I’ve been absent from the blogging world for some time due to summer holiday and working on two different projects with two new technologies (Kaviza and CloudStack). In the future, I’m might be able to talk about CloudStack items, but today the focus is on Kaviza.

The project I’ve been involved with is focused on delivering desktops for 200 concurrent users. We had three options: XenDesktop pooled desktops, XenApp hosted shared desktops, or Kaviza pooled desktops. Here is how we made our decision to go with Kaviza.

Skillset

The first thing we quickly realized was that the IT staff has no experience with a XenApp infrastructure. XenApp isn’t rocket science, but it does require a different way of looking at the desktop and managing the desktop because your users share the same running instance of the OS. For those of you who work with XenApp, you know what I’m talking about. Because of the required skillset to implement XenApp, this was the first option we removed from consideration.

Resource Requirements

The organization isn’t sitting on piles of cash, so we wanted to pick either XenDesktop or Kaviza that would require the fewest number of servers. First, we assumed:

  1. Expectations are that each user will required roughly 1.5GB of RAM
  2. Each user will be granted 2 vCPUs, although utilization will remain minimal

But guess what? The hardware requirements didn’t change

XenDesktop Kaviza
Server Specs VMs
Server 1 8 cores
96 GB RAM
  • VM 1: SQL Database / License Server (2vCPU,2GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
  • VM 1: Kaviza kMGR VM (1vCPU, 1 GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
Server 2 8 cores
96 GB RAM
  • VM 1: SQL Database / License Server (2vCPU,2GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
  • VM 1: Kaviza kMGR VM (1vCPU, 1 GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
Server 3 8 cores
96 GB RAM
  • VM 1: XenDesktop Controller / Web Interface (2vCPU, 2GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
  • VM 1: Kaviza kMGR VM (1vCPU, 1 GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
Server 4 8 cores
96 GB RAM
  • VM 1: XenDesktop Controller / Web Interface (2vCPU, 2GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
  • VM 1: Kaviza kMGR VM (1vCPU, 1 GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
Server 5 8 cores
96 GB RAM
  • VM 1-50: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)
  • VM 1: Kaviza kMGR VM (1vCPU, 1 GB RAM)
  • VM 2-51: Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (2vCPU, 1.5 GB RAM)

For XenDesktop, we have 4 VMs dedicated for management activities. For Kaviza, we have 5 (one for each server). Remember, we have 5 servers because we need one extra server in the event of a server failure. Based on our estimates, XenDesktop and Kaviza will require the same hardware footprint for 200 users.

Infrastructure Requirements

The final aspect we focused on was the infrastructure requirements. This might sound similar to the previous, but it is slightly different. By infrastructure, we mean the systems required to support XenDesktop or Kaviza. For XenDesktop, we have to build a SQL database, XenDesktop controllers, license server and Web Interface servers. Many of these items are automated to make installing and configuring easier, but with Kaviza, this functionality is contained within the Kaviza Manager. That means fewer technologies to support. And for this particular organization, that was the key criteria for going with Kaviza.

Daniel - Lead Architect
Blog: Virtualize My Desktop