Reference Architecture: Dell DVS Enterprise for vWorkspace

I am proud to announce vWorkspace 8 for DVS Enterprise launched this past week by Dell at Microsoft’s TechEd, which was also a finalist for “best of”. We’ve been sitting on this for quite a while so it’s good to finally be able to talk about it! My published reference architecture for the solution is below:

Dell vWorkspace

One of the many goodies Dell got with the acquisition of Quest last year was a largely unsung VDI powerhouse product called vWorkspace. vWorkapce was formerly acquired by Quest from the company that started it all: Provision Networks. vWorkspace is an enterprise VDI solution that offers high-performance and flexibility in a scalable and easy to manage platform. vWorkspace can be configured to support a number of configurations via wizards or PowerShell scripting. Persistent, non-persistent, RDSH or blade PC environments can be deployed quickly and easily. vWorkspace offers flexible hypervisor integration options including Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere along with their accompanying management tools (SCVMM, vCenter).

The best performance bang for the buck, also the basis of the RA, is vWorkspace configured to use Hyper-V in a Local Tier 1 solution model, similar to my Server 2012 RDS solution architecture.   A few things should jump out from the overall layout of this architecture, including a massive compute host density increase over similar XenDesktop and Horizon View solutions at a staggering 230 users per host. vWorkspace supports either pooled or session based deployments and the server specs have been optimized accordingly. We are targeting this solution at SMB to mid-market companies so scale up to 5000 users. Even at the top of that scale only a single management host is required, plus one for HA in a Hyper-V failover cluster. Shared storage is Tier2 only in this solution model hosting the mgmt VMs and user data.

The vWorkspace secret sauce when used in conjunction with Hyper-V is a cool piece of tech called Hyper-V Catalyst. Catalyst consists of two components: HyperCache and HyperDeploy which are built into the solution.

  • HyperCache is an in RAM IO Cache mechanism in the Hyper-V Parent Partition that dramatically reduces the IO requirements of the disk subsystem. HyperCache typically reduces the number of hard disk spindles required to deliver optimal performance by 40%, and improves the perceived user experience as writes are optimized and most reads come directly from RAM.
  • HyperDeploy offers instantaneous VM Template Replication and versioning for Hyper-V.

The big take away from these components are unbelievably speedy provisioning times and increased disk performance. Hundreds of VMs can be deployed in minutes with no additional software or expensive SSDs required.

vWorkspace tracks very closely to Citrix in terms of overall solution capabilities but scales and performs better with less complexity. Cost and complexity reduction over Citrix alone is a very good reason to add vWorkspace to your VDI “Pepsi challenge” list. Starting with a native RDS solution is typical then when additional capabilities or scale are required customers begin looking at XenDesktop or vWorkspace to take it to the next level. Windows 8 and Server 2012 are supported natively with RDP8 and EOP optimizations that can be enabled if required. Printing, profile management and monitoring courtesy of Foglight for Virtual desktops can be enabled and managed from a single console.

Check out the RA for more information on the solution as well as the performance test results. The net of the vWorkspace value proposition is robust performance, impressive scale, mature reliability using the industry leading hypervisors and flexibility of deployment provided at a competitive price point.

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