I normally bring you information about business critical apps such as Oracle, SAP, Java, SQL Server and the like, and the infrastructure configurations and performance that support them. But if you look at it any Virtual Desktop Infrastructure that is widely deployed to a larger percentage of an organisation, it is a business critical app. I’ve been involved in architecting and troubleshooting a few VDI environments over the last few years, one as big as 6,000 seats using Horizon View, and if we go back a bi,t a much larger environment using Citrix XenApp. I’ve seen many of the challenges, and I’ve seen what it takes to succeed. This is why today’s announcement from Nutanix is exciting, in that it brings all the benefits of VDI to organisations of any size, without all the risk and complexity that might have come along with it. Let’s take a look at the announcement and what an environment and infrastructure to support 10,000 Power Users’ VDI desktops might look like on Nutanix.
Nutanix today announced a major new initiative, coming hot on the heals of the recent patent announcement, that is set to disrupt the VDI market and make it uncompromisingly simple for any organisation to benefit from VDI. In a world first Nutanix launched its VDI Assurance program that takes the guess work and risk out of running a VDI environment of any size. Starting from as little as 150 VDI desktops you can scale up to any number, 10,000+. Now customers have the option of paying per VDI Desktop for their own Desktop as a Service infrastructure on premises, rather than being forced to go to a cloud provider. Purchase options don’t just include perpetual ownership, but also term based ownership of 1, 3 or 5 years. Nutanix termed this “the industry’s most comprehensive VDI solution” in their press release. The Nutanix offering is available for both VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop environments.
Traditionally VDI projects have struggled to succeed, due to the complexity and cost of legacy solutions, when trying to deliver an acceptable and high performance user experience. By Nutanix taking away the risk and guaranteeing that sufficient hardware will be implemented to meet the end user experience, anyone can implement a VDI solution with confidence. All a customer has to do is select the number and type of user profile they wish to support and Nutanix will take care of the infrastructure at a consistent and predictable price per desktop. This brings the transparency and benefits of Desktop as a Service Cloud offerings to Customers to run on premises. Disrupting and changing for the better traditional VDI business models, not just technology. To find out more about how you can deploy VDI with assurance in your environment in just three easy steps visit the Nutanix per Desktop VDI and Assurance page.
So what might an environment for 10,000 VDI Power Users look like? The image below has an example of what it might look like. This is based on the Power User Profile Nutanix described in the Nutanix per Desktop VDI and Assurance program and includes all compute, storage, network and management infrastructure to run the complete solution.
As you can see from the above diagram you can achieve 10,000 Power Users in 4 racks, with the small management infrastructure footprint in a 5th rack and plenty of room for expansion. But this isn’t the limit by any means. Due to the way that Nutanix infrastructure linearly scales out you can keep growing the environment to meet whatever your business needs are. You can start from as little as 150 VDI users and scale up as much as you like without reducing performance, or running out of capacity, and all without changing your architecture or design significantly. Now this really is uncompromisingly simple VDI. Note: This diagram is my creation and the assumptions I used to create it may be different to the Nutanix VDI Assurance Program architecture, your architecture and requirements might be different, this is an example and provided for informational purposes only without any warranty of any kind.
The assumptions I used to create the diagram above is a Power User Desktop each consisting of 2 vCPU, 4GB RAM, 60 IOPS and 80GB raw storage (specifications according to the Nutanix VDI Assurance program). This works out to 56 persistent desktops per VDI host (23 hosts) plus 1 host failover and maintenance, 1288 desktops per VDI Cluster, 2576 desktops per rack. I based the diagram on the Nutanix 3060 platform with an N+1 cluster resiliency architecture with 24 nodes per VDI cluster and 48 nodes per Nutanix cluster. There are 2 VDI Clusters per rack and one Nutanix cluster per rack. There is a vCenter Server managing each rack, which is located in the management cluster. The networking assumes a leaf-spine architecture with L2 leaf top of rack switches per rack connected to each of the L3 spine switches, two in this example.
This post appeared on the Long White Virtual Clouds blog at longwhiteclouds.com, by Michael Webster +. Copyright © 2014 – IT Solutions 2000 Ltd and Michael Webster +. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission.
I still cant figure out what changes in traditional VDI deployement with introduction of Nutanix ?
Sorry but I am new to Nutanix and want to understand the key bemefits and differentiators when adopting Nutanix with VMware Horizon.
Hi Rachit, Great question, thanks for asking. From the VDI software side of things, not much, except you don't have to worry about managing the hardware any longer. Each of those Nutanix black boxes or blocks as we call them (building blocks) is 4 complete compute and storage nodes, i.e. 4 independent hypervisor hosts. So you're getting 4 nodes in 2RU (up to 2TB RAM and 80 CPU Cores in 2RU, with 8TB high performance shared storage). There are no LUNs or zoning to worry about, no FC switches, you don't have to worry about auto tiering policies, you can put as many VDI desktops on a single Nutanix container as you like.
What Nutanix is brining to VDI is predictable and linearly scalable performance and growth with a known quantity of users per node. So there is no complex design process, you know how many users you need, and what profile type, then you know what you need to get. Now with this announcement you can actually buy the Nutanix hardware on a predictable per desktop basis with a performance and service guarantee. If you don't want to buy hardware on a perpetual basis you can buy it no a term basis for either 1, 3 or 5 years. If for some reason it doesn't meet the specifications, Nutanix will put in more hardware, without any additional cost to the customer. So this completely takes away the risks that traditional VDI environments faced.
Also the diagram in this article is the complete hardware solution, all storage, servers and network equipment for 10K Power Users. In a traditional solution this would have just been the compute, you would have had separate racks for storage and potentially more networking equipment. Nutanix is up to twice the density in terms of less rack units consumed as it combines compute and storage into a single virtual computing platform, and half the power consumption of other similar solutions. Half the rack units and half the power consumption but with predictable and optimal performance due to data localisation and the mix of local flash and HDD. All while being able to manage persistent desktops as you would with any other shared storage environment. HA, DRS etc still work just as they always have.
Even in a traditional VDI pricing model on Nutanix (buying the hardware outright without VDI assurance) if you make a miscalculation on performance it's just a matter of adding in another node or nodes and getting more performance. This is the advantage of the web-scale architecture that linearly scales up the performance as you add nodes. Low risk, low starting point, predictable growth, lower cost to grow.
I hope this answer helps. Let me know if you need anything else.
Thanks Michael..As always your detailed insights help me understand better.
The assurance and predictability part makes a lot of sense now.
This should be a game changer and help customers in easy adoption of VDI.
Cheers and keep up the good work.
[…] a previous article, Nutanix Disruption as a Service Serves Up VDI Assurance World First, I wrote about the Nutanix VDI Assurance program that allows customers to pay for VDI […]