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  • Virtualise 35 desktops

    Hi

    We need to replace our XP desktops. We have 18 to replace and the cost is going to be quite high. I was considering virtualising all our desktops instead (35).

    However, I'm having trouble finding some reliable figures on the hardware requirements for such a setup. I'm not after hard and fast numbers, I just need a general idea so that I can arrive at a general price and then decide if virtualising our desktops would give us a decent long term ROI.

    The majority of the desktops we have would need Win7 pro, 4GB RAM and dual core processors. There are 3 or 4 that need to be double that for advanced graphics/desktop publishing, CAD work and LIDAR/Mapinfo number crunching/display.

    I have no idea where to start. I'd like to get a good understanding before talking to anyone about potentially purchasing the hardware to support this setup.

    Pricing up 18 desktops comes to between 13 - 14k. Would virtualising 35 desktops be significantly more? Could I start with 18 and then scale up as our existing good hardware starts to fail?

    If anyone has any good starting points for me I'd be very grateful.

    Thanks!
    A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

  • #2
    Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

    Depends a bit on your available environment.

    You are going to need some fast storage, eg SAN or SSD drives. Mostly will be write IOPS.
    Secondly, roughly you can handle about 8 VM's per core, due to your dual core VM's, you can roughly handle 8 VM's per 2 cores

    Are you planning to give each user his own VM or recycle the VM's?
    Marcel
    Technical Consultant
    Netherlands
    http://www.phetios.com
    http://blog.nessus.nl

    MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
    "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

    "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
    "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

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    • #3
      Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

      Thanks a lot for responding.

      Yes, I would prefer that each person have their own dedicated VM (if this means what I think it means), though, as I am not at all familiar with this I don't know what you mean by 'recycling' VM's.

      My problem is that I don't know enough about this. I've got a lot on at the moment so won't have much time to properly research it until about a month's time - but I'd like to start with some solid literature. I'm going to go through the videos that came with the Train Signal training but don't know what level this starts at.

      From what you have said it looks as though I can safely deal with everything through one host server if it is configured appropriately, though to be honest this seems like putting your eggs in one basket. Having a single point of failure for the entire desktop 'fleet' scares me.

      Perhaps I'd be better returning to this after Christmas - I should have a better idea of what is required. I've contacted our account manager at Dell and asked him for some advice on the hardware requirements as we'll almost certainly be purchasing a solution, if we go with it, from them.

      Thanks again - nothing like talking it through to help sort it out in your head (even if it's just to realise you need to know much, much more)
      A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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      • #4
        Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

        I don't know what Dell knows about it

        About a year ago I've implemented a 25.000 VDI environment. We ran VM's with a single vCPU and 2 GB dedicated memory. We where able to run over 125VM's on a single server with a medium load using LoginVSI test tooling

        So yes, you can run a lot of VM's on a single server, though single point of failure won't be that smart indeed.

        Some products to read about is Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View.
        Marcel
        Technical Consultant
        Netherlands
        http://www.phetios.com
        http://blog.nessus.nl

        MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
        "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

        "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
        "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

          Thanks a lot. I appreciate you taking the time to help me
          A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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          • #6
            Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

            We have been using Quest vWorkspace for over 3 years now and is effectively now Dell's offering. When you come to it, let us know and we can advice further at that time. We offer DAAS in our datacenters to a considerable number of customers using Quest (now Dell) vWorkspace.
            Last edited by Virtual; 28th November 2013, 18:25. Reason: spelling of number

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            • #7
              Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

              Thanks a lot. I will definitely keep this in mind.
              A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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              • #8
                Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

                Good recommendations.

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                • #9
                  Re: Virtualise 35 desktops

                  After looking into this I decided to stay with the traditional desktop.

                  I read quite a bit about the setup and requirements, discovered an excellent real-world application detailing benefits and drawbacks and spoke to a colleague who had recently rolled out VDI in an educational establishment.

                  If all our staff were using exactly the same desktop for basic computing tasks it might be worth it. However, we have just 35 client PC's and 6 different desktop configurations (although even those configuration groups are general - each member of staff has slightly different requirements). Two of the configs are high-end and are processor and graphic intensive, one is graphics intensive and the remainder are different according to the tasks that staff need to undertake. We would have to store each those desktop images for each member of staff on the server and back them up.

                  This immediately adds a substantial sum to the initial outlay as it would require a beefed-up server with a lot of processing power and storage and the graphic delivery mechanisms are, from what I have read, still immature.

                  Backing up all this data would also add considerably to the price as we would have to upgrade our present backup devices. Finally, managing this would require a substantial amount of time initially whilst I learnt the ropes and fine-tuned the entire process.

                  In the long run, it just is not cost-efficient for the small number of client computers and the fact that they are each different means we would have to ensure that each was saved, available and backed-up every day.

                  If we used a single, or two configurations across, say 100 desktops, then VDI would definitely be the way forward.
                  A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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