In 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 Infrastructure on a per desktop basis (perpetual or term based), based on certain pre-defined user profiles, and guarantees the performance and service levels (takes away the risk). It included in that article an architecture diagram that would allow up to 10,000 Power User desktops, or 20,000 Task Workers. But like a lot of people I always like to do more, and I got some questions about how I’d scale up to even larger numbers. This article will answer those questions. Below I present an architecture that is initially sized for 20K Power Users or 40K Task Workers, but can scale to 200K+ Power Users, just by adding in more of the standard building block components. I’ve also included a diagram of how this might look logically in a multi-site scenario.
The diagrams below assume the standard Nutanix definition of a Power User or Task Worker. The platform is based on the Nutanix VDI Assurance Model NX-3060 node type (256GB RAM). Each rack is a modular unit or building block and you can just keep adding racks. This is enabled by the underlying network architecture being a leaf-spine design, and the web-scale architecture and linearly scalability of the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform. Information on leaf-spine network architecture can be found from Cisco and Arista and others.
The Nutanix Virtual Computing platform delivers Power Users desktops at <6w per desktop, and Task Workers <3w per desktop at any scale. This is much more power efficient than competing solutions. The density of 2.5K Power Users or 5K Task Workers per rack includes resources for N+1 resiliency per VDI cluster. When looking at the design, remember that this includes all server compute, storage, and networking components for the entire solution. There are no separate racks for storage or network equipment (except the uplinks to the WAN, which are not shown).
What makes the VDI Assurance model from Nutanix so simple is that you don’t need to worry about this detail. Nutanix takes care of it for you. I just drew this pretty picture to get you interested. You simply have to know the number and profile of the users you need to host and Nutanix will give you the right infrastructure to run them with guaranteed service levels. If it’s not performing then Nutanix will fix, which may mean deploying more hardware, at no additional cost. You pay per desktop in packs of desktops for a perpetual or for a term (1/3/5 yrs). That’s it. Uncompromisingly simple.
Note these diagrams are of my creation (based on previous example diagrams and good work by Steven Poitras – http://stevenpoitras.com/, author of the Nutanix Bible) and your actual deployment may be different to this based on Nutanix VDI Assurance model. This is for informational purposes only, but I did spend a lot of time calculating the numbers to make sure the design would work. This is still one component and an over simplification. These designs could be deployed with your favourite VDI solution, so you can choose between either VMware Horizon View or Citrix XenDesktop.
VDI for 10K Power Users, 20K Task Workers
This is the design diagram from my previous article.
VDI for 20K to 200K+ Power Users, 40K to 400K+ Task Workers
If you click on the image it will be expanded and easier to read. This can easily be expanded to 72 racks by adding line cards to the spine switches using the MLAG approach. Using ECMP (for above 72 racks) you could add an additional 36 racks, for a total of 108 racks without any significant modifications to the design or it’s building blocks. You could keep going, but that would require some modifications to the design. Although I have not tested this design in the real world, I have calculated all the various components of the solution based on the Nutanix VDI Assurance model for VDI user profiles and nodes. With the Nutanix VDI Assurance model though you really just have to know how many you need, and then Nutanix will do the rest.
This is by no means the only way to achieve this result. This is just one of many possible architecture options. But I think this shows the power of the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform to deliver on the VDI use case while consuming an efficient power footprint and a very efficient datacenter footprint. There is more to a VDI design than a single diagram, but this should get the creative juices and imagination flowing.
Taking VDI to Mult-Site for DR and Even More Scale
So how do you provide DR and multi-site resilience and scale to a VDI design based on the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform? Good question. Because VDI is a business critical application, especially when deployed at scale, you need to make sure you have headroom to handle failure and disaster scenarios. Here is a logical diagram of how this might look. You can click on the image to make it bigger.
Because the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform has data replication built in, you can easily protect your master images and replicated them to one or more sites. You can quickly clone images using the Nutanix VAAI integration, and you can quickly deploy, refresh and power on desktops. Data Deduplication, shadow clones, and the unique data locality features of the Nutanix platform make sure your desktops always receive optimal performance. With the Nutanix solution you get web-scale, cloud economics, high performance, simplicity and choice, at your place, and at your pace.
The above solution delivers power consumption for power user desktops for < 5W per desktop and < 2.5W for task workers. Take a look at the Nutanix VDI Assurance program, go through the Nutanix Product Info and Tech Papers, and check out the Case Studies. As always your feedback and comments are appreciated. Let me know your thoughts on scalable, large scale VDI design. If you want to see how the Nutanix solution compares to other reference architectures check out Battle RA Royale: More VDI For Less Moolah.
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.