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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Your VDI adventures - good or bad, please share. in Technical; Hi all. Itís been suggested that we look at moving across to a VDI system, replacing some, but not all ...
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    Question Your VDI adventures - good or bad, please share.

    Hi all.

    Itís been suggested that we look at moving across to a VDI system, replacing some, but not all of our aging classroom PCís. What I would like to know is what have been your experiences of introducing a hybrid (VDI/Physical) system. Has anyone started and then abandoned the project? Has VDI been promised to be the miracle cure for all IT issues and then not lived up to its expectations, or has it been installed and people wondered how they ever done without it?

    I know itís a bit of a marmite subject, but Iíd be very grateful for you guys sharing your experiences and who knows, I might even make 25+ posts in the process.

    Cheers all
    __________
    Fruity.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Not something I've ever done but something I am keenly interested in and (now) have the potential to look at myself as well. My first few thoughts are:

    You might reduce the PC's costs but you're going to need some powerful servers in the back end to run it.
    Make sure the thin clients you spec support RemoteFX.
    Don't forget you need Software Assurance and MDOP to use Window Desktop in a VDI.
    I've played with other similar tech - Multipoint Server - and I'd question performance on graphically intensive applications, video and flash.
    You'll almost certainly still want some thick clients for music and/or video editing.

    My money's on App-V being the "miracle cure for all IT issues" (also a part of SA+MDOP).

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    CHR1S's Avatar
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    I once thought I had VDI, worried me, but it turned out to be just a rash..... quite an adventure!

  4. 2 Thanks to CHR1S:

    LosOjos (1st March 2013), mmoseley (1st March 2013)

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I was involved in deploying 15,000+ of them, when i get a second i will let you know how it all went

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    We have 10 VDI "Personal Desktops" in place hear, mainly in the offices. We used pooled ones initially but they weren't worth it, as people would be asking for different software on theirs and then you had to recreate the pool (overnight but still). however pooled takes up much less HDD space as you can imagine.

    We also have 40 clients that go through only one RDS Session server, which are all perfectly good for basic usage, such as web browsing, office etc. They are even good for some Adobe stuff.

    You need to make sure your infrastructure is good enough if you go down this route, we can see some differences in speed in the remote clients.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    I used to go quite in depth on these kinds of posts but very quickly realised I was just repeating myself over and over!

    Either way we've got Citrix VDI-in-a-Box here with PCI-E SSDs in the server running it to great effect, have posted most of my experiences on my blog here - VDI | my world of IT

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    fiza's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat - we are having someone in after half term to give us a demo and leave some 10zig thin clients behind for us to test. We are looking to kit out our sixth form with either PCs or VDI in a box with 10zig clients. It all depends on cost and capabilities of the devices. The other thing that attracts is the fact you can remotely log into a virtual desktop from home using any device (IOS/Android/PC) capable of running the citrix receiver.

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    First you need a problem, then look into the solution. Then decide what product best fits your needs.

    All I'm suggesting is don't go with VDI simply because you are interested in the technology or feel the need 'freshen up' your network with something different. Its certainly no 'miracle cure', even those who sell VDI solutions usually advise against putting into suites which are going to see heavy cpu and gpu usage. Ie IT or art suites. Our original plan was to put VDI in a junior school IT room and repurpose the PC's there but our experience with VDI running multimedia related programs has not been positive. So we've ordered in 24x good old fashioned base units with a decent GPU.

    Log in times, if using 'thick clients' running desktop lock mode (redirecting you to a VDI session on login) can be frustratingly long too. You can't get away from the fact that older PC's still have to do some of the processing to initiate a VDI session.

    It has its place and is good for suites such as libraries and 'study areas'. It also very good for remote access too. However, there are other ways of achieving what VDI can achieve, probably for less cost too.

  10. Thanks to superatticman from:

    zag (4th March 2013)

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    Axel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    I'm in the same boat - we are having someone in after half term to give us a demo and leave some 10zig thin clients behind for us to test. We are looking to kit out our sixth form with either PCs or VDI in a box with 10zig clients. It all depends on cost and capabilities of the devices. The other thing that attracts is the fact you can remotely log into a virtual desktop from home using any device (IOS/Android/PC) capable of running the citrix receiver.
    You're quite possibly being "oversold" product by who ever is guiding you here (you mention cost being a factor) - you can do all the above with generic Microsoft, connecting to virtual machines via RemoteApp, and home-users logging in securely via Microsoft's Gateway protocol (which uses SSL, and if you need additional security you can add in client and server certificates)

    In that scenario any device with a browser should be able to connect remotely and securely over the internet.

  12. 2 Thanks to Axel:

    fiza (1st March 2013), zag (4th March 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Axel View Post
    You're quite possibly being "oversold" product by who ever is guiding you here

    .
    Spot on!

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    Thumbs up

    I'm coming from a Data protection remote access requirement. We want to block all removable storage in school and tell staff to login to a remote session to access school data from home. Would also set a low timeout lock for session at 5 mins or so in case of prying eyes at home. Of course policies reminding staff of secure usage is a must. Don't think we nessessarily need VDI in our case just a old fastioned terminal Services server and gateway. Would need to support up to 50 concurrent sessions from home.

    Only apps would be

    • SIMS
    • Office
    • possibly abacus iplanner (so some light flash)
    • and general web surfing for collecting resources for lesson planning.




    Might look to leverage the infrastucture later on to run windows apps on android or iOS devices (i know this complicates matters but future resistant (as opposed to future proof) is always desirable)

    Any suggestions / gotcha's with this idea?
    Last edited by Alis_Klar; 28th February 2013 at 04:05 PM.

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    Axel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alis_Klar View Post
    I'm coming from a Data protection remote access requirement. We want to block all removable storage in school and tell staff to login to a remote session to access school data from home. Would also set a low timeout lock for session at 5 mins or so in case of prying eyes at home. Of course policies reminding staff of secure usage is a must. Don't think we nessessarily need VDI in our case just a old fastioned terminal Services server and gateway. Would need to support up to 50 concurrent sessions from home.

    Only apps would be

    • SIMS
    • Office
    • possibly abacus iplanner (so some light flash)
    • and general web surfing for collecting resources for lesson planning.




    Might look to leverage the infrastucture later on to run windows apps on android or iOS devices (i know this complicates matters but future resistant (as opposed to future proof) is always desirable)

    Any suggestions / gotcha's with this idea?
    Are you looking for "server" or "client" advice (or both...)

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    I've always been cynical about thin client and VDI, having been bitten once before with poor performance. I would ask, do you have to deliver a uniform performance around the school due to dynamic timetabling? We have just ripped out 64 thin clients and replaced with laptops as it just wasn't cutting the mustard.

    I keep hearing about VDI, at BETT, sales people raved on about it, spoke to some engineers who said avoid it at all costs plus I cannot believe its yet a full site solution, unless you have a server room bigger than a classroom. If its only a small proportion of a school, then I would ask why go to the bother, just replace with mid range workstations that will run everything and spend more money on virtualizing the backend.

    That said, I am visiting a school next Friday, who have VDI implemented (as to whether its a full site deployment or not is yet to be known). - I may see it in a different light lol.

  17. Thanks to andyturpie from:

    zag (4th March 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyturpie View Post
    I've always been cynical about thin client and VDI, having been bitten once before with poor performance. I would ask, do you have to deliver a uniform performance around the school due to dynamic timetabling? We have just ripped out 64 thin clients and replaced with laptops as it just wasn't cutting the mustard.

    I keep hearing about VDI, at BETT, sales people raved on about it, spoke to some engineers who said avoid it at all costs plus I cannot believe its yet a full site solution, unless you have a server room bigger than a classroom. If its only a small proportion of a school, then I would ask why go to the bother, just replace with mid range workstations that will run everything and spend more money on virtualizing the backend.

    That said, I am visiting a school next Friday, who have VDI implemented (as to whether its a full site deployment or not is yet to be known). - I may see it in a different light lol.
    I have a client who does process modelling via VDI and also one that has a Photoshop installl. Can't say they really notice a difference on the local lan. Via 3G data connection yes

    I am in the middle of 5 different VDI rollouts of varying sizes and specing the quoting on the third (to eventually be 1000 users).

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyturpie View Post
    I've always been cynical about thin client and VDI, having been bitten once before with poor performance.
    I'd agree with almost all of that. Whenever I've looked at VDI, even the cost savings were highly optimistic. However, I think the idea of providing a standard school desktop to students from any device anywhere is a different issue and potentially very powerful. The problem we then run into is hugely complex and expensive licensing - particularly Microsoft.

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