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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, New VDI Project in Technical; Hi Everyone In the summer im looking at implementing VDI namely Xendesktop and XenApp. Im looking at a basic startup ...
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    New VDI Project

    Hi Everyone

    In the summer im looking at implementing VDI namely Xendesktop and XenApp. Im looking at a basic startup setup with 2 servers with 2 x 6core CPUs and 96gb RAM each and 40 VDI connections.

    Im just after opinions really, good and bad on other peoples implementation of XenDesktop/XenApp and any potential road blocks i could come across? As i dont have much knowledge on how to implement XenDesktop, if anyone can PM details of good companies that they have had to do the install would be great.

    We do run software like Solidworks 2012/12, Adobe CS3 master suite collection and MissonMaker so feedback anyone using this software in a Xendesktop/Xenapp environment would great.

    Many Thanks
    Last edited by techie08; 22nd May 2012 at 09:14 AM.

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    It's worth looking at VDI-in-a-box before you go down the XenDesktop route... it's now part of Citrix but doesn't need SAN storage so could work out considerably cheaper. Check out jamesfed's VDI open day thread, could be just what you need

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    The Xendesktop Setup i was looking at doesn't need a SAN either.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I was involved with a project in rolling out 15,000 Xenapp/ XenDesktop devices. We run Photoshop one some VDI's, it did work pretty well. The other software we didnt have.

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by techie08 View Post
    The Xendesktop Setup i was looking at doesn't need a SAN either.
    That's interesting, very similar feature sets between XD and the Kaviza product in that case... always thought the main difference was the lack of shared storage requirement. How does XD do it with DAS?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    That's interesting, very similar feature sets between XD and the Kaviza product in that case... always thought the main difference was the lack of shared storage requirement. How does XD do it with DAS?
    The solution that has been spec'd out for me has two hosts with 8 146 SAS drives in. Not really sure how it load balances etc. Im guesing there is a provisioning server on each host but im not 100% on that.

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    The real question you have to ask is why are you pursuing this path? Is it to save money? Because you think the technology is up to the job? Because you think it is more cost effective? Because the maintenance is less? Because you think you are future proofing?

    How long do you think this solution will last? (or do you want it to last!) 5 year, 6 years?

    I guarantee that if you buy something like a Dell 380 (about £380 per unit), you will have less trouble, it will work faster and it will probably last well beyond this time. The time for desktop VDI virtualisation is not yet upon us... my suggestion spend your money on physical stuff and wait.

    How much are they asking for the whole solution and lets compare that to the price of the Dells
    Last edited by Dave_O; 22nd May 2012 at 09:47 PM.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    The time for desktop VDI virtualisation is not yet upon us... my suggestion spend your money on physical stuff and wait.
    Can you expand on this please? Personally i think it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_O View Post
    The real question you have to ask is why are you pursuing this path? Is it to save money? Because you think the technology is up to the job? Because you think it is more cost effective? Because the maintenance is less? Because you think you are future proofing?

    How long do you think this solution will last? (or do you want it to last!) 5 year, 6 years?

    I guarantee that if you buy something like a Dell 380 (about £380 per unit), you will have less trouble, it will work faster and it will probably last well beyond this time. The time for desktop VDI virtualisation is not yet upon us... my suggestion spend your money on physical stuff and wait.

    How much are they asking for the whole solution and lets compare that to the price of the Dells
    I think there are economies of scales and you have to look at what you will be using it for i.e ICT suite library and evaluate.

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    Its good to know people's point of view with this, that's why I posted. I've been doing months of research and to be honest I find my self going round in circles half the time! I've been to one school using XenDesktop with over 200 clients successfuly. Im also looking at Xen for the longer term to try and reduce the cost of hardware spent in ICT Suites when refreshes are needed.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    96Gb ram for 40 VDI connections? Seems a little ott IMHO unless you are buying the hardware to expand further in the future.

    Have you considered Vmware View? Or is the Vram costings taking it well out of price range?

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    96Gb ram for 40 VDI connections? Seems a little ott IMHO unless you are buying the hardware to expand further in the future.

    Have you considered Vmware View? Or is the Vram costings taking it well out of price range?
    Defiantly to expand in the future. I've looked at view but I thought the features like Xenapp were better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by techie08 View Post
    Defiantly to expand in the future. I've looked at view but I thought the features like Xenapp were better.
    fair enough i've used both but i'm in the vmware camp but i work for a vmware partner so would be!

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    OK. It's unclear from your posts whether you work in a school or are a supplier of solutions (local authority, vendor etc) so I will assume nothing.

    In five or six years time there may be some killer solution that make VDI a must have. At the moment having sat in hundreds of lessons with staff and students both using VDI and desktop/laptops I can tell you that every one of them to a man found the VDI solution frustrating both in terms of speed and functionality. Now it doesn't matter if you (or I for that matter) think VDI is the best thing since sliced bread, if the people using it don't like it and want it taken out then my money is on them.

    My guess is now you are coming up with all sort of thought like "this idiot has no idea how to implement an effective solution." Now on that one you will have to trust me. I have seen the so called best and when you get away from the techs and SLT most students and staff would rather have a PC or laptop. VDI works best in schools that don't know any better. Typical scenario is, school has crap IT, someone come in and sells them some VDI solution that costs the earth, school has no idea how to maintain it, spend loads on maintenance. 5 years down the line someone comes in and sells them.... and the cycle goes on. ( Based on a true story - names withheld to protect the innocent)

    I've learnt the hard way that the most effective solutions are those that come from the staff not from some technical bod (like me). From my rounds in over 50 schools where I take the time to talk to staff and students, they want PCs, laptops and I have to admit now mobile devices. Yes I know you can run VDI on PCs, laptops and other sundry devices but why abstract from the physical, it just adds a layer of complexity which is neither needed nor wanted. It may be easier to manager, more secure? not really we keep nothing on the physical box of any importance. I have to ask, therefore, who are we doing this for? Us, to make life easy, or staff and students? I know where my money is going and it aint VDI

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    You could run 40 VDI sessions from just one of those hosts IMHO

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