Get Your GeekOn with Ron - Session One: Designing your VDI Servers


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Join virtualization expert and industry veteran Ron Oglesby as he breaks down how to select and configure servers, including:
• Server CPU selection - they were not made equal!
• Desktop-to-core guesstimation?
• Memory - and its temperamental relationship with disk design
• Local storage options - yes, it's an option
• And, overall best practices for VDI implementation

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Get Your GeekOn with Ron - Session One: Designing your VDI Servers

  1. 1. Get your GeekOn w/ Ron Designing your VDI ServersNot a Unidesk demo, commercial or infomercial. Just pure geekiness.
  2. 2. Agenda Defining the VMs before designing the servers Memory Considerations CPU: Processor type? Cores over speed?  Video impact? Storage Considerations Converged systems? Final thoughts
  3. 3. Define/Design your VMs first Number of vCPUs  This leads to a discussion about vCPU count and multi-media in Win7, which leads to a discussion about video offload Memory assigned to the VM  Has an impact on disk design Disk space (define the use case first) Networking requirements (DHCP, reservations, Static) OS and application requirements
  4. 4. CPUs
  5. 5. CPUs where to start? VDI can tax a system CPU differently than you expect The goal is always to increase density in your VDI server but don’t trust ‘Vendor numbers’ The choice/tradeoff  Optimal config (performance wise) is a low ratio of Virtual Desktops to cores in the server  Optimal config (cost wise) is a high ration of Virtual Desktops to cores in the server… 1- Don’t go “cheap” on the processor 2- Trade Cores for Speed
  6. 6. Video’s CPU Impact – its 2 different things PCoIP Offload cards  Offloads PCoIP functions from the CPU to this cards  Density numbers they quote may only be seen when LOTS of desktops are using the CPU for PCoIP functions  PCoIP-HostCards-TN-EN.pdf NVIDIA VGX GPU cards  NVIDIA Quadro GPU  hosted-desktop-and-workstation-workloads-what-about-my- 3d-graphics.html
  7. 7. Common CPU “issues” seen in the field Over taxing the servers (number of vCPUs to Cores)  The higher the ratio of vCPUs to physical cores the more time VMs have to ‘wait’ to be scheduled on a processor core  Often indicated by a high % Ready time In some servers there is a “speed step” issue  Speed step or power settings configured in the BIOS is not allowing full CPU utilization at lower server CPU utilization  Has been seen in Cisco, HP and Dell servers  Often correctable  How do I know if this is happening to me?
  8. 8. Memory
  9. 9. Memory Define your memory assignments NOW before you ever pick your server  Often the scale tests you see from vendors are not optimal configurations for memory  This setting impacts way more than just the VM Memory overcommit tools only allow so much over commit  Think about 100 VMs at 4GB each….. Memory also impacts your storage… HUGELY
  10. 10. Memory and Storage VMware creates a vSWAP file equivalent to the machines assigned RAM… it does this at each boot A Windows page file MUST be present for Windows to operate properly On a 4gb of memory machine this can equate to 6+ GB of space eaten up  4GB of vswp + 2GB of page file + other data  Imagine that for 1000 desktops… 6+TB of space eaten  Or think about it with a 100% pagefile… 8+ TB
  11. 11. Moving to Host Based vSwap? Host based vswp moves away from individual vswp files stored per VM Requires that you have local storage for this swap space can also run swap to host cache! vcenter/index.jsp?topic=/com.vmware.vsphere.resourcemanagement.doc_41/mana ging_memory_resources/t_enable_host-local_swap_standalone.html 50/topic/com.vmware.vsphere.resmgmt.doc_50/GUID-FE1108F3-C4CF-41F3-AEE9- CDB5B44A444F.html
  12. 12. Disk
  13. 13. Disk Footprint First you have to decide what the local disk will be used for:  Just ESXi installed?  Local host based swap replacing vswap per VM?  Local copies of VM replicas or Unidesk Layers? Define the footprint required for each  Hot data (shared layers, VM Gold images, etc)  Colder data (vswap, windows page files, Unidesk boot images, etc)  This footprint requirement will feed into disk selection
  14. 14. Disk IO… the common problem. Footprint can be reduced via numerous technologies IO… not so much Server IO loads? What is/was typical Desktop IO load What is all this RAID penalty stuff?
  15. 15. Design for the IO, there are options Big storage vendors push the big system with their “Cache” tech  Fast Cache  Flash Cache Regardless of disk TYPE the key is handling IO and the storage footprint at the same time  Centralized storage looked for mixed / hybrid arrays with SSD and rotating disks – make sure they use some SSD for writes  Local storage can also be leveraged to keep cost down  Everything is available from rotating disk to FusionIO cards
  16. 16. Local storage options for IO SSD can have its draw backs  Failure rates on consumer level SSD can be an issue for VDI  Standard MLC on a hot server… I’d give it a year or 18 months  eMLC should be 4 or 5 years  SLC 6-8 years? But at generally more than 2 or 3x MLC/eMLC Or… lots of rotating: 6 drives * 200 IOps can I get 8?  50 desktops at 10 IO each with 1:1 read:write = 1250 IO  1 FusionIO card + 2-4 rotating disk for swap & transient data? of-control-using-flash-storage-in-enterprise-environments.aspx
  17. 17. So what about these “converged” systems with servers, storage, everything?
  18. 18. Converged systems play The idea is to combine your compute (server) and storage resources together into scalable appliances Very cool model, focus on $/desktop and perfromance   Very cool, redundant storage, 4 server block model  V3 Systems  Redundancy through automation
  19. 19. Designing your VDI environment and avoiding common mistakes
  20. 20. Common Mistakes in VDI Designing the hardware first  To many variables to choose hardware out of the gate;  Just duplicating Server Virt hardware Believing everything the vendors say…  Buying software because the “vendor said” it would do what I needed  The vendor said I could get 120 Desktops on this system Not configuring the Disk subsystem properly Forgetting about “personalization” of the desktop
  21. 21. Hardware Recommendations Smaller servers w/ more cores  Going to 4 socket boxes from 2 socket is not a simple 2x change in price More memory Good storage controllers Local disk, SSD, centralized disk, centralized SSD Build redundancy through quantity Think back to the old “MetaFrame Days”
  22. 22. Key “Check Boxes” for your design Define what you are delivering and to who Ensure your design covers the following:  Base OS delivery and updating  Application delivery and updating  Personalization or profile mgmt  Broker configuration and requirements  Pool Vs Persistent desktop decisions  Storage configuration (foot print and IO load)  WAN and LAN use cases
  23. 23. Q&AOpen Discussion Ron Oglesby www.unidesk.comTwitter: @ronoglesby
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