I strongly believe that the server virtualization story has reached almost all companies in Romania that own more than 5 dedicated servers. Moreover, I am sure that at least 50% of the companies have already attempted some type of virtualization for those servers and the results were better than the scenario involving physical servers. Of course, there is quite a range of possibilities to optimize the configuration parameters and settings, which would bring profitability and flexibility of the virtualized server media as close to the maximum, but that is not the subject matter of this article.However, the evolution of the rate of using the virtualized desktop scenarios is completely different of the situations of server virtualization. Although the basic technology is the same (some virtual machines controlled by the same hypervisors, as in the case of the servers), the result is very dissimilar. Most companies having a virtualized medium attempted to expand it by using the desktop virtualization, but very few were successful. The main reasons are
- Abundancy of technologies and protocols, which are used in communications,
- Diversity of producers and terminal types (Thin Clients, Zero Clients, mobile handhelds, thick clients, etc.)
- Problems specific to the VDI scenarios, which are not found in the server virtualization Boot storms, AV storms
- Reconfiguration of the network structure due to the doubling of the IP number
- Compliance and security in the virtual medium
- An uncontrolled expansion of the storage capacities (300 users that save 3 GB data in one month, which means 1 TB of occupied additional data)
If we add to those matters the fact that the producers supported those issues by providing specific solutions (flash drives, cache on SSD, image composers), we understand why the success of the VDI projects is rarely encountered than in the case of server virtualization.
However, we are pleased that in February 2013, we succeeded to add another project in our portfolio of implemented VDI solutions, with a partner important for us, Electrica Transilvania Nord. The complexity degree a little higher than in the case of VDI solutions could determine some implementing companies to choose a prepacked solution, but in this case, we had the opportunity to integrate a hybrid medium made up of multiple technologies, which would ensure the consistency of management operations of virtual medium, and to provide a sufficient flexibility degree when choose the terminals used.
Actually, the chosen design uses VMware vSphere hypervisors, a mixture of Dell Optiplex and Thin Clients 10Zig terminals, connected by 2X Application Server XG. That configuration provides the necessary flexibility for diversifying the types of terminals used (be it thin clients or old recycled computers), consolidate the management of virtualization hypervisors used (vSphere is used for server virtualization too) and provide an adequate scenario for using the VDI solution, for the training activities and for the “office” activities. For solving the matter of uncontrolled expansion of the storage space, the company chose to use a storage IBM NSeries able to deduplicate the primary datastores with virtual machines and to exploit as efficient as possible the storage capacity.
We believe that by proving the viability of the VDI solution, it could be extended and replicated even over WAN connections, which would determine high money savings in the case of technologic refresh needed for new equipment, and especially to simple operation and administration of the “end user” equipment set.
Cristian Leoveanu – ETA2U Business Unit Manager