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Overcome your Remote Office/Branch Office VDI challenges with VMware Horizon View™ and Nutanix

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.

Read more about the Nutanix platform and what’s new in Horizon View 5.3.


6 thoughts on “Overcome your Remote Office/Branch Office VDI challenges with VMware Horizon View™ and Nutanix

  1. Pingback: Overcome your Remote Office/Branch Office VDI challenges with VMware Horizon View™ and Nutanix - VMware End User Computing - BrianMadden.com

  2. Juan

    So you run your desktops locally in a branch office and that experience must be awesome. But what happens if you need to open files or run applications that are sitting in the central datacenter? You still get the WAN delays, thus bad user experience.
    Just my 2 cents.


    1. Pete Walker

      Juan — IMHO it seems that you are knocking the scenario for something it wasn’t designed to solve. How did those users previously connect to those files/folders before introducing this solution? Over the WAN. The same way they did previously, only now utilizing virtual desktops, vs. physical. This is about VDI, not storing files locally.

      PS I don’t have a dog in this fight, just making an observation, my man.

    2. Avinash Shetty

      Juan, absolutely correct. Central file access might still experience slowness when going across the WAN depending on bandwidth and latency. For these users, the option of WAN optimizers is a great solution. WAN optimization is great at optimizing file transfers but not VDI sessions. You could always run virtual instances of WAN optimizers such as Riverbed or Silverpeak on a Nutanix platform to achieve both local desktop access and well as fast file access at your remote locations

  3. Richard

    Actually, Juan has a very good point. One of the main reasons for VDI, is to run the desktops where all of the data and application are hosted. So the user experience is optimal.
    Thats why we rely on technology to drive better control and desktop delivery to Users.
    Just my penny’s worth.

    1. steven poitras

      That’s exactly where technologies like DFS-N/R come into play, essentially you can have a DFS namespace which allows user to store/access files locally. Then use DFS-R to replicate from the branch to the DC to allow for availability in the case of a branch outage.

      That will give you the ability to provide local experience for desktop and data in the operational state and local desktop to data in the case of a failover to the DC

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