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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, VDI / Terminal services in Technical; Hi all, We are at a point where its going to cost 110k + to replace a load of our ...
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    VDI / Terminal services

    Hi all,

    We are at a point where its going to cost 110k + to replace a load of our old machines. I want to start investigating using old machines as thin clients connecting to a TS farm or looking at proper VDI

    Can you tell me what you do and give me an idea of what it's cost you ? i probably will have 60k to start with.

    Our server & network infrastructure is good so am not concerned about this but would like to know more about our options...

    Many thanks in advance

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    We've looked at this and implemented a few trials, and from where I'm sitting going to VDI or Terminal Services is more of a case of choosing where to spend the big money, and less about saving money. The capital outlay you save on the workstations frequently ends up invested in infrastructure and/or servers instead.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    For VDI - you SAN is the most important part - What kind of numbers are you talking about and can post some recommendations.

    Also what do the users run on the machines

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    Hi there, many thanks for your replies. @Roberto i agree and think this may well be the case. Glennda i am looking at 300 (to start with) concurrent clients, they will run office, Serif suite, internet access etc,

    As much as i would love to see them running DT software I wouldn't of thought it would handle it?

    Many thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by richbrowncardiff View Post
    Hi there, many thanks for your replies. @Roberto i agree and think this may well be the case. Glennda i am looking at 300 (to start with) concurrent clients, they will run office, Serif suite, internet access etc,

    As much as i would love to see them running DT software I wouldn't of thought it would handle it?

    Many thanks
    VDI will handle what you throw at it - given the correct underlying hardware. For that kind of setup it really is worth doing some assesment of the current load on the client machines. Liquidware Labs Stratusphere Fit is a really good tool for telling you if the work done on the clients will fit into VDI. It also tell's you the average IOPs required if. So you can then plan the IOP requirements for the storage. You would probably be looking at 15-25 IOPS per VDI machine. Also there ProfileUnity is very good for managing applications within VM's on a per user basis while not assigning them perm desktops.

    I am just rolling out a 150 user VDI for a client now, we have setup 3 host with 196gb ram in each and each VDI workstation being assigned 2GB ram.

    I am then working on a 600 concurrent seat VDI project which will again be hosts with Lots of memory and a Nimble CS420G X2 which will be able to handle the VDI's without even flinching.

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    richbrowncardiff (1st December 2013)

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    @Glennda many thanks for your advice. I will look into the IOPS needed and also look at the assessment tools available.. Appreciate your advice!

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    Are we talking for use in a school?

    My experience of VDI / Terminal Services is that, for a school anyway it's more of a case of ending up grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and trying to make it work well, rather than it being a feature designed for schools to work well out of the box. Kinda like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with a hammer - you'd be better off just buying round pegs (fat clients).

    If you must use it, take however much ram you think you need and double it, however many iops you need, double it (run it on SSDs), and however many clients you think you can fit on a server, half it. It should work adequatly then, even if it does end up costing you more than fat clients would have.
    Last edited by AButters; 2nd December 2013 at 09:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AButters View Post
    Are we talking for use in a school?

    My experience of VDI / Terminal Services is that, for a school anyway it's more of a case of ending up grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and trying to make it work well, rather than it being a feature designed for schools to work well out of the box. Kinda like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with a hammer - you'd be better off just buying round pegs (fat clients).

    If you must use it, take however much ram you think you need and double it, however many iops you need, double it (run it on SSDs), and however many clients you think you can fit on a server, half it. It should work adequatly then, even if it does end up costing you more than fat clients would have.
    That is essentially right! Your biggest cost will be Licensing for any VDI deployment. I can highly recommend Nimble Storage devices which are designed with VDI in mind. They give you the performance of SSD's but not the cost with the CASL architecture.

    Would you run the VDI on dedicated Hardware or share it with the Server infrastructure?

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback ! yes its in a school (big) and if i go down this road then it would be dedicated hardware for the VDI setup and the main servers would remain as they are...

    I will look into the nimble SANs as have heard a lot of good things about them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richbrowncardiff View Post
    Thanks everyone for your feedback ! yes its in a school (big) and if i go down this road then it would be dedicated hardware for the VDI setup and the main servers would remain as they are...

    I will look into the nimble SANs as have heard a lot of good things about them.
    Yes they are really good for VDI if you have any questions give me a shout I am more than happy to help on the VDI side (if VMware!) or any questions on Nimble.

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    have a look at atlantiscomputing.com its the future.

    we are in the process of POC for a VDI rollout we intend to support 350 concurrent users after 3 - 4 years (50 - 100 clients added per year)

    we will be using 2012 datacenter (Hyper-v 3) in a cluster

    costs involved

    Hardware 20k (2 servers)
    Zero Client (inc monitor, keyboard / mice)) 340 each
    Microsoft VDA annual License (zero clients devices) 21.70p per license
    XenDesktop perpetual License 100 per license
    Xendesktop annual Support 17.70 per license (compulsory 1st year)
    Atlantis perpetual License 50 < rough price
    Atlantis annual Support 7 per license <rough price


    with atlantis no need for expensive SAN. we will be using our SAN for soem storage.

    IOPS through the roof as the pooled desktop wil lbe ran in memory rather than from spinning disks.

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    richbrowncardiff (4th December 2013)

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    TCO higher than buying a standard PC with a 5 year warranty so what is the justification? Are all the users external?

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    Quote Originally Posted by richbrowncardiff View Post
    Thanks everyone for your feedback ! yes its in a school (big) and if i go down this road then it would be dedicated hardware for the VDI setup and the main servers would remain as they are...

    I will look into the nimble SANs as have heard a lot of good things about them.
    My conclusions on VDI and other things

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_O View Post
    TCO higher than buying a standard PC with a 5 year warranty so what is the justification? Are all the users external?
    Not always - the reduced management overhead can bring the price TCO down a lot!

    It isn't a solution for everybody and TBH I don't think it suits Edu. It is very good for large companies who house all Kit in Datecenters as it works very well over WAN.
    Last edited by glennda; 15th January 2014 at 02:37 PM.

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    i agree initial costs are higher (about 65 per box)

    however I would expect a 50 -60% drop in electricity costs (17w vs 30 -40w)
    life expectancy of vdi client an extra 2 -3 years so purchase costs drop off dramatically after 5 years (from 60k per year to around 15 -20k)
    saving in staff costs (support staff time to fix hdd etc)
    flexability for users, internal / external access (with netscaler)
    end device is irrelevant so enhances end user experience (happy customers = happy IT)

    we have also made a saving on potential server hardware (3k) so overall slightly less than 65 per box

    we are a private boarding school so remote /external access is important.

    I see this fitting very well within education, fits ours anyway as we have very little locally installed applications (we use APPV for 95%)

    printing solution also works as we use virtual printers (with papercut) so dont need to worry about geographical location of device
    Last edited by funscott; 15th January 2014 at 02:43 PM.

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