VMXpo’s Sponsors and Why We Chose Them
As you know, Whitehat is a solutions partner that focuses on designing, installing and supporting application and desktop virtualization solutions that increase productivity and improve the end-user experience. This is our mission. Where this came from was based on the “bad rap” application and desktop virtualization (VDI) has acquired over the past few years. WE recognize that, and here’s what we did (and who we did it with…) to solve that problem.
Citrix MetaFrame—Presentation Server-XenApp has been around since 1995. It is a powerful and valuable product, but it is complicated, and it does touch 13 key subsystems in the data center as illustrated below.
If any of the touch point is out of whack, then “Citrix is slow!” according to the end-user. Actually, our experience shows that Citrix is the real problem 20% of the time or less, but you get my drift. OK, so how do you address this problem and assure that the end-user has a fantastic experience that leads to more productivity? They first part of the answer, is through monitoring and management.
Whitehat set out last year to find the best monitoring tools in existence for the virtualized environment. Our search led us to eG Innovations, with their Enterprise monitoring product, and to Aternity, with their Frontline Performance Intelligence (FPI) product. Both of these vendors utilize correlation technology and root cause analysis to watch all the touch points and subsystems in the environment and identify the root cause automatically in almost all cases. This leads to very rapid repair of problems when they are discovered, and in many cases, repair before the customer even reports the issue. These products compliments each other beautifully because eG focuses its diagnostics on all subsystems in the data center while Aternity focuses on workstation responsiveness.
Now that we have the monitoring and management of the system under control, how do you improve the functionality? Microsoft roaming profiles have always been a real problem, so we turned to AppSense with their DesktopNOW suite. These modules allow for the replacement of roaming profiles, and allow very easy and powerful manipulation of personal preferences and personality. They also allow or much faster LOGINs and easy migrations to new software levels, like Windows XP to Windows 7. They also have a first class mobility offering with their MobileNOW and DataNow products.
On the VDI side of things, Citrix’ image manipulation tools can b sometimes be cumbersome to use, especially if lots of image combinations with many applications are required. For this issue, we looked to Unidesk with their VDI Management software. The use a very straightforward layering technique that allows for very easy manipulation and combination of applications and images, and they reduce disk storage requirement dramatically as well.
OK, how about increasing performance? This is the “elephant in the room” that has slowed many VDI deployments. Users don’t want to take a step backward in performance by going to a VDI solution, so we found 3 ways to address that:
- Atlantis Computing ILIO turns a portion of server RAM into a RAM disk drive with 5000 IOPS capability. By moving key VDI files to this RAM drive, performance increases dramatically. Furthermore, through de-duplication and disk compression technology, storage requirements are compressed up to 20x over standard disk. This product allows for VDI desktops that are MUCH faster that a good LAN workstation.
- Whiptail Accela and Invicta SSD storage arrays. These arrays have solved the problem of slow writes and longevity of SSD drives to provide a general use disk volume that can offer spectacular performance for any disk use, including VDI.
- NVIDIA Grid vGPU technology allows shared high-speed graphics processing using Citrix XenDesktop 7 that can be shared economically by many users. This allows remote graphics-oriented collaboration and access, source code protection, and many other advantages. This product is a game change for VDI with high-end graphics.
There’s one final area that needs to be addressed… backup and disaster recovery. PHD Virtual with their VirtualBackup and ReliableDR products solve this problem. This is the first product that was designed and built from the ground up to backup virtual environments. As a result, it is fast, feature-rich, and reliable, and at 40% less than the other guys.
All of these vendors, in conjunction with Citrix, Microsoft, VMware and Dell, plus OnRamp, as the ideal place to locate your solution, completes the story. This is Whitehat’s version of the “Ideal Network”. Come to VMXpo on September 4th in Austin, TX. Take a look, and see if you agree.