In September Citrix announced a partnership with Cisco in order to deliver XenDesktop on Unified Computing System (UCS), powered by NetApp storage.
The key promise of the partnership was that Citrix, Cisco and NetApp would jointly validate the infrastructure, by providing a reference architecture and a Starter Kit and Expansion Kit to deliver solutions from entry-level 300 virtual desktop environments scaling to several thousands of desktops. The solution also would provide an choice of back-end hypervisor, initially scoped to Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX.
This week Citrix, Cisco en NetApp delivered their promise by releasing Validated Design Guides on the Cisco website.
The Validated Design Guides contain the following documents:
- Citrix Desktop Virtualization Solution with Citrix XenDesktop: Deliver Desktops and Applications as On-Demand Services which is 20 pages and contains an overview of the provided solutions which are:
- Cisco UCS Base Pack for Desktop Virtualization, which supports between 300 and 700 desktops.
- Cisco UCS Expansion Pack for VDI-Based Desktops, which increases the capacity of the base pack with 400 desktops
- Cisco UCS Expansion Pack for Hosted Shared Desktops, which increases the capacity to host up to tens of thousand session-based desktops.
- Reference Architecture-Based Design for Implementation of Citrix XenDesktop on Cisco Unified Computing System, Citrix XenServer, and NetApp Storage – Cisco Validated Design, which consists of 138 pages and covers the Infrastructure Components, the Architecture, the Solution Validation, the Test Setup and Configuration, Test Results and Scalability Considerations and Guidelines.
"…The Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Servers offer an optimal memory configuration that allows virtual desktop hosting servers to use the full CPU capabilities of the servers. The 192 GB of memory allowed a high density of desktop sessions per Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Servers while offering 1.5 GB of memory to be allocated per desktop-based virtual machine. We were able to scale to 110 windows 7 desktops while running knowledge worker load…"
- Reference Architecture-Based Design for Implementation of Citrix XenDesktop on Cisco Unified Computing System, VMware vSphere and NetAPP Storage which consists of 143 pages and covers the same topics as the Citrix XenServer version of the document.
"…Scale testing findings: 110 Windows 7 1.5 GB desktops running knowledge worker load.
● With the large memory blade we are seeing the best performance for the price.
● Linear scalability when we went from 1 server to 8 servers to 16 servers, the results were that with 1 server we had 110 desktops running with 16 we got 1760 desktop with the same response time.
● Pure Virtualization: The validated environment consisted of only virtual machines hosted by VMware vSphere. All the virtual desktop and supporting infrastructure components including Active Directory, Citrix Provisioning Server, and the XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controllers were hosted on VMware vSphere.
● Rapid provisioning with Cisco UCS Manager makes it easy for scaling from 1 chassis to 2 and so on.
● The 10G unified fabric story gets a stronger validation as we see tremendous performance with respect to user response times during the load test.
● The low latency Cisco Virtual Interface (VIC) cards make the configuration more robust in terms of extra vNICs and contribute positively towards the response time equation.
● With proper backend storage scaling we can scale out UCS domain from 4 chassis and beyond without making any changes to the proposed Reference Architecture.
● FlexCast Validated: The Citrix FlexCast models Hosted VDI and Hosted Shared running on UCS blades and NetApp storage were successfully validated.
● Memory Extends Density: With 192GB of RAM, the B250 M2 blades offer an optimal memory configuration for desktop virtualization that allow the hosting infrastructure the ability to fully utilize the CPU capabilities of the servers without restricting the of amount memory allocated to the desktops.
● Storage Simplicity for Desktop Virtualization: NetApp’s ability to aggregate multiple storage volumes greatly simplifies the storage needs for desktop virtualization…"