by Avinash Shetty, Sr. Product Manager, Nutanix
Delivering VDI to branch offices is something many enterprises struggle to deliver. There are many hurdles to overcome in doing this effectively including:
- Storage and Cost Intensive: VDI workloads are very storage intensive and in many cases, the price-performance barrier is hard to overcome even in data center environments. However, data centers have the advantage of scale where you could be servicing hundreds to thousands to users. At this scale, the cost of expensive storage is distributed across many users bringing down the cost/desktop. However, branches usually deal with 250 or less users and the economies of scale just don’t play well.
- WAN Challenges: A branch office could be thousands of miles from the data center where the VDI infrastructure is hosted. The latency of dealing with these large distances means the user experience is usually terrible. In addition, most VDI vendors will not support VDI sessions in excess of 250ms of round-trip latency. In addition to latency, bandwidth at the remote locations is limited and in most cases prohibitively expensive to go to higher capacities. On a typical T1 link, pushing more than 10 VDI sessions will be a daunting task.
- WAN failures: WAN failures mean all branch users are left without VDI access; a huge operational expense to take on.
For these reasons, many IT administrators have a VDI initiative for the data center but continue to operate the traditional desktop model at their remote/branch offices even though they’d like to consolidate on one architecture.
The Nutanix platform overcomes the challenges of legacy infrastructure and eliminates the need for SAN and NAS arrays. The Nutanix NX-1000 platform is the most economical virtualization platform specifically designed for branch offices. And it is the only validated, converged infrastructure solution for the VMware View Agent Direct Connection (VADC) functionality which was just introduced with Horizon View 5.3. The Nutanix platform radically simplifies enterprise data centers with storage-inspired servers that apply VM-centric policies to run any workload at the highest possible performance. The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform improves data center economics and manageability with an architecture that is 100% software defined, allowing enterprise IT teams to start small and later grow to massive scale. It delivers rapid time to value with a portfolio of turnkey appliances that install in less than thirty minutes.
The Nutanix NX-1000 platform makes ‘VDI in a Box for Branch Offices’ a reality. IT administrators can simply deploy all user desktops at remote locations within a Nutanix cluster for each remote location. These user desktops can be centrally managed as needed. With VADC, a plugin that lets users connect to desktops without a central connection broker, the VADC plugin simply installs as an add-on plugin after the View agent installs on the VDI desktop. Once installed, user assignments are made to their desktops. From that point on, a connection server is no longer needed to authenticate users to desktops. The user connects and authenticates against the VADC plugin, which in turn can reach the AD for validation. In cases where the AD cannot be reached, the VADC plugin can also authenticate against cached credentials. This gives IT administrators to deploy islands of VDI desktops at remote locations without worrying about connectivity issues or WAN conditions.
The Nutanix solution offers a rich, enterprise feature set. Software-based storage controller technology coupled with advanced information lifecycle management (ILM) capabilities such as flash-enabled data tiering and performance-optimized data compression provides a single platform that is ideal for powering any branch office.