Cost-Effective Nutanix Solution

    Dutch partner Nutanix published on its blog interesting calculations comparing the cost-effectiveness of classic solutions, or “converged 1.0,” such as VCE / EMC vBlock, Cisco / NetApp FlexPod and EMC VSPEX, taking reference architectures published by them (CVS, Citrix Validated Solutions) under VDI using XenDesktop, and repeating them on Nutanix. Nutanix also has this document: Citrix Validated Solution for Nutanix .
    It is not difficult to do this, especially since Nutanix made its sizer publicly available, which became possible due to the fact that Nutanix's formulas for calculating the load for VDI are relatively simple, which is also a merit of its architecture.

    This is how the calculation process went.

    When sizing, you can proceed from the fact that one computational node (node) of the 3000th series has a load of 110 VDI VMs or 200 HSD (so-called XenApp) users. Accordingly, in the case of a full 2U block with 4 nodes, this will be 440 VDI VM XenDesktop and 800 users XenApp. Further, the growth is linear in increments of one node.

    On the first two nodes of the system we will place the virtual machines of the project infrastructure.
    The figure shows two options, the first for XenApp, the second for VDI.

    We can assume that the characteristics of the load profile of all vendors are approximately equal, since all designs were evaluated for performance using the LoginVSI : Medium Workload benchmark .

    The cost of electricity in the calculation was taken equal to the average for industrial consumers in the Netherlands ( 0.23 Euro per kWh ), where the author wrote this comparison. For Russia and possible other values ​​of the cost of electricity, only absolute indicators in money will change, but the relative value of savings will remain. By the way, who owns the information, tell me in the comments what price per kilowatt should be taken for calculation in a data center in the Moscow region?

    Electricity consumption and heat dissipation are taken from the materials of the vendors and reference architectures specified in the description, as well as from online calculators, for example, the Cisco UCS power calculator, and taken as a typical value, or taken as 75% if only the peak maximum value is indicated.

    The cost for the desktop is calculated based on the total cost of the infrastructure, as brokers, switches, and other components are necessary for desktops.

    The cooling costing methodology is taken from this publication by Edwin Weijdema . According to his calculations, in order to recycle 1000 BTU per hour, you need to spend 293 Watt / h for cooling. We take his methodology as an example and use his results.

    Versions of XenDesktop may be slightly different (for example, versions 7.1 and 7.5 were used in different architectures. Hypervisors could also be different, in the case of Nutanix we used Hyper-V, in other architectures we used VMware vSphere.

    Nutanix vs VCE vBlock

    Let's start with the volume occupied by the solution, the so-called footprint. VCE vBLOCK compared to Nutanix for a 100% XenDesktop VDI system for 2500 desktops. You can get the VCE reference design here .
    Below is a picture of the rack placement of both solutions.

    VCE vBlock at 2500 VDI XenDesktop occupies an almost complete cabinet (35U of 42U cabinet capacity), while Nutanix uses 20U in it. According to the calculations, we will need 25 nodes in the cluster, and, as you can see in the diagram, you only use one node in the upper block. The 6Us at the top of the cabinet are Arista switches (2x 48-port Gigabit switch and 4x 24-port 10G switch) providing the necessary cluster switching infrastructure.
    Since the vBlock design uses Provisioning Services and 4 PVS servers, we removed the desktops from the first two nodes to place 4 additional PVS servers there. This means that 2500 desktops work on 23 nodes (a total of 2530 desktops).

    Now let's look at the calculations: The

    calculation shows us that vBlock costs us 69547 Euro per year in the cost of its operation (only power consumption and cooling, excluding administration and maintenance costs), based on a 75% load. Compared to it, the cost of running a Nutanix solution costs about half that of the same VCE vBlock price. The desktop cost calculation gives us 27.81 Euro per year for the desktop on vBlock, and only 13.85 Euro per year for Nutanix. Total savings are50% .

    Nutanix vs NetApp / Cisco Flexpod

    Now let's compare Nutanix with another solution, take the Cisco / NetApp reference design, which can be viewed here , it is made for 2000 users, 75% work in XenApp and 25% in VDI.

    Occupied space in the closet:

    Again, we see a significant difference in the occupied place. FlexPod is better than vBlock in terms of space, but still worse than Nutanix, 30U versus 11U for Nutanix. Nutanix uses 4 blocks, with only 2 nodes installed at the top. There are 100 XenApp users on each infrastructure node, so we need about 9 nodes for 1,500 users in XenApp, and 5 more for VDI users. We slightly exceeded the desktop results for the original design, by 100 XenApp users, and by 50 VDI, but this excess simplified our further calculations, and “more - not less” :).


    The results speak for themselves. 60% reduction in costs per year, with a desktop price of 9.49 Euro per year. Using the Flexcast model in Hosted Shared Desktop (XenApp), which allows you to get a denser place than using VDI, allows you to get a price for a desktop below 10 euros per year, while “less equipment” means “less cost”.

    Finally, the third comparison.

    Nutanix vs Cisco UCS B bladeserver + EMC VSPEX

    Compare Nutanix with the design of Cisco + EMC VSPEX . This is a design for 1000 users, divided in a 70% / 30% ratio between HSD XenApp and VDI. Our rack space was about 50% less for comparison with FlexPod, the “convergent solution v1.0”, and here we see how fatally inefficient it is to use the classic storage system and the traditional server + storage solution for the desktop virtualization task:

    Based on with our CVS (Citrix Validated Solution) we needed only 7 nodes for 750 HSD and 250 VDI users, which took us only 4U for Nutanix in the rack and plus 3U for switches at the top of the rack.

    Here is the result:

    70% cost savings, or 25654 Euro per year , with desktop price 11.23 Euro per year. Saving space in the closet at the same time - 80% .


    It did not come as a big surprise that hyper-converged infrastructure gives us a significantly smaller footprint, that is, the space that your infrastructure occupies in the data center rack. But you're not just taking up less rack space using Nutanix. Less are the costs of power, as well as cooling. Many traditional solutions require large amounts of power supply, which sometimes is simply not possible in some data centers, and even if these additional resources are available, their use can cost a very round sum of additional costs per year, compared to the Nutanix solution.

    And then, perhaps, this picture for some VCE vBlock customers will be prophetic. :)


    List of materials used:

    Citrix Validated Solution for Nutanix
    VBlock Specialized System for Extreme applications with Citrix XenDesktop 7.1
    Flexpod Datacenter with Citrix XenDesktop 7.1 and VMware vSphere 5.1
    Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution for EMC VSPEX with Citrix XenDesktop 7.5 for 1000 seats
    Cisco UCS Power Calculator
    Blog Edwin Weijdema: How to calculate costs for power and cooling
    EMC XtremIO System Specifications
    EMC VNXe Series Specifications
    EMC VNX Series Specifications
    Arista 7048-A Datasheet
    Netapp Site Requirements Guide
    Nutanix Spec Sheet


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