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Posted by Rachel Zhu - Virtualization Solutions Architect


Today Citrix and Cisco announced a new desktop virtualization solution based on Citrix XenDesktop, Cisco UCS, and NetApp unified storage to deliver a cost-effective, scalable and high-performance virtual desktop solution. You can learn more about the solution – and hear Cisco, Citrix and NetApp execs discuss it – by registering for The Power to Say Yes, a Cisco Data Architecture webcast.



As part of this announcement, Cisco released two Reference Architectures (CVDs) jointly developed with Citrix and NetApp to help accelerate customer design and deployments. I am particularly excited about these Reference Architectures as I was directly involved as the lead NetApp Virtualization Architect working together with Cisco and Citrix to define and test the Cisco Validated Design Architecture, which addresses our customers’ growing needs for desktop virtualization that is highly secure, flexible and drives down costs without impacting performance or scalability.


Key Findings


● Scale testing findings: 110 Windows 7 1.5 GB desktops running knowledge worker load.


● With the large memory blade we are seeing the best performance for the price.


● Linear scalability when we went from 1 server to 8 servers to 16 servers, the results were that with 1 server we had 110 desktops running with 16 we got 1760 desktop with the same response time.


● Pure Virtualization: The validated environment consisted of only virtual machines hosted by VMware vSphere. All the virtual desktop and supporting infrastructure components including Active Directory, Citrix Provisioning Server, and the XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controllers were hosted on VMware vSphere.


● Rapid provisioning with Cisco UCS Manager makes it easy for scaling from 1 chassis to 2 and so on.


● The 10G unified fabric story gets a stronger validation as we see tremendous performance with respect to user response times during the load test.


● The low latency Cisco Virtual Interface (VIC) cards make the configuration more robust in terms of extra vNICs and contribute positively towards the response time equation.


● With proper backend storage scaling we can scale out UCS domain from 4 chassis and beyond without making any changes to the proposed Reference Architecture.


● FlexCast Validated: The Citrix FlexCast models Hosted VDI and Hosted Shared running on UCS blades and NetApp storage were successfully validated.


● Memory Extends Density: With 192GB of RAM, the B250 M2 blades offer an optimal memory configuration for desktop virtualization that allow the hosting infrastructure the ability to fully utilize the CPU capabilities of the servers without restricting the of amount memory allocated to the desktops.


● Storage Simplicity for Desktop Virtualization: NetApp’s ability to aggregate multiple storage volumes greatly simplifies the storage needs for desktop virtualization.  


Have fun reading the documents. Please forward me your thoughts and comments.


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