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Dell DVS and Microsoft team up to deliver VDI on Windows Server 2012

My name is Peter and I am the Principal Engineering Architect for Desktop Virtualization at Dell.

The DVS team at Dell has partnered with Microsoft to launch a new product delivering VDI on Server 2012. This product was announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto this week and we have published a Reference Architecture detailing the solution (link). This initial release is targeting the SMB market providing support for ~500 pooled VDI desktops. The architecture can and will scale much higher but the intent was to get the ball rolling in the smaller markets.
The Dell solution stack for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) on Server 2012 can be configured in a few different ways.  RDS comprises two key roles for hosting desktops: RD Session Host (RDSH), formerly Terminal Services, and RD Virtualization Host (RDVH) for pooled or personal desktops. Both of these roles can coexist on the same compute host, if desired, to provide each type of VDI technology. Your lighter users that may only need web and email access, for example, should do fine on an RDSH host in a hosted shared session model. Knowledge workers would leverage the RDVH technology, comparable to VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop, for persistent or non-persistent desktops. Windows Server 2012 provides a one-stop-shop for VDI in a robust and easy to deliver software stack.

In this solution, Windows Server Hyper-V 2012 is run on both management and compute layer hosts in the parent partition, while all management roles are enabled on dedicated VMs in child partitions. In the combined solution stack, two VMs are created on the compute host to run the RDSH and RDVH roles, respectively. Density numbers are dependent on the amount of resources given to and consumed by the RDVH VDI sessions, so scaling is highly relative and dependent on the specific use case. Only 3 management VMs are required to host the RDS environment and unlike every other VDI solution on the market, SQL Server is not required here in the early stages. If you wish to provide HA for your RD connection broker, then a SQL Server is required. Top of rack we provide the best-in-class Force10 S55 1Gb switch that includes unique features such as the Open Automation and Virtualization frameworks. For user data and management VM storage we leverage the Equallogic PS4100E iSCSI array with 12TB of raw storage. As is the case in our other DVS Enterprise offerings, the network and storage layers are optional purchases from Dell.
The base offering of this solution dedicates the RDSH and RDVH roles in the compute layer depending on customer desire. Each role type has its own per host user densities that scale independently of each other. These are very conservative densities for the first phase of this product launch and in no way represent the limit of what this platform is capable of.
We top out the solution stack with 5 total servers, 4 in the compute layer, and 1 in the management layer. The compute layer hosts can be mixed and matched with regard to RD role.
The basic guidance at this point is that if this solution architecture meets the needs of your enterprise, fantastic, if not we urge you to look at the DVS Enterprise 6020 solution (discussed here). This was meant to serve as a high level overview of this new solution stack so if you’d like to dig deeper, please take a look at the RA document below.
Dell DVS Reference Architecture for Windows Server 2012: here.
Product launch announcement: Link

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