Home > Blogs > VMware Tech Alliances (TAP) Blog

Virtual SAN All-Flash hosting Horizon 6 virtual desktops on Cisco UCS

VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 introduced an all-flash architecture that uses flash devices for both caching and persistent storage. This provides customers with choice of either a hybrid or an all-flash architecture for appropriate workload requirements. For VDI, an all-flash architecture provides a more scalable solution – higher VM density per server along with better application performance & response times – with ever reducing flash storage costs.

In a joint project with Cisco, we measured VDI scalability & application response times running Horizon 6 based linked-clones on Cisco UCS C240-M4 rack servers in an all-flash Virtual SAN configuration. The table below summarizes the findings of the reference architecture of a 4-node Virtual SAN cluster supporting 660 Horizon 6 virtual desktops.

Test Results Test Summary Main Points
Deployed 660 desktops 660 linked-clones(100% concurrency) · Excellent application response times hosting linked-clones executing Login VSI Knowledge Worker Workload: helps ensures excellent end-user performance for practical workloads.

· Proven resiliency and availability: Provides greater uptime for applications.

· Faster desktop operations: Improves IT efficiency

69 minutes 660 linked-clones deployed
6 minutes 660 linked-clones started
51minutes 660 linked-clones refreshed
102minutes 660 linked-clones recomposed
Average application latency of less than 3 milliseconds (ms) LoginVSI 4.1: Knowledge Worker workload
Average disk latency of less than 13ms Virtual SAN disk latency

So with this all-flash configuration we achieved 165 virtual desktops per host on C240-M4 UCS servers executing Login VSI Knowledge Worker workload. A Login VSI knowledge workload is profiled for a VM with 2vCPU and 1.5GB RAM with higher resource usage simulation to more closely mimic production workloads in comparison to the Login VSI Office workload that is profiled for a 1vCPU VM. For such lighter resource usage workload as the VSI Office workload, even further VM density could be achieved up to 200 VMs per host supported by VMware Virtual SAN.

In addition to performing scalability testing on a 4-node, we also performed operational testing of linked-clones such as time to deploy, refresh and recompose VMs in the environment to understand how the cluster behaves (CPU, IO, Network latency) for such operations. As the results shows, these tasks were performed in an acceptable timeframe and without any delays caused.

In terms of Virtual SAN and Horizon 6 configurations, the whitepaper goes into details of the host and cluster configurations such as disk groups, storage capacity and VM configurations so I won’t go through that here but I would like to highlight the underlying BOM for reference:

Area Component Quantity
Host hardware ·     Cisco UCS C240 M4 Rack Server 4
·     Intel Xeon processor E5-2680 v3 CPU at 2.50 GHz 8
·     16-GB DDR4 2133-MHz RDIMM, PC4-17000, dual rank, 1.2V 96
·     Cisco 12-Gbps SAS modular RAID controller with 1GB Cache 4
·     Cisco VIC 1227 dual-port 10-Gbps mLOM 4
·     32-GB SD card 8
·     800-GB 2.5-inch enterprise performance SAS SSD drive 24 (for linked –clones capacity)
·     400-GB 2.5-inch enterprise performance SAS SSD drive* 4 (for caching)
Networking ·     Cisco UCS 6248UP 48-Port Fabric Interconnect 2
·     Cisco Nexus® 9372PX Switch 2
Software ·     VMware ESXi 6.0 with Virtual SAN 6.1 4
·     VMware vCenter Server 6.0 1
·     VMware Horizon 6.1.1 1
·     Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 4
·     Microsoft SQL Server 2012 R2 1

One thing to note here is that we used Enterprise Performance SSDs for caching tier due to availability in our labs when we commenced this project and that we recommend customers using enterprise value drives instead as per Virtual SAN HCL for caching tier to keep the cost down significantly.

In this project, we also performed basic cluster maintenance tasks such as placing a host under maintenance and also failure simulations of individual components (disks and network connectivity) to seek whether desired failure tasks are performed – such as migration of VMs to other hosts and the reduction in capacity.

Due to this being a 4-node cluster and the primary objective of providing scalability guidance, this architecture is not designed for an n+1 scenario with a stand-by host, which is also recommended for production environments.

Finally here are the multiple Virtual SAN and Cisco UCS white papers that the joint teams have produced so far for your reference:

VMware TAP Team Expands Program Benefits and Offerings

We will be hosting our quarterly webinar for TAP partners on Tuesday, November 17th at 10 AM PST. During this webinar we will have three separate presentations with relevant updates for our TAP Partners.
 

The first presentation will focus on the expansion of benefits for our TAP partners. Most notable is the addition of several go-to-market benefits, including: supporting quotes for custom press releases, Solution Briefs, Joint Webinars and Joint Whitepapers. Learn more about the TAP Program refresh during the opening portion of our quarterly webinar.
 

We will then be presenting details how the Ecosystem Services team is simplifying how technical partners do business with VMware. There will be an overview of the new subscription programs available to our partners that provide all the resources and tools partners need for integrating and certifying solutions on VMware’s platform.
 

Finally, we will provide partners an overview of the strategic moves that VMware is now making with Web Client Plug-in to enable partners’ readiness. In this webinar, we will discuss our plans to make vCSA (I.e. vCenter Server Appliance) the preferred way to deploy vCenter, migration to HTML5, new certification program for 2016, as well as new upcoming security features and Proactive HA.

Register today to learn more about these important updates.

Increase Visibility of Your vSphere Web Client Plug-in

Now VMware customers can now easily find the Web Client Plug-ins that partners have developed for vCenter in the VMware Solution Exchange (VSX).This new section of the VSX, where partners can post their Web Client Plug-ins, is located within the Cloud Marketplace.

Take a look at how other partners have promoted their Web Client Plug-ins and created customer awareness in the new Cloud Marketplace and use these instructions for posting your Web Client Plug-in listing.

TAP SDDC NDA Roadmap Session Recording Available Now

We are pleased to provide video access to our SDDC NDA Roadmap Session that we held this summer. This session is available for view, but not download, to all of our TAP partners with a valid Partner Central user account. Please remember, that the Partner Central user accounts need to be associated to a current TAP partnership in order to access the appropriate TAP benefits.

You can watch the SDDC NDA Roadmap video on the TAP Events & Training page under the Training tab. If you have any questions about how to access or view this video, please reach out to the TAP Team at tapalliance@vmware.com or by phone at 1-866-524-4966.

We hope that you find this session enlightening and would love to hear feedback on what you would like to see in future NDA Roadmap sessions.

Upcoming Events for TAP Partners

The TAP Team has a session at VMworld EMEA to discuss our recently added and expanded benefits. Don’t miss out on this session if you are attending our Barcelona VMworld event. There are a few other other events that may be of interest to our TAP partners and we have also added that information below.

Events:

Simplifying Technology Partner Integration and Enhancing Go to Market Opportunities – 10-12-2015 – Event Code: PAR6190 – Register Here

Virtual Volumes Deep Dive – 10-7-2015 – 9:30 AM PDT – Register Here

Streamline and Automate DC Operations with VMware and 3rd Party Management Packs – 10-8-2015 – 8:00 AM PDT – Register Here

Virtual Data Services with EMC Recoverpoint – 10-9-2015 – 8:00 AM PDT – Register Here

Please reach out to the TAP Team (tapalliance@vmware.com) with any questions about your program or benefits.

Join us for Partner Exchange @ VMworld Europe on October 12th

This year Partner Exchange is coming to VMworld 2015 Europe!

Don’t miss this unique opportunity: register for Partner Exchange on Monday 12th October, the day before VMworld (for which you need to register separately). What can you expect? An event like no other, where the only focus is you, and a fantastic opportunity to network with your peers, VMware experts and executives and to learn how to grow your business.

Over 30 Partner focused Breakout Sessions, spread across four different tracks (Business, Cloud, Professional Services and Technical), insights on VMware’s strategy, direction and roadmap, exclusive access to the Partner Lounge throughout the main VMworld conference.

There is also a dedicated session for Technology Alliance Partners within the Partner Exchange Agenda (Session ID PAR6190), at 11:15 on Monday, 12th October so once you have registered, be sure to add this into your personal schedule to avoid missing out! Note that this dedicated session can only be accessed with a Partner Exchange pass.

Register and Get Ready for Any!

Partner Exchange Lounge Updates and Ask the Executives Sessions

 

For partners attending VMworld, access to the Partner Exchange Lounge gives partners a unique opportunity to attend the Ask the Executives Series, held Monday-Wednesday from 12:00 PM – 3:45 PM. These Ask the Executives sessions will leave the floor open to discussion with various VMware executives and are located on the Third floor of Moscone West. The schedule for attending executives is as follow:

 

Monday, August 31

12:00PM – 12:45PM Erik Frieberg, VP EUC Product Marketing

Bob Schultz, VP Chief EUC Strategy Lead

01:00PM – 01:45PM Bask Iyer, SVP & CIO

02:00PM – 02:45PM Ross Brown, SVP Worldwide Alliances and Partners

03:00PM – 03:45PM Loretta Brown, VP Federation Alliance

Andrew Clay, Pivotal, Sr. Director of Technology

Jim Quercetti, EMC, Director, Channel Sales Strategy

Bill Taylor, VCE, VP of Channel Sales

 

Tuesday, September 1

12:00PM – 12:45PM Howard Hall, Senior Director, Global Tech Partner Org.

01:00PM – 01:45PM Allyce Mardesich, Director, Partner Investments

02:00PM – 02:45PM David Parsons, VP, SISO

03:00PM – 03:45PM Geoff Waters, SVP, Product Dev., Cloud Services

Ajay Patel, VP, Service Provider Channel

 

Wednesday, September 2

12:00PM – 12:45PM Teri Burns, VP, Partner Services, GPO

01:00PM – 01:45PM John Gilmartin, GM & VP, SDDC Suite BU

02:00PM – 02:45PM Hatem Naguib, VP, Networking & Security

03:00PM – 03:45PM Chris Wolf, VP & CTO, Americas

 

The Partner Exchange Lounge will also house VMware’s exclusive Hands-on-Labs Hotspot which counts towards the Partner University Credits, Leaderboard Standing, and 2015 VTSP Accreditations.

Finally, there will be three unique networking events hosted by VMware in the lounge. Each session is specifically designed for partners with similar Route-to-Market strategies, and will offer an opportunity to mix and mingle among peers and VMware professionals in an enjoyable setting.

  • Resellers are invited to join for a fiesta on Monday, August 31, from 5:00PM – 6:00PM and network over margaritas and Mexican brewed beers
  • Service Provider/ISV partners are encouraged to come by on Tuesday, September 1, 1:00PM – 2:00PM for an afternoon pick-me-up, consisting of coffee and dessert
  • SI/SO partners will be provided with the chance to relax at VMworld on Thursday, September 2, 2:00PM – 3:00PM. Smoothies will be served

Upcoming TAP Partner Exchange and VMworld US Events

Our TAP partners have access to several events at VMworld US 2015 and PEX at VMworld which will provide valuable program and product updates. Don’t miss out on these informative events, including:

 

Sunday, Aug 30, 4:00 PM – Moscone West, Level 3, Room 3004
PAR6190 – Simplifying Technology Partner Integration and Enhancing Go to Market Opportunities

Featuring a presentation from Kristen Edwards, the Director of TAP Programs, hear about changes to the VMware Technology Alliance Partner Program that offer enhanced benefits, including more go to market opportunities.

 

Wednesday, Sept 2, 3:30 PM – Moscone West, Level 2, Room 2003
TAP5176 – vCloud Air NDA Roadmap (for TAP Members ONLY)

Please join us in this session to learn more about vCloud Air. The roadmap, exclusively designed for our Technology Alliance Partners (TAP), will provide guidance on how vCloud Air will enable customers and partners evolve their hybrid cloud strategy.

 

Wednesday, Sept 2, 3:30 PM – Marriott, Yerba Buena Level, Salon 11
TAP5595 – End User Computing NDA Roadmap (for TAP Members ONLY)

VMware Horizon is an end-to-end solution to manage, secure and deliver Apps, Desktops and Data to any device, anywhere at any time. This session will provide a near term functional roadmap of the various elements of Horizon to TAP program partners under NDA.

 

Thursday, Sept 3, 10:30 AM – Moscone West, Level 3, Room 3003
TAP6408 – Software-Defined Data Center NDA Roadmap (for TAP Members ONLY)

Come to this session to learn about the roadmap for the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). The session will start with the product roadmap for each of the key areas of the SDDC: Compute, Storage and Availability, Networking and Security and the Cloud Management Platform.

 

If you are interested in registering for any of these courses, please visit the VMworld 2015 Schedule Builder and use the respective event code. Please remember that your TAP account must be in good standing to attend these NDA Roadmap sessions. For any event or renewal questions, please reach out to tapalliance@vmware.com.

TAP SDDC NDA Roadmap Session Rescheduled

The TAP Team is pleased to announce that we have rescheduled our additional NDA Roadmap Session. This additional session will be available online via WebEx on Thursday, August 6th. This brief session will run from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. PDT.  This session will include discussions on SDDC Developing Successful IT Outcomes with Your Product and SDDC Adding Automation to Your VMware Integration.

Unlike other TAP NDA Roadmap sessions, this session will be recorded for future consumption. Please ensure that you register today to receive the full benefit of this NDA Roadmap Session. Also keep in mind that this session will require that your partnership be up to date. Click here f you need to renew your membership at the Elite level, or here for the Access level.  Reach out to the TAP Team

If you have not received communications about the NDA Roadmap Sessions, you may want to update your communication preferences in Partner Central. For assistance with updating communication preferences, or your renewal process, reach out to tapalliance@vmware.com.

Announcing Time slots for TAP 1:1 Partner Meetings at VMworld US 2015

We are excited to announce that we are holding one-on-one partner meetings at VMworld US 2015. If you are interested in meeting with the TAP program managers, please take a moment to fill out the appropriate application. Please understand that these meetings are first come, first serve and as time slots fill you may be provided an alternate time slot.

We look forward to seeing you at VMworld!

Please reach out to the TAP Alliance team with any questions at tapalliance@vmware.com or by phone at 866-524-4966.