How much IO, CPU and RAM? VMware Rapid Desktop Appliance

Last week I received multiple VDI/VMware View sizing questions: How many virtual desktops can I host per server? How much RAM do I need? How much disk IO do I need to size per VM?

These questions are very hard for me to answer, without knowing details. The questions are very valid, though: You want to size your environment correctly. Under-sizing the environment will lead to performance issues for your end users and over-sizing the environment will lead to a high cost price per virtual desktop. Both results you don’t want.

I will not discuss how you can size a VMware View environment (maybe in another article). However, I can mention there are tools available like LiquidWare Labs Stratusphere FIT for assessments. Also, VMware partner with Desktop Competency and VMware professional Service can help you. Besides measuring or simulating loads with, for example VMware View Planner, you can also look at sizing an environment the other way around: look at devices which can support an x amount of users, more or less guaranteed. Devices, or I should say solutions, which consist of hardware (CPU, RAM and disk) and software (vSphere and VMware View). When your amount of users grows, expand your environment with another device and thus, scale out.

In this article I would like to make you aware of the VMware Rapid Desktop Appliance:

“a fully VMware certified, converged and scalable solution. Each certified and validated appliance delivers predictable units of performance and user experience”

Isn’t that great?! No more guessing about how much RAM, CPU and IO you need. Before I forget, the appliance isn’t a VMware appliance. Vendors like Nutanix, Cisco, Dell and HP are producing these devices, test and become VMware certified. In the past, the Rapid Desktop Program was intended for Proof of Concepts only but has extended to full production environments as well.

A while ago, I have posted an article about 1 of the vendors: Nutanix. They published the specs of their nodes/blocks and mentions a block could run 200-300 virtual desktops. If you have more users, just add a node/block. It is very scalable.

Be aware that this program is out there. Certified solutions, which will give you the power to host an x amount of users. Easy as that. The Rapid Desktop Appliance should accelerate your VDI deployment for sure.

View? No thanks, I’ll just use Appblast

The title of this article was one of the statements I heard last week. I also heard another interesting statements: “why use View? I will wait for Horizon”.

Back in February 2012, I published an article about VMware’s End User Computing vision and journey. In my opinion, that vision/journey hasn’t changed and still applies with the recent announcements at VMworld 2012. However, I have the feeling that the vision/journey need to be explained once again and maybe even more often, so people understand the vision and where EUC products fit in that vision/journey.

In a nutshell, VMware’s EUC vision starts with the future platform: The Horizon Suite- The Platform for the Mobile Workforce … applications, data and users in the post-PC era. Be aware that this Suite, or platform, contains multiple products/techniques, which are integrated with each other: View, ThinApp, Horizon Data, Horizon Mobile, Appblast and Horizon App Manager.

I have the idea that some people think they will be able to pick 1 product/technique and standardize on that: “All people will use Appblast for everything. There won’t be any need for VDI anymore”, as an example. That’s not true or even possible in today’s world. There isn’t 1 ultimate vehicle/technique to bring apps and data to any device in a secure and efficient way. A user’s workspace will deliver that user applications and data to any of his/her devices. Different products/techniques will be used to do so, to give that user the best experience to do his/her work on the device of that moment.

VMware calls it the Post-PC era but don’t think the PC, aka Windows is going away soon. Again, Windows won’t be as dominant as before anymore in the enterprise. The desktop (physical and/or virtual) won’t be the only place where users do their work. More devices, different platforms, less OS-dependent apps, but Windows will be there for a long time. That’s the reason for step #1: Optimize. That’s also the reason VMware keeps improving VMware View and introduce cool features like AppShift. Again, although Windows will not be as dominant, it still will be part of an enterprise user’s workspace environment

Now the journey: how do you get to that Post-PC era platform? VMware defined a 3-step journey:

  1. Optimize what you have,
  2. Embrace your/the Cloud,
  3. Escape to your/the Cloud

In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to skip a step. You cannot “Embrace your/the Cloud until you have “Optimize what you have”. In other words, it doesn’t make sense to get Horizon (Suite and/or App Manager) before you use ThinApp and View. Technically, you could though. You could use Horizon App Manager for SaaS apps, you could use Horizon Data with the Horizon Suite with physical desktops. But, why wouldn’t you “Optimize what you have” first, virtualize applications, virtualize desktops, separate data and apps from physical desktops. Remove silos. Get savings out of that and become more efficient, more agile at the same moment. Then, invest those savings in more Cloud based apps: Saas or web service apps. Use a services broker like Horizon App manager. Distribute ThinApps via Horizon as well. Create a workspace where all techniques come together. Move to the your EUC cloud step-by-step.