VDS, VDI, whoever you want: desktop virtualization through Dell's eyes

    With the advent of cloud technology, the utopian idea of ​​“having access to anything, from anywhere, from anything” began to gradually come true. In just a few years, the concepts of “private cloud”, VDS, VDI, etc. became massively used - not without the participation of marketers of almost all major international vendors. Nevertheless, there is still a certain confusion of terms and concepts in the market, as well as a number of “non-aging” issues. For example, what is desktop virtualization? Is this a technology or an approach? What is the difference between desktop virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructure? Finally, what does Dell have to do with it? For answers to these and other questions, we ask under cat.

    In order

    Desktop virtualization or desktop virtualization is an approach in which there is a separation of the user's working environment (OS, applications, data) and the physical device on which he is used to working (PC, laptop). Thanks to this approach, the employee is no longer tied to a physical workplace in the office, but can work with familiar applications and data from any device (tablet, smartphone, thin client, etc.) from anywhere (at home, on the road, from a hotel or from an internet cafe).

    The basis of this approach is not one specific technology, but the joint use of various technological solutions in the field of client virtualization. The most popular of them today are:

    1. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) - a solution that allows you to run the user's OS (Windows 7, etc.) inside a virtual machine on a server in the data center and work with it remotely from any device (Citrix XenDesktop, VMware View, Microsoft VDI, Quest vWorkspace).
    2. Remote Desktop Services Host or Terminal Services (RDSH) \ Terminal Services (TS) - a classic terminal access that provides a server operating system (usually Windows Server 2008 R2 or 2012) to multiple users in a competitive mode (who the first got up, that and slippers). Each of the remote users works in its own session. The most popular solutions are Citrix XenApp, Microsoft RDS, Quest vWorkspace.
    3. Remote physical workstation (Blade PC) - a powerful high-performance workstation (often with an installed graphics adapter) in the server form factor located in the data center and providing its computing resources to remote users. The most popular solutions are Citrix HDX 3D Pro + Dell R5500, VMware View + Dell R5500.
    4. Application Virtualization (Application Virtualization) - delivery and execution of applications on virtual machines, terminal server or PC without the usual installation of the program in the OS. Most popular solutions: Microsoft App-V, Citrix XenApp, VMware ThinApp. The main types of technologies currently used are listed here, but IT, as you know, does not stand still and, possibly, a new version of desktop virtualization will appear tomorrow.

    The realities of today are as follows: we must not forget that with this approach, the usual personal computers of users can and will be subjected to changes. Previously, a computer was required to have sufficient computing power to run business applications, as well as a large disk space for storing user data, but now that the processes take place in the virtual space of the data centers, this simply disappeared.

    We assume that we have understood the terminology. Therefore, we turn to a more interesting question.

    What for?

    This is probably the second most popular question in the world after the child-physical (like children and physicists like to ask) why. Why virtualize desktops? The root cause is simple: of course, to save. Let's roughly estimate the benefits of moving from traditional PCs to thin clients. Of course, someone will say that not everything can be solved with the help of TC. But this is not entirely true: the TC device itself is almost universal. Therefore, it is more correct to pose the question as follows: "What are the most winning (or successful) scenarios for using VDI at the moment?" And here they are:

    1. Modernizing the infrastructure or creating a new
    a. Failure / obsolescence of equipment
    b. Opening of new offices, branches
    2. Ensuring security and compliance with regulations
    a. Compliance with certification requirements
    b. Preservation and prevention of data leaks
    3. Temporary employees and “employees of the same task”
    a. Temporary work (projects, audit, contract)
    b. Employees with a narrow circle of fixed responsibilities (call-center, etc.)
    4. Training and development
    a. Training classes
    b. Application development, testing, etc.

    Personally, I don’t even have to prove the benefits of using desktop virtualization in classrooms. So to speak, memories from university laboratory work had not yet sunk into oblivion, when everyone had to create a separate folder for themselves and hope that the previous group left the system in a sane state. Well, okay, back to our sheep financial issues.

    1. The most obvious cost item we face every month is energy consumption. Compared to PC, TC is a saving not only of space, but also of energy. The thin client consumes around 7-15 watts (depending on the model) versus about 100 watts in the case of a traditional PC. And if we want to compare the total costs for the month, we multiply by the number of working hours (8 hours by 5 days by 4 weeks = 160).
    2. Reliability. The presence of a large number of moving parts in a PC, as you know, can lead to malfunctions and, as a result, constant downtime in the work of employees. The principle “we are strong as much as our weakest link” works here.
    3. Support and maintenance - support for a large fleet of PCs leads to significant costs for IT.
    4. Obsolescence - the average life of a PC is 2-3 years, taking into account the constant growth of needs from applications. Looking ahead, let's say that in really large projects on desktop virtualization (when the bill goes to thousands of places), the payback starts just in the third year.

    All this leads to the growing popularity of VDI (including the transition to TC) in the following industries:
    • Mobile employees
    • Deployment of temporary infrastructures (elections, teleconference bridges, etc.)
    • Classes
    • Distance learning
    • Electronic libraries
    Banks and financial Institutes:
    • Bank branches, remote offices
    • Call centers
    • Opening of outlets
    • Cashiers

    Well, the time has come to go to the final stage of the article and answer the central question.

    What does Dell have to do with it?

    Dell has traditionally been known to the public as an exceptionally hardware company. We will not argue, once it was. But times have changed, and with them, Dell’s approach has changed. Over the past year, the company announced two major acquisitions, the importance of which for the IT market, and especially for the desktop virtualization market, can hardly be overestimated. We are talking about the companies Wyse and Quest Software.

    Wyse (now Dell Wyse) is a world leader in the field of tokoy clients (TC). The company’s portfolio includes more than 150 different TC models (after all, they have been working since 1981) that meet various requirements for working with virtual infrastructure. Dell Wyse TCs are certified to work with all major remote access protocols (ICA \ HDX, RDP, PCoIP), and also use various OSs as a local system on the TCs (Wyse ThinOS, Windows Embedded Standard, Linux). In addition to hardware solutions, the company provides software solutions for configuring, updating and managing thin clients - Wyse Device Manager. At the moment, the solution exists in two versions:
    • Dell Wyse Device Manager - software installed locally in your infrastructure that has a server and agent component.
    • Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager - a cloud service from Dell that allows you to manage not only thin clients, but also mobile devices based on iOS and Android platforms.

    Quest Software is a manufacturer of IT management software solutions. Currently, the company’s portfolio includes 6 main areas:
    • Database Management
    • Data Protection
    • Performance Monitoring
    • Virtual
    Desktop Management (User Workspace Management) • Windows Server Management )
    • Security Management (Identity & Access Management)

    Thus, a typical desktop virtualization solution can be represented as a “VDI pie”. • Hardware infrastructure - the foundation of the solution is servers that are used as virtualization hosts, on which either virtual machines or terminal servers will be located for users to access them, data storage systems - for storing virtual machine disks and user data, as well as network infrastructure for Provide quick connection of all components.

    • Virtualization platform - as a virtualization platform, hypervisor, Dell, being a partner of all the leaders in this market (Microsoft, VMware, Citrix), offers you to determine which technology is closer. Also, do not forget that all of the above manufacturers of hypervisors have free editions that have quite extensive functionality.
    • Software Infrastructure VDI \ TS - at this level, in addition to all the above manufacturers of virtual solutions, the Dell is ready to offer a competitive alternative in the form of Dell Virtualization (last vWorkspace Quest - www.quest.com/desktop-virtualization), which is a connection manager between the user and the requested resource, the Experience Optimized Protocol (EOP), and support for most mobile platforms (Android, iOS). As a hypervisor, this solution supports Microsoft Hyper-V, Vmware ESX, and Parallels Virtuozzo Containers.
    • Client devices - almost any devices (PCs, tablets, smartphones, etc.) can be used as end devices, but the most cost-effective option at the moment is to replace traditional PCs with thin clients. Dell Wyse Thin Clientsthey support almost all desktop virtualization infrastructures known on the market (Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, Quest, Redhat), as well as the possibility of centralized management using Wyse Device Manager software or Dell Cloud Client Manager. By support is meant the availability of an appropriate protocol on the TC side (RDP, ICA \ HDX, PCoIP (both software and hardware implementations), EOP, SPICE).
    • Applications - as an application virtualization technology, you can use any of the existing solutions, such as Microsoft App-V or VMware ThinApp.

    But Dell's portfolio is not full of individual component solutions. There is something to be said about complexity. True, we run the risk of increasing the size of the article two more times if we go into details. Therefore, if briefly and on business.

    Currently, the following options are available in the Dell desktop virtualization range:
    1. DVS Simplified Appliance
    2. vStart for VDI
    3. DVS Integrated Solution Stack

    Each of them is focused on different business sizes and optimized for different tasks. In the simplest ranking (by the number of users) they can be arranged as follows: We will write more about each of them. In the meantime, let's end the article with a practical example of desktop virtualization for the 3D modeling task. Without delay, we get acquainted with the logic of the solution:

    The presented scheme clearly demonstrates one of the options for virtualization. Forwarding a card to a virtual machine opens up new horizons for those who use the XenApp infrastructure, as instead of a dedicated server, you can use virtual machines, each of which will have its own dedicated graphics card. This is made possible by the introduction of the NVIDIA GRID K1 and K2 cards, the first graphics card for cloud computing. From the point of view of applications, the Dell PowerEdge R720 server solution with GRID K1 and K2 cards allows you to create a high-density infrastructure for both ordinary VDI users and users of heavy 3D applications, i.e. fully covers all of the above areas of virtualization. In case the server solution is not acceptable,
    If you have a task to transfer your office users to the virtual environment, then the Dell ServerEdge R720 with GRID K1 will be the most optimal server solution. Due to the fact that the card has 4 graphic chips based on Kepler architecture and a 16GB framebuffer (4GB per chip), a high density of people per server is ensured. High density can also be achieved for simple CAD applications (AutoCAD, Kompas-3D, etc.) by hosting up to 8 users on a 1U server, thanks to the mechanism for forwarding a card to a virtual machine.
    If you have a task to transfer users of heavy 3D applications, then the Dell PowerEdge solution with GRID K2 opens up the possibility of transferring 4 engineers to a 1U server and at the same time giving them the opportunity to experience a speed comparable to a regular workstation.
    Using the Dell Precision R5500 with the NVIDIA Quadro will enable small companies that do not have dedicated server rooms to take advantage of virtualization and experience its benefits.


    Increasingly, the term “post-PC era” is used in the media. In fact, the rejection of the classic PC will not be so categorical. There are still business tasks that are difficult (or too costly) to solve with the help of the TC, using desktop virtualization (which is just the battle for IOPs). However, it should be understood that with the development of virtualization technologies, more and more opportunities appear to reduce costs and optimize the work of employees through the use of more modern technologies.

    Also popular now: