Just back on here after a while off. I am looking at the different VDI solutions (as part of the bigger project of looking at what we should/would/could/have to do in the near future with presenting IT to the desktop and the traditional PC based view as opposed to thin client / VDI etc).
We mainly have PC's across the school with a small usage of thin client (and a growing usage of laptops and other devices that are putting some heavy weight on our managed wireless LAN. laptops...please no more laptops ;>)
and I've been looking more into the various VDI solutions. Have any of you implemented any of this stuff at all? Any experiences? Is VDI at the stage thin client was years ago (it's a lot better now but still has its limits) or is VDI up there and kicking.
We have a lot of graphic type apps and heavy data usage apps here i.e. video editing, 3D modelling software etc, big sized music files and teachers telling me they intend top do much more of this stuff.
Can VDI really do this? I'm guessing if you can afford the super-spec'd rack of servers, yes ;>) but without that budget we may be sticking with thin client for the day to day stuff, PCs for the heavy stuff and SCCM to manage.
Just trying to get some views, angles and any experiences from anyone that has looked at or put into place a VDI solution.
I am currently involved with a project in deploying 15,000 of these. A mix between the traditional terminal services and some users get dedicated virtual machines. Some users are running Photoshop and Dreamweaver with no problems. Every user has the capability for video conferencing. Each machine has 2 monitors a webcam and each user has a headset. We are using Citrix.
We have Windows Thin PC on the client machine and the shell is changed to the Citrix lockdown tool. The users logs onto any client and based on the AD groups the user is in take them to the dedicated machine or send them to an RDS server.
Its working really well at the moment. We currently have about 1,500 in place at the moment.
Thanks FN-GM. What app are you using for this - standard 2008 R2 tools or citrix xendesktop, vmware? what sort of server set up do you have to run so many virtual machines, thin clients?
That must be one major rack of servers?
And what made you decide on your solution? What were the factors? I've seen both the server based VDI solutions as well as the client based version with the type 1 hypervisors (virtual computer do an app called nxtop).
Thanks in advance.
Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Citrix. Citrix XenApp for the traditional terminal server type and Citrix XenDesktop for the dedicated machines. Dedicated virtual machines run Windows 7 with Citrix. The dedicated virtual machines are running on a VMware vSphere cluster.
The servers are blades. Each blade has 96GB Ram and 24 cores and a 120GB SSD. But this is a bigger deployment than yours so dont need to that beefy. The traditional terminal servers are not virtual machines but each server uses a whole blade.
Thin clients are currently re-purposed Dell Optiplex 745, 755 & 760's with Windows Thin PC. We are in the process of selecting a ThinClient but this has yet to be decided.
A user gets their own dedicated virtual machine if they are
- Have a Awkward app that cant be delivered via Citrix
- Need special drivers for devices such as a scanner
- Needs to ability to install own apps.
- Require XP for app compatibility.
The company also uses its own distro of Ununtu and that is going to be looked at as an option for virtual machines.
When you say what made us go for that solution do you mean the technical aspects or the reason we all went virtual in the first please?
Feel free anytime to PM me if you would like to know anything
Last edited by FN-GM; 30th November 2011 at 01:09 PM.
I have been briefly looking at KVM with the spice protocol.
Spice looks quite interesting because it can offload some of the CPU and GPU onto the clients if they can handle it so it looks like a good mixture between full virtualization and traditional clients. I haven't got a quote yet.
Cheers for the info on this. Hopefully this thread will continue for a bit and get a variety of views. I can see it being the way forward, VDI (and thin client), it's just the back end costs that I think will make our finance manager wince a bit ;>)
We had an investment of several servers a while back that means we can push out more thin clients and a lot of people here seem to be happy with that but there are those that still want/need the local pc power (and those from ye dark ages that remember thin client as it used to be and don't want it). I'm just curious if the VDI thing is the way forward or if it's still in it's infancy, to a degree. There is a lot of talk about back end kit with serious graphics abilities and graphics protocols designed especially for the thin client / VDI way of working things. It would be great from a management angle, for sure! In all honesty it will probably do 80% of what we need PCs for, but I'd still like to see it working in the flesh with 30 students all doing solidworks 3D design / modelling and the same in another room all doing video editing etc.
I'm sure it can with the right amount of power in the server room (and the right budget to buy it).
Thanks FN-GM & Cybernerd. All opinions very much welcomed.
Cheers EduTech. Apologies for the late reply. I will drop these guys a mail and get their views as well. I like the way they say they will tell you when NOT to replace PCs as well. Which I'm taking at this moment to mean the areas I have considered PCs would still be needed BUT I will ask the question. I will definitely check out all the info you chaps have provided me with. Many thanks to all.
The biggest "gotcha" (sorry American influence) to look out for with any server based compute model is - make sure you get the user experience right. Multimedia and device connectivity (via USB etc) are the hardest to get right and you will probably need different solutions for say "power users" versus "standard users".
I'm not sure of the value of the link. I think most people on the thread know what Thin Client solutions are they just want example of kit and specs that are used in schools to deliver the solution and their experience of it.