Posts Tagged ‘VDI’

VDI: VMware View 3 Premier vs. Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1

February 9th, 2009

VDI was hot in 2008 and it’s predicted to be even hotter in 2009.  On the heels of this prediction, VMware commissioned The Tolly Group to compare two VDI solutions head to head:  VMware View 3 Premier and Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1.  The Tolly Group has published their findings in an eight page report which you can grab here.  The results are not at all surprising:

Executive Summary

The VMware View 3 VDI solution deploys more simply and more rapidly than Citrix XenDesktop 2.1.  VMware provides more comprehensive, efficient image and storage management of virtual desktops.  It provides end users with a quality of experience on the LAN that matches or exceeds that offered by the Citrix solution.

The Tolly Group used a standard virtual desktop configuration for both test environments:

  • 1 CPU core
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB Hard disk drive storage
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 9
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (full installation)
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2

In their report, they confirm the following five facts as the bottom line:

VMware View 3:

  1. Installed more rapidly and with considerably fewer steps and less manual intervention
  2. Provides simpler image management that makes more efficient use of disk
  3. Requires no manual configuration of Microsoft Active Directory or DHCP
  4. Allows management of all VDI functions through a single web-based GUI
  5. Provides equivalent end-user experience on LAN as Citrix for Microsoft Office applications

Given the opportunity, Citrix declined to actively participate in the product comparisons.

2-9-2009 9-06-16 PM

Introducing: IT Knowledge Exchange/TechTarget

December 18th, 2008

Have you seen TechTarget’s IT Knowledge Exchange? If you are an IT staff member in search of answers or excellent technical blogs, ITKE is one site you’ll want to bookmark. Their award winning editorial staff include virtualization bloggers such as Eric Siebert, David Davis, prolific VirtualCenter plugin writer Andrew Kutz, Rick Vanover, Edward Haletky, and many more.

Search or browse by hundreds of tags covering hot IT topics such as Database, Exchange, Lotus Domino, Microsoft Windows, Security, Virtualization, etc.

Their value proposition is simple: provide IT professionals and executives with the information they need to perform their jobs—from developing strategy, to making cost-effective IT purchase decisions and managing their organizations’ IT projects.

One month ago, was purchased by TechTarget. I think this addition will be a nice shot in the arm for ITKE. In one transaction they integrate an established rich Citrix/Terminal Services/Virtualization knowledgebase and talented staff of bloggers that it can in turn use to help its readers and advertising clientele.

TechTarget has over 600 employees, was founded in 1999, and went public in May 2007 via a $100M IPO.

12-18-2008 8-27-33 AM

VMware product name changes

December 3rd, 2008

Quick update on a news item you may have already heard about. Remember those VMware product/component decoder rings you might have started working on after the VMworld 2008 announcements? It’s time for an update. VMware announced a handful of product name changes on Monday:

  1. VMware VirtualCenter is now VMware vCenter Server
  2. VMware vCenter is the family name for all management products
  3. VMware Lab Manager is now VMware vCenter Lab Manager (since it is in the management products family)
  4. The VMware vCenter prefix applies to the other products in the management products family as well
  5. VMware View is the family name for all VDI/VDM products
  6. VMware VDI is now VMware View
  7. VMware VDM is now VMware View Manager

I’m not real fond of name changes unless there is a good reason behind it. I’ll give VMware the benefit of the doubt that there was good reason to make these changes, although not knowing myself 100% what is up VMware’s sleeve, the timing is somewhat debatable. Couldn’t they have waited until the next generation of Virtual Infrastructure to align the products and components? Citrix did this with Presentation Server when they instantly re-branded it to XenApp. It confused a lot of people, especially the newcomers. I hope confusion among VMware customers is minimized. It’s going to take a little while for these new names to become second nature for me.

What do you think of the name changes? Feedback is always welcomed here.

Brian Madden purchased by TechTarget

November 19th, 2008

No, a human being was not purchased like a head of cattle (at least let’s hope not). Brian Madden has been a well known mogul in the Citrix community for quite a long time and has been making a splash lately in the virtualization arenas (primarily virtual desktop infrastructure where Citrix products XenApp and XenServer compete for market share along with VMware, Microsoft, and others).

Brian Madden uses his personal name as his product brand to become successful in many of his accomplishments including public speaking, industry analyst, technical author, blogger, knowledgebase website, creator of the impressive annual BriForum convention, book publisher, etc.

Brian is a wealth of knowledge first and foremost. I’ve read a few of his Citrix/Terminal Services books and he ranks right up there at the top among the most knowledgeable authorities when it comes to Citrix and Terminal Services. I also regard Brian as an interesting character with a unique and funny personality. Read some of his blogs about his adventures and you’ll understand. A year or two ago I followed Brian over the internet as he sold his house and most of his possessions and became a world traveler with no place to call home except for whatever hotel he was in at the time. When he sold his house ‘n’ things, he hired entertainment for the kids such as one of those big enclosed hot air trampolines you’d likely see at a carnival. I think he had a popcorn machine, food, hired clowns, etc. All at his expense. Nobody does it quite like Brian.

TechTarget is an IT media company founded in 1999 that has 600 employees and went public in 2007. TechTarget writes “The Brian Madden Company brings the largest community of IT professionals specializing in application delivery and desktop virtualization.” In one transaction, TechTarget purchases an already existing and established fountain of knowledge that it can in turn use to help its clients. However, I’m not sure about the accuracy of the last part of their statement if you consider the virtualization leader, VMware, has built a virtualization community of well over 100,000 people from around the globe.

I wish Brian and TechTarget much success now and into the future.

Read more about the official announcement from TechTarget here.

Update: Brian’s official announcement at

VMware adds additional thin client support for VDM 2.1

November 6th, 2008

Effective 11/6/08, VMware has added support for four addtional thin client devices for VMware Desktop Manager version 2.1

  • IGEL Compact 3210
  • Premium 5310
  • Smart 2110
  • Winestra 4210

I thought it would also be worthy to mention that the thin client devices being given away for free by Chip PC at VMworld 2008, the Chip PC Xtreme PC NG 6600, are also supported by VDM 2.1.  I received a unit and I am currently evaluating its capabilities as I have time.  Hopefully one day it will make a good blog post.

Source:  Thin Client Compatibility Guide For VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM)

Lack of chargeback solution stunts virtualization growth

October 29th, 2008

By some of today’s standards, we’ve got a modest sized virtual infrastructure. Seven non-production ESX hosts and four production ESX hosts, plus various isolated lab and small remote office deployments. We purchased the infrastructure a few years ago when we stood up our first ESX environment.

From day one, our infrastructure has been plenty over capacity because part of our initial deployment didn’t involve a massive P2V exercise to immediately fill up the infrastructure. The goal was to gradually migrate new and existing virtualization candidates to the virtual environment. With around 90 VMs today, we don’t quite have the consolidation ratio that I’d like to be seeing, but I understand it’s a gradual ramp up and for the most part I’ve been patient.

Like others, we began experimenting with VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) on VMware ESX. A VDI image was developed and deployed to 12 pilot users. For the past year, the pilot testing has been largely successful. In fact, the tales of success in the hallways produced a few additional requests from developers and power users for VDIs. Today we’ve got 20 VDIs with a batch request in the queue for 90 more.

I was excited when I heard 90 VDIs had been requested. In a single transaction I could double my consolidation ratio from 8:1 (virtual machines:physical machines) to 16:1. VM to socket ratio would be 4:1. VM to core ratio would be 2:1.

Disappointment soon set in. Management has put an indefinite hold on VDI deployments because we don’t have a chargeback model that can be applied effectively or fairly to VDIs. The primitive chargeback model we’re required to abide by comes from the Finance department. It states that in order for us to charge a business line, we need a vendor invoice. Basically, we can’t charge entities for use of existing infrastructure. We would need an invoice for infrastructure expansion such as additional processors, disk shelves, memory, fiber switches, etc. What it boils down to is we’d end up charging a business line thousands of dollars, sometimes even $20,000 or more, for a VM or a few VMs. The business line immediately walks away from the table and decides to purchase a few comodity PCs for $500 or less each. In addition, the business line learns that all of this virtualization money saving that they have been hearing about is totally false. They get a bad taste in their mouths about virtualization and spread their experience to other co-workers and departments.

The technology department is not a profit generating department. We’re completely expense. We don’t have the money in our own budgets to fund additional virtual infrastructure without a project. Budget requests have been submitted to fund VDI infrastructure, however, the red pens see that as way too much expense when commodity PCs can be purchased for less. Particularly in today’s business climate (and we’re a bank). A lot of the tangible benefits that virtualization brings to the datacenter (cooling, energy, real estate, etc.) aren’t directly realized out on the floor where the desktops are. A manager purchasing five PCs for his/her department doesn’t have cooling, electrical, or space issues so a $1,000+ per VDI cost makes no economical sense to the departmental budget they manage, even though it could be proven beneficial at a higher level for the company.

Organizations must upgrade their chargeback models and cut out the politics to allow virtualization to grow. I think it’s safe to say that virtualization isn’t going away anytime soon. The trend is here to stay. Adapt now or adapt later. The choice on how soon we’d like to save money and the environment is a decision that all must be in agreement with to move forward.