Application Report: Vritual Desktops Power One to One Computing


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This application brief describes how VDI servers breath new life into old PCs, which frees budget for the purchase of more PCs or tablet computers.

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Application Report: Vritual Desktops Power One to One Computing

  1. 1. APPLICATION BRIEF VIRTUAL DESKTOPS POWER 1-TO-1 COMPUTING Digital Literacy Transforming Libraries into Media Centers Building on the foundation of traditional forms of literacy , digital literacy is the ability to navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies. The goal of K-12 schools in the U.S. is to develop digitally literate students who can then be called digital citizens. In “Media Centers” that used to be called “Libraries”, schools are teaching students how to find, use, summarize, evaluate, create, and communicate information using digital technologies. To teach digital literacy, K-12 schools across the country are using a variety of hardware platforms, including desktop PCs, laptop PCs, tablet computers, zeroclients, and cell phones. One-to-One Computing The use of PCs and mobile devices is not limited to the Media Center. School curriculums are heavily dependent on them in the classroom and at home for access to online learning resources. That’s why school districts across the country are striving to provide each student with the use of a laptop or tablet — an initiative known as one-to-one computing. In the fall of 2013, about 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. An additional 5.2 million students are expected to attend private schools. The result is school districts are tasked with providing a productive user experience for approximately 75 million administration staff, teachers, and students, — who each day boot their devices, log-in, and run a wide variety of applications. PC Performance Saps Classroom Productivity At home, today’s generation of teachers and students have little tolerance for device and internet lag-time. Long waits for computer start-up and slow application response time are serious obstacles to the success of one-to-one initiatives. Unfortunately, over half the school districts surveyed by IT Brand Pulse said that over one third of their PCs were really slow. Aging infrastructure, with The following are big issues in my school district (select all that apply): school districts routinely using laptop computers 7 years old, resulted in boot and log-in times as long as 6-7 minutes. This frustrates students and saps classroom productivity. Once logged-in, application response time is agonizingly slow using PCs with underpowered processors and memory. Updating old PCs was identified as the top issue in a survey of school district superintendents, CIOs and Technology Directors. Document # APP2013016 v3 Copyright 2013© IT Brand Pulse. All rights reserved. Page 1 of 4
  2. 2. APPLICATION BRIEF Virtual Desktops: A Killer App for K-12 Education A technology known as “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure” (VDI) has emerged as a killer app for K-12 education by allowing old PCs to deliver like-new PC performance and halt the PC aging process. This fountain of youth is made possible by desktop virtualization software such as VMware Horizon View. All the processing and storage for each user is offloaded to centralized servers which send individual screens over the network, that are painted on each individual user’s desktop or laptop display. Aging laptops become dumb displays and no longer need the processing power and memory capacity needed to run resource-intensive applications used by schools. The results are that even old PCs become blazing fast, and the useful life of PCs is doubled — which cuts replacement costs in half. Before VDI After VDI Each generation of PC application requires more disk space, more memory and faster processors. Each generation of PC application requires more disk space, more memory and faster processors. Fat applications run on processor inside PC . Thin remote display protocol runs on PC . Maintain performance by replacing the entire PC with a PC that has faster processor, or by adding more memory and/or faster disk drives to the original. Maintain performance by configuring more CPU, memory or storage for the virtual PC on the central server. PCs not required. Low power consumption by thin-clients. Annual cost to charge a tablet = $1.36. PCs required. Annual cost to power a PC (not including monitor and other accessories) = $28.21 Life of a fast thin client = 6-7 years Life of a fast PC = 2-3 years Hundreds of Disk Drives Required to Provide the IOPS Needed by School Districts Studies have shown that booting 1,000 PCs will create a boot storm lasting about 6-7 minutes, and generate peak traffic of approximately 250 IOPS per PC, or 125,000 IOPS for 500 PCs. During a boot storm, the PCs will sustain about half that level of traffic. After booting, each PC workload will generate about 20 IOPS. Boot performance is particularly important in the education environment, where boot storms multiple times a day between class sessions is normal operating procedure. Using 15,000 RPM drives which are capable of 200 IOPs, a cluster of virtual desktop servers must have 625 disk drives to meet peak demand for 500 virtual desktops. Using FabricCache, a single server-based cache adapter can handle 175,000 IOPs. The price difference between an all HDD storage system, and a storage system incorporating FabricCache for server based caching of hot data is huge. It’s the difference between many years to achieve a return-on-investment, and a cost reduction which immediately frees money to buy more thin clients. Document # APP2013016 v3 Copyright 2013© IT Brand Pulse. All rights reserved. Page 2 of 4
  3. 3. APPLICATION BRIEF Virtual Desktops: A Killer App for FabricCache Even a small school district will have over 1,000 students in multiple elementary, middle and high schools. A VDI environment for large school districts must scale to support 1,000s of virtual desktops. FabricCache shines in large virtual desktop environments because performance scales linearly as server nodes are added to a cluster. FabricCache also addresses the availability needed in large clusters. Redundant adapters with failover can be configured to improve the availability of each member of a virtual desktop cluster. In addition, the adapter cache is shared in a high availability SAN. The result is FabricCache performance and availability can scale alongside the size of the virtual desktop cluster to support 1,000s of virtual desktops. 4-Node Virtual Desktop Cluster with FabricCache With FabricCache configured on the PCIe bus of each virtual desktop server, great performance can scale linearly as new servers are added to the cluster. Because the redundant server adapters are also members of a SAN, high availability is always maintained. Document # APP2013016 v3 Copyright 2013© IT Brand Pulse. All rights reserved. Page 3 of 4
  4. 4. APPLICATION BRIEF Recent Tips from FabricCache Users The following are a few of the lessons that FabricCache users want to share about their VDI experience:  Start with a small group of people who are pushing the envelope to be the early adopters.  This initial small group of 5-10 should represent a cross section of staff and students.  Do something different with the next group.  Be prepared for surprises, especially version mismatches. For example, some users’ older MIMIO software couldn’t open the files, requiring an update before being virtualized.  Help users understand the benefits and trade-offs of VDI, such as home based log- in privileges (sacrificing the “individuality” of their PC screens).  Plan your deployment so the technology is fully implemented, and staff is trained QLogic FabricCache when school starts. Technology Deployment Cycle for K-12 Winter Spring Research technology. Pilot with select staff and classrooms. Establish budget. Decide if you can implement before end of summer. Summer Implement. Train staff. Fall Ready to go when classes start. Finish by mid-August. Related Links IT Brand Pulse VMware Desktop Virtualization QLogic FabricCache 10000 Series Adapters QLogic Fibre Channel Adapters Document # APP2013016 v3 Copyright 2013© IT Brand Pulse. All rights reserved. Page 4 of 4