read side
for boot up and the write side for HVD ramp up and steady state
• A robust hypervisor capable of supporting advanced capabilities required for HVDs
• Fault tolerance at all levels of the solution, producing a highly available system

Cisco UCS together with Citrix technologies, EMC VNX storage, and VMware vSphere provide the key foundation for a high performance, highly available HVD environment:
• Login VSI 3.6 Medium workload was used to represent a typical knowledge worker
• Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 FP1 with Citrix Provisioning Server 6.1 provided the ultimate desktop streaming technology with the smallest storage footprint
• Citrix User Profile Manager was used to manage 5000 unique desktop user profiles
• Cisco UCS B230 M2 blade servers provided awesome compute resources and Cisco UCS 6248UP Fabric Interconnects (FIs) managed server hardware, network and storage for the environment.
• Cisco UCS Service Profile Templates and Service Profiles made server deployment fast, efficient and insured that each blade was provisioned exactly the same as the next.
• Cisco UCS Manager, with tight integration with VMware ESXi, handled management of all of the blades across the 5 VMware clusters used in our solution seamlessly
• Cisco Nexus 5548UP Access Switches and (for the first time in a Cisco VDI CVD) Cisco Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switches in conjunction with our FIs provided end to end Quality of Service for all traffic types from the HVD through the hypervisor, the FIs and through the Nexus 5548UPs – all at 10 GE or 8 Gb FC!
• EMC VNX7500 with Fast Cache, provided the outstanding read and write IO to support 5000 HVDs boot up, ramp up, steady state and log off
• For the first time in a Cisco VDI CVD, our design provides N+1 server fault tolerance at the VMware cluster level. Another real-world differentiator for Cisco!

Here is a look at the hardware used in the solution:


The highlight benefits of the joint validated design for deploying a scalable Citrix XenDesktop include the following:



I will be writing more about the in depth details of our Zero to 5000 solution in the coming weeks. Please let me know what you are interested in exploring!

For more information download the Cisco Validated design http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/UCS_CVDs/citrix_emc_ucs_scaleVDI.pdf

And for more information on Cisco VXI solutions for desktop virtualization go to www.cisco.com/go/vxi


Mike Brennan

Sr. Product Manager

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Graphics