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Tag Archives: virtual desktops

The Speed of Life at the Scale of Enterprise

Guest blog By Andy Fenselau, EMC XtremIO

It’s all about the user experience.  From its early days, IT has been all about keeping users happy.  And now, more than ever, IT has to show its value to users—especially for desktop virtualization. “Users” are everyday people like you and me.  In the past, users were tied behind their desk to isolated desktops with homogenous operating environments. Nowadays, we are mobile, use a wide variety of devices and applications, and expect access to services and data, and to collaborate with others – at “the speed of life.” And we are a diverse mix of knowledge workers, task workers, and power users with different needs for our desktop experiences.

This single VDI question has confounded IT for years: How do I provide this at the speed of life – and at the scale of enterprise?

VMware Horizon 6 answers this question by extending the power of virtualization from the data center to devices to deliver virtual desktops and application services.  A consistently great user experience at scale is critical to success; however, virtual desktop deployments have been complex to plan and deploy, with storage as a primary bottleneck for performance, consistency, manageability, and cost.

So, with VMware’s news on Horizon 6, the VDI game is changing… and EMC XtremIO scale-out all-flash arrays are transforming storage into a true enabler in VDI environments. With Horizon, and fully converged, ready-to-run VCE Vblocks for VDI featuring XtremIO, customers can deploy VDI at any scale, with simple planning, rapid deployment, a better-than-PC all-flash user experience, and lower costs than physical desktops.

What does this mean for one of us real users? One of my favorite Horizon/XtremIO experiences comes from a sales rep at a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company who said her experience “was pure bliss”. This sales rep’s days are spent roaming the hallways of hospitals and doctors’ offices with a tablet in hand – waiting for the crucial 2-3 minute window she has to catch doctors making their rounds. Behind the scenes, the performance of her VDI would either make or break those critical few minutes with her clients. Her old VDI experience was inconsistent, unpredictable and “painful” for her and her clients. The day after her organization switched to Horizon with XtremIO, she emailed her IT team and said, “I don’t know what you did, but don’t change it back. My tablet experience is phenomenal now, and I can engage my customers with confidence and success!”

And this is just one of many speed of life stories. To find out more about the joint VMware-EMC XtremIO solution, watch this on-demand webinar or explore all our VDI resources and future webinars at www.xtremio.com/vdi.

VMware Horizon 6, Virtual SAN and Atlantis ILIO: The Convergence of Desktop Virtualization and Software-Defined Storage

Guest blog by Seth Knox, VP Products, Atlantis Computing

With the release of VMware Horizon 6, VMware is delivering a unified platform for desktop and application virtualization that leverages the power and flexibility of the software-defined data center. By using Virtual SAN and Atlantis ILIO software-defined storage solutions, Horizon 6 significantly drives down the cost per desktop, while delivering an amazing user experience.

A joint solution with VMware Horizon 6, Virtual SAN and Atlantis ILIO delivers:

  • Applications and desktops through a single platform – including VDI, RDS and even XenApps
  • Hyper-converged architecture that leverages servers with local storage (even blades)
  • Optimization with Atlantis ILIO In-Memory Storage technology with inline deduplication and compression to:
    • Boost performance to improve user experience
    • Reduce storage capacity requirements to lower infrastructure costs
    • Pool storage resources across Virtual SAN and existing SAN/NAS/DAS to increase flexibility and drive up data center efficiency

Expanding on the joint solution that was launched in February 2014, Atlantis Computing and VMware have continued to work to provide a low cost, high-performance solution for our customers looking to start or expand their desktop virtualization journey. With the release of VMware Horizon 6 and the joint solution with Atlantis ILIO and VMware Virtual SAN, we are excited to help accelerate our customers’ journey to the software-defined data center.

The joint solution leverages Virtual SAN’s ability to pool local solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs) with Atlantis ILIO to extend and optimize Virtual SAN. Using Atlantis ILIO, IT organizations can pool Virtual SANs with existing shared SAN, NAS and All-Flash storage, while optimizing it with Atlantis ILIO In-Memory Storage technology to boost performance, reduce storage capacity and provide storage services such as high availability, fast cloning and unified management across all data center storage hardware.

To prove the joint solution, we did a series of benchmark tests including ioMeter, PassMark and a boot storm test of 375 desktops.  Desktop virtualization workloads are traditionally very unpredictable and interactive in nature with high peaks and low averages. They are also write-intensive (80% write/ 20% read) and mostly random and small block sizes (4K). As a result, traditional storage technology finds desktop virtualization very difficult to handle and read caching technologies don’t provide the same benefits in terms of performance.

Our joint solution came out at the top in every single test that we ran.  In fact, for PassMark, we are proud to announce that our joint solution achieved the 10th fastest result ever measured. We optimized Virtual SAN, to increase IOPS from 25,000 IOPS to deliver 117,000 IOPS with an average latency of 3.4 milliseconds.  From our tests, it is clear that our joint solution delivers a faster performance than a MacBook Air with Apple SSD for a fraction of the cost. (To see the full test results, visit the Atlantis Computing Blog.)

As you can see, Atlantis ILIO provides tremendous value when used in combination with Virtual SAN to provide the storage for Horizon 6. The joint solution delivers high-performance virtual desktops that outperform physical PCs with SSDs, the ability to use local storage and blade servers reduces the total cost per desktop. The simplicity of both Virtual SAN (built into vSphere) and Atlantis ILIO, which deploys automatically as a VM, provides a compelling solution across VDI, XenApp and RDS desktop virtualization deployments.

To learn more about the joint solution with VMware Horizon 6 and Virtual SAN, watch the on-demand webinar.

Horizon 6 on Pure Storage: More affordable, scalable and simpler than disk

Guest blog by Vaughn Stewart, Chief Evangelist, Pure Storage

It’s amazing to reflect on how quickly our mobile work experience has evolved in such a short period. Over the past half dozen years, the world has advanced from remote calendars and email to the need for a rich, mobile end-user experience comprised of secure access to applications, files, and online services – all available anywhere, anytime and on any device.

However, it can be challenging to provide a consistent user experience across devices and locations.  Multiple points of access and control for end-user applications (including Windows and non-Windows based assets) contribute to user experience issues and management complexity.  Legacy disk-based storage contributes to slow response times and also leads to user dissatisfaction.

VMware and Pure Storage address these performance and management challenges.  VMware Horizon 6 delivers consistently great experiences across devices, locations, media and connections through a unified workspace and provides a central point of control for application delivery.  Pure Storage FlashArray is perfect for Horizon 6 and enables customers to host and manage desktops, provide remote file services and stream application delivery with simplicity and scalability, directly within their software-defined data center.

Pure Storage is unique in the industry, as we have removed the economic barrier to all-flash storage, ensuring an instantaneous and responsive end-user experience with price points at below $100 per Horizon user. In fact, the price per user decreases as the size of the deployment increases! Consistent sub-millisecond storage latency is key to meeting the expectations of today’s mobile user and is vital for Horizon 6 deployments. All-flash Pure Storage delivers this performance without the configuration or complexity of disk-based storage.

VMware Horizon on Pure Storage runs flawlessly and enables organizations to support new deployments for the most demanding users requiring highly responsive 3D graphics, rich media and unified communications.

Read more details on VMware Horizon on Pure Storage.

Building VDI Solutions to Meet Heightened Customer Expectations

Guest blog by Patric Chang, Sr. Director Global Alliances, Fusion-io

In the new VDI world, customer expectations have progressed from robust, snappy virtual desktops to having ready access to corporate and personal applications, using multiple rich media on preferred devices to easily access content from any location.  Satisfying customers requires using highly efficient and scalable infrastructure to deliver VDI on premise or on public or hybrid clouds.  IT professionals can address heightened customer expectations by utilizing the simplicity, performance and cost effectiveness of VMware Horizon 6 and Fusion ioVDI.  Horizon 6 speeds VDI deployment with an architecture built for an on-premise and cloud-based future and delivers consistently great experiences across devices, locations, media and connections through a unified workspace.  ioVDI optimizes desktop performance so that IT professionals can deliver the following value:

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Horizon 6.0 – Introducing Virtual SAN Integration

By Narasimha Krishnakumar, Director, Product Management, End-User Computing, VMware

On behalf of everyone on the End-User Computing (EUC) team at VMware, I’m proud to bring you another exciting product announcement from EUC.

View 5.3.1 was introduced early in the first quarter of 2014 to support Virtual SAN 5.5 GA. As you may have read recently, VMware announced the release of Horizon 6 (with View). With this release, we are continuing to expand the Virtual SAN integration capabilities delivered by Horizon. The Virtual SAN integration capabilities introduced in Horizon 6 deliver the following benefits to our customers:

  • Reduces CAPEX cost of storage by up to 50% when compared to the cost of using an external shared storage array based on magnetic disks
  • A package that contains both View and Virtual SAN
  • A simple three-step setup and management workflow
  • Performance capabilities similar to that of an all flash/all SSD external storage system

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Microsoft Lync 2013 in View Windows 8.0 and 8.1 Desktops

By Tony Huynh, Product Line Manager, End-User Computing, VMware

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Horizon 6 with View will be adding support for Microsoft Lync 2013 VDI integration on Windows 8.0 and 8.1 desktops. In View 5.2, VMware added support for Lync 2013 Client capabilities, including VoIP and videoconferencing, in View desktops running Windows 7 SP1. With Horizon 6 with View, customers will be able to run the Lync 2013 Client with full functionality inside Windows 8.0 and 8.1 virtual desktops as well.

Customers can use View PCoIP technology to deliver an optimal user experience when accessing their View desktop. Once inside the View desktop, users can fully leverage the Lync 2013 Client to communicate and collaborate using its rich VoIP and videoconferencing capabilities.

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Ushering the Software-Defined Workspace

Guest blog by J. Tyler T. Rex Rohrer, Co-Founder, Liquidware Labs

As traditional desktops continue to morph and become less dependent on hardware, the term “workspace” has been adopted to describe what people experience on their devices.  Probably a more appropriate term would be “software-defined workspace,” which more clearly evokes a flexible and portable structure that represents the future of the desktop. (Or a secure virtual workspace – as is the VMware end-user computing vision.)

It is clear that the evolution of desktop to software-defined workspace has made great strides since Liquidware Labs was founded back in 2009.  Yet, even with incredible progress, we recognize that this is only the beginning. We have only scratched the surface of the potential of this model.

So, where is this headed?  Well, we think we know.  As a strong VMware partner, we believe we have seen the future and it’s VMware Horizon 6.   We are extremely excited to see the latest enhancement to the VMware platform come to market and to be a supporting cast member in the march toward next-generation workspaces.

We believe that with the launch of Horizon 6.0, VMware demonstrates that they get the big picture…that it’s clearly time for convergence.  And this makes a great deal of sense because, after all, isn’t the entire cloud concept based on the idea of convergence?

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Horizon 6.0 – Cloud Pod Architecture Details

By Narasimha Krishnakumar, Director, Product Management, End-User Computing, VMware

In my previous blog post introducing cloud pod architecture, I provided you with a high level conceptual overview. Now, let’s get to the details.

Cloud Pod Architecture and Multi-Data-Center View in Horizon 6

One of the key features of the Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture is the high availability and scale-out of virtual desktops in VMware Horizon 6. Many of you may have heard about this feature referred to as Linked-Mode View or Multi-Data-Center View or Federated View Pods. All of these mean the same thing.

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Customizing the View Portal Page After HTML Access Has Been Installed: Horizon View 5.3

By Alexander West, Technical Writer for End-User Computing Technical Marketing, VMware, with significant contributions from Kristina De Nike, Senior Product Manager, VMware

HTML Access is extremely handy for always-on-the-move VMware Horizon View users. But keep in mind that installing HTML Access in your Horizon View deployment will automatically disable your previously customized View Portal page and replace it with a new portal page that contains both an icon for downloading View Client and an icon for accessing your virtual desktop via HTML Access.

Unfortunately, any customizations to the original View Portal page are not automatically included in the new portal. But, on the bright side, you can customize the new portal page using essentially the same technique you used to customize the original View Portal page. (Check out Customizing the View Portal in Horizon View 5.3 to find out how to customize the original View Portal page.)

Note: HTML Access 2.2 is available only as part of the VMware Horizon View 5.3 Feature Pack 1.

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