Qlogic Storage Networking (Unified Fabric Pilot) User guide

Reference Architecture-Based Design
Citrix XenDesktop Built on FlexPod
Citrix XenDesktop Using Citrix XenServer,
Cisco Unified Computing System, Nexus 5000, and
NetApp Storage
Cisco Validated Design
July 2011
Contents
1.0 Goal ........................................................................................................................................................ 5
1.1 Audience ............................................................................................................................................. 5
1.2 Objectives ........................................................................................................................................... 5
2.0 Summary of Main Findings .................................................................................................................. 6
3.0 Infrastructure Components .................................................................................................................. 7
3.1 Cisco Unified Computing System ....................................................................................................... 7
3.2 Cisco Unified Computing System Components.................................................................................. 8
3.2.1 Fabric Interconnect ...................................................................................................................... 8
3.2.2 Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders .................................................................................. 9
3.2.3 Cisco UCS Chassis ................................................................................................................... 10
3.2.4 Cisco UCS B200 M1 Blade Server ........................................................................................... 11
3.2.5 Cisco UCS B250 M1 Blade Server ........................................................................................... 11
3.2.6 Intel Xeon 5500 Series Processor ............................................................................................. 11
3.2.7 Intel Xeon 5600 Series Processor ............................................................................................. 12
3.2.8 Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server ........................................................................................... 13
3.2.9 Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Server ............................................................. 13
3.2.10 Cisco UCS B440 M1 High-Performance Blade Server ........................................................... 14
3.2.11 Cisco UCS M71KR-Q QLogic Converged Network Adapter ................................................... 14
3.2.12 Cisco Extended Memory Architecture ..................................................................................... 15
3.2.13 Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount Servers .............................................................................. 16
3.3 Citrix XenDesktop ............................................................................................................................. 17
3.3.1 Citrix FlexCast Technology ....................................................................................................... 17
3.3.2 Citrix XenServer ........................................................................................................................ 17
3.3.3 High-Definition User Experience (HDX)Technology ................................................................. 18
3.3.4 Citrix XenDesktop Architecture Overview ................................................................................. 18
3.3.5 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted VDI Overview .................................................................................. 18
3.3.5 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Shared Desktops Overview ............................................................ 22
3.3.6 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Shared Desktops ............................................................................ 24
3.3.7 Citrix XenApp Virtual Applications ............................................................................................. 25
3.3.8 General Citrix XD Advantages and Value Proposition .............................................................. 25
3.4 NetApp Storage Solution and Components ...................................................................................... 27
3.4.1 Single Scalable Unified Architecture ......................................................................................... 27
3.4.2 Storage Efficiency ..................................................................................................................... 27
3.4.3 Thin Provisioning ....................................................................................................................... 28
3.4.4 NetApp Deduplication ................................................................................................................ 29
3.4.5 Performance .............................................................................................................................. 30
3.4.6 Transparent Storage Cache Sharing ........................................................................................ 30
3.4.7 NetApp Flash Cache and PAM ................................................................................................. 31
3.4.8 NetApp Write Optimization ........................................................................................................ 31
3.4.9 Flexible Volumes and Aggregates............................................................................................. 31
3.4.10 Operational Agility ................................................................................................................... 31
3.4.11 NetApp Operations Manager................................................................................................... 32
3.4.12 Data Protection ........................................................................................................................ 33
3.4.12.1 RAID-DP .......................................................................................................................... 33
3.4.12.2 Backup and Recovery ...................................................................................................... 33
3.4.13 Storage Sizing Best Practices ................................................................................................. 34
3.4.13.1 Gather Essential Solution Requirements ......................................................................... 34
3.4.13.2 Performance-Based and Capacity-Based Storage Estimation Processes ...................... 35
3.4.13.3 Getting Recommendations on Storage System Physical and Logical Configuration ...... 35
3.4.14 Storage Architecture Best Practices ....................................................................................... 36
3.4.15 Storage System Configuration Best Practices ........................................................................ 36
3.4.16 Building a Resilient Storage Architecture ................................................................................ 36
3.4.17 Top Resiliency Practices ......................................................................................................... 37
3.4.18 Building a High-Performance Storage Architecture ................................................................ 37
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3.5 FlexPod Technical Overview ............................................................................................................ 38
3.5.1 Audience.................................................................................................................................... 39
3.5.2 FlexPod Architecture ................................................................................................................. 39
3.5.3 FlexPod Market Overview ......................................................................................................... 40
3.5.3.1 The Challenge .................................................................................................................... 40
3.5.3.2 The Solution ....................................................................................................................... 40
3.5.3.3 NetApp: Unified Architecture for Extreme Efficiencies....................................................... 41
3.6 Cisco Networking Infrastructure ....................................................................................................... 41
3.6.1 Cisco Nexus 5548 28-Port Switch ............................................................................................. 41
3.6.2 Cisco Nexus 5500 Series Feature Highlights ............................................................................ 42
3.6.2.1 Features and Benefits ........................................................................................................ 42
3.6.2.2 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Unified Fabric Features .............................................................. 42
3.6.2.3 Low Latency ....................................................................................................................... 42
3.7 Microsoft Windows 7 ......................................................................................................................... 42
3.7.1 Microsoft Windows 7 Image Creation and Provisioning ............................................................ 43
3.7.1.1 Create Windows 7 Virtual Machine and Install Standard Software ................................... 44
3.7.1.2 Tuning Microsoft Windows 7 Image for VDI ...................................................................... 44
3.7.1.3 Provisioning Services (PVS) vDisk Creation ..................................................................... 45
3.7.1.4 Install and Configure Additional Software Components .................................................... 47
3.7.1.5 Add 3-GB Write Cache .VHD to vDisk Image .................................................................... 47
4.0 Architecture and Design of Citrix XenDesktops on Cisco Unified Computing System and NetApp
Storage ....................................................................................................................................................... 50
4.1 Design Fundamentals ....................................................................................................................... 50
4.1.1 Hosted Shared Design Fundamentals ...................................................................................... 51
4.1.1.1 Citrix XenApp Policies ........................................................................................................ 51
4.1.1.2 Worker Groups ................................................................................................................... 51
4.1.1.3 Load Managed Groups ...................................................................................................... 51
4.1.2 Hosted VDI Design Fundamentals ............................................................................................ 51
4.1.2.1 Hypervisor Selection .......................................................................................................... 52
4.1.2.2 Provisioning Services ......................................................................................................... 52
4.1.3 Designing a Citrix XenDesktop Deployment ............................................................................. 53
5.0 Solution Validation .............................................................................................................................. 54
5.1 Configuration Topology for Scalability of Citrix XenDesktops on Cisco Unified System and NetApp Storage
................................................................................................................................................................ 54
5.2 Cisco Unified Computing System Configuration............................................................................... 56
5.2.1 QOS and COS in Cisco Unified Computing System ................................................................. 63
5.2.2 System Class Configuration ...................................................................................................... 63
5.2.3 Cisco UCS System Class Configuration ................................................................................... 63
5.3 Citrix XenDesktop Configuration ...................................................................................................... 66
5.3.1 Citrix XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC) ............................................................. 68
5.3.2 Farm Configuration .................................................................................................................... 68
5.3.3 Provisioning Services Configuration ......................................................................................... 68
5.3.4 Storage Configuration for the Citrix XenServer Hosting the Virtual Desktop Virtual Machine .. 69
5.3.5 Citrix Provisioning Services ....................................................................................................... 70
5.3.6 Citrix Provisioning Server (PVS) for use with Standard Desktops ............................................ 70
5.3.7 Hosted Shared Desktops Environment Configuration .............................................................. 73
5.4 LAN Configuration ............................................................................................................................ 74
5.5 SAN Configuration ............................................................................................................................ 77
5.5.1 Boot From SAN ......................................................................................................................... 79
5.5.2 Configuring Boot From SAN on the Cisco Unified Computing System ..................................... 80
5.5.3 SAN Configuration ..................................................................................................................... 85
5.5.4 Cisco UCS Manager Configuration ........................................................................................... 86
5.6 NetApp Storage Configuration .......................................................................................................... 88
5.6.1 Example of a NetApp NFS Volume Configuration .................................................................... 90
5.6.2 NetApp Deduplication in Practice .............................................................................................. 95
5.7 Citrix XenServer Configuration ..................................................................................................... 96
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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5.7.1 Cisco UCS Configuration for Citrix XenServer Installation ....................................................... 97
5.7.2 VLAN Configuration for XenServer Host Management Interfaces ............................................ 98
5.8 OS Installation .................................................................................................................................. 98
5.8.1 XenServer Networking ............................................................................................................ 100
5.9 XenServer Resource Pools ............................................................................................................ 101
6.0 Test Setup and Configurations ........................................................................................................ 104
6.1 Cisco UCS Test Configuration for Single-Server Scalability Test Setup ........................................ 104
6.2 Cisco UCS Configuration for Two-Chassis Test............................................................................. 105
6.3 Cisco UCS Configuration for Four-Chassis Test ............................................................................ 106
6.4 Testing Methodology ...................................................................................................................... 107
6.4.1 Load Generation ...................................................................................................................... 107
6.4.2 User Workload Simulation – Login VSI from Login Consultants ............................................. 107
6.4.3 Success Criteria ...................................................................................................................... 108
6.4.3.1 Login VSI Corrected Optimal Performance Index (COPI) ............................................... 108
6.4.3.2 Login VSI Max .................................................................................................................. 108
7.0 Test Results ....................................................................................................................................... 110
7.1 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted VDI Test Results .................................................................................. 110
7.1.1 Single Cisco UCS Blade Server Validation ............................................................................. 110
7.1.2 Two Cisco UCS Blade Chassis Validation .............................................................................. 111
7.1.3 Four Cisco UCS Blade Chassis Validation ............................................................................. 112
7.1.3.1 Storage Data for Four-Chassis Validation ............................................................................ 122
7.2 Citrix XenDesktop with XenApp Hosted Shared Test Results ....................................................... 125
8.0 Scalability Considerations and Guidelines .................................................................................... 130
8.1 Cisco UCS System Configuration ................................................................................................... 130
9.0 Acknowledgments ............................................................................................................................ 131
10.0 References ....................................................................................................................................... 132
APPENDIX A ............................................................................................................................................ 133
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1.0 Goal
The goal of this document is to provide architectural design and sizing guidelines for the hosting of small-to-large
scale Citrix XenDesktop 4 and Citrix XenApp environments in a Cisco Data Center Fabric environment. This
document presents one of a portfolio of design documents intended to simplify, ease and accelerate the
deployment of Cisco VXI Desktop Virtualization Solutions. This specific document reports the results of a study
evaluating the scalability of the Citrix XenDesktop environment on Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) BSeries Blade Servers connected to NetApp Storage arrays. This document reflects the best practice
recommendations and sizing guidelines for large-scale customer deployments of XenDesktops in FlexPod
environments.
1.1 Audience
This document is intended to assist solution architects, sales engineers, field engineers and consultants in
planning, design, and deployment of Citrix XenDesktop hosted desktop virtualization solutions on the Cisco
Unified Computing System. This document assumes that the reader has an architectural understanding of the
Cisco Unified Computing System, Citrix desktop software, NetApp storage system, and related software.
1.2 Objectives
This document is intended to articulate the design considerations and validation efforts required to design and
deploy Citrix XenDesktops on the Cisco Unified Computing System with NetApp storage running in a virtualized
environment on top of Citrix XenServer. The desktop virtualization hosting solution described in this paper forms a
core building block of the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) solution that delivers an end-to-end
data center, network and end point solutions for desktop virtualization and voice and video communications.
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2.0 Summary of Main Findings
The hosting of Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Virtual Desktops (VDI) and Hosted Shared Virtual Desktops models and
FlexCast with Citrix XenServer Hypervisors on Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers and NetApp storage were
successfully validated.
The Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Servers offer an optimal memory configuration that allows
virtual desktop hosting servers to use the full CPU capabilities of the servers. The 192 GB of memory allowed a
high density of desktop sessions per Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Servers while offering 1.5 GB
of memory to be allocated per desktop-based virtual machine. We were able to scale to 110 Microsoft Windows 7
desktops while running a knowledge worker load.
The validated environment consisted of a completely virtualized infrastructure with virtual machines hosted by
Citrix XenServer. All the virtual desktop and supporting infrastructure components including Active Directory,
Citrix Provisioning Server, and the Citrix XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controllers were hosted in a virtual
machine environment on Citrix XenServer 5.6.
The tested design showed linear scalability when expanding from 1 server to 16 servers. The performance testing
showed that the same user desktop experience and response times were achieved with 110 desktops running on
1 server as with 1760 desktops running on 16 servers.
The integrated management model and rapid provisioning capabilities of Cisco UCS Manager makes it easy for
scaling the number of desktops from small pilots on a single UCS chassis to very large organization-wide
deployments running on tens of chassis.
The testing validates that the 10Gbps Unified Fabric provides a high performance; scalable infrastructure and
offers deterministic performance with respect to user response times during the load and stress testing.
The testing validates that the tested reference architecture can scale linearly from 1 chassis to 4 chassis and
beyond without making any changes to the design or infrastructure components. This also requires the proper
backend storage scaling as provided by NetApp storage.
Desktop virtual machine ―Boot-up‖ or ―Logon‖ Storms (from rapid concurrent or simultaneous user logons) need to
be considered in the server and storage design as they have largest substantial scalability impact on this solution
as well as VDI environments in general. The reference architecture represented in this document was able to
handle the additional stresses presented by the most extreme boot-up and log-on storm conditions.
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3.0 Infrastructure Components
The following sections detail the infrastructure components used in this configuration.
3.1 Cisco Unified Computing System
The Cisco Unified Computing System is a next-generation data center platform that unites compute, network,
storage access, and virtualization into a cohesive system designed to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and
increase business agility. The Cisco Unified Computing System server portfolio consists of the Blade Server
platform, B-Series and the C-Series Rack Mount platform. We chose the Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Server
platform for this study. The system integrates a low-latency, lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet unified network fabric
with enterprise-class, x86-architecture servers. The system is an integrated, scalable, multi-chassis platform in
which all resources participate in a unified management domain.
The main system components include:
Compute—the system is based on an entirely new class of computing system that incorporates blade servers
based on Intel Xeon 5500 Series Processors. The Cisco UCS blade servers offer patented Cisco Extended
Memory Technology to support applications with large datasets and allow more virtual machines per server.
Network—the system is integrated onto a low-latency, lossless, 10-Gbps unified network fabric. This network
foundation consolidates what today are three separate networks: LANs, SANs, and high-performance computing
networks. The unified fabric lowers costs by reducing the number of network adapters, switches, and cables, and
by decreasing power and cooling requirements.
Virtualization—the system unleashes the full potential of virtualization by enhancing the scalability, performance,
and operational control of virtual environments. Cisco security, policy enforcement, and diagnostic features are
now extended into virtualized environments to better support changing business and IT requirements.
Storage access—the system provides consolidated access to both SAN storage and Network Attached Storage
(NAS) over the unified fabric. Unifying storage access means that the Cisco Unified Computing System can
access storage over Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and iSCSI, providing
customers with choice and investment protection. In addition, administrators can pre-assign storage-access
policies for system connectivity to storage resources, simplifying storage connectivity and management while
helping increase productivity.
Management—the system uniquely integrates all the system components, enabling the entire solution to be
managed as a single entity through the Cisco UCS Manager software. The Cisco UCS Manager provides an
intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), a command-line interface (CLI), and a robust application programming
interface (API) to manage all system configuration and operations. The Cisco UCS Manager helps increase IT
staff productivity, enabling storage, network, and server administrators to collaborate on defining service profiles
for applications. Service profiles are logical representations of desired physical configurations and infrastructure
policies. They help automate provisioning and increase business agility, allowing data center managers to
provision resources in minutes instead of days.
Working as a single, cohesive system, these components unify technology in the data center. They represent a
radical simplification in comparison to traditional systems, helping simplify data center operations while reducing
power and cooling requirements. The system amplifies IT agility for improved business outcomes. The Cisco
Unified Computing System components illustrated in Figure 1 include, from left to right, fabric interconnects, blade
server chassis, blade servers, and in the foreground, fabric extenders and network adapters.
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Figure 1.
Cisco Unified Computing System
3.2 Cisco Unified Computing System Components
3.2.1 Fabric Interconnect
The Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects are a core part of the Cisco Unified Computing System,
providing both network connectivity and management capabilities for the system (Figure 2). The Cisco UCS 6100
Series offers line-rate, low-latency, lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE functions.
The Cisco UCS 6100 Series provides the management and communication backbone for the Cisco UCS B-Series
Blade Servers and Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis. All chassis, and therefore all blades, attached
to the Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects become part of a single, highly available management
domain. In addition, by supporting unified fabric, the Cisco UCS 6100 Series provides both the LAN and SAN
connectivity for all blades within its domain.
From a networking perspective, the Cisco UCS 6100 Series uses a cut-through architecture, supporting
deterministic, low-latency, line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet on all ports, independent of packet size and enabled
services. The product family supports Cisco low-latency, lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet unified network fabric
capabilities, which increase the reliability, efficiency, and scalability of Ethernet networks. The fabric interconnect
supports multiple traffic classes over a lossless Ethernet fabric from the blade through the interconnect.
Significant TCO savings come from an FCoE-optimized server design in which network interface cards (NICs),
host bus adapters (HBAs), cables, and switches can be consolidated.
The Cisco UCS 6100 Series is also built to consolidate LAN and SAN traffic onto a single unified fabric, saving
the capital and operating expenses associated with multiple parallel networks, different types of adapter cards,
switching infrastructure, and cabling within racks. Fibre Channel expansion modules in the interconnect support
direct connections from the Cisco Unified Computing System to existing native Fibre Channel SANs. The
capability to connect FCoE to native Fibre Channel protects existing storage system investments while
dramatically simplifying in-rack cabling.
Figure 2.
Cisco UCS 6120XP 20-Port Fabric Interconnect (Top) and Cisco UCS 6140XP 40-Port Fabric
Interconnect
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The Cisco UCS 6100 Series is equipped to support the following module options:
●
Ethernet module that provides 6 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet using the SFP+ interface
●
Fibre Channel plus Ethernet module that provides 4 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet using the SFP+ interface;
and 4 ports of 1/2/4-Gbps native Fibre Channel connectivity using the SFP interface
●
Fibre Channel module that provides 8 ports of 1/2/4-Gbps native Fibre Channel using the SFP interface for
transparent connectivity with existing Fibre Channel networks
●
Fibre Channel module that provides 6 ports of 1/2/4/8-Gbps native Fibre Channel using the SFP or SFP+
interface for transparent connectivity with existing Fibre Channel networks
Figure 3.
From left to right: 8-Port 1/2/4-Gbps Native Fibre Channel Expansion Module; 4-Port Fibre Channel
plus 4-Port 10
3.2.2 Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders
The Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders bring the unified fabric into the blade server enclosure, providing
10 Gigabit Ethernet connections between blade servers and the fabric interconnect, simplifying diagnostics,
cabling, and management.
The Cisco UCS 2100 Series extends the I/O fabric between the Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects and
the Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis, enabling a lossless and deterministic FCoE fabric to connect
all blades and chassis together. Since the fabric extender is similar to a distributed line card, it does not do any
switching and is managed as an extension of the fabric interconnects. This approach removes switching from the
chassis, reducing overall infrastructure complexity and enabling the Cisco Unified Computing System to scale to
many chassis without multiplying the number of switches needed, reducing TCO and allowing all chassis to be
managed as a single, highly available management domain.
The Cisco 2100 Series also manages the chassis environment (the power supply and fans as well as the blades)
in conjunction with the fabric interconnect. Therefore, separate chassis management modules are not required.
The Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders fit into the back of the Cisco UCS 5100 Series chassis. Each Cisco
UCS 5100 Series chassis can support up to two fabric extenders, enabling increased capacity as well as
redundancy.
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Figure 4.
Rear view of Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis with two Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extenders
The Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender has four 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE-capable, Small Form-Factor
Pluggable Plus (SFP+) ports that connect the blade chassis to the fabric interconnect. Each Cisco UCS 2104XP
has eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports connected through the midplane to each half-width slot in the chassis.
Typically configured in pairs for redundancy, two fabric extenders provide up to 80 Gbps of I/O to the chassis.
Figure 5.
Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender
3.2.3 Cisco UCS Chassis
The Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis is a crucial building block of the Cisco Unified Computing
System, delivering a scalable and flexible blade server chassis for today's and tomorrow's data center while
helping reduce TCO.
Cisco's first blade server chassis offering, the Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis, is six rack units (6RU) high
and can mount in an industry-standard 19-inch rack. A chassis can house up to eight half-width Cisco UCS BSeries Blade Servers and can accommodate both half- and full-width blade form factors.
Four single-phase, hot-swappable power supplies are accessible from the front of the chassis. These power
supplies are 92 percent efficient and can be configured to support non-redundant, N+ 1 redundant and gridredundant configuration. The rear of the chassis contains eight hot-swappable fans, four power connectors (one
per power supply), and two I/O bays for Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extenders.
A passive mid-plane provides up to 20 Gbps of I/O bandwidth per server slot and up to 40 Gbps of I/O bandwidth
for two slots. The chassis is capable of supporting future 40 Gigabit Ethernet standards.
Figure 6.
Cisco Blade Server Chassis (front and back view)
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3.2.4 Cisco UCS B200 M1 Blade Server
The Cisco UCS B200 M1 Blade Server is a half-width, two-socket blade server. The system uses two Intel Xeon
5500 Series Processors, up to 96 GB of DDR3 memory, two optional hot-swappable small form factor (SFF) serial
attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives, and a single mezzanine connector for up to 20 Gbps of I/O throughput. The
server balances simplicity, performance, and density for production-level virtualization and other mainstream data
center workloads.
Figure 7.
Cisco UCS B200 M1 Blade Server
3.2.5 Cisco UCS B250 M1 Blade Server
The Cisco UCS B250 M1 Extended Memory Blade Server is a full-width, two-socket blade server featuring Cisco
Extended Memory Technology. The system supports two Intel Xeon 5500 Series processors, up to 384 GB of
DDR3 memory, two optional SFF SAS disk drives, and two mezzanine connections for up to 40 Gbps of I/O
throughput. The server increases performance and capacity for demanding virtualization and large-data-set
workloads with greater memory capacity and throughput.
Figure 8.
Cisco UCS B250 M1 Extended Memory Blade Server
3.2.6 Intel Xeon 5500 Series Processor
With innovative technologies that boost performance, energy efficiency, and virtualization flexibility, two-processor
platforms based on the Intel Xeon 5500 Series Processor make it easier to deliver more business services within
existing data center facilities. Data center efficiency starts at the core – with energy-efficient processors and
features that help you get the most out of each rack. With a unique combination of performance and energyefficiency features plus flexible virtualization, the Intel Xeon 5500 Series Processor offers an effective antidote to
data center sprawl and improves business competitiveness. The combination of Intel Turbo Boost Technology
and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology delivers optimal performance for each enterprise application, and Intel
QuickPath Technology dramatically increases application performance and throughput for bandwidth-intensive
applications.
Greater per-server performance means that you can do more with fewer servers and potentially save significantly
on operating costs. Intel Intelligent Power Technology works alongside these new performance features to deliver
better performance with lower power consumption at all operating points, achieving the best available
performance/watt. High-performance 95-watt, standard 80-watt and low-power 60-watt versions enable highdensity deployments in both rack and blade form factors.
Intel VT with Intel FlexMigration and Intel FlexPriority also gives IT more choice in managing and allocating
virtualized workloads across new and existing platforms. Intel Turbo Boost Technology plus hardware assists
from Intel VT improves performance for applications running in virtual machines. Intel VT FlexMigration, in
combination with virtualization management software, can help IT to conserve power, rebalance workloads and
reduce energy consumption.
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Figure 9.
Intel Xeon 5500 Series Processor
3.2.7 Intel Xeon 5600 Series Processor
As data centers reach the upper limits of their power and cooling capacity, efficiency has become the focus of
extending the life of existing data centers and designing new ones. As part of these efforts, IT needs to refresh
existing infrastructure with standard enterprise servers that deliver more performance and scalability, more
efficiently. The Intel Xeon 5600 Series Processor automatically regulates power consumption and intelligently
adjusts server performance according to your application needs, both energy efficiency and performance. The
secret to this compelling combination is Intel‘s new 32nm Xeon microarchitecture. Featuring Intel Intelligent
Power Technology that automatically shifts the CPU and memory into the lowest available power state, while
delivering the performance you need, the Intel Xeon 5600 Series Processor with Intel Micro-architecture Xeon
delivers the same performance as previous-generation servers but uses up to 30 percent less power. You can
achieve up to a 93 percent reduction in energy costs when consolidating your single-core infrastructure with a
new infrastructure built on Intel Xeon 5600 Series Processor.
This groundbreaking intelligent server technology features:
●
Intel‘s new 32nm Microarchitecture Xeon built with second-generation high-k and metal gate transistor
technology.
●
Intelligent Performance that automatically optimizes performance to fit business and application
requirements and delivers up to 60 percent more performance per watt than Intel Xeon 5500 Series
Processor.
●
Automated Energy Efficiency that scales energy usage to the workload to achieve optimal
performance/watt and with new 40 Watt options and lower power DDR3 memory, you can lower your
energy costs even further.
●
Flexible virtualization that offers best-in-class performance and manageability in virtualized environments to
improve IT infrastructure and enable up to 15:1 consolidation over two socket, single-core servers. New
standard enterprise servers and workstations built with this new generation of Intel process technology
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offer an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically advance the efficiency of IT infrastructure and provide
unmatched business capabilities.
Figure 10. Intel Xeon 5600 Series Processor
3.2.8 Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server
The Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server is a half-width, two-socket blade server. The system uses two Intel Xeon
5600 Series Processors, up to 96 GB of DDR3 memory, two optional hot-swappable small form factor (SFF) serial
attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives, and a single mezzanine connector for up to 20 Gbps of I/O throughput. The
server balances simplicity, performance, and density for production-level virtualization and other mainstream data
center workloads.
Figure 11. Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server
3.2.9 Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Server
The Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Server is a full-width, two-socket blade server featuring Cisco
Extended Memory Technology. The system supports two Intel Xeon 5600 Series Processors, up to 384 GB of
DDR3 memory, two optional SFF SAS disk drives, and two mezzanine connections for up to 40 Gbps of I/O
throughput. The server increases performance and capacity for demanding virtualization and large-data-set
workloads with greater memory capacity and throughput.
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Figure 12. Cisco UCS B250 M2 Extended Memory Blade Server
3.2.10 Cisco UCS B440 M1 High-Performance Blade Server
The Cisco UCS B440 M1 High-Performance Blade Server is a full-width, 4-socket system. Two or four Intel Xeon
7500 Series Processors with intelligent performance that automatically adapts to the diverse needs of a
virtualized environment and offers advanced reliability for mission-critical workloads. It supports 32 dual in-line
memory module (DIMM) slots and up to 256 GB at 1333 MHz based on Samsung's 40 nanometer class (DDR3)
technology. There is four optional front-accessible, hot-swappable Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFFP) drives
and an LSI SAS2108 RAID Controller. The Cisco UCS B440 M1 blade server can accommodate two dual-port
mezzanine cards for up to 40 Gbps I/O per blade. Options include a Cisco UCS M81KR Virtual Interface Card
(VIC) or converged network adapter (Emulex or QLogic compatible).
Figure 13. Cisco UCS B440 M1 Blade Server
3.2.11 Cisco UCS M71KR-Q QLogic Converged Network Adapter
The Cisco UCS M71KR-Q QLogic Converged Network Adapter (CNA) is a QLogic-based FCoE mezzanine card
that provides connectivity for Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers in the Cisco Unified Computing System.
Designed specifically for the Cisco UCS blade servers, the adapter provides a dual-port connection to the
midplane of the blade server chassis. The Cisco UCS M71KR-Q uses an Intel 82598 10 Gigabit Ethernet
controller for network traffic and a QLogic 4-Gbps Fibre Channel controller for Fibre Channel traffic, all on the
same mezzanine card. The Cisco UCS M71KR-Q presents two discrete Fibre Channel host bus adapter (HBA)
ports and two Ethernet network ports to the operating system.
Figure 14. Cisco USC M71KR-Q Network Adapter
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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The Cisco UCS M71KR-Q provides both 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 4-Gbps Fibre Channel functions using drivers
from QLogic, providing:
●
Risk mitigation through compatibility with current QLogic adapter-based SAN environments and drivers
●
Reduced TCO through consolidation of LAN and SAN traffic over the same mezzanine card and fabric,
reducing the overall number of network interface cards (NICs), HBAs, cables, and switches
●
Integrated management with Cisco UCS Manager
Figure 15. Cisco UCS M71KR-Q Architecture
3.2.12 Cisco Extended Memory Architecture
Modern CPUs with built-in memory controllers support a limited number of memory channels and slots per CPU.
The need for virtualization software to run multiple OS instances demands large amounts of memory, and that,
combined with the fact that CPU performance is outstripping memory performance, can lead to memory
bottlenecks. Even some traditional non-virtualized applications demand large amounts of main memory: database
management system performance can be improved dramatically by caching database tables in memory, and
modeling and simulation software can benefit from caching more of the problem state in memory.
To obtain a larger memory footprint, most IT organizations are forced to upgrade to larger, more expensive, foursocket servers. CPUs that can support four-socket configurations are typically more expensive, require more
power, and entail higher licensing costs. Cisco Extended Memory Technology expands the capabilities of CPUbased memory controllers by logically changing the geometry of main memory while still using standard DDR3
memory. This technology makes every four DIMM slots in the expanded memory blade server appear to the
CPU‘s memory controller as a single DIMM that is four times the size (Figure 16). For example, using standard
DDR3 DIMMs, the technology makes four 8-GB DIMMS appear as a single 32-GB DIMM.
This patented technology allows the CPU to access more industry-standard memory than ever before in a twosocket server:
●
For memory-intensive environments, data centers can better balance the ratio of CPU power to memory
and install larger amounts of memory without having the expense and energy waste of moving to foursocket servers simply to have a larger memory capacity. With a larger main-memory footprint, CPU
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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utilization can improve because of fewer disk waits on page-in and other I/O operations, making more
effective use of capital investments and more conservative use of energy.
●
For environments that need significant amounts of main memory but which do not need a full 384 GB,
smaller-sized DIMMs can be used in place of 8-GB DIMMs, with resulting cost savings: two 4-GB DIMMS
are typically less expensive than one 8-GB DIMM.
Figure 16. Cisco Extended Memory Architecture
3.2.13 Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount Servers
The Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount Servers (Figure 17) extend the Cisco Unified Computing System
innovations to a rack-mount form factor, including a standards-based unified network fabric, Cisco VN-Link
virtualization support, and Cisco Extended Memory Technology. Designed to operate both in standalone
environments and as part of the Cisco Unified Computing System, these servers enable organizations to deploy
systems incrementally—using as many or as few servers as needed—on a schedule that best meets the
organization‘s timing and budget. Cisco UCS C-Series servers offer investment protection through the capability
to deploy them either as standalone servers in heterogeneous data centers or as part of the Cisco Unified
Computing System.
Although this study was carried out on the Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers, the C-Series Rack-Mount Servers
extend the same benefits to customers. Future desktop virtualization studies are planned on this server platform.
Figure 17. Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount Servers
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3.3 Citrix XenDesktop
Citrix XenDesktop is a desktop virtualization solution that delivers Windows desktops as an on-demand service to
any user, anywhere. With FlexCast™ delivery technology, XenDesktop can quickly and securely deliver individual
applications or complete desktops to the entire enterprise, whether they are task workers, knowledge workers or
mobile workers. Users now have the flexibility to access their desktop on any device, anytime, with a highdefinition user experience. With XenDesktop, IT can manage single instances of each OS, application and user
profile and dynamically assemble them to increase business agility and greatly simplify desktop management.
XenDesktop‘s open architecture enables customers to easily adopt desktop virtualization using any hypervisor,
storage or management infrastructure.
3.3.1 Citrix FlexCast Technology
XenDesktop FlexCast is an intelligent delivery technology that recognizes the user, device, and network, and
delivers the correct virtual desktop and applications specifically tailored to meet the performance, security, and
flexibility requirements of the user scenario. FlexCast for Desktops delivers any type of virtual desktop to any
device—and can change this mix at any time. FlexCast for Apps delivers any type of virtual applications to any
device. The FlexCast delivery technologies can be broken down into the following categories:
●
Hosted shared desktops provide a locked-down, streamlined and standardized environment with a core set
of applications, ideally suited for task workers where personalization is not required—or appropriate.
●
Hosted virtual machine–based desktops (VDI) offer a personalized Windows desktop experience for office
workers that can be securely delivered over any network to any device.
●
Streamed VHD Desktops use the local processing power of rich clients, while providing centralized singleimage management of the desktop. These types of desktops are often used in computer labs and training
facilities, and when users require local processing for certain applications or peripherals,
●
Local virtual machine desktops extend the benefits of virtual desktops to mobile workers who need to use
their laptops offline.
●
FlexCast for Apps allows any Microsoft Windows application to be centralized and managed in the
datacenter, hosted either on multi-user terminal servers or virtual machines, and instantly delivered as a
service to physical and virtual desktops. Optimized for each user device, network and location, applications
are delivered through a high-speed protocol for use while connected or streamed through Citrix application
virtualization or Microsoft App-V directly to the endpoint for use when offline.
A complete overview of the FlexCast technology can be found on Citrix.com, but for the purposes of the testing
and validation represented in this paper only the Hosted VDI and Hosted Shared models were validated on the
Cisco UCS hardware in conjunction with NetApp storage solutions. The Hosted Shared and Hosted VDI models
provide a low-cost virtual desktop delivery solution that uses the power of existing PC resources to help
customers get started with desktop virtualization.
3.3.2 Citrix XenServer
In addition to the virtual desktop delivery options available with FlexCast, XenDesktop was intentionally designed
to be hypervisor agnostic and therefore provide a choice when selecting a hypervisor to host virtual machinebased desktops. The open architecture of XenDesktop can utilize Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and
VMware vSphere hypervisors for the hosting virtual desktop infrastructure. For the purposes of the testing and
validation represented in this paper only the Citrix XenServer bare-metal hypervisor was utilized to host virtual
desktops.
Citrix XenServer is an enterprise-ready, cloud-proven virtualization platform with all the capabilities needed to
create and manage a virtual infrastructure at half the cost of other solutions. Organizations of any size can install
the free XenServer in less than ten minutes to virtualize even the most demanding workloads and automate
management processes, which increases IT flexibility and agility, and lowers costs. To add a rich set of
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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management and automation capabilities designed to help customers create a virtual computing center, simply
upgrade to one of the enhanced versions of XenServer.
3.3.3 High-Definition User Experience (HDX)Technology
Citrix has been perfecting the virtual application delivery technology for more than two decades. These HighDefinition User Experience (HDX) technologies include software and hardware products, an advanced delivery
protocol and intelligent algorithms used to optimize end-to-end system performance. Citrix XenDesktop
incorporates the HDX technology to provide the most complete solution for high definition desktop and application
virtualization on any device over any network. Citrix HDX is the only viable solution on the market for providing
high definition multimedia content and graphics-intensive applications over the WAN, allowing businesses to
utilize employee talent in more geographies while protecting intellectual property within the datacenter. HDX
technology provides network and performance optimizations to deliver the best user experience over any network,
including low bandwidth and high latency WAN connections. These user experience enhancements balance
performance with low bandwidth–anything else becomes impractical to use and scale.
3.3.4 Citrix XenDesktop Architecture Overview
The Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Shared and Hosted VDI FlexCast Delivery Technologies can deliver different types
of virtual desktops based on the performance, security and flexibility requirements of each individual user.
Although the two desktop delivery models use similar components, the over architecture is distinctly different.
3.3.5 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted VDI Overview
Hosted VDI uses a hypervisor to host all the desktops in the data center. Hosted VDI desktops can either be
pooled or assigned. Pooled virtual desktops use Citrix Provisioning Services to stream a standard desktop image
to each desktop instance upon boot-up therefore the desktop is always reverted back to its clean, original state.
Citrix Provisioning Services enables you to stream a single desktop image to create multiple virtual desktops on
one or more hypervisors in a data center. This feature greatly reduces the amount of storage required compared
to other methods of creating virtual desktops.
The high-level components of a Citrix XenDesktop architecture utilizing the Hosted VDI model for desktop delivery
are shown in Figure 18:
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Figure 18. Citrix XenDesktop on XenServer Architecture
●
Web Interface: Web Interface provides the user interface to the XenDesktop environment. Web Interface
brokers user authentication, enumerates the available desktops and, upon launch, delivers an .ica file to
the Citrix Receiver on the user‘s local device to initiate a connection. Because Web Interface is a critical
component, redundant servers must be available to provide fault tolerance.
●
License Server: The Citrix License Server is responsible for managing the licenses for all of the
components of XenDesktop 4 including XenServer 5.6 (Only XenServer 5.6 can use the License Server).
XenDesktop has a 90 day grace period which allows the system to function normally for 90 days if the
license server becomes unavailable. This grace period offsets the complexity involved with building
redundancy into the license server.
●
Domain Controller: The Domain Controller hosts Active Directory, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
(DHCP) and Domain Name System (DNS). Active Directory provides a common namespace and secure
method of communication between all the servers and desktops in the environment. DNS provides IP Host
name resolution for the core XenDesktop infrastructure components. DHCP is used by the virtual desktop
to request and obtain an IP address from the DHCP service. DHCP uses Option 66 and 67 to specify the
bootstrap file location and filename to a virtual desktop. The DHCP service receives requests on UDP port
67 and sends data to UDP port 68 on a virtual desktop. The virtual desktops then have the operating
system streamed over the network utilizing Citrix Provisioning Services.
●
Provisioning Services: Provisioning Services (PVS) creates and provisions virtual desktops from a single
desktop image (vDisk) on demand, optimizing storage utilization and providing a pristine virtual desktop to
each user every time they log on. Desktop provisioning also simplifies desktop images, provides the best
flexibility, and offers fewer points of desktop management for both applications and desktops. The Trivial
File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) and Pre-boot eXecution Environment (PXE) services are required for the
virtual desktop to boot off the network and download the bootstrap file which instructs the virtual desktop to
connect to the PVS server for registration and vDisk access instructions.
●
Desktop Delivery Controller: The XenDesktop controllers are responsible for maintaining the proper level of
idle desktops to allow for instantaneous connections, monitoring the state of online and connected virtual
desktops and shutting down virtual desktops as needed. The primary XD controller is configured as the
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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farm master server. The farm master is able to focus on its role of managing the farm when an additional
XenDesktop Controller acts as a dedicated XML server. The XML server is responsible for user
authentication, resource enumeration and desktop launching process. A failure in the XML broker service
will result in users being unable to start their desktops. It is for this reason why it is recommended to have
multiple Controllers per farm
●
Data Store: Each XenDesktop farm requires a database called the data store. Citrix XenDesktops uses the
data store to centralize configuration information for a farm in one location. The data store maintains all the
static information about the XenDesktop environment.
●
Virtual Desktop Agent: The Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) is installed on the virtual desktops and enables
direct ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) connections between the virtual desktop and user
devices with the Citrix online plug-in
●
Citrix Online Plug-in: Installed on user devices, the Citrix online plug-in enables direct ICA connections from
user devices to virtual desktops. The plug-in software is available for a range of different devices so users
can connect to published applications from various platforms. You can deploy and update the online plug-in
using Citrix Receiver.
●
Citrix XenServer: XenServer is an enterprise-class virtual machine infrastructure solution that creates the
foundation for delivering virtual desktops and offers advanced management features. Multiple virtual
machines can run on XenServer, which takes advantage of the advanced virtualization features of the
latest virtualization-enabled processors from Intel and AMD.
●
Citrix XenApp: Citrix XenApp is an on-demand application delivery solution that enables any Windows
application to be virtualized, centralized, and managed in the datacenter, and instantly delivered as a
service to users anywhere on any device. XenApp can be used to deliver both virtualized applications and
virtualized desktops. In the Hosted VDImodel, XenApp is typically used for application virtualization.
All the aforementioned components interact to provide a virtual desktop to an end-user based on the FlexCast
Hosted VDI desktop delivery model using the Provisioning Services feature of XenDesktop. This architecture
provides the end-user with a pristine desktop at each logon based on a centralized desktop image that is owned
and managed by IT.
The following steps outline the sequence of operations executed by XenDesktop to deliver a Hosted VDI virtual
desktop to the end user.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Figure 19. Operational Sequence
1. The end user launches an internet browser to access Web Interface.
2. Web Interfaces prompts the user for Active Directory credentials and passes the credentials to the
Desktop Delivery Controller acting as a dedicated XML server.
3. The XML Service running the dedicated XML server (Desktop Delivery Controller) authenticates the user
against Active Directory.
4. After the user is successfully authenticated, the XML Service contacts the Data Store to determine which
virtual desktops are available for that user.
5. The virtual desktop information is sent back to Web Interface and Web Interface renders a web page
containing a list of available desktops.
6. The user clicks on the desktop icon and Web Interface forwards the request to the Desktop Delivery
Controller. If the virtual desktop is powered on, the Desktop Delivery Controller will tell the Virtual Desktop
Agent running on the virtual machine to start listening for an incoming session. If the virtual desktop is not
powered on, the Desktop Delivery Controller will tell the XenServer to start a new virtual desktop and then
notify the Virtual Desktop Agent.
a. In a Hosted VDI configuration with Provisioning Services, the virtual desktop boots through the
network PXE boot. The virtual desktop contacts the DHCP server to find an IP address and the
location of the boot file. The boot file comes from Provisioning Services and provides instructions
for accessing the centralized desktop image.
b. After the virtual desktop receives the boot file with instructions, it contacts the Provisioning Server
and provides its MAC address. Provisioning Server identifies the correct virtual desktop disk
based on the MAC address and sends portions of the virtual disk to the virtual desktop required to
start-up the machine.
7. The virtual desktop connection information is forwarded onto Web Interface. Web Interface creates a
launch file (ICA) for the specific virtual desktop and forwards the launch file to the end user‘s device.
8. The Virtual Desktop Agent running on the virtual desktop tells the Desktop Delivery Controller that the
user has connected. The user‘s logon information is then sent for validation.
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9. The Desktop Delivery Controller validates the login credentials and checks out a license from the Citrix
License Server. If the credentials are valid and a license is available, then the credentials, XenDesktop
license and policies are sent to the virtual desktop for processing.
10. Once the connection has been approved, the Virtual Desktop Agent uses the transferred credentials to
logon against Active Directory and applies profile configurations.
3.3.5 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Shared Desktops Overview
Hosted Shared desktops use the XenApp feature of XenDestkop to deliver session-based desktops. The Hosted
Shared model is built on Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Services) platform and end users
effectively share one configuration of a Windows Server desktop through independent sessions.
The high-level components of the Citrix XenApp feature of XenDesktop architecture for both the Hosted Shared
model for desktop delivery and the traditional XenApp model of virtual application delivery are shown in Figure 20.
Figure 20. Citrix XenApp Architecture
Citrix XenApp Farm
Citrix License Server
Citrix XenApp Servers
Core Business Applications
Load Managed Group
Backup Data Collector
Application Hub
Web Interface
Citrix XenApp Servers
Line-of-Business
Load Managed Group
Primary Data Collector
Data Store
Citrix XenApp Servers
Hosted Shared Desktops
●
Web Interface: Web Interface provides the user interface for virtual applications and desktops. Web
Interface brokers user authentication, enumerates the available desktops and applications. Then upon
application or desktop launch, delivers an .ica file to the Citrix Receiver on the user‘s local device to initiate
a connection. Because Web Interface is a critical component, redundant servers must be available to
provide fault tolerance.
●
Data Collector: The data collector is responsible for authenticating users, identifying accessible desktops or
applications, and identifying which XenApp server a user should connect. The data collector is the
brokering mechanism for requests coming from the end user and Web Interface destined to the XenApp
farm. As the size of the XenApp farm increase, the data collector moves from becoming a shared server,
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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responsible for delivering desktops or applications, to a dedicated server. If the primary data collector were
to fail, a backup, with the same hardware and software configuration, should also be available. Similar to
Web Interface, providing fault tolerance to the Data Collector servers is recommended.
◦
●
Data Collector (Dedicated XML Server): A Data Collector acting as a dedicated XML server allows
the master Data Collector to focus on farm management while directing the Web Interface servers to
communicate with the XML servers. The XML broker is responsible for user authentication, resource
enumeration and resource launching processes. A failure in the XML broker service will result in
users being unable to start their desktop. Due to its criticality it is best to have at least two dedicated
XML servers.
Load Managed Groups: Whether delivering applications or desktops, organizations might create load
managed groups based on business requirements. Load managed groups are created to focus a set of
XenApp servers on a particular set of applications or desktops. This is done for numerous business and
technical reasons including update frequency, business unit server ownership, criticality, regional access,
and language requirements.
When creating a load managed group, each group must provide enough redundancy to be capable of
supporting all users in the event of a server failure. This results in an N+1 scenario where there is at least
one additional XenApp server per load managed group. In many situations, organizations implement an
N+10% strategy where an additional 10% of XenApp servers per load managed group are allocated in
order to allow for multiple server failures or maintenance.
●
License Server: The license server receives license check-in and check-out requests from the XenApp
server in the same fashion as XenDesktop. This service is fairly lightweight and has a grace period for
XenApp licenses which allows the system to function normally if the license server becomes unavailable.
This grace period offsets the complexity involved with building redundancy into the license server.
●
Data Store: Each XenApp farm requires a database called a data store. Citrix XenApp uses the data store
to centralize configuration information for a farm in one location. The data store maintains all the static
information about the XenApp servers, applications and administrators in the server farm.
Citrix XenApp plays a critical role in providing an end-to-end virtualization solution. XenApp is fundamentally
based on the ability to provide multiple users with access to an independent instance of an application or desktop
on a single XenApp server with the popularity previously focused on application virtualization. Before Windows
Server 2008 R2, the published XenApp desktop was a server desktop, but now with the release of the Desktop
Experience Feature of Windows 2008 R2 a server desktop can be customized with the look and features of a
Windows 7 desktop therefore empowering the XenApp virtual desktop delivery model of Hosted Shared desktops.
Given the ability to XenApp to provide both virtual desktops and applications, the following sections outline the
order of operations required to access a virtual desktop hosted on XenApp and the ability to launch a virtualized
application hosted on XenApp from within a virtual desktop.
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3.3.6 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Shared Desktops
Figure 21 details the Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Shared Desktops architecture.
Figure 21. Citrix XenDesktop Hosted Shared Desktop on XenApp Architecture
Citrix XenApp Farm


Active Directory

Data Store

XML Broker/
Zone Data Collector


Web Interface



Citrix License Server
Citrix XenApp Servers
Hosted Shared Desktops
1. The end user launches a browser and enters the URL of the Web Interface site.
2. If using the explicit authentication feature, Web Interfaces prompts the user for Active Directory
credentials and passes the credentials to the server acting as the XML Broker. Citrix recommends using
the Primary Zone Data Collector as the XML broker server.
3. The XML broker verifies the user‘s credentials by authenticating the user against Active Directory.
4. After successful verification of the user credentials, the XML broker contacts the Data Store or the locally
cached database to determine if the user has permissions to access the published server desktop.
5. The XML broker constructs an XML service response and the icon for that published desktop is populated
in the user‘s Web Interface page.
6. The user clicks on the desktop icon and Web Interface sends a request to the XML broker requesting the
address of a XenApp server that can serve the desktop to that user.
7. The XML broker queries the Primary Zone Data Collector (ZDC) to retrieve the address of the appropriate
XenApp server. The ZDC returns this address to the XML broker. The XML broker constructs an XML
service response and relays the address back to the Web Interface server.
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8. The Web Interface server passes the connection information for the assigned XenApp server to the client
device in the form of an ICA file. The client device automatically launches the ICA file and connects
directly to the desktop of the XenApp server where the Desktop Experience Feature of Windows 2008 R2
is enabled.
9. Before opening the Desktop, the XenApp Server checks out a license from the Citrix License Server on
the client‘s behalf. The client is then connected to the desktop of the XenApp server.
3.3.7 Citrix XenApp Virtual Applications
The following steps shown in Figure 22 outline the order of operations required to access applications virtualized
using Citrix XenApp from a Citrix XenDesktop delivered desktop.
Figure 22. XenApp Application Delivery Communication Flow
1. The user accesses the XenApp Plug-in within the virtual desktop delivered by XenDesktop. The Plug-in is
used in conjunction with its corresponding Web Interface site configured on the Web Interface server.
2. The XenApp Plug-in Web Interface site queries the XML broker to determine a list of applications
available to the user. The IMA service on the XML broker queries the local in-memory application cache
in order to determine the user‘s application set. This in-memory application cache is populated from the
Local Host Cache. The XML broker constructs an XML service response and relays the application list to
the XenApp Plug-In site.
3. The user clicks on the application icon and the XenApp Plug-In site sends a request to the XML broker
requesting the address of a XenApp server that can serve that application for the user.
4. The XML broker queries the Zone Data Collector (ZDC) to retrieve the XenApp server address. The ZDC
returns this address to the XML broker. The XML broker constructs an XML service response and relays
the address to the XenApp Plug-In site.
5. The XenApp Plug-In site on Web Interface server passes the information of the chosen XenApp server to
the client device in the form of an ICA file.
6. The client device launches the ICA file connecting directly to the target XenApp server which serves the
application.
3.3.8 General Citrix XD Advantages and Value Proposition
Citrix XenDesktop is a desktop virtualization solution that delivers Windows desktops as an on-demand service to
any user, anywhere. Whether users are task workers, knowledge workers or mobile workers, XenDesktop can
quickly and securely deliver individual applications or complete desktops while providing a high-definition user
experience.
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The follow statements describe the eight strategic features of XenDesktop 4:
●
Any device, anytime, anywhere. Today‘s digital workforce demands the flexibility to work from anywhere at
any time using any device they‘d like. Using Citrix Receiver as a lightweight universal client, XenDesktop
users can access their desktop and corporate applications from any PC, Mac, thin client or smartphone.
This enables complete workplace flexibility, business continuity and user mobility.
●
HDX™ user experience. XenDesktop 4 delivers an HDX™ user experience on any device, over any
network, with better reliability and higher availability than a traditional PC. With Citrix HDX™ technology,
users get an experience that rivals a local PC, even when using multimedia, real-time collaboration, USB
peripherals, and 3D graphics. XenDesktop 4 offers the best performance while using 90% less bandwidth
compared to alternative solutions. New webcam and VoIP support, improved audio, 3D graphics support
and branch office WAN optimization helps ensure that users can get a high-definition user experience
regardless of their location.
●
FlexCast™ delivery technology. Different types of workers across the enterprise have varying performance
and personalization requirements. Some require simplicity and standardization while others need high
performance or a fully personalized desktop. XenDesktop can meet all these requirements in a single
solution with our unique Citrix FlexCast™ delivery technology. With FlexCast, IT can deliver every type of
virtual desktop, hosted or local, physical or virtual - each specifically tailored to meet the performance,
security and flexibility requirements of each individual user.
●
On-demand apps by XenApp™. To reduce desktop management cost and complexity, XenDesktop offers
the full range of Citrix application virtualization technologies with on-demand apps by XenApp™. This
includes integration with Microsoft App-V. With XenApp‘s virtualization technologies for apps, IT can control
data access, manage fewer desktop images, eliminate system conflicts, and reduce application regression
testing, making it a requirement for successful desktop virtualization. Adding, updating and removing apps
now become simple tasks because users can use a self-service app store, enabling them to access
applications instantly from anywhere.
●
Open architecture. XenDesktop works with your existing hypervisor, storage and Microsoft infrastructures,
enabling you to use your current investments – while providing the flexibility to add or change to
alternatives in the future. Whether you use XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESX or vSphere,
XenDesktop supports them all and simplifies management of networked storage using StorageLink™
technology. XenDesktop will also closely integrate with Microsoft App-V and System Center for application
management.
●
Single-instance management. XenDesktop enables IT to separate the device, OS, applications and user
personalization and maintain single master images of each. Instead of juggling thousands of static desktop
images, IT can manage and update the OS and apps once, from one location. Imagine being able to
centrally upgrade the entire enterprise to Windows 7 in a weekend, instead of months. Single-instance
management dramatically reduces on-going patch and upgrade maintenance efforts, and cuts data center
storage costs by up to 90 percent by eliminating redundant copies.
●
Data security and access control. With XenDesktop, users can access desktops and applications from any
location or device, while IT sets policies that control whether data ever leaves the data center. XenDesktop
can dramatically improve endpoint security by eliminating the need for data to reside on the users‘ devices.
Centralized data, encrypted delivery, a hardened SSL VPN appliance and multi-factor authentication further
helps ensure that only authorized users connect to their desktops, intellectual property is protected, and
regulatory compliance requirements are met.
●
Enterprise-class scalability. XenDesktop includes application, desktop and server virtualization
infrastructure that scales to meet the demanding requirements of global enterprises. Pro-active monitoring
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and reporting enables rapid problem resolution, while of intelligent load and capacity management help
ensure that problems never arise in the first place. Built-in virtualization management features such as live
migration, high availability and bare-metal server provisioning make the infrastructure robust and resilient.
The Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution with Citrix XenDesktop delivers desktops and applications as an ondemand service to users anywhere, at any time, and on their choice of devices. The solution supports a new
balance between IT and users. It empowers users with mobility, flexibility, and productivity on a global scale. It
gives IT organizations the tools they need to better meet the changing demands of today‘s business concerns,
including rapidly responding to events ranging from mergers and acquisitions to the opening of a new branch
office.
The solution incorporates the most flexible, cost-effective and scalable platform for hosting virtual desktops. Built
from the ground up to support virtualization, the solution transforms data center operations by simplifying server
and workload management, making IT staff more productive. The Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution with Citrix
XenDesktop protects IT investments by growing and adapting to business needs by incorporating new
technologies without forklift upgrades.
The solution delivers an uncompromised user experience that is driven by Citrix HDX technology and can be
customized on a per-user basis. The solution extends its reach propelled by Cisco‘s leadership in enterprise
networking and computing. The Cisco Unified Computing System is powered by Intel® Xeon® Series Processors
that speed performance with data-center-grade reliability and availability. The solution makes data center
operations secure and compliant to a level no other solution can match, helping IT organizations meet regulatory
requirements by combining centralized business-critical data with single-instance storage of each OS, application,
and user profile.
Cisco and Citrix together deliver a virtual desktop solution that can transform business operations while increasing
the productivity of any organization‘s greatest asset: its people.
3.4 NetApp Storage Solution and Components
3.4.1 Single Scalable Unified Architecture
The NetApp unified storage architecture provides customers with an agile and scalable storage platform.
NetApp‘s innovative storage solutions provide customers new alternatives and expanded possibilities over
traditional storage vendors. All NetApp storage systems utilize the Data ONTAP operating system to provide SAN
(FCoE, Fibre Channel, and iSCSI), NAS (CIFS, NFS), primary storage, and secondary storage within a single
unified platform so that all virtual desktop data components can be hosted on the same storage array. A single
process for activities such as installation, provisioning, mirroring, backup, and upgrading is used throughout the
entire product line from the entry level to enterprise-class controllers. Having a single set of software and
processes brings great simplicity to even the most complex enterprise data management challenges. Unifying
storage and data management software and processes reduces the complexity of data ownership, enables
companies to adapt to their changing business needs without interruption, and results in a dramatic reduction in
total cost of ownership.
For large, scalable Citrix XenDesktop environments, the NetApp solution provides the following unique benefits:
●
At least 50% savings in storage, power, and cooling requirements
●
Most agile and operationally efficient storage solutions
●
Best-in-class data protection and business continuance solutions to address any level of data availability
demands
3.4.2 Storage Efficiency
One of the critical barriers to VDI adoption is the increased cost of using shared storage to obtain a highly
available enterprise quality infrastructure. Virtual desktop deployment creates a high level of data redundancy,
especially for the virtual machine OS data. Using traditional storage, this means you need storage equal to the
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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sum of the storage required by each virtual machine. For example, if each virtual machine is 20 GB in size and
there are supposed to be 1000 virtual machines in the solution, it would require at least 20 B usable data on the
shared storage.
Thin provisioning, data deduplication, and FlexClone® are the critical components of the NetApp solution and
offer multiple levels of storage efficiency across the virtual desktop OS data, installed applications, and user data.
This helps customers save on average 50 percent to 90 percent on the cost associated with shared storage
(based on existing customer deployments and NetApp solutions lab validation). NetApp is the only storage vendor
that offers block-level data deduplication for live virtual machines, without any negative tradeoffs.
3.4.3 Thin Provisioning
Thin provisioning is a way of logically presenting more storage to hosts than physically available. With thin
provisioning, the storage administrator is able to utilize a pool of physical disks (known as an aggregate) and
create logical volumes for different applications to use, while not pre-allocating space to those volumes. The
space gets allocated only when the host needs it. The unused aggregate space is available for the existing thinly
provisioned volumes to expand or for use in creation of new volumes. For details about thin provisioning, refer to
NetApp TR 3563: NetApp Thin Provisioning.
Figure 23. Traditional and thin provisioning
Traditional Provisioning
Pre-allocated
Physical Storage
100GB Actual Data
400 GB Allocated
& Unused
Thin Provisioning
Storage On Demand
400 GB Available to
Other Applications
100GB Actual Data
Figure 24. Increased disk utilization with NetApp thin provisioning
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3.4.4 NetApp Deduplication
NetApp deduplication saves space on primary storage by removing redundant copies of blocks within a volume
hosting hundreds of virtual desktops. This process is transparent to the application and user and can be enabled
and disabled on the fly. In a Citrix XenDesktop environment, deduplication provides significant space savings,
given that each virtual machine is an identical copy of the OS, applications, and patches. The savings are also
achieved for the user data hosted on CIFS home directories. For more information on NetApp deduplication, refer
to NetApp TR-3505: NetApp Deduplication for FAS, Deployment and Implementation Guide.
Figure 25. NetApp Deduplication
Before
After
Using NetApp deduplication and file FlexClone not only can reduce the overall storage footprint of Citrix
XenDesktop desktops but also can improve performance by using transparent storage cache sharing. Data that is
deduplicated or nonduplicated, in the case of file FlexClone data, on disk will only exist in storage array cache
once per volume. All subsequent reads from any of the virtual machine disks of a block that is already in cache
will be read from cache and not from disk, therefore improving performance by 10x. Any nondeduplicated data
that is not in cache must be read from disk. Data that is deduplicated but does not have as many block references
as a heavily deduped data will appear in cache only once but based on the frequency of access might be evicted
earlier than data that has many references or is heavily used.
Figure 26. NetApp Deduplication and Flexcone
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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For more information on deduplication, refer to NetApp TR-3505: NetApp Deduplication for FAS, Deployment and
Implementation Guide
3.4.5 Performance
Virtual desktops can be both read and write intensive at different times during the lifecycle of the desktop,
depending on the user activity and the desktop maintenance cycle. The performance-intensive activities are
experienced by most large-scale deployments and are referred to as storm activities such as:
●
Boot storms
●
Login storms
●
Virus scan and/or definition update storms
With physical desktops, this was not a problem as each machine had its own disks and I/O was contained within a
single desktop. With Citrix XenDesktop using a shared storage infrastructure, significant performance issues
might arise during these critical operations. This essentially means the solution would require a large number of
additional spindles to meet the performance requirements, resulting in increased overall solution cost.
To solve this problem, the NetApp solution contains transparent storage cache sharing (TSCS). Transparent
storage cache sharing is a core component of Data ONTAP and is extended with Flash Cache (or PAM). These
solution components save customers money by:
●
Requiring far less disks and cache
●
Serving read data from cache freeing up disk I/O to perform writes
●
Providing better throughput and system utilization
●
Providing faster response times and a better overall end user experience
3.4.6 Transparent Storage Cache Sharing
Transparent storage cache sharing (TSCS) allows customers to benefit from NetApp‘s storage efficiency and at
the same time significantly increase I/O performance. TSCS is natively built into the Data ONTAP operating
system and works by using block-sharing technologies such as NetApp primary storage deduplication and
file/volume FlexClone to reduce the amount of cache required and eliminate duplicate disk reads. Only one
instance of any duplicate block is read into cache, thus requiring less cache than traditional storage solutions.
Since Citrix XenDesktop implementations can see as great as 99 percent initial space savings (validated in the
NetApp solutions lab) using NetApp space-efficient cloning technologies, this translates into higher cache
deduplication and high cache hit rates. TSCS is especially effective in addressing the simultaneous system boot
or ―boot storm‖ of hundreds to thousands of virtual desktop systems that can overload a traditional legacy storage
system.
The following are the main benefits of transparent storage cache sharing:
●
Increased performance: With transparent storage cache sharing, in combination with FlexClone and
deduplication, latencies decrease significantly by a factor of 10x versus serving data from the fastest
spinning disks available, giving sub millisecond data access. Decreasing the latency results in higher
throughput and lower disk utilization, which directly translate into fewer disks reads.
●
Lowering TCO: Requiring fewer disks and getting better performance allow customers to increase the
number of virtual machines on a given storage platform, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership.
●
Green benefits: Power and cooling costs are reduced as the overall energy needed to run and cool the
Flash Cache module is significantly less than even a single shelf of Fibre Channel disks. A standard disk
shelf of 300GB 15K RPM disks can consume as much as 340 watts (W)/hr and generate heat up to
1394BTU/hr. In contrast, the Flash Cache module consumes only a mere 18W/hr and generates 90BTU/hr.
By not deploying a single shelf, the power savings alone can be as much as 3000kWh/year per shelf. In
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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addition to the environmental benefits of heating and cooling, you can save 3U of rack space per shelf. For
a real-world deployment, a NetApp solution (with Flash Cache as a primary component) would typically
replace several such storage shelves; therefore, the savings could be considerably higher.
3.4.7 NetApp Flash Cache and PAM
NetApp Flash Cache and PAM are hardware devices that extend the native Data ONTAP TSCS capabilities.
Flash Cache increases the amount of available cache which helps reduce virtual desktop storm activities. More
details of Flash Cache will be discussed later in this document. For more details on NetApp Flash Cache
technology, visit http://www.netapp.com/us/products/storage-systems/flash-cache/flash-cache-tech-specs.html
Note: For the remainder of this document, the use of Flash Cache will represent both the Flash Cache and PAM modules.
3.4.8 NetApp Write Optimization
Virtual desktop I/O patterns are often very random in nature. Random writes are the most expensive operation for
almost all RAID types because each write operation requires more than one disk operation. The ratio of VDI client
operation to disk operation also depends on the RAID type for the back-end storage array. In a RAID 5
configuration on a traditional storage array, each client write operation requires up to four disk operations. Large
write cache might help, but traditional storage arrays still require at least two disk operations. (Some coalescing of
requests will happen if you have a big enough write cache. Also, there is a chance that one of the reads might
come from read cache.) In a RAID 10 configuration, each client write operation requires two disk operations. The
cost of RAID 10 is very high compared to RAID 5. However, RAID 5 offers lower resiliency (protection against
single disk failure). Imagine dual disk failure in the middle of the day, making hundreds to thousands of users
unproductive.
With NetApp, write operations have been optimized for RAID-DP by the core operating system Data ONTAP and
WAFL® since their invention. NetApp arrays coalesce multiple client write operations and send them to disk as a
single IOP. Therefore, the ratio of client operations to disk operations is always less than 1, as compared to
traditional storage arrays with RAID 5 or RAID 10 which require at least 2x disk operations per client operation.
Also, RAID-DP provides the desired resiliency (protection against dual disk failure) and performance, comparable
to RAID 10 but at the cost of RAID 5
3.4.9 Flexible Volumes and Aggregates
Flexible volumes (also known as FlexVol volumes) and aggregates provide pools of storage. This storage
virtualization allows the performance and capacity to be shared by all desktops in the volume or aggregate. Much
like the way that Citrix virtualizes computing resources, NetApp virtualizes the storage resources.
3.4.10 Operational Agility
Implementation and management complexities associated with deploying a Citrix XenDesktop solution are
another potential barrier to VDI adoption. The Citrix StorageLink provides integration between XenServer and
NetApp for rapidly provisioning, managing, configuring, backing up and disaster recovery capability of a Citrix
XenDesktop implementation. Citrix StorageLink is available with XenServer Enterprise Edition, and requires the
installation of the StorageLink Gateway service on a Windows Server virtual machine or physical server.
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Figure 27. Citrix StorageLink
3.4.11 NetApp Operations Manager
NetApp Operations Manager provides a comprehensive monitoring and management solution for the Citrix
XenDesktop infrastructure. It provides comprehensive reports of utilization and trends for capacity planning and
space usage. It also monitors system performance, storage capacity, and health to resolve potential problems.
For more information about NetApp Operations Manager, visit http://www.netapp.com/us/products/managementsoftware/operations-manager.html.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Figure 28. NetApp Operations Manager
3.4.12 Data Protection
The availability of thousands of virtual desktops is dependent on the availability of the shared storage on which
the virtual desktops are hosted. Thus, using the proper RAID technology is very critical. Also, being able to protect
the virtual desktop images and/or user data is very important. RAID-DP®, the Citrix StorageLink virtual machine
Backup and Recovery function, NetApp SnapMirror®, and NetApp Snapshot copies are critical components of the
NetApp solution that help address storage availability.
3.4.12.1 RAID-DP
With any Citrix XenDesktop deployment, data protection is critical, because any RAID failure could result in
hundreds to thousands of end users being disconnected from their desktops, resulting in lost productivity. RAID
DP provides performance that is comparable to that of RAID 10, yet requires fewer disks to achieve equivalent
protection. RAID DP provides protection against double disk failure as compared to RAID 5, which can only
protect against one disk failure per RAID group. For more information about RAID DP, refer to NetApp TR-3298:
RAID-DP: NetApp Implementation of RAID Double Parity for Data Protection.
3.4.12.2 Backup and Recovery
The virtual machine Backup and Recovery capability in XenCenter allows customers to use NetApp array-based
block-level Snapshot copies to provide consistent backups for the virtual desktops. NetApp snapshot has simplest
snapshot model with best disk utilization and fast performance.
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StorageLink Platinum Edition (starting with version 2.0) provides Site Recovery, which provides a framework for
replicating and switching over a StorageLink-managed deployment of application storage resources, physical
hosts, and virtual machines to another location. Site Recovery enables organizations to implement fully
automated disaster recovery plans for fast, reliable site recovery of critical virtual infrastructure. Site Recovery
also supports failback to the primary site after a failover to the secondary site. The Backup and Recovery plug-in
is integrated with NetApp SnapMirror replication technology, which preserves the deduplicated storage savings
from the source to the destination storage array. Deduplication is then not required to be rerun on the destination
storage array. Additionally, when a Citrix XenDesktop environment is replicated with SnapMirror, the replicated
data can be quickly brought online to provide production access in the event of a site or data center outage. Citrix
StorageLink site recovery integrates NetApp FlexClone technology to instantly create zero-cost writable copies of
the replicated virtual desktops at the remote site that can be used for DR testing or for test and development
work. For more information on SnapMirror, refer to NetApp TR-3446: SnapMirror Best Practices Guide and Citrix
StorageLink user guide.
Figure 29. Citrix StorageLink Site Recovery
3.4.13 Storage Sizing Best Practices
Storage estimation for deploying Citrix XenDesktop solutions on NetApp includes the following:
●
Gather essential solution requirements
●
Perform performance-based and capacity-based storage estimation
●
Get recommendations on storage system physical and logical configuration
3.4.13.1 Gather Essential Solution Requirements
The first step of the storage sizing process is to gather the solution requirements. This is essential to size the
storage system correctly in terms of the model and the number of required NetApp storage controllers, type and
quantity of disk spindles, software features, and general configuration recommendations.
The main storage sizing elements are:
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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●
Total number of virtual machines for which the system has to be designed (for example, 2000 virtual
machines).
●
The types and percentage of different types of desktops being deployed. For example, if Citrix XenDesktop
is used, different desktop delivery models might require special storage considerations.
●
Size per virtual machine (for example, 20GB C: drive, 2GB data disk).
●
Virtual machine OS (for example, Windows XP, Windows 7, and so on).
●
Worker workload profile (type of applications on the virtual machine, IOPS requirement, read-write ratio, if
known).
●
Number of years for which the storage growth has to be considered.
●
Disaster recovery/business continuance requirements.
●
Size of NAS (CIFS) home directories.
NetApp strongly recommends storing user data on NAS (CIFS) home drives. Using NAS home drives,
companies can more efficiently manage and protect the user data and eliminate the need to back up the
virtual desktops.
●
For most of the Citrix XenDesktop deployments, companies might also plan to implement roaming profiles
and/or folder redirection. For detailed information on implementing these technologies, consult the following
documentation:
◦
◦
◦
●
Microsoft Configuring Roaming User Profiles
NetApp TR-3367: NetApp Systems in a Microsoft Windows Environment
Microsoft Configuring Folder Redirection
Citrix XenDesktop considerations: When implementing Citrix XenDesktop, decide on the following:
◦
◦
Types of desktops that will be deployed for different user profiles
◦
For Citrix provisioning Server pooled desktops, write back cache size needs to be calculated based
on how often the user reboots the desktop and what applications the user uses. We recommend
using NFS for write back cache for space efficiency and easy management.
◦
NetApp thin provisioning, deduplication, and NetApp snapshot can be used to achieve the desired
storage efficiency and data protection for the ―user data disk.‖
Data protection requirements for different data components (OS disk, user data disk, CIFS home
directories) for each desktop type being implemented
3.4.13.2 Performance-Based and Capacity-Based Storage Estimation Processes
There are two important considerations for sizing storage for Citrix XenDesktop. The storage system should be
able to meet both the performance and capacity requirements of the project and be scalable to account for future
growth.
The steps for calculating these storage requirements are:
1. Determine storage sizing building block
2. Perform detailed performance estimation
3. Perform detailed capacity estimation
4. Obtain recommendations on the storage system physical and logical configuration
3.4.13.3 Getting Recommendations on Storage System Physical and Logical Configuration
After determining the total capacity and performance requirements, contact your local NetApp technical resource
to determine the appropriate storage system configuration. Provide the total capacity and performance
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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requirements to the NetApp SE and obtain appropriate storage system configuration. If required, NetApp can help
you in each phase of the process discussed above. NetApp has detailed sizing tools specific to Citrix XenDesktop
that can help architect Citrix XenDesktop deployments of any scale. The tools are designed to factor in all the
NetApp storage efficiency and performance acceleration components discussed earlier.
This step also involves planning the logical architecture (the total number of template and the associated
FlexClone volumes that should be provisioned per aggregate). The recommendation is to provision fewer large
aggregates over more, smaller aggregates. The advantages to larger aggregates are that the I/O has more disks
to write across, therefore increasing the performance of all volumes contained within the aggregate. Based on the
estimated volume size from the capacity calculations section earlier, determine the number of template and
associated FlexClone volumes that can be hosted in the largest possible aggregate. It is also a good idea to leave
some room to grow the aggregates to handle situations when unexpected growth occurs. Also, disable scheduled
aggregate Snapshot copies and set the aggregate snap reserve to zero. Make sure the data disk in the aggregate
satisfies the performance requirements for the proposed number of virtual machines for volumes to be hosted in
the aggregate.
3.4.14 Storage Architecture Best Practices
In a Citrix XenDesktop environment, the availability and performance of the storage infrastructure are very critical
because thousands of users will be affected by storage outages or performance issues. Thus the storage
architecture must provide the level of availability and performance typical for business-critical applications.
NetApp has all the software and hardware solutions that address the availability and performance for large,
scalable Citrix XenDesktop environments. For a complete Citrix XenDesktop deployment guide, refer to NetApp
TR-3795: XenDesktop on ESX with NetApp.
3.4.15 Storage System Configuration Best Practices
This section provides a high-level overview of the components and features to consider when deploying a Citrix
XenDesktop infrastructure on NetApp. For detailed information on storage resiliency, refer to the following:
●
NetApp TR-3437: Storage Best Practices and Resiliency Guide
●
NetApp TR-3450: Active-Active Controller Overview and Best Practices Guidelines
3.4.16 Building a Resilient Storage Architecture
●
Active-active NetApp controllers. The controller in a storage system can be a single point of failure if not
designed correctly. Active-active controllers provide controller redundancy and simple automatic
transparent failover in the event of a controller failure to deliver enterprise-class availability. Providing
transparent recovery from component failure is critical as all desktops rely on the shared storage. For more
details, visit www.netapp.com/us/products/platform-os/active-active.html.
●
Multipath high availability (HA). Multipath HA storage configuration further enhances the resiliency and
performance of active-active controller configurations. Multipath HA–configured storage enhances storage
resiliency by reducing unnecessary takeover by a partner node due to a storage fault, improving overall
system availability and promoting higher performance consistency. Multipath HA provides added protection
against various storage faults, including HBA or port failure, controller-to-shelf cable failure, shelf module
failure, dual intershelf cable failure, and secondary path failure. Multipath HA helps provide consistent
performance in active-active configurations by providing larger aggregate storage loop bandwidth. For
more information, visit http://media.netapp.com/documents/tr-3437.pdf.
●
RAID data protection. Data protection against disk drive failure using RAID is a standard feature of most
shared storage devices, but with the capacity and subsequent rebuild times of current hard drives where
exposure to another drive failure can be catastrophic, protection against double disk failure, is now
essential. NetApp RAID-DP is an advanced RAID technology that is provided as the default RAID level on
all FAS systems. RAID-DP provides performance that is comparable to that of RAID 10, with much higher
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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resiliency. It provides protection against double disk failure as compared to RAID 5, which can only protect
against one disk failure. NetApp strongly recommends using RAID-DP on all RAID groups that store Citrix
XenDesktop data. For more information on RAID-DP, refer to NetApp white paper 3298 at
http://www.netapp.com/us/library/white-papers/wp_3298.html.
●
Remote LAN management (RLM) card. The RLM card improves storage system monitoring by providing
secure out-of-band access to the storage controllers, which can be used regardless of the state of the
controllers. The RLM offers a number of remote management capabilities for NetApp controllers, including
remote access, monitoring, troubleshooting, logging, and alerting features. The RLM also extends
AutoSupport™ capabilities of the NetApp controllers by sending alerts or "down storage system"
notification with an AutoSupport message when the controller goes down, regardless of whether the
controller can send AutoSupport messages. These AutoSupport messages also provide proactive alerts to
NetApp
to
help
provide
faster
service.
For
more
details
on
RLM,
visit
http://now.netapp.com/NOW/download/tools/rlm_fw/info.shtml.
●
Networking infrastructure design (FCoE, FCFibre Channel, or IP). A network infrastructure (FCoE, Fibre
Channel, or IP) should have no single point of failure. A highly available solution includes having two or
more Fibre Channel and FCoE or IP network switches; two or more CNAs, HBAs, or NICs per host; and
two or more target ports or NICs per storage controller. In addition, if using Fibre Channel, two independent
fabrics are required to have a truly redundant architecture.
3.4.17 Top Resiliency Practices
●
Use RAID-DP, the NetApp high-performance implementation of RAID 6, for better data protection.
●
Use multipath HA with active-active storage configurations to improve overall system availability as well as
promote higher performance consistency.
●
Use the default RAID group size (16) when creating aggregates.
●
Allow Data ONTAP to select disks automatically when creating aggregates or volumes.
●
Use the latest Data ONTAP general availability release available on the NOW site.
●
Use the latest storage controller, shelf, and disk firmware available on the NOW site.
●
Disk drive differences are Fibre Channel, SAS, SATA disk drive types, disk size, and rotational speed
(RPM).
●
Maintain two hot spares for each type of disk drive in the storage system to take advantage of Maintenance
Center.
●
Do not put user data into the root volume unless this is a FAS 2000 series due to lack of disk spindles.
●
Replicate data with SnapMirror or SnapVault for disaster recovery (DR) protection.
●
Replicate to remote locations to increase data protection levels.
●
Use an active-active storage controller configuration (clustered failover) to eliminate single points of failure
(SPOFs).
●
Deploy SyncMirror® and RAID-DP for the highest level of storage resiliency.
For more details, refer to NetApp TR-3437: Storage Best Practices and Resiliency Guide.
3.4.18 Building a High-Performance Storage Architecture
A XenDesktop workload can be very I/O intensive, especially during the simultaneous boot up, login, and virus
scan within the virtual desktops. A boot storm, depending on how many servers and guests are attached to the
storage, can create a significant performance effect if the storage is not sized properly. A boot storm can affect
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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both the speed in which the desktops are available to the customer and overall customer experience. A ―virus
scan storm‖ is similar to a boot storm in I/O but might last longer and can significantly affect customer experience.
Due to these factors, it is important to make sure that the storage is architected in such a way as to eliminate or
decrease the effect of these events.
●
Aggregate sizing. An aggregate is NetApp‘s virtualization layer, which abstracts physical disks from logical
datasets, which are referred to as flexible volumes. Aggregates are the means by which the total IOPS
available to all of the physical disks are pooled as a resource. This design is well suited to meet the needs
of an unpredictable and mixed workload. NetApp recommends that whenever possible a small aggregate
should be used as the root aggregate. This root aggregate stores the files required for running and
providing GUI management tools for the storage system. The remaining storage should be placed into a
small number of large aggregates. The overall disk I/O from virtualization environments is traditionally
random by nature, so this storage design gives optimal performance because a large number of physical
spindles are available to service I/O requests. On smaller storage systems, it might not be practical to have
more than a single aggregate, due to the restricted number of disk drives on the system. In these cases, it
is acceptable to have only a single aggregate.
●
Disk configuration summary. When sizing your disk solution, consider the number of desktops being served
by the storage controller/disk system and the number of IOPS per desktop. This way one can make a
calculation to arrive at the number and size of the disks needed to serve the given workload. Remember,
keep the aggregates large, spindle count high, and rotational speed fast. When one factor needs to be
adjusted, Flash Cache can help eliminate potential bottlenecks to the disk.
●
Flexible Volumes. Flexible volumes contain either LUNs or virtual disk files that are accessed by Citrix
XenDesktop servers. NetApp recommends a one-to-one alignment of Citrix XenDesktop datastores to
flexible volumes. This design offers an easy means to understand the Citrix XenDesktop data layout when
viewing the storage configuration from the storage system. This mapping model also makes it easy to
implement Snapshot backups and SnapMirror replication policies at the datastore level, because NetApp
implements these storage side features at the flexible volume level.
●
Flash Cache. Flash Cache enables transparent storage cache sharing and improves read performance and
in turn increases throughput and decreases latency. It provides greater system scalability by removing
IOPS limitations due to disk bottlenecks and lowers cost by providing the equivalent performance with
fewer disks. Using Flash Cache in a dense (deduplicated) volume allows all the shared blocks to be
accessed directly from the intelligent, faster Flash Cache versus disk. Flash Cache provides great benefits
in a Citrix XenDesktop environments, especially during a boot storm, login storm, or virus storm, as only
one copy of deduplicated data will need to be read from the disk (per volume). Each subsequent access of
a shared block will be read from Flash Cache and not from disk, increasing performance and decreasing
latency and overall disk utilization.
3.5 FlexPod Technical Overview
Industry trends indicate a vast data center transformation toward shared infrastructures. Enterprise customers are
moving away from silos of information and moving toward shared infrastructures to virtualized environments and
eventually to the cloud to increase agility and reduce costs.
FlexPod™ is a predesigned, base configuration that is built on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco®
UCS), Cisco Nexus® data center switches, NetApp® FAS storage components, and a range of software partners.
FlexPod can scale up for greater performance and capacity, or it can scale out for environments that need
consistent, multiple deployments. FlexPod is a baseline configuration, but also has the flexibility to be sized and
optimized to accommodate many different use cases.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Cisco, NetApp, and VMware have developed FlexPod for VMware® as a platform that can address current
virtualization needs and simplify their evolution to an IT as a service (ITaaS) infrastructure. FlexPod for VMware is
built on the FlexPod infrastructure stack with added VMware components, including VMware vSphere™ and
vCenter™ for virtualized application workloads.
3.5.1 Audience
This document describes the basic architecture of FlexPod for VMware and also prescribes the procedure for
deploying a base FlexPod for VMware configuration. The intended audience of this document includes, but is not
limited to, sales engineers, field consultants, professional services, IT managers, partner engineering, and
customers who want to deploy the core FlexPod for VMware architecture.
3.5.2 FlexPod Architecture
The FlexPod architecture is highly modular or ―pod‖ like. While each customer‘s FlexPod unit might vary in its
exact configuration, once a FlexPod unit is built, it can easily be scaled as requirements and demand change.
This includes scaling both up (adding additional resources within a FlexPod unit) and out (adding additional
FlexPod units).
Specifically, FlexPod is a defined set of hardware and software that serves as an integrated building block for all
virtualization solutions. FlexPod includes NetApp storage, Cisco networking, the Cisco Unified Computing System
(Cisco UCS), and operating system, hypervisor virtualization software in a single package in which the computing
and storage fit as a cohesive pod. Due to port density, the networking components can accommodate multiple
FlexPod. Figure 30 shows the FlexPod components.
Figure 30. FlexPod Components
The default hardware includes:
●
Two Cisco Nexus 5548 switches
●
Two Cisco UCS 6120 fabric interconnects
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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●
Three chassis of Cisco UCS blades with two fabric extenders per chassis
Storage is provided by a NetApp FAS3210CC (HA configuration within a single chassis) with accompanying disk
shelves. All systems and fabric links feature redundancy, providing for end-to-end high availability (HA). While this
is the default base design, each of the components can be scaled flexibly to support the specific business
requirements in question. For example, more (or different) blades and chassis could be deployed to increase
compute capacity, additional disk shelves could be deployed to improve I/O capacity and throughput, or special
hardware or software features could be added to introduce new features (such as NetApp Flash Cache for
dedupe-aware caching for VDI deployments).
3.5.3 FlexPod Market Overview
3.5.3.1 The Challenge
Disruptive, inflexible transition from infrastructure silos
Today‘s IT departments are increasingly challenged by the complexity and management of disparate components
within their data centers. Rapidly proliferating silos of server, storage, and networking resources combined with
numerous management tools and operational processes have led to crippling inefficiencies and costs. Savvy
organizations understand the financial and operational benefits of moving from infrastructure silos to a virtualized,
shared environment. However, many of them are hesitant to make the transition due to potential short-term
business disruptions and long-term architectural inflexibility, which can impede scalability and responsiveness to
future business changes. Enterprises and service providers need a tested, cost-effective virtualization solution
that can be easily implemented and managed within their existing infrastructures and that scales to meet their
future cloud computing objectives.
3.5.3.2 The Solution
Unified, pretested, and validated shared infrastructure to simplify your data center transformation
To meet this challenge NetApp and Cisco have collaborated to create FlexPod™. FlexPod is a proven, long term
data center solution built on a flexible, shared infrastructure that can scale easily; be optimized for a variety of
mixed application workloads; or be configured for virtual desktop or server infrastructure, secure multi-tenancy
and Cloud environments. FlexPod is a prevalidated configuration that delivers a virtualized data center in a rack
composed of leading computing, networking, storage, and infrastructure software components.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Table 1.
FlexPod Facilitates a Variety of Virtualized, Cloud Environments
3.5.3.3 NetApp: Unified Architecture for Extreme Efficiencies
Traditional storage solutions for virtualized infrastructures force you to buy separate systems to accommodate
different storage needs. NetApp‘s multiprotocol unified architecture reduces cost and complexity by meeting all of
your storage requirements with a single, highly scalable solution. You can further enhance efficiencies and save
disk space with built-in deduplication, thin provisioning, and rapid cloning technology, which let you deploy
thousands of virtual machines within minutes. Optimize performance with your choice of 10 Gigabit Ethernet or
Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and boost availability with integrated Snapshot™ technology for space
efficient backups and fast disaster recovery.
Innovative NetApp software integrates with major applications so you can automate key storage management,
data protection, and security activities and manage storage from familiar application-centric interfaces. With the
most flexible storage for server and desktop virtualization, you can increase storage efficiency and slash
hardware and operational expenses in your cloud environment.
3.6 Cisco Networking Infrastructure
3.6.1 Cisco Nexus 5548 28-Port Switch
The Cisco Nexus® 5548 Switch is a 1RU, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE access-layer switch built to provide
more than 500-Gbps throughput with very low latency. It has 20 fixed 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE ports that
accept modules and cables meeting the Small Form-Factor Pluggable Plus (SFP+) form factor. One expansion
module slot can be configured to support up to 6 additional 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE ports, up to 8 Fibre
Channel ports, or a combination of both. The switch has a single serial console port and a single out-of-band
10/100/1000-Mbps Ethernet management port. Two N+1 redundant, hot-pluggable power supplies and five N+1
redundant, hot-pluggable fan modules provide highly reliable front-to-back cooling.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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3.6.2 Cisco Nexus 5500 Series Feature Highlights
3.6.2.1 Features and Benefits
The switch family's rich feature set makes the series ideal for rack-level, access-layer applications. It protects
investments in data center racks with standards based Ethernet and FCoE features that allow IT departments to
consolidate networks based on their own requirements and timing.
●
The combination of high port density, wire-speed performance, and extremely low latency makes the switch
an ideal product to meet the growing demand for 10 Gigabit Ethernet at the rack level. The switch family
has sufficient port density to support single or multiple racks fully populated with blade and rack-mount
servers.
●
Built for today‘s data centers, the switches are designed just like the servers they support. Ports and power
connections are at the rear, closer to server ports, helping keep cable lengths as short and efficient as
possible. Hot-swappable power and cooling modules can be accessed from the front panel, where status
lights offer an at-a-glance view of switch operation. Front-to-back cooling is consistent with server designs,
supporting efficient data center hot- and cold-aisle designs. Serviceability is enhanced with all customerreplaceable units accessible from the front panel. The use of SFP+ ports offers increased flexibility to use a
range of interconnect solutions, including copper for short runs and fiber for long runs.
●
Fibre Channel over Ethernet and IEEE Data Center Bridging features supports I/O consolidation, eases
management of multiple traffic flows, and optimizes performance. Although implementing SAN
consolidation requires only the lossless fabric provided by the Ethernet pause mechanism, the Cisco Nexus
5500 Series provides additional features that create an even more easily managed, high-performance,
unified network fabric.
3.6.2.2 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Unified Fabric Features
The Cisco Nexus 5500 Series is first and foremost a family of outstanding access switches for 10 Gigabit Ethernet
connectivity. Most of the features on the switches are designed for high performance with 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
The Cisco Nexus 5500 Series also supports FCoE on each 10 Gigabit Ethernet port that can be used to
implement a unified data center fabric, consolidating LAN, SAN, and server clustering traffic.
3.6.2.3 Low Latency
The cut-through switching technology used in the Cisco Nexus 5500 Series ASICs enables the product to offer a
low latency of 3.2 microseconds, which remains constant regardless of the size of the packet being switched. This
latency was measured on fully configured interfaces, with access control lists (ACLs), quality of service (QoS),
and all other data path features turned on. The low latency on the Cisco Nexus 5500 Series enables applicationto-application latency on the order of 10 microseconds (depending on the network interface card [NIC]). These
numbers, together with the congestion management features described next, make the Cisco Nexus 5500 Series
a great choice for latency-sensitive environments.
Other features include: Nonblocking Line-Rate Performance, Single-Stage Fabric, Congestion Management,
Virtual Output Queues, Lossless Ethernet (Priority Flow Control), Delayed Drop Fibre Channel over Ethernet,
Hardware-Level I/O Consolidation, and End-Port Virtualization. For more information, refer to
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9670/prod_white_papers_list.html.
3.7 Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft introduced Windows 7 in fall of 2009 as their next generation desktop operating system to succeed
Windows XP, their other flagship software. According to IDC report around 70 percent of the enterprise users are
using Windows XP and a majority of them are already looking to migrate to Windows 7.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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3.7.1 Microsoft Windows 7 Image Creation and Provisioning
The Microsoft Windows 7 image and additional Software was initially installed and prepared as a standard Virtual
Machine on Citrix XenServer 5.6; prior to each one being converted into separate Citrix Provisioning server vDisk
images and then 100‘s of V clones being created using the XenDesktop setup wizard tool.
The XenDesktop Setup Wizard effectively creates virtual machine objects, configures - RAM, correct Network
assignment and each assigned with a 3GB virtual disk hosted on a datastore mounted on the hypervisor through
NFS from a NetApp provided storage volume. It also creates and configures the relevant PVS, DDC and AD
objects associated with these.
More information as to why the additional virtual disks are needed can be found in the section Configuration
Topology for Scalability of Citrix XenDesktops on the Cisco Unified Computing System and NetApp Storage.
The following section describes the process to create the centralized Windows 7 vDisk image used by
Provisioning Services (Figure 31).
Figure 31. Windows 7 Image and vDisk Provisioning Process Overview
Create Win 7 VM on Hypervisor
Install additional Standard Software
Tune Win7 for VDI
Create, Align & Format PVS vDisk
Assign vDisk to Win7 VM
Convert Win7 Image to vDisk
Boot VM from vDisk (Private Image mode)
Add Machine to AD
Install & Configure additional software components
Create additional VM virtual disk (for Write-Cache)
Create VDA VM Template/s
Create Clones (XenDesktop Setup Wizard)
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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3.7.1.1 Create Windows 7 Virtual Machine and Install Standard Software
The following virtual machine configurations and software were used to create the initial Windows 7 virtual
machine on the hypervisor which is then later extracted to create a Citrix Provisioning server vDisk image in .vhd
format.
XenDesktop Virtual Desktop Image
OS:
Service Pack:
Windows 7 Enterprise 32bit
CPU:
RAM:
1 x vCPU
Disk: C:\
Network:
1 x 16GB (PVS vDisk)
E:\
1x 3GB Virtual Disk (PVS Write-Cache)
Software Installed Prior to cloning to vDisk –
o Citrix XenServer Tools on Win7
o Citrix Provisioning Server Target Device 5.6.0
o Microsoft Office Enterprise 2001 SP2
o Internet Explorer 8.0.7600.16385
o Adobe Reader 9.1.0
o Adobe Flash Player 10.0.22
1536MB
1 x 1GbE
3.7.1.2 Tuning Microsoft Windows 7 Image for VDI
When many Windows desktops run on a hypervisor it is necessary to try to reduce unnecessary CPU cycles and
disk I/O to improve system performance and stability. By turning off unnecessary processes and other unwanted
desktop services for instance helps achieve this.
The following configurations were made to the standard image:
●
Configure fixed 1.5GB page file
●
Configure Networking and Firewall
◦
◦
◦
●
Set DNS IP addresses for domain
Turn off IPV6
Windows
7
optimization
recommendations
from
the
http://community.citrix.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=113247185
◦
●
Turn off firewall
following
Citrix
blog
-
Recommended ―Default User Profile‖ settings were also applied and copied to ―Default User‖ using
the latest Forensic User Profile Manager tool, visit http://www.forensit.com/desktop-management.html
Citrix PVS TCP Large Send Offload should be disabled on both the PVS server/s and the target device
(Windows
7
image).
To
do
this
follow
the
instructions
found
here:
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX117374
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3.7.1.3 Provisioning Services (PVS) vDisk Creation
Once the Windows 7 image has initially been created with the required software, it must be extracted into a
Provisioning Server vDisk image. To do this, the Citrix XenConvert 2.1 tool is used which, is part of the PVS
Target Device installation.
To create a PVS vDisk:
1. Using the PVS Console (Must use the console from the PVS server)
2. Create new vDisk (16GB) (this may vary depending on requirements).
3. Using Diskpart set the partition offset to 1024. For more information on best practice disk alignment, visit
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX122737.
4. From the PVS server open a command window:
C:\>diskpart
DISKPART> list disk
Disk ###
Status
Size
Free
Dyn
GPT
--------
----------
-------
-------
---
---
Disk 0
Online
186 GB
0 B
Disk 1
Online
16
0 B
GB
DISKPART> select disk 1
Disk 1 is now the selected disk.
DISKPART> create partition primary align=1024
DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.
DISKPART> Exit
To format the vDisk (NTFS):
1. Un-mount the vDisk using the PVS Console.
2. Attach the New vDisk to the Windows 7 Virtual Machine
3. Set the Windows 7 virtual machine to boot from Network.
4. Create a new device in PVS collection and assign MAC address of virtual machine to this PVS object.
5. Assign vDisk and configure following options:
Private Image mode
Manage AD Password
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Set device to boot from hard disk
6. Boot Windows 7 virtual machine and check vDisk is attached.
To clone Windows 7 Image to vDisk:
1. To retain the 1024 partition offset in the vDisk the following needs to be added to the C:\Program
Files\Citrix\XenConvert.ini:
[parameters]
PartitionOffsetBase=1048576
2. Run XenConvert
3. Run PVS Device Optimization Tool by clicking the Optimize button.
4. Image to assigned vDisk (E:\).
5. Once the Imaging process has completed shutdown the virtual machine.
To set the virtual machine to boot from PVS vDisk (rather than vDisk) and start virtual machine:
1. Use the PVS Console to change the Target device options to ―boot from vDisk.‖
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2. Using Virtual Center or XenCenter start the virtual machine.
3. Add the host to the domain.
4. Restart Guest OS.
3.7.1.4 Install and Configure Additional Software Components
The following software is installed post vDisk cloning:
●
Citrix XenDesktop VDA 4.0.5010
●
Login VSI 2.1 and STAT Agent (tools used for benchmarking)
●
SQL 2K8 Native Client (for STAT agent)
3.7.1.5 Add 3-GB Write Cache .VHD to vDisk Image
To match the disk signature, you will need to create and format an additional virtual disk to the Windows 7 image.
This will later be detached and used as the default virtual machine template for the cloning process, so that each
clone has a unique 3GB virtual disk (E:\ Drive); this is where the per-clone PVS Write-Cache will be placed and
subsequently all write I/O will be conducted.
To create a new 3-GB Virtual Disk using the XenCenter Client:
1. Create a new virtual disk attached to the Windows 7 virtual machine.
2. Activate the new Disk (Use Standard mode and DO NOT Use Dynamic Mode).
3. Do not format yet.
4. Using Diskpart set the partition offset to 1024.
5. Format the new volume NTFS.
6. Shutdown the virtual machine.
7. Detach the new virtual disk from the virtual machine but do NOT delete it (note where it is stored for next
stage below).
8. In the PVS Console change the vDisk Mode to ―Standard‖ and also change the cache location to be
―Cache on device‘s HD.‖
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Next, the virtual machine templates must be created on the relevant NFS data stores hosted on the NetApp
storage. If large numbers of clones are to be created, it is advisable to mount several NFS volumes to the
hypervisors balanced between at least 2 NetApp storage controllers.
Once the NFS Volumes have been mounted on the hypervisors, using the XenCenter client create a Windows
virtual machine but do not start it.
To create a new Windows 7 virtual machine (Win7_PVS_Temp):
1. Allocate 1.5 GB RAM.
2. Using XenCenter, start the virtual machine.
3. Change boot order to Network Boot.
4. Delete assigned Virtual Disk.
5. Attach the Virtual Disk created in the above stage.
6. Convert the virtual machine to a Template.
7. Full Copy – Template to desired NFS Volume and name (I.E. Win7PVSTemp (1)).
8. Full Copy – Template to desired NFS Volume and name (I.E. Win7PVSTemp (2)).
9. Until you have a template on each target NFS volume you wish to use.
10. Delete (Win7_PVS_Temp) so that it does not get used accidently.
Large scale cloning can be achieved easily by using the XenDesktop Setup Wizard Tool which should be installed
on the PVS server.
Note: The entire XenDesktop infrastructure should be setup and tested prior to creating clones as are registered or configured
on each of the components including active directory by this tool.
The aim is to create VDI clones evenly distributed across all of the available mounted NFS data stores, so work
out how many you will be creating on each one and then run the XenDesktop Setup Tool.
The XenDesktop Setup Wizard is installed and should be run on the PVS server.
To create VDI Clones:
1. Selecting the XenDesktop Farm.
2. Hosting infrastructure (hypervisor Resource Pool/Cluster).
3. Select the template associated with the Volume you wish to add virtual machine instances.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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4. Select the vDisk.
5. Assign Virtual Desktop numbers and Host names.
6. Select desired Organization Unit where machines will be created in AD.
7. Assign Desktops to (existing) Desktop Delivery Controller Group (Group has to be created the first time
tool is run).
8. Review selections and start creation process
Once complete the XenDesktop Setup Wizard should be run again using the same process except a different
template should be selected and also start the Virtual desktop numbering from the next available host number (for
example, 121 using the example above).
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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4.0 Architecture and Design of Citrix XenDesktops on Cisco
Unified Computing System and NetApp Storage
4.1 Design Fundamentals
There are many reasons for considering a virtual desktop solution such as; an ever growing and diverse base of
user devices, complexity in management of traditional desktops, security, and even Bring Your Own Computer
(BYOC) to work programs. The first step in designing a virtual desktop solution is to understand the user
community and the type of tasks that are required to successfully execute their role.
The following are the user classifications:
●
Knowledge Workers today do not just work in their offices all day–they attend meetings, visit branch offices,
work from home and even coffee shops. These workers expect access to all of their applications and data
wherever they are.
●
External Contractors are increasingly part of your everyday business. They need access to all of your
applications and data, yet administrators still have little control over the devices they use and the locations
they work from. Consequently, IT needs to adjust the cost of providing these workers a device vs. the
security risk of allowing them access from their own devices.
●
Task Workers perform a set of well-defined tasks. These workers access a small set of applications and
have limited requirements from their PCs. However, since these workers are interacting with your
customers, partners, and employees, they have access to your most critical data.
●
Road Warriors need access to their virtual desktops from everywhere, regardless of their ability to connect
to a network. In addition, these workers expect the ability to personalize their PCs, by installing their own
applications and storing their own data, such as photos and music, on these devices.
●
Shared Workstation users are often found in state-of-the-art University and business computer labs,
conference rooms or training centers. Shared workstation environments have the constant requirement to
re-provision desktops with the latest operating systems and applications as the needs of the organization
change.
After the user classifications are identified and the business requirements for each user classification are defined,
it becomes essential to evaluate the types of virtual desktops that are available based on user requirements. The
following are the potential desktops environments for each user:
●
Traditional PC: A traditional PC is what ―typically‖ constituted a desktop environment: physical device with a
locally installed operating system.
●
Hosted, server-based desktop: A hosted, server-based desktop is a desktop where the user interacts
through a delivery protocol. With hosted, server-based desktops, a single installed instance of a server
operating system, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, is shared by multiple users simultaneously.
Each user receives a desktop "session" and works in an isolated memory space. Changes made by one
user could impact the other users.
●
Hosted Virtual Desktop: A hosted virtual desktop is a virtual desktop running either on virtualization layer
(XenServer, Hyper-V or ESX) or on bare metal hardware. The user does not work with and sit in front of the
desktop, but instead the user interacts through a delivery protocol.
●
Streamed Desktop: A streamed desktop is a desktop running entirely on the user‘s local client device. The
user interacts with the desktop directly but is only available while they are connected to the network.
●
Local Virtual Desktop: A local virtual desktop is a desktop running entirely on the user‘s local device and
continues to operate when disconnected from the network.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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For the purposes of the validation represented in this document, the following two virtual desktop were validated.
Each of the sections provides fundamental design decisions for each respective environment. The
aforementioned hosted, server-based desktop is referred to as Hosted Shared, and the hosted virtual desktop as
Hosted VDI.
4.1.1 Hosted Shared Design Fundamentals
Citrix XenApp 6 can be used to virtualize both desktops and applications. The following are some high-level
design considerations to evaluate when deploying a server-based desktop XenApp 6 deployment:
4.1.1.1 Citrix XenApp Policies
Citrix XenApp 6 policies and server settings have been added to Active Directory group policies enabling
administrators to manage XenApp policies using their AD infrastructure. The policies can be created and
configured both using Group Policy Managed console and/or directly out of the Citrix Delivery Service Console.
This simplifies customer environments and enables administrators to leverage all the Group Policy features when
administering Citrix policies.
Citrix XenApp Policies control configurations such as the ability to map client drives within a virtual desktop
session and administrative tasks such as configuring the Citrix License Server FQDN for all servers in the
XenApp farm. When deploying a Hosted Shared desktop on XenApp, closely assess the XenApp policies for the
following configurations:
●
Configure farm settings such as Virtual IP, Health Monitoring and Recovery, and multimedia acceleration
●
Control sound quality for client devices
●
Allow users to access the Documents folder on their local client device
●
Allow or prevent remote users from being able to save to their hard drives from a session
●
Allow or prevent users from accessing the Windows clipboard
●
Set a required encryption level for Citrix plug-ins
●
Set the session importance level, which, along with the application importance level, determines resource
allotment for Preferential Load Balancing
4.1.1.2 Worker Groups
Worker groups allow similar XenApp servers to be grouped together to greatly simplify the management of
XenApp farms. Worker groups simplify application workload management and help ensure that all the servers in a
worker group have the same applications and policies, thus eliminating ―configuration drift.‖
4.1.1.3 Load Managed Groups
Load managed groups are created to focus a set of XenApp servers on a particular set of applications or
desktops. This is done for numerous business and technical reasons including update frequency, business unit
server ownership, criticality, regional access, and language requirements.
When creating a load managed group, each group must provide enough redundancy to be capable of supporting
all users in the event of a server failure. This results in an N+1 scenario where there is at least one additional
XenApp server per load managed group. In many situations, organizations implement an N+10% strategy where
an additional 10 percent of XenApp servers per load managed group are allocated in order to allow for multiple
server failures or maintenance.
4.1.2 Hosted VDI Design Fundamentals
Citrix XenDesktop can be used to deliver a variety of virtual desktop configurations. The following are some highlevel design considerations when evaluating a Hosted VDI deployment:
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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4.1.2.1 Hypervisor Selection
Citrix XenDesktop is hypervisor agnostic, so any of the following hypervisors can be used to hosted VDI-based
desktops:
●
XenServer
Citrix® XenServer® is a complete, managed server virtualization platform built on the powerful Xen®
hypervisor. Xen technology is widely acknowledged as the fastest and most secure virtualization software
in the industry. XenServer is designed for efficient management of Windows® and Linux® virtual servers
and delivers cost-effective server consolidation and business continuity. More information on Hyper-V can
be obtained at the company website.
●
vSphere
VMware vSphere consists of the management infrastructure or virtual center server software and the
hypervisor software that virtualizes the hardware resources on the servers. It offers features like Distributed
resource scheduler, vMotion, HA, Storage vMotion, VMFS, and a mutlipathing storage layer. More
information on vSphere can be obtained at the company website.
●
Hyper-V
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V builds on the architecture and functions of Windows Server
2008 Hyper-V by adding multiple new features that enhance product flexibility. Hyper-V is available in a
Standard, Server Core and free Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 versions. More information on Hyper-V can be
obtained at the company website.
4.1.2.2 Provisioning Services
Hosted-VDI desktops can be deployed with or without Citrix Provisioning Sevices, but Citrix Provisioning Services
enables you to stream a single desktop image to create multiple virtual desktops on one or more servers in a data
center. This facility greatly reduces the amount of storage required compared to other methods of creating virtual
desktops. Citrix Provisioning Services desktops can be deployed as Pooled or Private:
●
Private Desktop: A private desktop is a single private desktop assigned to one distinct user.
●
Pooled Desktop: A pooled virtual desktop uses Citrix Provisioning Services to stream a standard desktop
image to multiple desktop instances upon boot-up.
When considering a Provisioning Services deployment, there are some design decisions that need to be made
regarding the write-cache for the virtual desktop device leveraging provisioning. The write-cache is a cache of all
data that the target device has written. If data is written to the Provisioning Server vDisk in a caching mode, the
data is not written back to the base vDisk. Instead it is written to a write-cache file in one of the locations specified
below. The following options exist for the Provisioning Services write cache:
●
Cache on local HD: Cache on local HD is stored in a file on a secondary local hard drive of the device. It
gets created as an invisible file in the root folder of the local HD. The Cache file size grows as needed, but
never gets larger than the original vDisk, and frequently not larger than the free space on the original vDisk.
●
Ram Cache: Cache is stored in client RAM (Memory), The Cache maximum size is fixed by a setting in
vDisk properties. All written data can be read from local RAM instead of going back to server.RAM Cache
is faster than server cache and works in a high availability environment.
●
Server Cache: Server Cache is stored in a file on the server, or on a share, SAN, or other. The file size
grows as needed, but never gets larger than the original vDisk, and frequently not larger than the free
space on the original vDisk. It is slower than RAM cache because all reads/writes have to go to the server
and be read from a file. Cache gets deleted when the device reboots, in other words, on every boot the
device reverts to the base image. Changes remain only during a single boot session.
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●
Difference Disk Mode: Difference Cache is in a file on the server, or on a share, SAN, or other. The Cache
file size grows as needed, but never gets larger than the original vDisk, and frequently not larger than the
free space on the original vDisk. It is slower than RAM cache and Server Cache.
4.1.3 Designing a Citrix XenDesktop Deployment
For detailed information about configurations, architecture, and design recommendations for delivering virtual
desktops with XenDesktop, refer to http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/index.jsp?topic=/xendesktop-bdx/cdsadmin-deploy-plan-wrapper-bdx.html.
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5.0 Solution Validation
This section details the configuration and tuning that was done to various components for a complete solution
validation.
5.1 Configuration Topology for Scalability of Citrix XenDesktops on Cisco
Unified System and NetApp Storage
Figure 31 shows the configuration architecture.
Figure 32. Architecture Block diagram
Figure 32 above captures the architecture diagram for purpose of this study. The architecture is distinctly divided
into four layers:
●
Cisco UCS Compute platform
●
The virtual desktop infrastructure that runs on a virtual infrastructure (Hypervisor).
●
Network Access layer and LAN
●
Storage Access (SAN) and Storage array
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Figure 33. Detailed Architectural of the Configuration
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5.2 Cisco Unified Computing System Configuration
This section details the Cisco Unified Computing System configuration that was done as part of the infrastructure
build out. The racking, power and installation of the chassis are described in the install guide (refer to
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/hw/chassis/install/ucs5108_install.html) and it is beyond
the scope of this document. More details on each step can be found in the following documents:
●
Cisco
Unified
Computing
System
CLI
Configuration
guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/sw/cli/config/guide/1.3.1/b_CLI_Config_Guide_1_
3_1.html
●
Cisco UCS Manager GUI configuration guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/sw/gui/config/guide/1.3.1/b_UCSM_GUI_Configur
ation_Guide_1_3_1.html
To configure the Cisco Unified Computing System, do the following:
1
2
3
4
Bring up the Fabric interconnect and from a Serial Console connection set the IP address,
gateway, and the hostname of the primary fabric interconnect. Now bring up the second fabric
interconnect after connecting the dual cables between them. The second fabric interconnect
automatically recognizes the primary and ask if you want to be part of the cluster, answer yes and
set the IP address, gateway and the hostname. Once this is done all access to the FI can be done
remotely. You will also configure the virtual IP address to connect to the FI, you need a total of
three IP address to bring it online. You can also wire up the chassis to the FI, either 1, 2 or 4 links
depending on your application bandwidth requirement. We chose to connect all the four links.
Now connect using your favorite browser to the Virtual IP and launch the Cisco UCS Manager.
The Java-based Cisco UCS Manager will let you do everything that you could do from the CLI and
we will highlight the GUI methodology.
First check the firmware on the system and see if it is current. The latest firmware as of now is
1.3(1i).
If the firmware is not current, follow the installation and upgrade guide to upgrade the Cisco UCS
firmware. Also do not forget to upgrade the BIOS to the latest level and associate it with all the
blades.
Configure and enable the server port on the FI. To bring the chassis online acknowledge the
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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chassis. The Fabric interconnect is configured in End Host Mode.
5
Configure and enable upstream Ethernet links and Fibre Channel links.
6
When the blades are discovered, it is time to set the KVM IP addresses for each of the blades.
This is done through the admin tab  communication management  Management IP address
pool. One has to make sure we have ample IP address for all the blades and make sure the
gateway and netmask is set correctly.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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7
7.1
Create all the pools: MAC pool, WWPN pool, WWNN pool, UUID pool, Server pool
MAC pool
7.2
WWPN pool
7.3
WWNN pool
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7.4
UUID pool
7.5
Server pool
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8
Create vHBA template
9
Create vNIC template
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10
11
12
Create boot from SAN policies, adapter policies,
Create a service profile template using the pools, templates, and policies configured above.
After associating a server pool to the service profile template, just right click to deploy as many
service profile as you need and Cisco UCS Manager will automatically start configuring these new
service profile templates on the selected blade servers.
13
At this point, the servers are ready for OS provisioning, we would recommend setting up a PXE
server to fasten the OS install. Virtual media CD based OS installation is also possible.
When working with 4 GB -1333MHz DDR3 Low voltage dual rank DIMM it will show up as 1067 if you do not set
the performance mode in the policy. See the example below:
1. You will need to set the performance mode in the BIOS policy (now controlled from the UCSM 1.3(1i))
and reboot the server to take the effect and you will have 1333MHz speed on the memory DIMMs.
2. Configure a BIOS policy with everything being in platform-default and just change the default powersaving-mode into performance-mode.
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3. Now add this as a policy to the template:
This will reboot the servers and when the servers come back up the memory DIMMs will be in 1333MHz.
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5.2.1 QOS and COS in Cisco Unified Computing System
Cisco Unified Computing System provides different system classes of service to implement quality of service
including:
●
System classes that specify the global configuration for certain types of traffic across the entire system
●
QoS policies that assign system classes for individual vNICs
●
Flow control policies that determine how uplink Ethernet ports handle pause frames.
Applications such as the Cisco Unified Computing System and other time sensitive applications have to adhere to
a strict QOS for optimal performance.
5.2.2 System Class Configuration
Systems Class is the global operation where the entire system interfaces have defined QoS rules.
●
By default the system has Best Effort Class and FCoE Class.
◦
◦
●
Best effort is equivalent in MQC terminology as ―match any‖
FCoE is special Class define for FCoE traffic. In MQC terminology ―match cos 3‖
System class allowed with four or more users define class with following configurable rules.
◦
◦
◦
◦
CoS to Class Map
Weight: Bandwidth
Per-class MTU
Property of Class (Drop v/s no drop)
●
Maximum MTU per class allowed is 9216.
●
Using the Cisco Unified Computing System, we can map one CoS value to particular class.
●
Apart from FCoE class there can be only one more class can be configured as no-drop property.
●
Weight can be configured based on 0 to 10 numbers. Internally system will calculate the bandwidth based
on following equation (there will be rounding off the number).
(Weight of the given priority * 100)
 % b/w shared of given Class = ________________________________
Sum of weights of all priority
5.2.3 Cisco UCS System Class Configuration
The Cisco Unified Computing System defines user class names as follows.
●
Platinum
●
Gold
●
Silver
●
Bronze
Name Table Map Between Cisco Unified Computing System and Cisco NX-OS Software
Cisco UCS Names
Cisco NX-OS Names
Best effort
Class-default
Fibre Channel
Class-fc
Platinum
Class-Platinum
Gold
Class-Gold
Silver
Class-Silver
Bronze
Class-Bronze
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Class to CoS Map by default in Cisco Unified Computing System
Cisco UCS Class Names
Cisco UCS Default Class Value
Best effort
Match any
Fc
3
Platinum
5
Gold
4
Silver
2
Bronze
1
Default Weight in Cisco Unified Computing System
Cisco UCS Class Names
Best effort
Fc
Weight
5
5
The following are the steps to enable QOS on the Cisco Unified Computing System:
1. Configure platinum policy by checking the Platinum policy box and if you want jumbo frames enabled
change MTU from normal to 9000. Notice the option to set no packet drop policy during this configuration.
2. In the LAN tab under policies, define a platinum-policy and select platinum as the priority.
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3. Include this policy into the vNIC template under the QoS policy.
This is a unique value proposition of the Cisco Unified Computing System with respect to end-to-end QOS. For
example, you could have a VLAN for the NetApp storage and configure Platinum policy and Jumbo frames and
get an end-to-end QOS and performance guarantee. You can configure the NIC to have a no-drop class along
with the platinum policy.
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5.3 Citrix XenDesktop Configuration
Figure 34 shows the Citrix XenDesktop configuration.
Figure 34. Citrix XenDesktop Configuration
Summary of Environment:
●
3 Desktop Delivery Controllers
●
6 Provisioning Services Servers
●
3 XenServer Resource Pools
●
1760 Virtual Desktops
●
1 Citrix Licensing Server
●
1 File Server for Roaming Profiles and VSI data
●
1 SQL 2008 Server for DDC and PVS DBs
●
2 NetApp Filers, 6 NFS Volumes
●
Multiple client launchers
Configuration by component shown in Tables 2 through 6:
Table 2.
Citrix XenServer 5.6
Citrix XenServer Host 5.6
Hardware:
OS:
CPU:
Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Server
Model:
Citrix XenServer 5.6
Service Pack:
2 x 6 Core Intel 5680 @ 1333 GHz
(24 Logical Cores Total)
RAM:
Disk:
Boot From SAN
Network:
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
B250 –M2
192 GB @
1333 MHz
4 x 10GbE
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Table 3.
Citrix Provisioning Server 5.6
Citrix Provisioning Server 5.6
OS:
CPU:
Disk:
Service Pack:
Windows 2008 Enterprise R2 64bit
RAM:
2 x vCPU
8192MB
Network:
1 x70GB Virtual Disk
1 x 1GbE
(hosted on NFS target volume on NetApp
Storage)
Database for PVS hosted on separate Microsoft SQL Server 2008 64bit
Table 4.
Citrix XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controller
Citrix XenDesktop DDC
OS:
CPU:
Disk:
Service Pack:
Windows 2003 R2 Enterprise 64bit
2
RAM:
4 x vCPU
4096MB
Network:
1 x50GB Virtual Disk
1 x 1GbE
(hosted on NFS target volume on NetApp
Storage)
Citrix XenDesktop DDC - 400W2K3X64004
o Desktop Delivery Controller - Services Hotfix XD*400DDC002
o Pool Management Service Hotfix XD*400PM003
Citrix Web Interface xxx
Database for DDC hosted on separate Microsoft SQL Server 2008 64bit
Table 5.
Citrix License Server
Citrix License Server
OS:
CPU:
Disk:
Table 6.
Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise 64bit
1 x vCPU
1 x50GB Virtual Disk
(hosted on NFS target volume on NetApp
Storage)
Service Pack:
RAM:
Network:
2048MB
1 x 1GbE
Service Pack:
RAM:
Network:
2
4096MB
1 x 1GbE
ICA Client Hosts
ICA Client Hosts (VSI Launchers)
OS:
CPU:
Disk:
Windows 2003 R2 Enterprise 64bit
2 x vCPU
1 x40GB Virtual Disk
(hosted on NFS target volume on NetApp
Storage)
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5.3.1 Citrix XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC)
The DDCs were virtualized on XenServer server and some of the roles of the DDC were assigned to specific
DDCs, an approach commonly taken in Citrix XenApp deployments.
The DDCs were configured such that:
●
DDC 1: Farm Master and Pool Management
●
DDC 2 and 3: VDA Registrations and XML Brokering
In this environment, 3 DDCs (4vCPU, 4GB RAM) easily sustained the farm size of 1920 desktops and proved
stable at all various stages of testing.
5.3.2 Farm Configuration
In addition to the standard XenDesktop farm installation, the following additional items were configured or
installed:
●
Installed Citrix Pool Management Hotfix XDE400PM004
●
Installed Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller Hotfix DDCE400W2K3X64005
●
Installed Citrix Delivery Services Console Hotfix XDE400AMC002
●
Created XenDesktop policy to disable client printer mappings
●
Configured DDC1 as Farm Master and Pool Management as per CTX117477
●
Configured DDC2 & 3 for Registrations and XML Brokering as per CTX117477
●
Created one Desktop Group and aggregated two XenServer Resource Pools as per CTX120077
It was necessary to have multiple Resource Pool instances to support the 16 blade validation; each instance
required a new XenDesktop desktop group. In the testing 3 Resource Pools were used with the following
distribution:
●
2 RPs x 880 - Virtual Desktops for the scaled out test of 1760
●
1 RP - XenDesktop and associated infrastructure
By default, Pool Management will attempt to start 10 percent of the total pool size. In a large environment this
may be more than the hosting infrastructure can handle.
●
The number of concurrent requests can be throttled by editing the Pool Management Service configuration
file:
◦
C:\Program Files\Citrix \VMManagement\CdsPoolMgr.exe.config
●
Modify the <appSetting> section by adding the line:
●
<add key=‖MaximumTransitionRate‖ value=‖40‖/>
●
The Pool Management service needs to be restarted to read the new configuration
●
Note that this is a fixed value and is a setting that is specific to this environment
5.3.3 Provisioning Services Configuration
For the scaled out test, a total of 6 Provisioning Servers supported 1760 Windows 7 desktops. The Provisioning
Server streamed to ~293 desktops per virtual machine-based server using a single virtual NIC.
Note: it was determined that the PVS farm could have supported the desktops with at least one less server.
The Provisioning Services farm was created. The following items represent additional changes to the environment
after the initial default installation:
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●
Changed the Threads per port from the default 8 to 31. This is necessary when streaming to high amounts
of target devices.
●
Configured the bootstrap file to contain the static IP address assigned to each of the provisioning servers.
●
Created a local vDisk store for each of the Provisioning Servers and configured it to the D: drive.
●
Copied the 25GB Windows7 vDisk to each server‘s D: drive.
5.3.4 Storage Configuration for the Citrix XenServer Hosting the Virtual Desktop Virtual
Machine
The environment used two NetApp filers (Figure 35):
●
On filer1 provided 4 FlexVols, each presented as an NFS mount.
●
On filer2 contained 2 FlexVols, both presented as NFS mounts, for a total of 6 NFS mounts across the
filers.
●
In each of the two XenServer Resource Pools contained a total of six Storage Repositories, one on each
NFS mount, thereby maximizing the use of the resources behind the filer mounts across all of our host
resources. This resulted in two directories being created on each NFS mount, one for each Resource Pool.
With this configuration, both Resource Pools can use the same NFS mounts without conflict or visibility
between each other.
Figure 35. Storage Repositories
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Network configuration for the XenServers hosting the virtual desktop virtual machines:
●
Assigned separate NICs for mgmt and storage traffic and configured appropriate host access at NetApp to
limit access to the correct VLAN.
●
NIC0 – Management network (native vLAN set to 164 in UCS network config)
●
NIC1 – vLAN122 is dedicated to the desktops only
●
NIC 2 – vLAN166
Configured the appropriate host access at NetApp to limit access to the correct VLAN (Figure 36):
●
An IP address was assigned to the NIC2 interface and was configured to be non-route-able (no gateway)
●
NIC2 included that IP address in NetApp and isolated all other data traffic from Management IP or some
other addresses.
Figure 36. Server Networks
5.3.5 Citrix Provisioning Services
Citrix Provisioning Server (PVS) is part of the XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum suites and was used in all
tested scenarios, this allows 1000‘s of virtual machines hosted on hypervisor servers to PXE boot from and share
a single gold Windows 7 Image.
5.3.6 Citrix Provisioning Server (PVS) for use with Standard Desktops
The windows desktop image is converted into a vDisk (.vhd) image; this is then locked in a ―Shared‖ (Read-only)
mode and hosted on the PVS server‘s local disk or on a shared file location.
●
Virtual desktops are then configured to PXE boot on Hypervisor server
●
PVS streams the vDisk image on start to the Hypervisor, and is loaded into RAM
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●
PVS injects a Security Identifier (SID) and host name as each desktop boots to make them unique in AD.
These object mappings are maintained and managed within the PVS server and are visible in the PVS
Console under ―Collections‖ view are initially created and mapped by the XenDesktop Setup tool.
Note: Using CIFS to host the vDisk is not recommended by Citrix; although a ―Read Only‖ ISCSI target mode can now be used
and managed with PVS 5.8, for testing a copy of the vDisk was hosted and maintained on each PVS server‘s local disk to
provide high availability and load balancing by all servers within the farm. As the PVS servers are assigned with 8GB RAM the
image will remain persistent and be serviced by RAM after it is initially served for the first time by each server.
PVS servers can be configured in a farm to provide high availability and resilience; connections are automatically
failed over to a working server/s within the farm in the event of a failure without interruption to the desktop.
Each virtual desktop is assigned a ―Write Cache‖ (temporary file) where any delta changes (writes) to the default
image are recorded and is used by the virtual windows operating system throughout its working life cycle. This is
where ALL write I/O is conducted for the given virtual desktop instance, it is therefore important to consider where
the Write Cache is placed when scaling virtual desktops using PVS server. There are several options as to where
the Write Cache can be placed:
●
PVS Server
●
Hypervisor RAM
●
Device Local Disk (an additional Virtual Disk for VDI instances)
For optimal performance and scalability the ―Cache on devices HD‖ option is used, a 3GB virtual disk is assigned
to the virtual machine templates used in the clone creation process (described in section 5.7). By creating the
3GB drives associated with the templates on NFS volumes, mounted on the hypervisors; we are then able to
create VDI instances each with its own 3GB drive where the PVS Write Cache will be placed. In addition the PVS
Target device agent installed in the Windows 7 image will also automatically place the Windows swap file on the
same drive when this mode is enabled.
Therefore both the PVS Write Cache and Windows Swap file is now hosted on an NFS mounted volumes hosted
on NetApp storage. To further increase scalability load balancing across multiple Volumes and storage
Controllers was done by using 4 virtual machine templates (each created on different data stores/storage
repositories) and running the XenDesktop Setup Wizard tool 4 times using a different virtual machine template for
each process.
Figure 37 below illustrates Multiple virtual machine instances hosted on a hypervisor server booting from a PVS
single master image, each one has a virtual disk hosted on different NetApp provided NFS volumes where the
PVS cache is placed. This helps ensure that all write I/O takes place on the NetApp storage over NFS using high
performance storage.
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Figure 37. vDisk Hosting on NFS Volumes
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5.3.7 Hosted Shared Desktops Environment Configuration
Figure 38 details the Hosted Shared Desktop on XenApp performance testing setup at the Cisco labs. All
components including the infrastructure roles were virtualized using Citrix XenServer.
Figure 38. Citrix XenApp Scalability Testing on Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server
●
Login VSI Launcher setup. Login VSI 2.1 launcher setup, with one master and multiple member launchers,
was used to launch simulated user connections to the shared desktop of the Citrix XenApp servers. The
VSI launchers utilized Citrix Receiver to launch ICA connections to multiple XenApp servers using Active
Directory test user accounts.
●
Virtualized Citrix XenApp VMs. Citrix XenApp 6 VMs were virtualized on Citrix XenServer 5.6 and the tests
were performed using the default shadow memory optimization settings for XenApp workloads as shown in
Figure 39.
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Figure 39. Optimization for Virtualizing Citrix XenApp on Citrix XenServer
●
Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server. Cisco UCS B200 M2 blade server with two Intel Xeon 5600 Series
processors and 96GB of DDR3 memory was utilized for the testing.
●
NetApp FAS3140 Filer. A dedicated Storage Repository over a Fibre Channel LUN on NetApp FAS3140
Filer was used for storing data for all virtualized workloads in the environment, including the Citrix XenApp
virtual machines.
5.4 LAN Configuration
This configuration consists of a pair of Cisco Nexus 5548, a family of low-latency, line-rate, 10 Gigabit Ethernet
and FCoE switches for data center applications. Four 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports are configured on each of
the Cisco UCS fabric interconnects, and they are connected to the Cisco Nexus 5548 pair in a bow tie manner as
shown below. The Fabric interconnect is in End host mode, as we are doing both Fibre Channel as well as
Ethernet data access and as per the recommended best practice of the Cisco Unified Computing System. We
built this out for scale and have provisioned more than 40 G per Fabric interconnect as we are building a scalable
and expandable system (Figure 40).
The upstream configuration is beyond the scope of this document; there are some good reference document [4]
that talks about best practices of using the Cisco Nexus 5500 and 7000 Series Switches.
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Figure 40. Network Configuration with Upstream Cisco Nexus 5500 Series from the Cisco Unified Computing
System
The Cisco Nexus 5500 Series is used to connect to the NetApp FAS 3140/3170 storage system for NAS access.
NetApp supports dual port 10G Chelsio cards which are configured in a portchannel and connected to the pair of
Cisco Nexus 5500 Series downstream. This allows end-to-end 10G access, we have implemented jumbo frames
on the ports and have priority flow control on, with platinum COS for the NetApp storage data access. The NetApp
connectivity diagram is shown below. Here again, we have a total of 40G bandwidth available for the servers
(Figure 41).
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Figure 41. Network Configuration for NetApp NAS or Filer Storage
The configuration on the NetApp storage as gathered from the filer view is shown in Figure 42.
Figure 42. Network Configuration on the NetApp Storage Side
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5.5 SAN Configuration
A pair of Cisco Nexus 5500 series were used in the configuration to connect to the Fibre Channel port of the
Cisco UCS fabric interconnect fibre channel expansion module ports to the NetApp storage Fibre Channel ports.
Single initiator zone was used to connect to the NetApp Fibre Channel ports. The SAN switch was predominantly
used for configuring boot from SAN of the XenServer server blades.
The infrastructure volumes were block based and the zoning was done to make those NetApp LUNs visible to the
infrastructure and test servers. An example SAN zone configuration is shown below on the Fabric A side:
N5K-A# sh zoneset active vsan 100
zoneset name FAB-A-XD-XS-BFS vsan 100
zone name XD-Xen-Server-1-fc0 vsan 100
* fcid 0x470133 [pwwn 20:00:00:25:b5:0a:ad:3e]
* fcid 0x470200 [pwwn 50:0a:09:83:89:1a:b9:d9]
* fcid 0x470300 [pwwn 50:0a:09:81:89:1a:b9:d9]
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zone name XD-Xen-Server-2-fc0 vsan 100
* fcid 0x47002e [pwwn 20:00:00:25:b5:0a:ad:3c]
* fcid 0x470200 [pwwn 50:0a:09:83:89:1a:b9:d9]
* fcid 0x470300 [pwwn 50:0a:09:81:89:1a:b9:d9]
Where 20:00:00:25:b5:0a:ad:3e/20:00:00:25:b5:0a:ad:2e are server‘s pwwn of the CNA that are part of the Fabric
A side. Similar zoning is done on the corresponding Nexus 5500 series switch pair to take care of the Fabric B
side as shown below.
N5K-B# sh zoneset active vsan 100
zoneset name FAB-B-XD-XS-BFS vsan 100
zone name XD-Xen-Server-1-fc1 vsan 100
* fcid 0x47002e [pwwn 20:00:00:25:b5:0a:ad:2e]
* fcid 0x470500 [pwwn 50:0a:09:81:99:1a:b9:d9]
* fcid 0x470400 [pwwn 50:0a:09:83:99:1a:b9:d9]
zone name XD-Xen-Server-2-fc1 vsan 100
* fcid 0x470735 [pwwn 20:00:00:25:b5:0a:ad:2c]
* fcid 0x470500 [pwwn 50:0a:09:83:99:1a:b9:d9]
* fcid 0x470400 [pwwn 50:0a:09:81:99:1a:b9:d9]
The NetApp Fibre Channel target ports, 50:0a:09:83:89:1a:b9:d9/50:0a:09:83:99:1a:b9:d9 belong to one
controller and 50:0a:09:81:99:1a:b9:d9/50:0a:09:81:89:1a:b9:d9 was part of the second controller. They were
spread across the two controllers for redundancy as shown in Figure 43.
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Figure 43. NetApp Fibre Channel target ports
5.5.1 Boot From SAN
Booting from SAN is another critical feature which helps in moving towards stateless computing in which there is
no static binding between a physical server and the OS / applications it is supposed to run. The OS is installed on
a SAN lun and boot from SAN policy is applied to the service profile template or the service profile. If the service
profile were to be moved to another server, the pwwn of the HBAs and the BFS policy also moves along with it.
The new server now takes the same exact view of the old server, the true stateless nature of the blade server.
The main benefits of booting from the network:
●
Reduce Server Footprints: Boot from SAN alleviates the necessity for each server to have its own directattached disk, eliminating internal disks as a potential point of failure. Thin diskless servers also take up
less facility space, require less power, and are generally less expensive because they have fewer hardware
components.
●
Disaster and Server Failure Recovery: All the boot information and production data stored on a local SAN
can be replicated to a SAN at a remote disaster recovery site. If a disaster destroys functionality of the
servers at the primary site, the remote site can take over with minimal downtime.
Recovery from server failures is simplified in a SAN environment. With the help of snapshots, mirrors of a
failed server can be recovered quickly by booting from the original copy of its image. As a result, boot from
SAN can greatly reduce the time required for server recovery.
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●
High Availability: A typical data center is highly redundant in nature - redundant paths, redundant disks and
redundant storage controllers. When operating system images are stored on disks in the SAN, it supports
high availability and eliminates the potential for mechanical failure of a local disk.
●
Rapid Redeployment: Businesses that experience temporary high production workloads can take
advantage of SAN technologies to clone the boot image and distribute the image to multiple servers for
rapid deployment. Such servers may only need to be in production for hours or days and can be readily
removed when the production need has been met. Highly efficient deployment of boot images makes
temporary server usage a cost effective endeavor.
●
Centralized Image Management: When operating system images are stored on networked disks, all
upgrades and fixes can be managed at a centralized location. Changes made to disks in a storage array
are readily accessible by each server.
5.5.2 Configuring Boot From SAN on the Cisco Unified Computing System
With boot from SAN, the image resides on the SAN and the server communicates with the SAN through a host
bus adapter (HBA). The HBAs BIOS contain the instructions that enable the server to find the boot disk. All
Fibre Channel capable CNA cards supported on Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers support Boot from SAN.
After power on self test (POST), the server hardware component fetches the boot device that is designated as
the boot device in the hardware BOIS settings. Once the hardware detects the boot device, it follows the regular
boot process.
Note: The 2 SAN fabrics are disjoint from data perspective and with the dual port HBA‘s and storage controller redundancy is
provided.
There are three distinct portions of the BFS procedure:
1. Storage array configuration
2. SAN zone configuration
3. Cisco UCS configuration of service profile
●
Storage Array configuration: First, the storage array admin has to provision LUNs of the required size for
installing the OS and to enable the boot from SAN. The boot from SAN LUN is usually LUN 0. The SAN
admin also need to know the port world-wide name of the adapter so that the necessary lun masking is put
in place. The lun masking is also a critical step in the SAN LUN configuration.
For example, in case of NetApp 3140/3170 storage array, the storage admin has to create a BootVolume
and then include the blade WWPNs into a initiator group and add them to the port WWPNs where the
storage is configured as shown below.
#
1.
2.
3.
Task description
Create a separate boot from SAN Aggregate
Create a Volume on top of that, call it BootVolumes
Add LUN on the BootVolumes, let‘s call it BFS-Server-9 and 50 GB of space
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4.
Now add the LUN to the initiator group
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5.
Make sure the add initator group succeeds
6.
Now we need to mask the LUN, proceed to LUN > Manage LUN and select the new LUN which
needs to be added and select the ―no map‖ section as shown below.
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7.
Add the group to the map
8.
Select the new initiator group bootlun to add.
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9.
Assign a LUN ID to the initiator group
10
11
Make sure the mapping succeeded.
After the LUN map is successfully updated, check to see if the Manage LUNs show a correct
mapping.
12
Repeat the steps 3 through 11 for the number of servers you want to do boot from SAN.
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5.5.3 SAN Configuration
The fcoe and npiv feature has to be turned on in Nexus 5500 series switch. Also make sure you have 4 GB SPF+
modules connected to the Cisco UCS 61x0 XP Fabric Interconnects. The port mode is set to AUTO as well as the
speed is set to AUTO. VSAN configuration has to be done either in the SAN switch CLI or in the Cisco Device
Manager. Cisco Fabric Manager can also be used to get a overall picture of the SAN configuration and zoning
information. As discussed earlier, the san zoning is done upfront for all the pwwn of the initiators with the NetApp
target pwwn. For detailed Nexus 5500 series switch configuration, refer to Cisco Nexus 5500 series NX-OS SAN
Switching Configuration guide (see the Reference section for a link).
# sh feature | grep fcoe
fcoe
1
enabled
# show feature | grep npiv
npiv
1
enabled
# show interface br
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Interface Vsan Admin Admin Status SFP
Mode Trunk
Oper
Oper Port
Mode Speed Channel
Mode
(Gbps)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------fc2/1
1
auto
on
up
swl
F
4
--
fc2/2
1
auto
on
up
swl
F
4
--
fc2/3
1
auto
on
up
swl
F
4
--
fc2/4
1
auto
on
up
swl
F
4
--
:
:
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5.5.4 Cisco UCS Manager Configuration
To enable boot from SAN from a Cisco UCS Manager perspective, do the following:
Ste
p#
1.
Task description
2.
Add SAN Boot for primary. The vHBA is optional, it could be left blank and we do not have to
enforce the vHBA name.
3.
Add SAN boot for SAN Secondary
Create a boot policy in the ―Servers‖ tab. To do this, Select the policies and on the right plane
select boot policies and select ―Add‖ button. Enter name, select reboot on change, and don‘t
select ―enforce vHBA name‖.
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4.
Now add Boot target WWPN to the SAN Primary, make sure this is exactly what the NetApp FAS
3140 pwwn. Avoid any typos and copy paste from Nexus 5500 series switch ―show flogi da‖.
N5K-A# sh fcns da vsan 1 | incl Net
0x470300 N 50:0a:09:81:89:1a:b9:d9 (NetApp)
scsi-fcp
0x470200 N 50:0a:09:83:89:1a:b9:d9 (NetApp)
scsi-fcp
N5K-B # sh fcns da vsan 1 | incl Net
0x470400 N 50:0a:09:83:99:1a:b9:d9 (NetApp)
scsi-fcp
0x470500 N 50:0a:09:81:99:1a:b9:d9 (NetApp)
scsi-fcp
5.
6.
7.
Repeat step 4 for SAN primary‘s SAN Target Secondary
Repeat step 4 for SAN Secondary‘s – SAN Target Primary
Repeat step 4 for SAN Secondary‘s – SAN Target Secondary
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8.
At the end your Boot from SAN policy should look like:
9.
The last step is to make the association of the service profile template to the Boot from SAN
policy during the service profile template configuration.
One could also modify the Boot order as shown:
10.
This completes the BFS configuration on Cisco UCS Manager. When the service profile is
created out of the template, each server will be ready to boot from SAN provided the appropriate
OS installation steps has taken place.
5.6 NetApp Storage Configuration
Two NetApp Storage (FAS3140 and FAS3170) were used for large scale 16 host testing scenarios (Figure 44):
●
FAS3140 was used to host:
◦
◦
◦
●
All infrastructure Virtual Servers on a single Volume provided by a single controller (2)
3 VDA Volumes 2 from one Controller (1) and 1 from controller (2)
Boot volume for 16 XenServer Hosts
FAS3170 with PAM-II cards was used to host:
◦
2 VDA volumes, one from each controller
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Figure 44. NetApp Storage Configuration
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5.6.1 Example of a NetApp NFS Volume Configuration
Task Description
#
1. Login to the NetApp storage using a web browser and click on filerView. It starts the NetApp storage configuration
application.
2. Once in the FilerView select the aggregates section and click add to create an aggregate. We created an aggregate out
of 46 disks and called it aggr1.
3.
Now from the volumes section, select add to add a volume. An Add volume wizard pops up.
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4.
Select flexible volume for the volume type
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5.
Input volume name and language (default POSIX is fine)
6.
Select the aggregate to contain this volume
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7.
Input the volume size and snapshot reserve
8.
We are all done, press commit.
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9.
After the volume is added, go to the NFS section and click on manage export, and “add export” to make it available to
all host. You could also do host based access control instead of all hosts and set root access. For example:
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5.6.2 NetApp Deduplication in Practice
As described in section 3.6.4, NetApp deduplication saves space on primary storage by removing redundant
copies of blocks within a volume hosting hundreds of virtual desktops. An example is shown in Figure 45 for an
800 GB volume hosting 428 desktops each with 3 GB capacity.
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Figure 45. NetApp Deduplication
5.7 Citrix XenServer Configuration
This section details the XenServer configuration and any tuning that was done on for testing.
The following configurations were made to the environment to capture data and increase overall performance:
●
A custom XenServer performance measurement script was configured on the XenServers to gather more
specific CPU data as noted in Citrix support article as per CTX124157.
●
Addition memory has been added to Dom0 increasing the amount to 2,490MB as per CTX124259.
●
A private hotfix (Dom0-multivCPU) was installed on all the XenServers to enable the XenServer control
domain to become multi-core enabled. This private hotfix is scheduled for a 2010 Q4 release
Figure 46. Software Components
XenServer 5.6
Hardware:
OS:
CPU:
Disk:
Cisco B-Series blade servers
XenServer 5.6.0 buildnumber 31188p
2 x 6 Core Westmere or 5680, 3.33 GHz
(24 Logical Cores Total)
Boot From SAN
Model:
Service Pack:
RAM:
B250 –M2
192 GB
Network:
4 x 10GbE
Private Hotfix Dom0-multivCPU
3 Resource Pools were created
o 2 RPs x 880 - Virtual Desktops for the scaled out test of 1760
o 1 RP - XenDesktop and associated infrastructure
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As XenServer uses an inbuilt database which is shared between hosts within a resource pool, the XenCenter
client can be installed and run on any windows machine and used by administrators to connect and manage
them; therefore there is no requirement for a separate management server.
One of the goals we set out to test in this exercise was to virtualize the entire infrastructure components including
the Citrix XenDesktop management services. We accomplished that with absolutely zero bare metal install of any
operating system. All infrastructure components were in a virtual machine.
5.7.1 Cisco UCS Configuration for Citrix XenServer Installation
Boot from SAN was used to install Citrix XenServer rather than local disk, this is in keeping with the dynamic
provisioning of service profiles the Cisco Unified Computing System offers, making them portable and thus
allowing physical resources to be reused quickly and easily if required.
Prior to installation, each XenServer was allocated its own 50GB volume on NetApp storage and the WWPNs
zoned to allow dedicated access to use this resource.
The Cisco UCS server policy used also has a consistent‖ Boot Order‖ policy attached and configured for all
servers in the Cisco UCS pool.
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5.7.2 VLAN Configuration for XenServer Host Management Interfaces
Switch ports were configured to perform 802.1Q VLAN tagging/un-tagging, commonly referred to as ports with a
native VLAN (or as access mode) ports. These are the only port types supported for use with XenServer
management interface/s for management traffic on a desired VLAN. In this case the XenServer host is unaware of
any VLAN configuration.
Network Policy configured for VLAN 164 on eth0 specified as the management Interface during XenServer
installation.
Note: XenServer management interfaces cannot be assigned to a XenServer VLAN through a trunk port.
5.8 OS Installation
The standard default installation of XenServer 5.6 was used and the additional QLogic Driver pack (CTX125877)
loaded as part of the installation. The Cisco UCS Manager KVM was used to install the XenServer Hosts.
Prior to starting the Server the two required media (.iso‘s) were mounted to the KVM Virtual Media from the
engineers PC with the XenServer Installation media initially mapped.
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Once the XenServer installation starts, after initially setting the Keyboard map the following screen appears:
1. At this stage change the KVM Virtual Media so that the QLogic .iso is connected, then select ―Local
Media.‖
2. Press ―F9‖ to load additional Drivers and install the available QLogic Drivers.
Note: This process is repeated at the end of the actual XenServer Installation as at this stage you are only defining a
supplemental pack for the later installation of the drivers.
3. On the Networking option select ―eth0‖ as the management Interface.
4. Once complete you are returned to the ―XenServer Setup‖ screen, change the KVM Virtual Media and reconnect the XenServer Installation .iso; continue the installation using the ―Local media‖ option.
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5. To install XenServer on the SAN select any of the available ―NetApp LUN‖ drives, i.e. ―sdc – 50 GB
[NETAPP LUN]‖.
6. At the end of the XenServer installation you are prompted for the QLogic driver supplemental pack;
connect the QLogic .iso using the KVM Virtual Media and select OK. Following the installation screens as
normal and when finished you will be prompted for any additional supplemental packs, if you have none
press skip to complete the installation.
Note: For XenDesktop the Linux supplemental pack is not required thus not installed, if required mount to Virtual media and
install.
7. Click ―OK‖ to complete the installation and reboot the server.
5.8.1 XenServer Networking
Storage traffic can be separated from Management traffic by configuring an additional Management Interface on
each XenServer (since the VDA servers have 4 physical NICs this approach was used), with an IP address
assigned on the Storage network VLAN (166). On the NetApp controllers, only these IP addresses are given
permissions to access the relevant volume; which stops the storage traffic going over the default management
NIC and also helps ensure that storage traffic is not routed.
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To do this for each server using the XenCenter client ,once each host is added to a resource pool and VLAN
networks created:
1. Server from the list.
2. Select Network Tab.
3. Click the Configure button.
4. Enter Name – Storage.
5. Assign Network (i.e. select VLAN 166 from drop down list).
6. Enter IP and Subnet mask addresses (do not configure gateway as do not want the traffic to route to any other
network).
7. Click OK.
Repeat this process for all servers in each VDA resource pool and authorize these IP address on each volume
using the NetApp configuration manager.
5.9 XenServer Resource Pools
XenServers once built are added to the XenCenter Client so they can be managed and are subsequently added
to appropriate Resource Pools.
Resource Pools have consistent shared Storage and Network configurations which are then in turn assigned to
each host added to the pool. It is best practice to assign and test storage (in this case NFS volumes mounted
from NetApp FAS3170) and Networks to the Pool Master prior to adding pool members
For the test scenarios the following Resource Pools were configured:
●
Infrastructure Pool (for all server virtual machines)
●
Networking: Infrastructure virtual machines also on VLAN 164 so setup as Native VLAN on eth1 as well.
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●
Storage: A single volume was used to host all the infrastructure virtual servers and mounted using the
native NFS option.
In addition a CIFS share was mounted so that .iso images could be attached through the virtual machine
virtual CD drive during installation and configuration processes.
●
VDA Pool 1 and 2(8 XenServers configured in each pool, configuration the same; each hosting 50% of
desktop virtual machines).
●
Networking:
●
◦
◦
XenServer Management – Configured on NIC 1 (eth0) configured as Native VLAN
◦
Windows Desktops hosted on VLAN 122 - ―External‖ network was defined, specifying VLAN 122 and
attached to NIC3 (eth2).
Storage – Configured on NIC2 (eth1) on VLAN 166 (note this NIC has an IP address assigned which
is then authorized on NetApp which forces this NIC to be used).
Storage – 4 Volumes on NetApp FAS3170 were used to host the 3GB per clone ―Write-Cache‖ disk, each
was mounted to the Resource Pool using native NFS.
From the NetApp side we added access control to allow only the IP address of the Storage (VLAN166). For
example:
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6.0 Test Setup and Configurations
This section discusses the various test configurations. We started with the single server scalability to determine
the maximum amount of desktops that can be loaded on a given server without making the user response times
go more than the criteria for success along with other success criteria parameters. We then scaled the
environment to two chassis and then four chassis.
6.1 Cisco UCS Test Configuration for Single-Server Scalability Test Setup
Figure 47. Cisco UCS B250 M2 Blade Servers for Single-Server Scalability
Hardware components
●
1 X Cisco UCS B250-M2 (5680 @ 3.33 GHz) blade servers with 192 GB of memory (4 GB X 48 DIMMS @
1333 MHz)
●
2 X Cisco UCS B200-M2 (5680 @ 3.33 GHz) blade servers with 48 GB of memory (4 GB X 12 DIMMS @
1333 MHz)
●
Two Menlo-Q or Cisco M71KR-Q QLogic based CNA (two per server)
●
Cisco Nexus 5500 and 7000 Series
●
NetApp FAS 3140 storage array, two controllers, 2 X Dual port 10G Chelsio cards with 70 SAS drives
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Software components
●
Cisco UCS firmware 1.3(1i)
●
XenServer 5.6
●
XenDesktop 4
●
Windows 7 – 32 bit, 1 vCPU, 1.5 GB of memory, 30 GB per virtual machine
6.2 Cisco UCS Configuration for Two-Chassis Test
Figure 48. Two-Chassis Test Configuration-8 x Cisco UCS B250 Blade Server
Hardware components
●
8 X Cisco UCS B250-M2 (5680 @ 3.33 GHz) blade servers with 192 GB of memory (4 GB X 48 DIMMS @
1333 MHz)
●
2 X Cisco UCS B200-M2 (5680 @ 3.33 GHz) blade servers with 48 GB of memory (4 GB X 12 DIMMS @
1333 MHz)
●
Two Menlo-Q CNAs or Cisco UCS M71KR-Q
●
Cisco Nexus 5500 and 7000 Series
●
NetApp FAS 3140 storage array, two controllers, 2 X Dual port 10G Chelsio cards with 70 SAS drives
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Software components
●
Cisco UCS firmware 1.3(1i)
●
XenServer 5.6, XenCenter 5.6
●
XenDesktop 4
●
Windows 7 – 32 bit, 1vCPU, 1.5 GB of memory, 30 GB per virtual machine
6.3 Cisco UCS Configuration for Four-Chassis Test
Figure 49. Cisco UCS Entry Bundle with Additional Scale Bundles
Hardware components
●
16 X Cisco UCS B250 M2 (5680 @ 3.33 GHz) blade servers with 192 GB of memory (4 GB X 48 DIMMS
@ 1333 MHz)
●
2 X Cisco UCS B200 M2 (5680 @ 3.33 GHz) blade servers with 48 GB of memory (4 GB X 12 DIMMS @
1333 MHz)
●
Two Menlo-Q (Cisco UCS M71KR-Q) adapters on each blade
●
Cisco Nexus 5500 and 7000 Series
●
NetApp FAS 3140 storage array, two controllers, 2 X Dual port 10G Chelsio cards with 70 SAS drives
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Software components
●
Cisco UCS firmware 1.3(1i)
●
XenServer 5.6, XenCenter 5.6
●
XenDesktop 4
●
Windows 7 – 32 bit, 1vCPU, 1.5 GB of memory, 30 GB per virtual machine
6.4 Testing Methodology
All validation testing was conducted on-site within the Cisco labs with joint support from both Citrix and NetApp
resources. The testing results focused on the entire process of the virtual desktop lifecycle by capturing metrics
during the desktop boot-up, user logon, user workload execution (also referred to as steady state), and user logoff
for both the Hosted Shared and Hosted VDI models. Test metrics were gathered from the hypervisor, virtual
desktop, storage, and load generation software to assess the overall success of an individual test cycle. Each test
cycle was not considered passing unless all metrics were within the permissible thresholds as noted as success
criteria. Test were conducted a total of three times for each hardware configuration and results were found to be
relatively consistent from one test to the next
6.4.1 Load Generation
Within each test environment load generators were utilized to put demand on the system to simulate multiple
users accessing the XenDesktop environment and executing a typical end-user workflow. To generate load within
the environment, an auxiliary software application was required to generate the end user connection to the
XenDesktop environment, provide unique user credentials, initiate the workload, and evaluate the end user
experience. Based on the environment design, different load generators were used between the Hosted VDI and
Hosted Shared environment.
In the Hosted VDI environment an internal Citrix automated test tool was used to generate end user connections
into the environment and record performance metrics through an agent running on the core XenDesktop
infrastructure components. In the Hosted Shared environment, the standard Login VSI launcher was used
simulate multiple users making a direct connection to the shared desktop of the XenApp servers via an ICA
connection.
6.4.2 User Workload Simulation – Login VSI from Login Consultants
One of the most critical factors of validating a XenDesktop deployment is identifying a real-world user workload
that is easy for customers to replicate and standardized across platform to allow customers to realistically
reference for a variety of worker tasks. To accurately represent a real-world user workload, third-party tools from
Login Consultants were used throughout the Hosted Shared and Hosted VDI testing. These tools have the added
benefit of taking measurements of the in-session response time, providing an objective way to measure the
expected user experience for individual desktop throughout large scale testing, including login storms.
Login Virtual Session Indexer (Login Consultants VSI 2.1) methodology designed for benchmarking Server Based
Computing (SBC) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments is completely platform and protocol
independent and hence allows customers to easily replicate the testing results in their environment. Login VSI
calculates an index based on the amount of simultaneous sessions that can be run on a single machine.
Login VSI simulates a medium-heavy workload user (intensive knowledge worker) running generic applications
such as: Microsoft Office 2007, Internet Explorer including Flash applets and Adobe Acrobat Reader (Note: For
the purposes of this test, applications were installed locally, not streamed or hosted on XenApp). Like real users,
the scripted session will leave multiple applications open at the same time. Every session will average about 20%
minimal user activity, similar to real world usage. Note that during each 12 minute loop users open and close files
a couple of time per minutes which is probably more intensive that most users.
The following outline the automated Login VSI simulated user workflows that were used for this validation testing:
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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●
This workload emulates a medium ―knowledge worker‖ using the Office 2007, IE and PDF applications and
opens up to 5 applications simultaneously with a type rate of 160ms for each character. The workload
observes approximately 2 minutes of idle time which closely simulates real-world users.
●
Once a session has been started the medium workload will repeat every 12 minutes. During each loop the
response time is measured every 2 minutes.
●
Each loop consists of the following operations:
◦
◦
Browse and compose Outlook 2007 messages.
◦
◦
◦
◦
◦
Open multiple instances of Word 2007 performing open, close and edit operations.
Open multiple instances of Internet Explorer based browsing sessions including heavy multimedia
websites.
Print and review PDF documents using Bullzip PDF Printer and Acrobat Reader.
Open, edit and close a randomized large Excel 2007 sheet.
Review and edit a PowerPoint 2007 presentation.
Perform zip operations using 7-Zip.
6.4.3 Success Criteria
There were multiple metrics that were captured during each test run, but the success criteria for considering a
single test run as pass or fail was based on two main metrics, Login VSI Max and Login VSI Correct Optimal
Performance Index (COPI). The Login VSI Max evaluates the user response time during increasing user load and
the Login VSI COPI score assess the successful start-to-finish execution of all the initiated virtual desktop
sessions. These two main metrics are important not only based on the raw data that they provide, but also in their
ability to align the test results between the Hosted Shared and Hosted VDI models.
6.4.3.1 Login VSI Corrected Optimal Performance Index (COPI)
The Corrected Optimal Performance Index (COPI) is a calculated from specific measurements during each test
run to determine how many desktops can be run simultaneously without excessively impacting user experience.
The corrected optimal performance index is based on these measurements:
●
The Uncorrected Optimal Performance Index (UOPI) is based on the first 5 consecutive
●
sessions that hit the‖Optimal Performance Max Reached‖ threshold. The ―Optimal
●
Performance Max Reached‖ value is calculated on the response time average of four sessions higher than
2000ms (4 session average response time > 8000 ms).
●
The Stuck Session Count (SSC) represents sessions which have become stuck before UOPI, and must
therefore be accounted for in the Optimal Performance Index.
●
The Lost Session Count (LSC) is a count of completely missing log files; these tests are discarded
completely in the corrected index.
●
The Corrected Optimal Performance Index (COPI) is then calculated:
Incorporating the SSC and LSC into a corrected index helps ensure that the test results are fair and
comparable. Therefore, the COPI is calculated as:
COPI=UOPI - (SSC*50%) – LSC
6.4.3.2 Login VSI Max
VSI Max represents the maximum number of users the environment can handle before serious performance
degradation occurs. VSI Max is calculated based on the response times of individual users as indicated during the
workload execution. The user response time has a threshold of 2000ms and all users response times are
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expected to be less than 2000ms in order to assume that the user interaction with the virtual desktop is at a
functional level. VSI Max is reached when the response times reaches or exceeds 2000ms for 6 consecutive
occurrences. If VSI Max is reached, then the test run is considered a failure given that user experience has
significantly degraded. The response time is generally an indicator of the host CPU resources, but this specific
method of analyzing the user experience provides an objective method of comparison that can be aligned to host
CPU performance.
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7.0 Test Results
The purpose of this testing is to provide the data needed to validate Citrix XenDesktop 4 FlexCast models Hosted
VDI and Hosted Shared with Citrix XenServer 5.6 virtualizing Microsoft Windows 7 desktops on Cisco UCS blade
servers using a NetApp FAS 3140 storage array. The test results are divided into the individual FlexCast models
Hosted VDI and Hosted Shared. The information contained in this section provides data points that a customer
may reference in designing their own implementations. These validation results are an example of what is
possible under the specific environment conditions outlined in this paper, and do not represent the full
characterization of XenDesktop with XenServer scalability.
7.1 Citrix XenDesktop Hosted VDI Test Results
This section details the results from the XenDesktop Hosted VDI validation testing. The primary success criteria
metrics are provided to validate the overall success of the test cycle. Additional graphs emphasizing the CPU and
Memory utilization during peak session load are also present given that Memory consumption was found to be the
most limiting factor to prevent further desktops from being hosted in both respective environments. The single
server graphs shown in this section are representative of a single XenServer in the larger environment for
validation purposes, but it should be noted that these graphs are representative of the behavior for all servers in
the respective environment.
7.1.1 Single Cisco UCS Blade Server Validation
The first process in the validation was to ensure that a single Cisco UCS blade server was able to support the
desired load of 110 virtual desktops per server. When identifying how many virtual desktops per server, it was
important to assess the total available RAM. Each virtual desktop was configured with 1.5 GB of RAM and each
blade had 192 GB of RAM available. With 110 virtual desktops on the server, the memory utilized on the
environment was slated to be 165 GB of RAM before any hypervisor overhead, therefore making memory ~85%
utilized. Based on this analysis the following 110 number of virtual desktops per blade was chosen.
Table 7 provides the VSI COPI score for the overall single Cisco UCS blade server environment and shows that
100 percent of all the 110 virtual desktop sessions executed without issue.
Table 7.
Single Cisco UCS Blade Server Score
Total Sessions Launched
Uncorrected VSI Max (UOPI)
Stuck Session Count before UVM (SSC)
Lost Session Count before UVM (LSC)
Correct Optimal Performance Index (COPI = UOPI – (SSC*50%) – LSC)
110
110
0
0
110
After it can be confirmed that all 110 sessions executed successfully, it is important to help ensure that the user
experience was not degraded as load was increased on the environment. The user response time, as reflected in
Login VSI Max Pass or Fail rating, provides the necessary guidance to evaluate the user experience based on
workload response time. From the graph below, it can be concluded that the user response time was not affected
by the heavy 110 desktop load given that all response times are below the 2000ms threshold.
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Figure 50. 110 Desktop Sessions on XenServer Below 2000ms
7.1.2 Two Cisco UCS Blade Chassis Validation
The two Cisco UCS blade chassis environment contained a total of 8 blades with 192 GB of RAM per blade.
The following table provides the VSI COPI score for the overall 8 Cisco UCS blade environment and shows that
100% of all the 880 virtual desktop sessions executed without issue.
Total Sessions Launched
Uncorrected Optimal Performance Index (UOPI)
Stuck Session Count before UOPI(SSC)
Lost Session Count before UOPI (LSC)
Corrected Optimal Performance Index (COPI = UOPI – (SSC*50) - LSC)
880
880
0
0
880
From the graph below, it can be concluded that the user response time was not affected by the heavy 880
desktop load given that all response times are below the 2000ms threshold.
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Figure 51. 880 Desktop Sessions on XenServer Below 2000ms
3000
880 Desktop Sessions on XenServer
Below 2000ms: 100%
Average Response_Time
Max Response_Time
Response time / ms
Min Response_Time
2000
1000
1
31
61
91
121
151
181
211
241
271
301
331
361
391
421
451
481
511
541
571
601
631
661
691
721
751
781
811
841
871
901
931
0
Active Sessions
7.1.3 Four Cisco UCS Blade Chassis Validation
The four Cisco UCS blade chassis environment contained a total of 16 blades with 192GB of RAM per blade.
The following table provides the VSI COPI score for the overall 16-UCS blade environment and shows that 100%
of all the 1760 virtual desktop sessions executed without issue.
Total Sessions Launched
Uncorrected Optimal Performance Index (UOPI)
Stuck Session Count before UOPI(SSC)
Lost Session Count before UOPI (LSC)
Corrected Optimal Performance Index (COPI = UOPI – (SSC*50%) - LSC)
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
1760
1760
0
0
1760
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From the graph below, it can be concluded that the user response time was not affected by the heavy 1760
desktop load given that all response times are below the 2000ms threshold.
Figure 52. 1760 Desktop Sessions on XenServer Below 2000ms
As previously mentioned, the following two graphs are only representative of a single Cisco UCS blade server‘s
‗average CPU utilization‘ and ‗total memory used‘ to provide a sample of the performance metrics as recorded for
the overall 16-blade environment. As seen in the graph below, the average CPU utilization was the most intensive
during the workload (steady state) portion of the testing averaging ~70% utilization.
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For the 4-chassis environment, a total of two XenServer resource pools were configured with one master and
seven member servers per pool. The CPU data in the following graphs provides an additional breakdown of the
CPU performance for a master server and a select member server for each of the two resource pools.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Figure 53. XenServer Resource Pool 1 – Master
Figure 54. XenServer Resource Pool 1 – Member
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Figure 55. XenServer Resource Pool 2 – Master
Figure 56. XenServer Resource Pool 2 – Member
Avg CPU across all cores
1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
14:23:16
14:27:19
14:31:23
14:35:27
14:39:33
14:43:38
14:47:45
14:51:53
14:56:01
15:00:05
15:04:09
15:08:16
15:12:19
15:16:23
15:20:27
15:24:36
15:28:42
15:32:48
15:36:53
15:40:58
15:45:03
15:49:08
15:53:12
15:57:17
16:01:21
16:05:25
16:09:29
16:13:33
16:17:35
16:21:38
0
Avg CPU across all cores
As seen in this graph below, the majority of the physical memory of the single blade server was consumed by the
110 active desktop sessions. Each grey circle in the graph below represents a virtual desktop powering on within
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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a single XenServer. Each virtual desktop was configured with 1.5 GB of RAM. With 110 virtual desktops utilizing
1.5 GB of RAM per virtual desktop, 165GB of the available memory is consumed by virtual desktops. The
variance between 165GB and the line shown on the graph is the amount of memory being utilized by the
XenServer hypervisor.
When assessing the overall results of the testing is that the VM per CPU core density was maintained across all
test environment configurations. As shown in the table below, the VM density per CPU core was maintained while
the number of hosts was increased showing a linear CPU core to VM density ratio.
Windows7 pooled
desktops
1vCPU and 1.5GB
RAM.
3 GB PVS Cache/OS
Paging File on NFS
Volumes
Cisco UCS B250
M2s w/ Dual Six
Core (3.33GHz)
192GiB RAM
XenServer 5.6
No. of Servers Tested
No. of VMs
1 Blade
110
8 Blades
880
16 Blades
1760
VMs/Core
9.16
When evaluating the overall performance of the environment for validation purposes is the NIC performance
especially given the SAN dependencies. When assessing the network traffic with XenServer Pools, it‘s again
important to note the role that the XenServer is playing within each pool. The network data represented as bits
per second in this section is first separated by resource pool role, and then displays the data for each of the four
physical 10GbE NICs on that individual server
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Figure 57. XenServer Resource Pool 1 – Master
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Figure 58. XenServer Resource Pool 1 - Member
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Figure 59. XenServer Resource Pool 2 – Master
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Figure 60. XenServer Resource Pool 2 – Member
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7.1.3.1 Storage Data for Four-Chassis Validation
Please refer to section NetApp Storage Configuration, that details the volume layout on a per controller basis to
interpret the Storage results described in this section.
Figure 61. Total Disk Throughput on a Controller Basis
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Figure 62. Total Network Throughput on a Controller Basis
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Figure 63. Total Protocol Operations
Figure 64. NFSv3 Read Sizes
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Figure 65. NFSV3 Write Sizes
7.2 Citrix XenDesktop with XenApp Hosted Shared Test Results
Customers are looking to virtualize XenApp implementations for a combination of reasons, some which include
the flexibility to consolidate under-utilized XenApp servers, application or desktop silos, business continuity
planning, etc. So when looking to virtualize XenApp for Hosted Shared desktops, it is important to assess the best
virtual machine configurations for optimal performance. Unlike the multi-chassis configuration of the Hosted VDI
testing, the main objective for the testing was to obtain an optimal virtualized configuration for multiple XenApp
virtual machines on a single blade. This means finding an optimal balance between number of virtual machines
and number of vCPUs per virtual machine while successfully supporting the maximum number of user sessions.
The following configurations were tested as part of this effort and the Total Number of User Sessions achieved for
each virtual machine is highlighted:
XenApp Virtual Machine Configuration on Single Cisco UCS Blade
XenApp
Virtual Machines per Blade
vCPU per Virtual Machine
RAM per Virtual Machine
Paging Files per Virtual Machine
Total Number of User Session
Across All Virtual Machines
3 Virtual Machines
per Blade
8 vCPU
16 GB RAM
18 GB
4 Virtual
Machines per
Blade
6 vCPU
16 GB RAM
24 GB
6 Virtual
Machines per
Blade
4 vCPU
12 GB RAM
18 GB
160
180
180
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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The following graph represents the total number of sessions per configuration as also noted in the table above.
190
180
170
Number of User
Sessions
160
150
140
130
120
6vCPU*4VMs
4vCPU*6VMs
8vCPU*3VMs
Citrix XenApp VM Configurations
●
Optimal multiple virtual machine configuration on a single Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server (maximum
scale-out. The maximum number of user sessions supported on a single Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server
with multiple XenApp virtual machines was 180. The optimal virtualized configuration was 4 XenApp virtual
machines each configured with 6vCPU, 16GB RAM and 24GB paging file. To achieve this maximum scaleout value, each XenApp virtual machine supported 45 users which was less than its maximum scale-up
value of 60 users. The maximum scale-up value is defined as the maximum number of user sessions
supported for a single XenApp virtual machine. This shows that while virtualizing XenApp workloads in real
world environments, the maximum-scale up and scale-out values will not necessarily be the same for
similar configurations.
●
The 6 XenApp virtual machines each configured with 4vCPU, 12GB RAM and 18GB of paging file also
achieved the 180 user sessions, but this configuration is not considered optimal as it requires more
XenApp virtual machines to achieve the same scale-out value. However, customers implementing XenApp
servers in an application based silo might find such configurations optimal for their usage.
●
We also conducted testing for 3 XenApp virtual machines each configured with 8vCPU, 16GB RAM and
18GB of paging file. This configuration yielded the maximum scale-out value of 160 with each virtual
machine supporting ~53 user sessions. While this configuration supports less users, it has the least
number of virtual machines and hence could be considered optimal if reducing OS licensing cost is an
important factor in an environment.
The maximum scale-out tests were conducted with all 24 logical cores utilized, with hyper-threading enabled and
without any vCPU oversubscription. This was based on the general consensus in the industry that that for Server
Based Computing (SBC) environments, scalability is degraded if more vCPUs are assigned then there are CPU
cores.
The following table provides the VSI COPI score for the optimal virtualized configuration consisting of 4 XenApp
virtual machines each configured with 6 vCPU, 16 GB RAM, and 24 GB page file and shows that 100% of all the
180 virtual desktop sessions executed without issue.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Total Sessions Launched
180
Uncorrected Optimal Performance Index (UOPI)
180
Stuck Session Count before UOPI(SSC)
2
Lost Session Count before UOPI (LSC)
0
Corrected Optimal Performance Index (COPI = UOPI – (SSC*50%) - LSC)
179
In addition to evaluating the successful completion of the workload within a user‘s desktop session, you must
make sure that the user experience did not degrade as load was increased on the environment. The following
graph provides the VSI Response Time Frequency Distribution which is used to calculate the VSI Max score and
determines the scalability limits of the system. As seen in the figure, 100% of the measured response times were
below 2000ms proving that the Cisco UCS B200 M2 successfully supported 180 Citrix XenApp user sessions
without being overloaded.
Figure 66. Login VSI Response Time Frequency Distribution measure for executing 180 XenApp user sessions
on a Cisco UCS B200 M2 Blade Server
VSI Response Time Freqency Distribution
Below 2000ms: 100%
2500
120.00%
100.00%
80.00%
1500
60.00%
1000
40.00%
Cumulative Percentage of Response Times
Frequency of Response Times
2000
500
20.00%
0
0.00%
0
200 400 600 800 100012001400160018002000220024002600280030003200340036003800400042004400460048005000
Response time (ms)
Frequency
Cumulative Frequency (%)
When assessing the limit of user sessions per single XenApp virtual machine, it‘s important to assess both the
Memory and CPU of an individual virtual machine. The following graphs provide the ‗average CPU utilization‘ and
‗total memory used‘ for a single XenApp virtual machine from the four–virtual machine configuration during a
steady state of workload execution for the peak of 45 user sessions.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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Figure 67. Citrix XenApp Virtual Machine Average CPU Utilization During Steady-State Execution of 45 User
Sessions
From the CPU utilization graph (above) it can be noted that the CPUs were reaching their limit with 45 user
session given that the average CPU usage hovered around 85%. In regards to Memory, each XenApp virtual
machine was configured with 16GB of RAM per virtual machine, so from the Total Memory Used graph below, it
can be concluded that Memory was not a limiting factor.
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Figure 68. Citrix XenApp Virtual Machine Total Memory Utilization During Steady-State Execution of 45 User
Sessions
14000
12000
10000
KBps
8000
6000
4000
2000
11:51:51
11:49:47
11:47:43
11:45:40
11:43:37
11:41:34
11:39:30
11:37:27
11:35:24
11:33:21
11:31:18
11:29:15
11:27:12
11:25:10
11:23:06
11:21:03
11:19:00
0
Time (hh:mm:ss)
Total Memory Used
After concluding that the CPU performance of the individual XenApp virtual machine was the limiting factor, the
overall CPU performance of the hosting hypervisor needs to be evaluated. The following graph provides Average
CPU Utilization for the Cisco UCS B200 M2 during a steady state execution for the four–virtual machine
configuration with 180 active XenApp desktop sessions.
Figure 69. Cisco UCS B200 M2 CPU Utilization during Steady State Execution of 180 XenApp sessions
100
90
80
70
60
Percent
50
40
30
20
10
0
Time(hh:mm:ss)
CPU Usage (Average)
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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8.0 Scalability Considerations and Guidelines
There are many factors to consider when you begin to scale beyond four chassis or 16 servers, which this
reference architecture has successfully tested. In this section we give guidance to scale beyond four Cisco UCS
chassis.
8.1 Cisco UCS System Configuration
As the results indicate we are seeing linear scalability in the Cisco UCS reference architecture implementation.
No. of Chassis
1
XenServer
No. of B250-M2
No. of VMs
Servers Tested
1 Blade
110
2
8 Blades
880
4
16 Blades
1760
VMs/Core
9.16
Cisco UCS supports up to 20 chassis within a single Cisco UCS domain on a Cisco UCS Fabric interconnect
6120 and up to 40 chassis on a FI 6140, extrapolating the values we got during the testing we get the following
results:
No. of Chassis
8
XenServer
No. of B250-M2
No. of virtual
Servers
machines
32 Blades
3520
12
48 Blades
5280
16
64 Blades
7040
20
80 Blades
8800
Virtual
machines/Core
9.16
To accommodate the Cisco Nexus 5500 upstream connectivity in the way we describe in the lan configuration
section, we need four Ethernet uplinks to be configured on the Cisco UCS Fabric interconnect. And based on the
number of uplinks from each chassis, we could calculate how many desktops can be hosted in a single UCS
domain. Assuming two links per chassis, scaling beyond 10 chassis would need a Cisco UCS 6140 fabric
interconnect. A 5500 building block can be built out of the RA described in this study with two links per chassis
and 12 Cisco UCS chassis comprising of four B250-M2 blades servers each.
The backend storage has to be scaled accordingly, based on the IOP considerations as described in the NetApp
scaling section.
Citrix has a modular reference architecture design that details how to scale their components as you scale the
number of desktops. Please refer to http://support.citrix.com/article/ctx124087.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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9.0 Acknowledgments
Projects of this magnitude could only be done with co-operation of all the parties involved and this work is a clear
testimony of that. A lot of people had helped to make this project successful, we would like to acknowledge the
contribution of Purnanand for helping out in Networking configuration, Lab guys – TJ and Vincent for
accommodating all requests, Lisa DeRuyter for documentation. We also thank Angela Ge, Rob de Groot, Alfonso
Villasenor, Lee Dorrier from NetApp for their support of this work. We thank Bhumik Patel for lending a helping
hand in the XenServer testing and also XenApp testing, Carisa Stringer, Samantha Foster (Business
development), Rana Kannan (PM) from Citrix. Special thanks to Satinder Sethi, SAVBU technical marketing, for
being a driving force behind this work.
Key contributors:
Ravindra ―Ravi‖ Venkat (Cisco Systems)
Frank Anderson (Citrix)
Rachel Zhu (NetApp)
Cisco and Citrix would like to thank Login Consultants for the rights to use the Login VSI benchmarking tool for
SBC and VDI environments referenced in this paper. If looking to replicate aspects of the testing represented in
this document, please contact Login Consultants for the Login VSI benchmarking tool.
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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10.0 References
TR-3747: NetApp Best Practices for File System Alignment in Virtual Environments
http://media.netapp.com/documents/tr-3747.pdf
Cisco Nexus 5500 Series Switch CLI Software Configuration Guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/datacenter/nexus5500/sw/configuration/guide/cli_rel_4_0_1a/CLIConfi
gurationGuide.html
Cisco Nexus 5500 series NX-OS SAN Switching Configuration guide
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/datacenter/nexus5500/sw/san_switching/Cisco_Nexus_5500_Series_
NX-OS_SAN_Switching_Configuration_Guide.pdf
Lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet: The Unifying Infrastructure for SAN and LAN Consolidation.
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps9441/ps9670/white_paper_c11-501770.html
Login VSI Benchmarking Tool:
http://www.loginconsultants.com
PVS on XD BP:
http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/19042-102-19576/XenDesktop%20Best%20Practices.pdf
XD 5k Scalability:
http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/22651-102642184/%20XenServer%205.5%20Single%20Server%20Scalability%20with%20XenDesktop%204.0.pdf
XD Design Handbook:
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX120760
Citrix eDocs (Citrix Product, Solutions and Technologies Document Library):
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/index.jsp
Cisco VXI Desktop Virtualization Validated Designs
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns1004/index.html
Cisco VXI End-to-End Validated Designs
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns340/ns414/ns742/ns1100/landing_vxi.html
Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions
http://www.cisco.com/en//US/netsol/ns978/index.html
Cloud Computing
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns976/index.html
© 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.
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APPENDIX A
Cisco Nexus 5500 Network Configuration
switchname N5K-A #
system jumbomtu 9000
logging event link-status default
class-map type qos class-platinum
match cos 5
class-map type queuing class-platinum
match qos-group 2
policy-map type qos system_qos_policy
class class-platinum
set qos-group 2
policy-map type queuing system_q_in_policy
class type queuing class-platinum
bandwidth percent 50
class type queuing class-fcoe
bandwidth percent 20
class type queuing class-default
bandwidth percent 30
policy-map type queuing system_q_out_policy
class type queuing class-platinum
bandwidth percent 50
class type queuing class-fcoe
bandwidth percent 20
class type queuing class-default
bandwidth percent 30
class-map type network-qos class-platinum
match qos-group 2
policy-map type network-qos system_nq_policy
class type network-qos class-platinum
pause no-drop
mtu 9000
class type network-qos class-default
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mtu 9000
multicast-optimize
system qos
service-policy type qos input system_qos_policy
service-policy type queuing input system_q_in_policy
service-policy type queuing output system_q_out_policy
service-policy type network-qos system_nq_policy
snmp-server user admin network-admin auth
0x6ab2f7da5f26e2b1bc37d79438a89bb3 localizedkey
md5
0x6ab2f7da5f26e2b1bc37d79438a89bb3
priv
vrf context management
ip route 0.0.0.0/0 10.29.164.1
vlan 1
vlan 121
name privateVMDesktop
vlan 122
name xenDesktop
vlan 164-166
port-channel load-balance ethernet destination-port
vpc domain 2
role priority 1000
peer-keepalive destination 10.29.164.3
interface Vlan1
interface port-channel1
switchport mode trunk
vpc peer-link
spanning-tree port type network
speed 10000
interface port-channel2
switchport mode trunk
vpc 2
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switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
speed 10000
interface port-channel3
switchport mode trunk
vpc 3
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
speed 10000
interface port-channel4
switchport mode trunk
vpc 4
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge
speed 10000
interface port-channel5
switchport mode trunk
vpc 5
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge
speed 10000
interface port-channel10
untagged cos 5
vpc 10
switchport access vlan 166
speed 10000
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interface port-channel11
untagged cos 5
vpc 11
switchport access vlan 166
speed 10000
interface port-channel12
vpc 12
switchport access vlan 166
speed 10000
interface port-channel13
vpc 13
switchport access vlan 166
speed 10000
interface Ethernet1/1
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
channel-group 4 mode active
interface Ethernet1/2
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
channel-group 4 mode active
interface Ethernet1/3
switchport mode trunk
channel-group 1 mode active
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interface Ethernet1/4
switchport mode trunk
channel-group 1 mode active
interface Ethernet1/5
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
channel-group 5 mode active
interface Ethernet1/6
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
channel-group 5 mode active
interface Ethernet1/7
switchport access vlan 166
spanning-tree port type edge
channel-group 12
interface Ethernet1/8
switchport access vlan 166
spanning-tree port type edge
channel-group 13
interface Ethernet1/9
switchport access vlan 166
spanning-tree port type edge
channel-group 10
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interface Ethernet1/10
switchport access vlan 166
spanning-tree port type edge
channel-group 11
interface Ethernet1/11
interface Ethernet1/12
interface Ethernet1/13
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
channel-group 2 mode active
interface Ethernet1/14
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
channel-group 2 mode active
interface Ethernet1/15
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
channel-group 3 mode active
interface Ethernet1/16
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
channel-group 3 mode active
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interface Ethernet1/17
shutdown
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 164-166
interface Ethernet1/18
shutdown
switchport trunk native vlan 164
switchport trunk allowed vlan 122,164-166
interface Ethernet1/19
interface Ethernet1/20
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan 121-122,164-166
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About Cisco Validated Design (CVD) Program
The CVD program consists of systems and solutions designed, tested, and documented to facilitate faster, more
reliable, and more predictable customer deployments. For more information visit www.cisco.com/go/designzone.
ALL DESIGNS, SPECIFICATIONS, STATEMENTS, INFORMATION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
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ITS SUPPLIERS DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE WARRANTY OF
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INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOST PROFITS OR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO DATA ARISING OUT OF
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OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
THE DESIGNS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. USERS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR
THEIR APPLICATION OF THE DESIGNS. THE DESIGNS DO NOT CONSTITUTE THE TECHNICAL OR
OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE OF CISCO, ITS SUPPLIERS OR PARTNERS. USERS SHOULD CONSULT
THEIR OWN TECHNICAL ADVISORS BEFORE IMPLEMENTING THE DESIGNS. RESULTS MAY VARY
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