Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for

Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance
for Citrix® XenDesktop®
Dell Wyse Technical Marketing
March 2015
A Dell Appliance Architecture
Revisions
Date
Description
March 2015
Initial release
THIS DOCUMENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND MAY CONTAIN TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS
AND TECHNICAL INACCURACIES. THE CONTENT IS PROVIDED AS IS, HARDWARE SELECTIONS CONTAINED
WITHIN ARE FROM THE BASIS OF BEST WITHOUT EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND.
Copyright © 2015 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this material in any manner whatsoever without the
express written permission of Dell Inc. is strictly forbidden. For more information, contact Dell.
Dell, the Dell logo, and the Dell badge are trademarks of Dell Inc. Microsoft and Windows are registered
trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. VMware is a registered trademark
of VMware, Inc. Citrix and XenDesktop are registered trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. Other trademarks and trade
names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their
products. Dell Inc. disclaims any proprietary interest in trademarks and trade names other than its own.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Contents
Revisions............................................................................................................................2
1 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 4
1.1 Purpose ...................................................................................................................................... 4
1.2 Scope ......................................................................................................................................... 4
2 Solution Architecture Overview.................................................................................5
2.1 Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 5
2.2 Nutanix Architecture ............................................................................................................... 5
2.3 Dell XC Web-Scale – Solution Pods .................................................................................... 9
2.3.1 Network Architecture ................................................................................................... 10
3 Hardware Components .............................................................................................12
3.1 Network ................................................................................................................................... 12
3.1.1 Dell Networking S60 (1Gb ToR Switch)..................................................................... 12
3.1.2 Dell Networking S4810 (10Gb ToR Switch) ............................................................. 13
3.2 Appliance ................................................................................................................................ 14
3.2.1 Dell XC A5 ...................................................................................................................... 15
3.2.2 Dell XC B5 ...................................................................................................................... 16
3.2.3 Dell XC B7 ...................................................................................................................... 17
3.3 Dell Wyse Cloud Clients ....................................................................................................... 17
3.3.1 ThinOS – 3012-T10D ................................................................................................... 17
3.3.2 Wyse 5012 – D10D....................................................................................................... 18
3.3.3 Windows Embedded 7 – Z90Q7 ............................................................................... 18
3.3.4 Windows Embedded 8 – Z90Q8 .............................................................................. 18
3.3.5 Suse Linux – Z50D ....................................................................................................... 18
3.3.6 Dell Wyse 3000 & 5000 .............................................................................................. 19
3.3.7 Dell Wyse Zero – Xenith Pro 2 ................................................................................... 19
3.3.8 Dell Wyse Cloud Connect .......................................................................................... 19
3.3.9 Dell Venue 11 Pro ........................................................................................................ 20
3.3.10 Dell Chromebook 11 ................................................................................................. 20
4 Software Components ..............................................................................................21
4.1 Citrix XenDesktop .................................................................................................................. 21
4.1.1 Machine Creation Services (MCS) ..............................................................................22
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
4.1.2 Citrix Profile Manager ..................................................................................................23
4.2 Citrix XenApp ........................................................................................................................ 24
4.2.1 XenApp Integration into Dell Wyse Datacenter Architecture .............................. 26
4.2.2 NUMA Architecture Considerations ......................................................................... 26
4.3 VDI Hypervisor Platforms .................................................................................................... 28
4.3.1 VMware vSphere 5.5 .................................................................................................... 28
4.3.2 Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V ......................................................... 28
4.4 Citrix NetScaler ..................................................................................................................... 29
4.5 Citrix CloudBridge ................................................................................................................ 30
5 Solution Architecture for XenDesktop 7 ................................................................ 32
5.1 Management Infrastructure .................................................................................................32
5.1.1 vSphere Management Role Requirements ...............................................................32
5.1.2 Hyper-V Management Role Requirements ..............................................................32
5.1.3 XenApp on vSphere ......................................................................................................33
5.1.4 XenApp on Hyper-V .....................................................................................................33
5.1.5 SQL Databases...............................................................................................................33
5.1.6 DNS ................................................................................................................................ 34
5.2 Storage Architecture Overview .......................................................................................... 34
5.2.1 Containers ..................................................................................................................... 34
5.3 Networking ............................................................................................................................. 35
5.3.1 vSphere ........................................................................................................................... 35
5.3.2 Hyper-V ......................................................................................................................... 36
5.4 Scaling Guidance ................................................................................................................. 38
5.5 Solution High Availability .................................................................................................... 39
5.6 Dell Wyse Datacenter for XenDesktop Communication Flow ..................................... 41
6 Solution Performance and Testing ......................................................................... 42
6.1 Load Generation and Monitoring ...................................................................................... 42
6.1.1 Login VSI 4 – Login Consultants ............................................................................... 42
6.1.2 Liquidware Labs Stratusphere UX ............................................................................. 42
6.1.3 VMware vCenter .......................................................................................................... 43
6.1.4 Microsoft Perfmon ...................................................................................................... 43
6.2 Performance Analysis Methodology ................................................................................. 43
6.2.1 Resource Utilization .................................................................................................... 43
6.2.2 EUE (Tools Info) ........................................................................................................... 45
6.2.3 EUE (Real User Info) .................................................................................................... 45
6.2.4 Dell Wyse Datacenter Workloads and Profiles....................................................... 45
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
6.2.5 Dell Wyse Datacenter Profiles ................................................................................... 46
6.2.6 Dell Wyse Datacenter Workloads ............................................................................. 46
6.2.7 Workloads Running on Shared Graphics Profile .................................................... 48
6.3 Testing and Validation ......................................................................................................... 48
6.3.1 Testing Process ............................................................................................................ 48
6.4 XenDesktop Test Results .................................................................................................... 49
Acknowledgements...................................................................................................... 61
About the Authors ........................................................................................................ 62
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
1 Introduction
1.1 Purpose
This document addresses the architecture design, configuration and implementation
considerations for the key components required to deliver non-persistent FlexCast virtual desktops
via Citrix® XenDesktop® and XenApp® on Microsoft® Windows Server® Hyper-V® 2012 R2 or
VMware® vSphere® 5.5.
1.2 Scope
Relative to delivering the virtual desktop environment, the objectives of this document are to:
● Define the detailed technical design for the solution.
● Define the hardware requirements to support the design.
● Define the constraints that are relevant to the design.
● Define relevant risks, issues, assumptions and concessions – referencing existing ones
where possible.
● Provide a breakdown of the design into key elements such that the reader receives an
incremental or modular explanation of the design.
● Provide solution scaling and component selection guidance.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
2 Solution Architecture Overview
2.1 Introduction
The Dell XC series delivers an out-of-the-box infrastructure solution for virtual desktops that
eliminates the high cost, variable performance, and extensive complexity of conventional
infrastructure. The Nutanix™-based Dell XC web-scale converged infrastructure is a turnkey
solution that comes ready to run your VDI solution of choice. The Nutanix platform’s unique
architecture allows enterprises to scale their virtual desktops starting from 200 to tens of thousands
of desktops in a linear fashion, providing customers with a simple path to enterprise deployment
with the agility of public cloud providers.
2.2 Nutanix Architecture
The Nutanix web-scale converged infrastructure is a scale-out cluster of high-performance nodes
(or servers). Each node runs a standard hypervisor and contains processors, memory, and local
storage (consisting of SSD Flash and high capacity SATA disk drives). Each node runs virtual
machines just like a standard virtual machine host.
In addition, local storage from all nodes is virtualized into a unified pool by the Nutanix Distributed
File System (NDFS). In effect, NDFS acts like an advanced NAS that uses local SSDs and disks from
all nodes to store virtual machine data. Virtual machines running on the cluster write data to NDFS
as if they were writing to shared storage.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
NDFS understands the concept of a virtual machine and provides advanced data management
features. It brings data closer to virtual machines by storing the data locally on the system, resulting
in higher performance at a lower cost. Nutanix platforms can horizontally scale from as few as
three nodes to a large number of nodes, enabling organizations to scale their infrastructure as their
needs grow.
The Nutanix Elastic Deduplication Engine is a software-driven, massively scalable and intelligent
data reduction technology. It increases the effective capacity in the disk tier, as well as the RAM and
flash cache tiers of the system, by eliminating duplicate data. This substantially increases storage
efficiency, while also improving performance due to larger effective cache capacity in RAM and
flash. Deduplication is performed by each node individually in the cluster, allowing for efficient and
uniform deduplication at scale. This technology is increasingly effective with full/persistent clones
or P2V migrations.
Sequential streams of data are fingerprinted
at 4K granularity for efficient deduplication
VM 1
...
VM N
VM 1
Hypervisor
Storage
...
VM N
VM 1
...
Hypervisor
Cache
Cache
Each node participates in, and performs,
its own fingerprinting and deduplication
Only a single instance of the shared VM
data is pulled into the cache upon read
Cache
CVM
...
VM N
Hypervisor
Cache
Cache
CVM
Storage
Cache
Storage
CVM
NDFS
Nutanix Shadow Clones deliver distributed localized caching of virtual disks performance in multireader scenarios, such as desktop virtualization using Citrix XenDesktop or XenApp. With Shadow
Clones, the CVM actively monitors virtual disk access trends. If there are read I/O requests
originating from the local CVM and two or more remote CVMs, the virtual disk will be marked as
immutable. Once the disk has been marked immutable, the virtual disk is then cached locally by
each CVM, so read operations are now satisfied locally by local storage.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
The benefits of the Nutanix Platform are now exposed to scale out vSphere or Hyper-V
deployments:
Nutanix Web-scale Converged Infrastructure
The Nutanix web-scale converged infrastructure provides an ideal combination of both highperformance compute with localized storage to meet any demand. True to this capability, this
reference architecture contains zero reconfiguration of or customization to the Nutanix product to
optimize for this use case.
The next figure shows a high-level example of the relationship between a Nutanix block, node,
storage pool, and container:
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
This appliance allows organizations to deliver virtualized or remote desktops and applications
through a single platform. It also supports end users with access to all of their desktops and
applications in a single location.
Site Load Balancer(s)
Infrastructure
Services
Site
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
vCenter/ SCVMM
Active
Directory
Hosted Virtual Servers\ Remote
Applications
Virtual Desktops
Dedicated\Floating
Golden Images
Golden Images
DFS/DHCP
SCALE
Monitoring
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
2.3 Dell XC Web-Scale – Solution Pods
The networking layer consists of the 10Gb Dell Networking S4810 utilized to build a world-class
leaf/spine architecture with robust 1Gb switching in the S60 for iDRAC connectivity.
The compute, management and storage layers are 'converged' into a single XC appliance, hosting
either VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors. A minimum of three nodes per cluster is
required. The recommended boundaries of an individual pod follow two schools of thought:
hypervisor-based or VDI solution-based. Limits can be established based on the number of nodes
supported within a given hypervisor cluster, 32 nodes for vSphere or 64 nodes for Hyper-V or the
limits of a given VDI solution scale. A single Nutanix NDFS cluster can span an unlimited number of
appliance nodes with several hypervisor clusters contained within.
Dell recommends that the VDI management infrastructure nodes be separated from the compute
resources onto their own appliance with a common storage namespace shared between them
based on NFS for vSphere and SMB for Hyper-V. One node for VDI management is required,
minimally, and expanded based on size of the pod. The designations ds_rdsh, ds_compute and
ds_mgmt are logical containers used to group VMs of a particular type. Using distinct containers
allows features and attributes, such as compression and deduplication, to be applied to groups of
VMs that share similar characteristics. Compute hosts can be used for XenApp. Distinct clusters
should be built for management and compute host types for HA, respectively, to plan predictable
failover, scale and load across the pod. The NFS or SMB namespace can be shared across the two
hypervisor clusters adding disk capacity and performance for each distinct cluster.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
The Hyper-V solution pod scales a bit higher due to the upper node limit of 64 for a Hyper-V
cluster and alternatively uses SMB as the file access protocol. The hardware platforms, logical
containers and basic architecture are the same. If HA (High Availability) is required, then additional
nodes should be included for compute or management, respectively.
2.3.1 Network Architecture
Designed for true linear scaling, Dell XC series leverages a Leaf-Spine network architecture. A LeafSpine architecture consists of two network tiers: an L2 Leaf and an L3 Spine based on 40GbE and
non-blocking switches. This architecture maintains consistent performance without any
throughput reduction due to a static maximum of three hops from any node in the network.
The following figure shows a design of a scale-out Leaf-Spine network architecture that provides
20Gb active throughput from each node to its Leaf and scalable 80Gb active throughput from each
Leaf to Spine switch. This provides scale from 3 XC nodes to thousands without any impact to
available bandwidth:
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
L3 Leaf
L2 Leaf
Port Channel
10 Gb/s
40 Gb/s
MLAG Link
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
3 Hardware Components
3.1 Network
The following sections contain the core network components for the Dell XC Web-Scale
Converged Appliance for Citrix XenDesktop. General uplink cabling guidance to consider in all
cases is that TwinAx is very cost effective for short 10Gb runs and for longer runs use fiber with
SFPs.
3.1.1 Dell Networking S60 (1Gb ToR Switch)
The Dell Networking S60 is a high-performance 1Gb access switch optimized for lowering
operational costs at the network edge and is recommended for iDRAC connectivity. The S60
answers the key challenges related to network congestion in data center ToR (Top-of-Rack) and
service provider aggregation deployments. As the use of bursty applications and services continue
to increase, huge spikes in network traffic that can cause network congestion and packet loss, also
become more common. The S60 is equipped with the industry’s largest packet buffer (1.25 GB),
enabling it to deliver lower application latency and maintain predictable network performance even
when faced with significant spikes in network traffic. Providing 48 line-rate Gb ports and up to four
optional 10Gb uplinks in just 1-RU, the S60 conserves valuable rack space. Further, the S60 design
delivers unmatched configuration flexibility, high reliability, and power and cooling efficiency to
reduce costs.
Model
Dell
S60
Networking
Features
44 x BaseT (10/100/1000)
+ 4 x SFP
High performance
High Scalability
Options
Redundant PSUs
4 x 1Gb SFP ports that
support copper or fiber
12Gb or 24Gb stacking
(up to 12 switches)
2 x modular slots for
10Gb uplinks or stacking
modules
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Uses
1Gb connectivity for
iDRAC
Guidance:

10Gb uplinks to a core or distribution switch are the preferred design choice using the rear
10Gb uplink modules. If 10Gb to a core or distribution switch is unavailable the front 4 x
1Gb SFP ports are used.

The front 4 SFP ports can support copper cabling and are upgraded to optical if a longer
run is needed.

The S60 is appropriate for use in solutions scaling higher than 6000 users.
For more information on the S60 switch and Dell Networking products, please visit: LINK
3.1.1.1 S60 Stacking
The S60 switches are optionally stacked with 2 or more switches, if greater port count or
redundancy is desired. Each switch will need a stacking module plugged into a rear bay and
connected with a stacking cable. The best practice for switch stacks greater than 2 is to cable in a
ring configuration with the last switch in the stack cabled back to the first. Uplinks need to be
configured on all switches in the stack back to the core to provide redundancy and failure
protection.
3.1.2 Dell Networking S4810 (10Gb ToR Switch)
The Dell Networking S-Series S4810 is an ultra-low latency 10/40Gb Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch
purpose-built for applications in high-performance data center and computing environments.
Leveraging a non-blocking, cut-through switching architecture, the S4810 delivers line-rate L2 and
L3 forwarding capacity with ultra-low latency to maximize network performance. The compact
S4810 design provides industry-leading density of 48 dual-speed 1/10Gb (SFP+) ports as well as
four 40Gb QSFP+ uplinks to conserve valuable rack space and simplify the migration to 40Gb in the
data center core (Each 40Gb QSFP+ uplink can support four 10Gb ports with a breakout cable).
Priority-based Flow Control (PFC), Data Center Bridge Exchange (DCBX), Enhance Transmission
Selection (ETS), coupled with ultra-low latency and line rate throughput, make the S4810 ideally
suited for converged leaf/spine environments.
Model
Features
Options
Uses
Dell Networking
S4810
48 x SFP+ (1Gb/10Gb) + 4
x QSFP+ (40Gb)
Single-mode/ multimode
optics, TwinAx, QSFP+
breakout cables
ToR switch for 10Gb
converged
connectivity
Redundant Power
Supplies
Stack up to 6 switches or
2 using VLT, using SFP or
QSFP ports
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Guidance:

The 40Gb QSFP+ ports are split into 4 x 10Gb ports using breakout cables for stand-alone
units, if necessary. This is not supported in stacked configurations.

10Gb or 40Gb uplinks to a core or distribution switch is the preferred design choice.

The front 4 SFP ports can support copper cabling and are upgraded to optical if a longer
run is needed.

The S60 is appropriate for use in solutions scaling higher than 6000 users.
For more information on the S4810 switch and Dell Networking, please visit: LINK
3.1.2.1 S4810 Stacking
The S4810 switches are optionally stacked up to 6 switches or configured to use Virtual Link
Trunking (VLT) up to 2 switches. Stacking is supported on either SFP or QSFP ports as long as that
port is configured for stacking. The best practice for switch stacks greater than 2 is to cable in a ring
configuration with the last switch in the stack cabled back to the first. Uplinks need to be
configured on all switches in the stack back to the core to provide redundancy and failure
protection. It is recommended that the S4810 be configured for use in the leaf layer connective up
to another switch in the spine layer.
3.2 Appliance
The server platform for this appliance is the Dell XC630 (13G). This dual socket CPU platform runs
the fastest Intel Xeon E5-2600v3 family of processors, can host up to 768GB RAM, and supports up
to 10 x 2.5” SAS disks (two or four SSDs and four to eight HDDs). The Dell XC630 offers
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
uncompromising performance and scalability in a 1U form factor. For more information please visit:
Link
3.2.1 Dell XC A5
The Dell XC A5 platform is perfect for POCs, lighter user workloads, shared sessions or application
virtualization. Each appliance comes equipped with dual 8-core CPUs and 256GB of highperformance DDR4 RAM. The 64GB SATADOM module hosts the hypervisor and Nutanix Controller
VM while the H730 PERC is configured in pass-through mode to present the SSDs and HDDs to the
NDFS cluster. A minimum of six disks come in each host, 2 x 200GB SSD for the performance tier
(Tier1) and 4 x 1TB NL SAS disks for the capacity tier (Tier2), each tier can be expanded as required.
These six disks are presented to the Nutanix Controller VM running locally on each host. Each
platform can be outfitting with SFP+ or BaseT NICs.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
A5 – Dell XC630
CPU
Memory
RAID
Ctrls
2 x E5-2630v3 (8C, 2.4GHz)
16 x 16GB 2133MHz RDIMMs
Effective speed: 2133MHz @ 256GB
PERC H730 Mini – no RAID
Storage
64GB SATADOM (CVM/ HV)
2 x 200GB MLC SATA SSD 2.5” (T1)
4 x 1TB NL SAS 2.5” (T2)
Network
2 x 10Gb, 2 x 1Gb SFP+/ BT
iDRAC
iDRAC8 Ent w/ vFlash, 8GB SD
Power
2 x 750W PSUs
3.2.2 Dell XC B5
The Dell XC B5 platform is perfect for larger POCs, medium user workloads, shared sessions or
application virtualization. Each appliance comes equipped with dual 12-core CPUs and 384GB of
high-performance RAM. The 64GB SATADOM module hosts the hypervisor and Nutanix Controller
VM while the H730 PERC is configured in pass-through mode to present the SSDs and HDDs to the
NDFS cluster. A minimum of six disks come in each host, 2 x 400GB SSD for the performance tier
(Tier1) and 4 x 1TB NL SAS disks for the capacity tier (Tier2), each tier can be expanded as required.
These six disks are presented to the Nutanix Controller VM running locally on each host. Each
platform can be outfitting with SFP+ or BaseT NICs.
B5 – Dell XC630
CPU
Memory
RAID Ctrls
2 x E5-2680v3 (12C, 2.5GHz)
24 x 16GB 2133MHz RDIMMs
Effective speed: 1866 MHz @ 384GB
PERC H730 Mini – no RAID
Storage
64GB SATADOM (CVM/ HV)
2 x 400GB MLC SATA SSD 2.5” (T1)
4 x 1TB NL SAS 2.5” (T2)
Network
2 x 10Gb, 2 x 1Gb SFP+/ BT
iDRAC
iDRAC8 Ent w/ vFlash, 8GB SD
Power
2 x 750W PSUs
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
3.2.3 Dell XC B7
The Dell XC B7 platform is ideal for high performance requirements, heavy user workloads, shared
sessions or application virtualization. Each appliance comes equipped with dual 16-core CPUs and
384GB of high-performance RAM. The 64GB SATADOM module hosts the hypervisor and Nutanix
Controller VM while the H730 PERC is configured in pass-through mode to present the SSDs and
HDDs to the NDFS cluster. A minimum of six disks come in each host, 2 x 400GB SSD for the
performance tier (Tier1) and 6 x 1TB NL SAS disks for the capacity tier (Tier2), each tier can be
expanded as required. These six disks are presented to the Nutanix Controller VM running locally on
each host. Each platform can be outfitting with SFP+ or BaseT NICs.
B7 – Dell XC630
CPU
Memory
2 x E5-2698v3 (16C, 2.3GHz)
24 x 16GB 2133MHz RDIMMs
Effective speed: 1866 MHz @ 384GB
RAID
Ctrls
PERC H730 Mini – no RAID
Storage
64GB SATADOM (CVM/ HV)
2 x 400GB MLC SATA SSD 2.5” (T1)
6 x 1TB NL SAS 2.5” (T2)
Network
2 x 10Gb, 2 x 1Gb SFP+/ BT
iDRAC
iDRAC8 Ent w/ vFlash, 8GB SD
Power
2 x 750W PSUs
3.3 Dell Wyse Cloud Clients
The following Dell Wyse clients will deliver a superior Citrix user experience and are the
recommended choices for this solution.
3.3.1 ThinOS – 3012-T10D
Build out a simple or vast virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and
stay within your budget using Wyse 3000 series thin clients. This
easy-to-use family of clients for Citrix, Microsoft, VMware or Wyse
vWorkspace environments includes the 3010-T10 and 3012-T10D
with virus-immune Wyse ThinOS and the 3050-T50 with Wyse
enhanced Ubuntu™ Linux®. All offer vibrant multimedia
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
performance, single or dual core (3012-T10D) System-on-Chip (SoC) processors and hands-off
Wyse Automated Management capability. Link
3.3.2 Wyse 5012 – D10D
The Wyse 5000 series thin client is a highly efficient and powerful endpoint platform for Citrix,
Microsoft, VMware, and Wyse vWorkspace virtual desktop environments. It is
available as a zero client, a diskless cloud desktop or a thin client with
Windows Embedded Standard®, Wyse-enhanced enterprise Linux, or virusimmune Wyse ThinOS. With its extremely compact size and high
performance, it’s a versatile virtual desktop endpoint or cloud desktop when
used with Wyse WSM software. Link
3.3.3 Windows Embedded 7 – Z90Q7
The Dell Wyse Z90Q7 is a super high-performance Windows Embedded
Standard 7 thin client for virtual desktop environments. Featuring a quadcore AMD processor, and an integrated graphics engine that significantly boost performance; the
Z90Q7 achieves exceptional speed and power for the most demanding VDI and embedded
Windows applications, rotational 3D graphics, 3D simulation and modeling, unified
communications, and multi-screen HD multimedia. Take a unit from box to productivity in minutes.
Just select the desired configuration and the Z90Q7 does the rest automatically—no need to
reboot. Scale to tens of thousands of endpoints with Dell Wyse WDM software or leverage your
existing Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager platform. The Z90Q7 is the thin client for
power users who need workstation-class performance on their desktop or within a desktop
virtualization environment (x86 or x64). For more information, please visit: Link
3.3.4 Windows Embedded 8 – Z90Q8
Dell Wyse Z90Q8 is a super high-performance Windows Embedded 8 Standard thin client for
virtual desktop environments. Featuring a quad-core AMD processor, the Z90Q8 offers a vibrant
Windows 8 experience and achieves exceptional speed and power for the most demanding
embedded Windows applications, rich 3D graphics and HD multimedia. And you can scale to tens
of thousands of Z90Q8 endpoints with Dell Wyse Device Manager (WDM) software, or leverage
your existing Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager platform. With single-touch or multitouch capable displays, the Z90Q8 adds the ease of an intuitive touch user experience. The Z90Q8
is an ideal thin client for offering a high-performance Windows 8 experience with the most
demanding mix of virtual desktop or cloud applications (x86 or x64). For more information please
visit: Link
3.3.5 Suse Linux – Z50D
Designed for power users, the new Dell Wyse Z50D is the highest
performing thin client on the market. Highly secure and ultra-powerful, the
Z50D combines Dell Wyse-enhanced SUSE Linux Enterprise with a dualcore AMD 1.65 GHz processor and a revolutionary unified engine for an
unprecedented user experience. The Z50D eliminates performance
constraints for high-end, processing-intensive applications like computer-
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
aided design, multimedia, HD video and 3D modeling. Scalable enterprise-wide management
provides simple deployment, patching and updates. Take a unit from box to productivity in minutes
with auto configuration. Delivering unmatched processing speed and power, security and display
performance, it’s no wonder no other thin client can compare. For more information, please visit:
Link
3.3.6 Dell Wyse 3000 & 5000
Wyse Xenith™ zero clients. They’re built for Citrix® HDX™, so users
receive an instant-on desktop, and can enjoy a rich media
experience that doesn’t tax servers and networks. With simple
operation and auto-configuration, Wyse 3000 and 5000 series
Xenith zero clients for Citrix are always adapting to new network
security and protocol advances. It’s an ideal range of zero clients
for Citrix, with HDX and HDX 3D support that keeps users on the
cutting edge of performance. Wyse Xenith zero clients are built on the Wyse ThinOS Lite zero
engine – a mature, tested portable software technology for next-generation zero clients and smart
devices. Its tiny footprint — about the size of a digital photograph — turns devices into productive
desktops in under 10 seconds. And since Wyse ThinOS Lite zero engine is original technology —
with no published API, such as Windows®- or Linux®-embedded products — it’s inherently virusfree and secure. For more information, please visit: Link
3.3.7 Dell Wyse Zero – Xenith Pro 2
Dell Wyse Xenith Pro 2 is the next-generation zero client for Citrix HDX
and Citrix XenDesktop, delivering ultimate performance, security and
simplicity. With a powerful dual core AMD G-series CPU; Xenith Pro 2 is
faster than competing devices. This additional computing horsepower
allows dazzling HD multimedia delivery without overtaxing your server or
network. Scalable enterprise-wide management provides simple
deployment, patching and updates—your Citrix XenDesktop server
configures it out-of-the-box to your preferences for plug-and-play speed and ease of use. Virus
and malware immune, the Xenith Pro 2 draws under 9 watts of power in full operation—that’s less
than any PC on the planet. For more information please visit: Link
3.3.8 Dell Wyse Cloud Connect
Designed to promote bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments, Dell
Wyse Cloud Connect allows you to securely access and share work and
personal files, presentations, applications and other content from your
business or your home. Managed through Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager
software-as-a-service (SaaS), IT managers can ensure that each Cloud
Connect device is used by the appropriate person with the right permissions
and access to the appropriate apps and content based on role, department
and location. Slightly larger than a USB memory stick, Cloud Connect is an
ultra-compact multimedia-capable device. Simply plug it into any available
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) / HDMI port on a TV or monitor, attach a Bluetooth keyboard
and mouse, and you’re off and running. Easy to slip into your pocket or bag, it enables an HDquality window to the cloud, great for meetings and presentations while on business travel, or for
cruising the internet and checking email after a day of work. For more information, please visit: Link
3.3.9 Dell Venue 11 Pro
Meet the ultimate in productivity, connectivity and collaboration. Enjoy
full laptop performance in an ultra-portable tablet that has unmatched
flexibility for a business in motion. This dual purpose device works as a
tablet when you're out in the field but also enables you to work on your
desktop in the office thanks to an optional dock. For more information,
please visit: Link
3.3.10 Dell Chromebook 11
The lightweight, easy-to-use Dell Chromebook 11 helps turn
education into exploration - without the worries of safety or security.
Priced to make 1:1 computing affordable today, Chromebook 11 is
backed by Dell support services to make the most of your budget for
years to come. The Chrome OS and Chrome browser get students
online in an instant and loads web pages in seconds. A high-density
battery supported by a 4th Gen Intel® processor provides up to 10
hours of power. Encourage creativity with the Chromebook 11 and its multimedia features that
include an 11.6" screen, stereo sound and webcam.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
4 Software Components
4.1 Citrix XenDesktop
The solution is based on Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 which provides a complete end-to-end solution
delivering Microsoft Windows virtual desktops or server-based hosted shared sessions to users on a
wide variety of endpoint devices. Virtual desktops are dynamically assembled on demand, providing
users with pristine, yet personalized, desktops each time they log on.
Citrix XenDesktop provides a complete virtual desktop delivery system by integrating several
distributed components with advanced configuration tools that simplify the creation and real-time
management of the virtual desktop infrastructure.
The core XenDesktop components include:
● Studio
Studio is the management console that enables you to configure and manage your
deployment, eliminating the need for separate management consoles for managing
delivery of applications and desktops. Studio provides various wizards to guide you
through the process of setting up your environment, creating your workloads to host
applications and desktops, and assigning applications and desktops to users.
● Director
Director is a web-based tool that enables IT support teams to monitor an environment,
troubleshoot issues before they become system-critical, and perform support tasks for end
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
users. You can also view and interact with a user's sessions using Microsoft Remote
Assistance.
● Receiver
Installed on user devices, Citrix Receiver provides users with quick, secure, self-service
access to documents, applications, and desktops from any of the user's devices including
smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Receiver provides on-demand access to Windows, Web,
and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.
● Delivery Controller (DC)
Installed on servers in the data center, the controller authenticates users, manages the
assembly of users’ virtual desktop environments, and brokers connections between users
and their virtual desktops.
● StoreFront
StoreFront authenticates users to sites hosting resources and manages stores of desktops
and applications that user’s access.
● License Server
The Citrix License Server is an essential component at any Citrix-based solution. Every
Citrix product environment must have at least one shared or dedicated license server.
License servers are computers that are either partly or completely dedicated to storing and
managing licenses. Citrix products request licenses from a license server when users
attempt to connect.
● Machine Creation Services (MCS)
A collection of services that work together to create virtual servers and desktops from a
master image on demand; optimizing storage utilization and providing a pristine virtual
machine to users every time they log on. Machine Creation Services is fully integrated and
administrated in Citrix Studio.
● Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA)
The Virtual Desktop Agent is a transparent plugin that is installed on every virtual desktop
or XenApp host and enables the direct connection between the virtual desktop and users’
endpoint devices.
4.1.1 Machine Creation Services (MCS)
Citrix Machine Creation Services is the native
provisioning mechanism within Citrix XenDesktop
for virtual desktop image creation and management.
Machine Creation Services uses the hypervisor APIs
to create, start, stop, and delete virtual desktop
images. Desktop images are organized in a Machine
Catalog and within that catalog there are a number
of options available to create and deploy virtual
desktops:
 Random: Virtual desktops are assigned
randomly as users connect. When they
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
logoff, the desktop is reset to its original state and made free for another user to login and
use. Any changes made by the user are discarded at logoff.
 Static: Virtual desktops are assigned to the same user every time with three options for how
to handle changes made to the desktop: Store on local vDisk, Personal vDisk, or discarded
on user logoff.
All the desktops in a random or static catalog are based off a master desktop template which is
selected during the catalog creation process. MCS then takes snapshots of the master template and
layers two additional virtual disks on top: an Identity vDisk and a Difference vDisk. The Identity vDisk
includes all the specific desktop identity information such as host names and passwords. The
Difference vDisk is where all the writes and changes to the desktop are stored. These Identity and
Difference vDisks for each desktop are stored on the same data store as their related clone.
MCS Virtual Desktop Creation
Static Desktops
w/ PvD
Personal vDisk
Identity Disk
Difference Disk
Static Machine Catalog
Master
Image
Private
Snaphot
Private
Snapshot
Difference
Disk
Read-Only
Clone
Random Machine Catalog
Read-Only
Clone
Identity
Disk
Difference
Disk
(deleted at
log off)
Base OS Disk
Machine Creation Services
Identity
Disk
Static Desktops
Identity Disk
Difference Disk
Base OS Disk
Random Desktops
Identity Disk
Difference Disk
Base OS Disk
Citrix MCS can bring along with it some substantial Tier 1 storage cost savings because of the
snapshot/identity/difference disk methodology. The Tier 1 disk space requirements of the identity
and difference disks when layered on top of a master image snapshot, is far less than that of a
dedicated/ full-clone desktop architecture.
4.1.2 Citrix Profile Manager
Citrix Profile Management is a component of the XenDesktop suite which is used to manage user
profiles and minimize many of the issues associated with traditional Windows roaming profiles in an
environment where users may have their user profile open on multiple devices at the same time.
The profile management toolset has two components: the profile management agent, installed on
any device where the user profiles is managed, and a Group Policy Administrative Template, which
is imported to a group policy.
In order to further optimize, the profile management folders within the user profile is redirected the
users’ home drive. The folder redirection is managed via group policy objects within Active
Directory. The following folders are redirected:
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
● Contacts
● Downloads
● Favorites
● Links
● My Documents
● Searches
● Start Menu
● Windows
● My Music
● My Pictures
● My Videos
● Desktop
4.2 Citrix XenApp
Citrix XenApp 7.6 includes new enhancements in the areas of faster access to virtual apps with
higher connection resiliency, improved graphics rendering, and new app-usage reporting and
monitoring tools.
Citrix XenApp delivers Windows apps as secure mobile services. With XenApp, IT can mobilize the
business - increasing user productivity, while reducing costs by centralizing control and security of
intellectual property. XenApp delivers high-performance apps to any PC, Mac, laptop, tablet or
smartphone that enable the delivery of a native experience that is optimized for the type of device,
as well as the network. XenApp is built on a 3rd generation FlexCast Management Architecture
(FMA) and is the only hybrid cloud-ready platform that separates the management plane from the
workload to enable IT to securely deliver published apps on-premises, and manage workers and
mobile workspaces either on-premises or in the cloud.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Instant Access to Apps:
Provide users with fast, instant access to mission-critical apps to improve productivity and enhance
the user experience.
Expedite user logon with newly improved pre-launch technology, which creates a local-like app
launch experience by expediting the cumbersome user logon process.
Instant reconnect with session linger keeps the user session open after the user closes the app, to
provide a quick app reconnect or enable the user to open a new app without repeating the logon
process.
Fast, secure anonymous access with login bypass enables unauthenticated access to apps that
contain their own authentication process and security measures.
Improved connection resiliency with database connection leasing caches the results of successful
users’ connections for any number of days set by an admin.
Access apps from millions of devices using Citrix Receiver, including devices running Windows,
Mac, iOS, Android and Chrome OS.
At a high-level, the solution is based on a unified and standardized 5-layer model.
1.
User Layer – Defines the unique user groups, endpoints and locations.
2. Access Layer – Defines how a user group gains access to their resources. Focuses
on secure access policies and desktop/application stores.
3. Resource Layer – Defines the applications and data provided to each user group
4. Control Layer – Defines the underlying infrastructure required to support the users
accessing their resources
5.
Hardware Layer – Defines the physical implementation of the overall solution
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
4.2.1 XenApp Integration into Dell Wyse Datacenter Architecture
The XenApp servers can exist as physical or virtualized instances of Windows Server 2012 R2. A
minimum of three, up to a maximum of seven virtual servers are installed per physical compute
host. Since XenApp instances are easily added to an existing XenDesktop stack, the only additional
components required are:
● One or more Server OS instances running the Citrix VDA added to the XenDesktop site
The total number of required virtual XenApp servers is dependent on application type, quantity and
user load and appliance capability ensuring that proper NUMA architecture boundaries are adhered
to. Deploying XenApp virtually and in a multi-server farm configuration increases overall farm
performance, application load balancing as well as farm redundancy and resiliency.
4.2.2 NUMA Architecture Considerations
Best practices and testing has showed that aligning XenApp design to the physical Non-Uniform
Memory Access (NUMA) architecture of the server CPUs results in increased and optimal
performance. NUMA ensures that a CPU can access its own directly-connected RAM banks faster
than those banks of the other processor which are accessed via the Quick Path Interconnect (QPI).
Ensuring that your virtual XenApp servers do not span physical CPUs will ensure the greatest
possible performance benefit.
The general guidance for XenApp on the Dell XC appliance is as follows:
4.2.2.1 A5
Eight physical cores per CPU in the A5 platform, assuming 2x oversubscription per core, gives us a
total of 32 consumable cores per appliance. The Nutanix CVM will receive its vCPU allotment from
the first physical CPU and so configuring the XenApp VMs as shown below will ensure that no
NUMA spanning occurs which could lower performance.
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
CPU Socket 1
8 Cores
(16 Cores - 2x OverSub)
QPI
Channels
DDR4
CPU Socket 2
8 Cores
(16 Cores - 2x OverSub)
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
CVM
8 x Cores
2 x RDS VMs
8 x Cores
16 x Cores
Consumed
1 x RDS VMs
8 x Cores
16 x Cores
Consumed
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
4.2.2.2 B5
12 physical cores per CPU in the B5 platform, assuming 2x oversubscription per core, nets a total of
48 consumable cores per appliance. The Nutanix CVM receives its vCPU allotment from the first
physical CPU so configuring the XenApp VMs as shown below will ensure that no NUMA spanning
occurs which can lower performance.
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
CPU Socket 1
12 Cores
(24 Cores - 2x OverSub)
QPI
Channels
DDR4
CPU Socket 2
12 Cores
(24 Cores - 2x OverSub)
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
CVM
8 x Cores
3 x RDS VMs
8 x Cores
24 x Cores
Consumed
2 x RDS VMs
8 x Cores
24 x Cores
Consumed
4.2.2.3 B7
16 physical cores per CPU in the B7 platform, assuming 2x oversubscription per core, nets a total of
64 consumable cores per appliance. The Nutanix CVM receives its vCPU allotment from the first
physical CPU so configuring the XenApp VMs as shown below will ensure that no NUMA spanning
occurs which can lower performance.
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
CPU Socket 1
16 Cores
(32 Cores - 2x OverSub)
QPI
Channels
DDR4
CPU Socket 2
16 Cores
(32 Cores - 2x OverSub)
DDR4
DDR4
DDR4
CVM
8 x Cores
4 x RDS VMs
8 x Cores
32 x Cores
Consumed
3 x RDS VMs
8 x Cores
32 x Cores
Consumed
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
4.3 VDI Hypervisor Platforms
4.3.1 VMware vSphere 5.5
VMware vSphere 5 is a virtualization platform used for
building VDI and cloud infrastructures. vSphere 5.5
represents a migration from the ESX architecture to the
ESXi architecture.
VMware vSphere 5.5 includes three major layers:
Virtualization, Management and Interface. The
Virtualization layer includes infrastructure and application
services. The Management layer is central for configuring,
provisioning and managing virtualized environments. The
Interface layer includes the vSphere Client (deprecated in
5.5) and the vSphere Web Client.
Throughout the Dell Wyse Datacenter solution, all VMware and Microsoft best practices and
prerequisites for core services are adhered to (NTP, DNS, Active Directory, etc.). The vCenter 5.5 VM
used in the solution is a single Windows Server 2012 R2 VM or vCenter 5.5 virtual appliance, residing
on a host in the management Tier. SQL server is a core component of the Windows version of
vCenter and is hosted on another VM also residing in the management Tier. It is recommended that
all additional XenDesktop components be installed in a distributed architecture, one role per server
VM when possible.
4.3.2 Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V
Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V is a powerful virtualization technology that enables businesses to
leverage the benefits of virtualization. Hyper-V reduces costs, increases hardware utilization,
optimizes business infrastructure, and improves server availability. Hyper-V works with
virtualization-aware hardware to tightly control the
resources available to each virtual machine. The latest
generation of Dell servers includes virtualizationaware processors and network adapters.
From a network management standpoint, virtual
machines are much easier to manage than physical
computers. To this end, Hyper-V includes many
management features designed to make managing
virtual machines simple and familiar, while enabling
easy access to powerful VM-specific management
functions. The primary management platform within a Hyper-V based XenDesktop virtualization
environment is Microsoft Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).
SCVMM provides centralized and powerful management, monitoring, and self-service provisioning
for virtual machines. SCVMM host groups are a way to apply policies and to check for problems
across several VMs at once. Groups are organized by owner, operating system, or by custom names
such as “Development” or “Production”. The interface also incorporates Remote Desktop Protocol
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
(RDP); double-click a VM to bring up the console for that VM—live and accessible from the
management console.
4.4 Citrix NetScaler
Citrix NetScaler is an all-in-one web application delivery controller that makes applications run five
times better, reduces web application ownership costs, optimizes the user experience, and makes
sure that applications are always available by using:

Proven application acceleration such as HTTP compression and caching

High application availability through advanced L4-7 load balancer

Application security with an integrated AppFirewall

Server offloading to significantly reduce costs and consolidate servers
Where Does a Citrix NetScaler Fit in the Network?
A NetScaler appliance resides between the clients and the servers, so that client requests and server
responses pass through it. In a typical installation, virtual servers (vservers) configured on the
NetScaler provide connection points that clients use to access the applications behind the
NetScaler. In this case, the NetScaler owns public IP addresses that are associated with its vservers,
while the real servers are isolated in a private network. It is also possible to operate the NetScaler in
a transparent mode as an L2 bridge or L3 router, or even to combine aspects of these and other
modes. NetScaler can also be used to host the StoreFront function eliminating complexity from the
environment.
Global Server Load Balancing
GSLB is an industry standard function. It is in widespread use to provide automatic distribution of
user requests to an instance of an application hosted in the appropriate data center where multiple
processing facilities exist. The intent is to seamlessly redistribute load on an as required basis,
transparent to the user community. These distributions are used on a localized or worldwide basis.
Many companies use GSLB in its simplest form. They use the technology to automatically redirect
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
traffic to Disaster Recovery (DR) sites on an exception basis. That is, GSLB is configured to simply
route user load to the DR site on a temporary basis only in the event of a catastrophic failure or
only during extended planned data center maintenance. GSLB is also used to distribute load across
data centers on a continuous load balancing basis as part of normal processing.
XenDesktop HA with NetScaler White Paper: Link
Several of the management components of the XenDesktop stack are made highly-available using
NetScaler to load balance traffic. The following management components require the use of a load
balancer to function in a high availability mode:

StoreFront Servers

Licensing Server

XenDesktop XML Service

XenDesktop Desktop Director

Provisioning Services TFTP Service
Netscaler Load Balancing Options
XenDesktop Farm
Virtual Desktop Pool
Delivery
Controller
VM 1
VM 2
Delivery
Controller
StoreFront
Netscaler
HA pair
Netscaler
HA pair
StoreFront
Delivery
Controller
Netscaler
HA pair
VM 3
Storage
Tier 1
Array
Tier 2
Array
Provisioning
Server
NAS
Provisioning
Server
Citrix NetScaler is added to the Dell Wyse Datacenter mgmt. stack at any time and runs on the
existing server infrastructure.
4.5 Citrix CloudBridge
Citrix CloudBridge provides a unified platform that connects and accelerates applications, and
optimizes bandwidth utilization across public cloud and private networks. The only WAN
optimization solution with integrated, secure, transparent cloud connectivity, CloudBridge allows
enterprises to augment their data center with the infinite capacity and elastic efficiency provided by
public cloud providers. CloudBridge delivers superior application performance and end-user
experiences through a broad base of features, including:
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7

Market-leading enhancements for the Citrix XenDesktop user experience including HDX
WAN optimization

Secure, optimized networking between clouds

Compression, de-duplication and protocol acceleration

Acceleration of traditional enterprise applications

Sophisticated traffic management controls and reporting

Faster storage replication times and reduced bandwidth demands

Integrated video delivery optimization to support increasing video delivery to branch offices

Deliver a faster experience for all users
CloudBridge is ICA aware and enables IT organizations to accelerate, control and optimize all
services – desktops, applications, multimedia and more – for corporate office, branch office and
mobile users while dramatically reducing costs. With CloudBridge, branch office users experience a
better desktop experience with faster printing, file downloads, video streaming and application
start-up times.
For more information please visit: Link
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
5 Solution Architecture for XenDesktop 7
5.1 Management Infrastructure
5.1.1 vSphere Management Role Requirements
Role
vCPU
OS vDisk
vRAM
(GB)
NIC
Size (GB)
Location
Nutanix CVM
8*
16
2
-
C:\ (SATADOM)
DDC + Lic
4
8
1
40
SDS: ds_mgmt
Storefront
2
4
1
40
SDS: ds_mgmt
Primary SQL
4
8
1
40 + 200
SDS: ds_mgmt
vCenter Appliance
2
8
1
125
SDS: ds_mgmt
Total
20
44
6
445GB
-
5.1.2 Hyper-V Management Role Requirements
Dynamic Memory
Role
vCPU
Startup
RAM
(GB)
OS vDisk
Min|Max
Buffer
Weight
NIC
Size
(GB)
Location
Nutanix
CVM
8*
16
Dynamic Memory
Disabled
High
2
-
C:\
(SATADOM)
DDC +
Lic
4
8
384MB |
10GB
20%
Med
1
40
SDS:
ds_mgmt
Storefront
2
4
384MB |
6GB
20%
Med
1
40
SDS:
ds_mgmt
Primary
SQL
4
8
384MB |
10GB
20%
Med
1
40 +
200
SDS:
ds_mgmt
SCVMM
2
8
384MB |
10GB
20%
Med
1
40 +
50
SDS:
ds_mgmt
Total
20
44GB
1.5GB |
36GB
-
-
6
410GB
-
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
5.1.3 XenApp on vSphere
The recommended number of XenApp VMs and their configurations on vSphere are summarized
below based on applicable hardware platform.
Role
Config
VMs per
host
vCPUs
RAM (GB)
NIC
Disk Size GB
XenApp VM
B7
5
8
32
1
80
5.1.4 XenApp on Hyper-V
The recommended number of XenApp VMs and their configurations on Hyper-V are summarized
below based on applicable hardware platform.
Role
HW VMs per
Config
host
OS vDisk
vCPUs
S1
vCPUs
S2
RAM
(GB)
NIC
Size (GB)
Location
XenApp VM
A5
3
1
2
32
1
80
SDS: ds_XenApp
XenApp VM
B5
5
2
3
32
1
80
SDS: ds_XenApp
XenApp VM
B7
7
3
4
32
1
80
SDS: ds_XenApp
5.1.5 SQL Databases
The Citrix, Microsoft and VMware databases are hosted by a single dedicated SQL 2012 R2 Server
VM in the Management layer. Use caution during database setup to ensure that SQL data, logs, and
TempDB are properly separated onto their respective volumes. Create all Databases that are
required for:

Citrix XenDesktop

vCenter or SCVMM
Initial placement of all databases into a single SQL instance is fine unless performance becomes an
issue, in which case database need to be separated into separate named instances. Enable autogrowth for each DB.
Best practices defined by Citrix, Microsoft and VMware are to be adhered to, to ensure optimal
database performance.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Align all disks to be used by SQL Server with a 1024K offset and then formatted with a 64K file
allocation unit size (data, logs, and TempDB).
5.1.6 DNS
DNS plays a crucial role in the environment not only as the basis for Active Directory but is used to
control access to the various Citrix and Microsoft software components. All hosts, VMs, and
consumable software components need to have a presence in DNS, preferably via a dynamic and
AD-integrated namespace. Microsoft best practices and organizational requirements are to be
adhered to.
Pay consideration for eventual scaling, access to components that may live on one or more servers
(SQL databases, Citrix services) during the initial deployment. Use CNAMEs and the round robin
DNS mechanism to provide a front-end “mask” to the back-end server actually hosting the service
or data source.
5.1.6.1 DNS for SQL
To access the SQL data sources, either directly or via ODBC, a connection to the server name\
instance name must be used. To simplify this process, as well as protect for future scaling (HA),
instead of connecting to server names directly, alias these connections in the form of DNS
CNAMEs. So instead of connecting to SQLServer1\<instance name> for every device that needs
access to SQL, the preferred approach is to connect to <CNAME>\<instance name>.
For example, the CNAME “VDISQL” is created to point to SQLServer1. If a failure scenario was to
occur and SQLServer2 would need to start serving data, we would simply change the CNAME in
DNS to point to SQLServer2. No infrastructure SQL client connections would need to be touched.
5.2 Storage Architecture Overview
The appliance comes with two tiers of storage by default- SSD for performance and HDD for
capacity. A single common software defined namespace is created across the Nutanix cluster and
presented as either NFS or SMB to the hypervisor of each host. This constitutes a storage pool and
one should be sufficient per NDFS cluster. Within this common namespace, logical containers are
created to group VM files as well as control the specific storage-related features that are desired to
be enabled such as deduplication and compression.
5.2.1 Containers
The following table outlines the recommended containers, their purpose and settings given the use
case. Best practices suggest using as few features as possible, only enable what is absolutely
required. For example, if you are not experiencing disk capacity pressure then there is no need to
enable Capacity Tier Deduplication. It is recommended to enable performance tier deduplication in
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
all situations for added performance benefits. Enabling unnecessary services increases the resource
demands of the Controller VMs. Capacity tier deduplication requires that CVMs be configured with
32GB RAM.
Replication
Perf Tier
Capacity Tier
Compression
Factor
Deduplication Deduplication
Container
Purpose
Ds_compute
Desktop VMs
2
Enabled
Disabled
Disabled
Ds_mgmt
Mgmt Infra VMs
2
Enabled
Disabled
Disabled
2
Enabled
Disabled
Disabled
Ds_XenApp XenApp Server VMs
5.3 Networking
5.3.1 vSphere
The network configuration for this appliance utilizes a 10Gb converged infrastructure model. All
required VLANs will traverse 2 x 10Gb NICs configured in an active/ active team. For larger scaling it
is recommended to separate the infrastructure management VMs from the compute VMs to aid in
predictable compute host scaling. The following outlines the VLAN requirements for the Compute
and Management hosts in this solution model:



Compute hosts
o Management VLAN: Configured for hypervisor infrastructure traffic – L3 routed via
spine layer
o Live Migration VLAN: Configured for Live Migration traffic – L2 switched via leaf
layer
o VDI VLAN: Configured for VDI session traffic – L3 routed via spine layer
Management hosts
o Management VLAN: Configured for hypervisor Management traffic – L3 routed via
spine layer
o Live Migration VLAN: Configured for Live Migration traffic – L2 switched via leaf
layer
o VDI Management VLAN: Configured for VDI infrastructure traffic – L3 routed via
spine layer
An iDRAC VLAN is configured for all hardware management traffic – L3 routed via spine
layer
5.3.1.1 vSphere
The Management host network configuration consists of a standard vSwitch teamed with 2 x 10Gb
physical adapters assigned. The CVM connects to a private internal vSwitch as well as the standard
external vSwitch. All VMkernel service ports connect to the standard external vSwitch. All VDI
infrastructure VMs connect through the primary port group on the external vSwitch.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
The Compute hosts are configured in the same basic manner with the desktop VMs connecting to
the primary port group on the external vSwitch.
5.3.2 Hyper-V
The Hyper-V configuration, while identical in core requirements and hardware, is executed
differently due to how Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 R2 implement networking and virtual
switches. As shown in the diagram below, native Windows Server 2012 R2 NIC Teaming is utilized
to load balance and provide resiliency for network connections. For the compute host in this
scenario, a single LBFO NIC team is configured to connect to a Hyper-V switch for external traffic
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
and one internal Hyper-V switch is used for the Nutanix CVM. All vNICs associated with the
Management OS connect directly to the external Hyper-V switch.
The NIC team for the Hyper-V switch is configured as switch independent, Dynamic for the load
balancing mode with all adapters set to active. This team is used exclusively by Hyper-V.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
The dedicated compute host configuration is shown in the diagram below and configured very
similarly to the management host configuration.
5.4 Scaling Guidance
Each component of the solution architecture scales independently according to the desired
number of supported users. Additional appliance nodes can be added at any time to expand the
Nutanix SDS pool in a modular fashion. While there is no scaling limit of the Nutanix architecture
itself, practicality might suggest scaling pods based on the limits of hypervisor clusters (32 nodes for
vSphere, 64 nodes for Hyper-V).
● The components are scaled either horizontally (by adding additional physical and virtual
servers to the server pools) or vertically (by adding virtual resources to the infrastructure)
● Eliminate bandwidth and performance bottlenecks as much as possible
● Allow future horizontal and vertical scaling with the objective of reducing the future cost
of ownership of the infrastructure.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Component
Metric
Virtual Desktop
Host/Compute
Servers
View Composer
VMs per physical
host
View Connection
Servers
Desktops per
instance
VMware vCenter
VMs per physical
host and/or ESX
hosts per vCenter
instance
Concurrent
connections,
responsiveness of
reads/ writes
Concurrent
connections,
responsiveness of
reads/ writes
Database
Services
File Services
Desktops per
instance
Horizontal Scalability
Vertical Scalability
Additional hosts and
clusters added as
necessary
Additional physical
servers added to the
Management cluster to
deal with additional
management VMs.
Additional physical
servers added to the
Management cluster to
deal with additional
management VMs.
Deploy additional servers
and use linked mode to
optimize management
Additional RAM or
CPU compute
power
Additional RAM or
CPU compute
power
Migrate databases to a
dedicated SQL server and
increase the number of
management nodes
Split user profiles and
home directories
between multiple file
servers in the cluster. File
services can also be
migrated to the optional
NAS device to provide
high availability.
Additional RAM and
CPU for the
management nodes
Additional VCS
Management VMs.
Additional vCenter
Management VMs.
Additional RAM and
CPU for the
management nodes
5.5 Solution High Availability
High availability (HA) is offered to protect each architecture solution layer, individually if desired.
Following the N+1 model, additional ToR switches are added to the Network layer and stacked to
provide redundancy as required, additional compute and management hosts are added to their
respective layers, vSphere or Hyper-V clustering is introduced in both the management and
compute layers, SQL is mirrored or clustered and NetScaler is leveraged for load balancing. Storage
protocol switch stacks and NAS selection will vary based on chosen solution architecture.
The HA options provide redundancy for all critical components in the stack while improving the
performance and efficiency of the solution as a whole.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7

An additional switch is added at the network Tier which is configured with the original as a
stack and thereby equally spreading each host’s network connections across both switches.

At the compute Tier an additional ESXi or Hyper-V host is added to provide N+1 protection.

A number of enhancements occur at the Management Tier, the first of which is the addition
of another host. The Management hosts are configured in an HA cluster. All applicable Citrix
infrastructure server roles can then be duplicated on the new host where connections to
each are load balanced via the addition of a virtual NetScaler appliance. SQL Server
databases also receive greater protection through the addition and configuration of a 3way SQL mirror with a witness or "AlwaysOn" configuration.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
5.6 Dell Wyse Datacenter for XenDesktop Communication
Flow
SSL
Internet/ LAN
Hyper-V or
vSphere
Mgmt Hosts
Citrix NetScaler
ICA/ HDX
StoreFront
LDAP
License
Server
Active
Directory
File
Server
SQL
Server
TCP/1433
XML
XML
User Data (SMB)
LDAP
TCP/27000
vCenter/
SCVMM
PVS
Delivery
Controller
(MCS)
HTTPS/
TCP 8100
SDS
TFTP/ PVS
VDA
VDA
Hyper-V or
vSphere
Compute Hosts
MCS Machine
Catalog
XenApp
Shared Hosted
Sessions or
RemoteApps
XenApp
Instance
PVS Machine
Catalog
Static or Random
Virtual Desktops
Windows
Master Image
VDA
Static or Random
Virtual Desktops
Windows
Master Image
VDA
VDA
VDA
VDA
VDA
VDA
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
6 Solution Performance and Testing
6.1 Load Generation and Monitoring
6.1.1 Login VSI 4 – Login Consultants
Login VSI is the de-facto industry standard tool for testing VDI environments and server-based
computing / terminal services environments. It installs a standard collection of desktop application
software (e.g. Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Reader) on each VDI desktop; it then uses launcher
systems to connect a specified number of users to available desktops within the
environment. Once the user is connected the workload is started via a logon script which starts the
test script once the user environment is configured by the login script. Each launcher system can
launch connections to a number of ‘target’ machines (i.e. VDI desktops), with the launchers being
managed by a centralized management console, which is used to configure and manage the Login
VSI environment.
6.1.2 Liquidware Labs Stratusphere UX
Stratusphere UX was used during each test run to gather data relating to User Experience and
desktop performance. Data was gathered at the Host and Virtual Machine layers and reported back
to a central server (Stratusphere Hub). The hub was then used to create a series of “Comma
Separated Values” (.csv) reports which have then been used to generate graphs and summary tables
of key information. In addition the Stratusphere Hub generates a magic quadrate style scatter plot
showing the Machine and IO experience of the sessions. The Stratusphere hub was deployed onto
the core network therefore its monitoring did not impact the servers being tested. This core
network represents an existing customer environment and also includes the following services:
● Active Directory
● DNS
● DHCP
● Anti-Virus
Stratusphere UX calculates the User Experience by monitoring key metrics within the Virtual
Desktop environment, the metrics and their thresholds are shown in the following screen shot:
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
6.1.3 VMware vCenter
VMware vCenter was used for VMware vSphere-based solutions to gather key data (CPU, Memory
and Network usage) from each of the desktop hosts during each test run. This data was exported to
.csv files for each host and then consolidated to show data from all hosts. While the report does
not include specific performance metrics for the Management host servers, these servers were
monitored during testing and were seen to be performing at an expected performance level.
6.1.4 Microsoft Perfmon
Microsoft Perfmon was utilized to collect performance data for tests performed on the Hyper-V
platform.
6.2 Performance Analysis Methodology
In order to ensure the optimal combination of end-user experience (EUE) and cost-per-user,
performance analysis and characterization (PAAC) on Dell Wyse Datacenter solutions is carried out
using a carefully designed, holistic methodology that monitors both hardware resource utilization
parameters and EUE during load-testing. This methodology is based on the three pillars shown
below. Login VSI is currently the load-testing tool used during PAAC of Dell Wyse Datacenter
solutions; Login VSI is the de-facto industry standard for VDI and server-based computing (SBC)
environments and is discussed in more detail below.
Each of the pillars shown in the above diagram is discussed in more detail below.
6.2.1 Resource Utilization
Poor end-user experience is one of the main risk factors when implementing desktop virtualization
but the root cause for poor end-user experience is resource contention – hardware resources at
some point in the solution have been exhausted, thus causing the poor end-user experience. In
order to ensure that this has not happened (and that it is not close to happening), PAAC on Dell
Wyse Datacenter solutions monitors the relevant resource utilization parameters and applies
relatively conservative thresholds as shown in the table below. As discussed above, these thresholds
are carefully selected to deliver an optimal combination of good end-user experience and cost-
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
per-user, while also providing burst capacity for seasonal / intermittent spikes in usage. These
thresholds are used to decide the number of virtual desktops (density) that are hosted by a specific
hardware environment (i.e. combination of server, storage and networking) that forms the basis for
a Dell Wyse Appliance Architecture.
Resource Utilization Thresholds
Parameter
Pass / Fail Threshold
Physical Host CPU Utilization
85%
Physical Host Memory Utilization
85%
Network Throughput
85%
Storage IO Latency
20ms
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
6.2.2 EUE (Tools Info)
Good EUE is one of the primary factors in determining the success of a VDI implementation. As a
result of this fact, a number of vendors have developed toolsets that monitor the environmental
parameters that are relevant to EUE. PAAC on Dell Wyse Datacenter solutions uses the Liquidware
Labs Stratusphere UX tool to ensure that good EUE is delivered for the density numbers defined in
our RAs. More specifically, our PAAC analysis uses a scatter plot provided by Stratusphere UX which
presents end-user experience for all load-tested users. Stratusphere UX does this by algorithmically
combining relevant parameters in relation to virtual desktop machine experience (e.g. login
duration) and virtual desktop IO experience (e.g. disk queue length) to provide a plot that shows
end-user experience as good, fair or poor using a magic-quadrant type approach.
6.2.3 EUE (Real User Info)
In order to complement the tools based end-user experience information gathered using
Stratusphere UX (as described above) and to provide further certainty around the performance of
Dell Wyse Datacenter solutions, PAAC on our solutions also involves a user logging into one of the
solutions when they are fully loaded (based on the density specified in the relevant RA) and
executing user activities that are representative of the user type being tested (e.g. task, knowledge
or power user). An example is a knowledge worker executing a number of appropriate activities in
Excel. The purpose of this activity is to verify that the end-user experience is as good as the user
would expect on a physical laptop or desktop.
6.2.4 Dell Wyse Datacenter Workloads and Profiles
It’s important to understand user workloads and profiles when designing a desktop virtualization
solution in order to understand the density numbers that the solution can support. At Dell, we use
five workload / profile levels, each of which is bound by specific metrics and capabilities. In
addition, we use workloads and profiles that are targeted at graphics-intensive use cases. We
present more detailed information in relation to these workloads and profiles below but first it is
useful to define the terms “workload” and “profile” as they are used in this document.


Profile: This is the configuration of the virtual desktop - number of vCPUs and amount of
RAM configured on the desktop (i.e. available to the user).
Workload: This is the set of applications used by performance analysis and characterization
(PAAC) of Dell Wyse Datacenter solutions e.g. Microsoft Office applications, PDF Reader,
Internet Explorer etc.
User Profile
vCPUs
Hyper-V
Start up
Memory
Hyper-V
Minimum
Memory
Hyper-V
Max
Memory
ESXi
Memory
Reservation
ESXi
memory
configured
OS
Standard
1
2GB
1GB
2GB
2GB
2GB
x86
Enhanced
2
3GB
1GB
3GB
3GB
3GB
x86
Professional
2
4GB
1GB
4GB
4GB
4GB
x64
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
6.2.5 Dell Wyse Datacenter Profiles
The table shown below presents the persistent user profiles used during PAAC on this solution.
These profiles have been carefully selected to provide the optimal level of resources for common
use cases.
Standard user profile equates to a task worker, Enhanced to a knowledge worker and Professional
to a power user.
6.2.6 Dell Wyse Datacenter Workloads
Load-testing on each of the profiles described in the above table is carried out using an appropriate
workload that is representative of the relevant use case. In the case of the non-graphics workloads,
these workloads are Login VSI workloads and in the case of graphics workloads, these are specially
designed workloads that stress the VDI environment to a level that is appropriate for the relevant
use case. This information is summarized in the table below:
Profile Name
Workload
OS Image
Standard
Login VSI Light
Shared
Enhanced
Login VSI Medium
Shared
Professional
Login VSI Heavy
Shared + Profile Virtualization
As noted in the table above, further information for each of the workloads is given below. It is noted
that for Login VSI testing, the following login and boot paradigm is used:

For single-server / single-host testing (typically carried out to determine the virtual desktop
capacity of a specific physical server), users are logged in every 30 seconds.

For multi-host / full solution testing, users are logged in over a period of 1-hour, to
replicate the normal login storm in an enterprise environment.

All desktops are pre-booted in advance of logins commencing.
For all testing, all virtual desktops run an industry-standard anti-virus solution (currently McAfee
VirusScan Enterprise) in order to fully replicate a customer environment.
6.2.6.1 Login VSI 3 versus Login VSI 4
PAAC on Dell Wyse Datacenter solutions is currently carried out using Login VSI version 4.
However, some previous Dell Wyse Datacenter solutions used Login VSI version 3 for this PAAC
work. Login VSI version 3 used a slightly different set of workloads to those used by Login VSI 4 and
in order to allow comparison of results obtained using these different Login VSI versions, it is useful
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
to be aware of the information presented in the figure below. This information (for Login VSI
medium workload) illustrates higher CPU utilization and lower disk IO for Login VSI 4 (green / upper
set of graphs) when compared to Login VSI3 (red / lower set of graphs). The exact variation
between these Login VSI versions will vary between environments.
6.2.6.2 Login VSI Light Workload
Compared to the Login VSI medium workload described below, the light workload runs fewer
applications (mainly Excel and Internet Explorer with some minimal Word activity) and starts/stops
the applications less frequently. This results in lower CPU, memory and disk IO usage.
6.2.6.3 Login VSI Medium Workload
The Login VSI medium workload is designed to run on 2vCPU’s per desktop VM. This workload
emulates a medium knowledge worker using Office, IE, PDF and Java/FreeMind. The Login VSI
medium workload has the following characteristics





Once a session has been started the workload will repeat (loop) every 48 minutes.
The loop is divided in four segments; each consecutive Login VSI user logon will start a
different segment. This ensures that all elements in the workload are equally used
throughout the test.
The medium workload opens up to five applications simultaneously.
The keyboard type rate is 160 ms for each character.
Approximately two minutes of idle time is included to simulate real-‐world users.
Each loop opens and uses:







Outlook, browse messages.
Internet Explorer, browse different webpages and a YouTube style video (480p movie
trailer) is opened three times in every loop.
Word, one instance to measure response time, one instance to review and edit a document.
Doro PDF Printer & Acrobat Reader, the Word document is printed and exported to PDF.
Excel, a very large randomized sheet is opened.
PowerPoint, a presentation is reviewed and edited.
FreeMind, a Java based Mind Mapping application.
6.2.6.4 Login VSI Heavy Workload
The heavy workload is based on the medium workload except that the heavy workload:
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7






Begins by opening four instances of Internet Explorer. These instances stay open
throughout the workload loop.
Begins by opening two instances of Adobe Reader. These instances stay open
throughout the workload loop.
There are more PDF printer actions in the workload.
Instead of 480p videos a 720p and a 1080p video are watched.
Increased the time the workload plays a flash game.
The idle time is reduced to two minutes.
6.2.7 Workloads Running on Shared Graphics Profile
Graphics hardware vendors (e.g. Nvidia) typically market a number of graphics cards that are
targeted at different markets. Consequently, it is necessary to provide two shared graphics
workloads – one for mid-range cards and the other for high-end cards. These workloads are
described in more detail below. It is noted that technologies such as the Citrix / Nvidia vGPU
technology (where the Nvidia drivers reside on the virtual desktop, giving shared-level density with
near pass-through functionality) mean that in some cases, the higher-end workloads, traditionally
used for pass-through GPU PAAC, may be more appropriate for shared GPU PAAC. Such scenarios
will explicitly state the workload used.
6.3 Testing and Validation
6.3.1 Testing Process
The purpose of the single server testing is to validate the architectural assumptions made around
the server stack. Each user load is tested against four runs. A pilot run is conducted to validate that
the infrastructure is functioning and valid data is captured. Subsequently three more runs are
conducted allowing for correlation of data. Summary of the test results is listed out in the below
mentioned tabular format.
At different stages of the testing the testing team will complete some manual “User Experience”
Testing while the environment is under load. This will involve a team member logging into a session
during the run and completing tasks similar to the User Workload description. While this experience
is subjective, it will help provide a better understanding of the end user experience of the desktop
sessions, particularly under high load, and ensure that the data gathered is reliable.
Login VSI has two modes for launching user’s sessions:
● Parallel
Sessions are launched from multiple launcher hosts in a round robin fashion; this mode is
recommended by Login Consultants when running tests against multiple host servers. In
parallel mode the VSI console is configured to launch a number of sessions over a specified
time period (specified in seconds)
● Sequential
Sessions are launched from each launcher host in sequence, sessions are only started from
a second host once all sessions have been launched on the first host and this is repeated for
each launcher host. Sequential launching is recommended by Login Consultants when
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
testing a single desktop host server. The VSI console is configure to launch a specified
number of session at a specified interval specified in seconds
All test runs which involved the six desktop hosts were conducted using the Login VSI “Parallel
Launch” mode and all sessions were launched over an hour to try and represent the typical 9am
logon storm. Once the last user session has connected, the sessions are left to run for 15 minutes
prior to the sessions being instructed to logout at the end of the current task sequence, this allows
every user to complete a minimum of two task sequences within the run before logging out. The
single server test runs were configured to launch user sessions every 60 seconds, as with the full
bundle test runs sessions were left to run for 15 minutes after the last user connected prior to the
sessions being instructed to log out.
6.4 XenDesktop Test Results
Configuration
Validation for this project was completed for Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 and XenApp 7.6 on the
following platforms:
ESXi 5.5 U2 / Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 / XC630
ESXi 5.5 U2 / XenApp brokered by XenDesktop 7.6 / XC630
Platform configurations are shown below and the Login VSI workloads used for load testing on
each environment.
Platform
Config
XC630
B5
CPU
E5-2690v3
(12Core,
2.6GHz)
RAM
512
GB
RAID
Ctlr
H730P
HD Config
Network
1 X 64GB SATADOM
(CVM/ HV)
2x 10Gb,
2 x 1Gb
SFP+/
BT
2 x 400GB, Intel
S3700, SATA SSD‘s
2.5” (T1)
Login VSI
Workload
Heavy
8 x 1TB NL SAS 2.5”
(T2)
1GB networking was used for the deployment of the Dell XC appliances while all 10GB networking
was used for the PAAC testing.
Compute and Management resources were split out with the following configuration across a three
node Nutanix cluster and all test runs were completed with this configuration.

Node 1 – XC630– Dedicated Management (vCenter Appliance, SQL Server, XenDesktop
Delivery Controller, XenDesktop Storefront.)

Node 2 – XC630– Dedicated Compute

Node 3 –XC630 – Dedicated Compute
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Please refer to section 5.1 of this document for the configuration of each management virtual
machine.
The virtual machines were non-persistent linked clone desktops each configured on Windows 8.1
aligning with the Login VSI 4.X virtual machine configuration, Office 2010 was used with each
Virtual Machine sized at 32 GB. User Workload configuration of the load generation virtual
machines is shown in the table below.
User Workload
vCPUs
Memory
OS Bit Level
HD Size GB
Professional User
2
4GB
x64
32
The XenApp environment was configured as shown in the table below for each host according to
platform. The XenApp images were built using Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard edition and
Microsoft Office 2010 plus the support tools required for Login VSI testing.
Role
XenApp VM
Config VMs per host
B5
5
vCPUs
RAM (GB)
NIC
Disk Size GB
8
32
1
80
Test Results
Validation was performed using CCC standard testing methodology using LoginVSI 4 load
generation tool for VDI benchmarking that simulates production user workloads.
Each test run adhered to PAAC best practices with a 30 second session logon interval, 16 minutes
of steady state after which sessions would begin logging off.
The following table summarizes the test results for the various workloads and configurations.
Workload
Density
Per
Host
Avg
CPU
%
Avg
Memory
Consumed
GB
Avg
Memory
Active
GB
Avg
IOPS/
User
Avg
Net
Kbps/
User
XenDesktop
MCS
Professional
100
99%
236 GB
48 GB
5.2
771
XenDesktop
MCS XenApp
Professional
145
97%
80GB
22 GB
2.6
325
Hyper
-Visor
Provisioning
ESXi
ESXi
CPU Utilization* CPU % for ESX Hosts was adjusted to account for the fact that on Intel E5-2690v3
series processors the ESX host CPU metrics will exceed the rated 100% for the host if Turbo Boost
is enabled (by default). The Adjusted CPU % Usage is based on 100% usage and but is not reflected
in the charts. The figure shown in the table is the Compute host steady state peak CPU Usage. One
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Nutanix CVM Controller virtual machine is located on each node and is allocated 10000MHz of
CPU reservation.
Memory Utilization The figure shown in the table above is the average memory consumed per
Compute host over the recorded test period. Active is the average active memory per Compute
host over the recorded test period.
The IOPS results are calculated from the average Nutanix Cluster Disk IOPS figure over the test
period divided by the number of users.
Network Utilization The figure shown in the table is the average Kbps/User per Compute host
over the recorded test period.
Summary of Tests Run
The ‘Number of Users’ column indicates the total number of user desktop test sessions run across
two Compute hosts.
Config
Number of Users
Desktop Type
Login VSI Workload
B5
200
Linked Clone
Heavy
B5
290
XenApp
Heavy
Results summary:
B5 Configuration, ESXi/XenDesktop MCS, 200 User Test, Heavy Workload
The architecture for this solution includes a dedicated management host and two compute hosts.
Each of the compute hosts was populated with 100 full virtual machines and one Nutanix CVM per
host.
The Nutanix CVM’s took up approximately 14% of the compute hosts CPU Usage at the start of the
test run.
This chart does not include the additional 10% of CPU available from the Turbo boost feature.
Without the inclusion there is a total of 62380 MHz available for Desktops, with Turbo boost the
total available MHz value is 68168 MHz.
The below graph shows the performance data for 100 user sessions per host on a pair of Compute
hosts. The CPU reaches a steady state peak of 99% during the test cycle when approximately 100
users are logged on to each compute host.
The Management host in the cluster runs the vSphere and XenDesktop management virtual
machines and a Nutanix CVM virtual machine. Its CPU utilization is significantly lower than the
compute hosts in the cluster. The CPU utilization for the management host does not exceed 15% at
any point in the test cycle.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
CPU Utilization
100
90
80
70
60
Management
50
Compute A
40
Compute B
30
CPU Threshold 85%
20
10
20:45
20:35
20:25
20:15
20:05
19:55
19:45
19:35
19:25
19:15
19:05
18:55
18:45
18:35
0
In regards to memory consumption for the cluster, out of a total of 512 GB available memory per
node there were no constraints for any of the hosts. The Compute Hosts reached a max memory
consumption of 313 GB with active memory usage reaching a max of 90GB. There was no memory
ballooning or swapping.
Consumed Memory
350
300
250
200
Management
150
Compute A
100
Compute B
50
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
20:45
20:35
20:25
20:15
20:05
19:55
19:45
19:35
19:25
19:15
19:05
18:55
18:45
18:35
0
Active Memory
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Management
Compute A
20:45
20:35
20:25
20:15
20:05
19:55
19:45
19:35
19:25
19:15
19:05
18:55
18:45
18:35
Compute B
Network bandwidth is not an issue on this solution with a steady state peak of approximately
146,000 Kbps.
Network Kbps
160000
140000
120000
100000
Management
80000
60000
Compute A
40000
Compute B
20000
20:45
20:35
20:25
20:15
20:05
19:55
19:45
19:35
19:25
19:15
19:05
18:55
18:45
18:35
0
The Nutanix Cluster IOPS figures taken from the Nutanix Web Console showed that the cluster
reached a maximum of 1,532 Disk IOPS during the test run with the Management node having the
lowest disk IOPS of the three nodes. The activity spike in the graph after steady state peak shows
the user logoffs taking place at the end of the test cycle.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
The Login VSI Max user experience score for this test indicates that the VSI Max score not reached
so there should have been little deterioration of user experience during testing.
Notes:

As indicated above, the CPU graphs do not take into account the extra 10% of CPU
resources available through the 2690v3’s turbo feature.

Subjective user experience showed mouse movement and window response times when
clicking within a running session during steady state were good. Video playback while
somewhat slow was still acceptable.

User login times were consistent up until the final few sessions were launching when a few
session took some extra time to login.

512 GB of memory installed on each node is more than enough for this configuration and
should run equally well with less memory installed.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
B5 Configuration, ESXi/XenDesktop MCS + XenApp, 290 User Test, Heavy Workload
The architecture for this solution includes a dedicated management host and two compute hosts.
Each of the compute hosts was populated with 5 RDS session host virtual machines running
Windows Server 2012 R2 and one Nutanix CVM per host. Each session host vm was allocated 32GB
of RAM and 8vCPU’s.
The Nutanix CVM’s took up approximately 4% of the compute hosts CPU Usage at the start of the
test run.
This chart does not include the additional 10% of CPU available from the Turbo boost feature.
Without the inclusion there is a total of 62380 MHz available for Desktops, with Turbo boost the
total available MHz value is 68168 MHz.
The below graph shows the performance data for 145 user sessions per host on a pair of Compute
hosts. The CPU reaches a steady state peak of 97% during the test cycle when approximately 145
users are logged on to each compute host.
The Management host in the cluster runs the vSphere and XenDesktop management virtual
machines and a Nutanix CVM virtual machine. Its CPU utilization is significantly lower than the
compute hosts in the cluster. The CPU utilization for the management host does not exceed 11% at
any point in the test cycle.
CPU Utilization
100
90
80
70
60
Management
50
Compute A
40
Compute B
30
CPU Threshold 85%
20
10
12:40
12:50
13:00
13:10
13:20
13:30
13:40
13:50
14:00
14:10
14:20
14:30
14:40
14:50
15:00
15:10
15:20
15:30
0
In regards to memory consumption for the cluster, out of a total of 512 GB available memory per
node there were no constraints for any of the hosts. The Compute Hosts reached a max memory
consumption of 109 GB with active memory usage reaching a max of 50GB. There was no
memory ballooning or swapping.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
12:40
12:50
13:00
13:10
13:20
13:30
13:40
13:50
14:00
14:10
14:20
14:30
14:40
14:50
15:00
15:10
15:20
15:30
12:40
12:50
13:00
13:10
13:20
13:30
13:40
13:50
14:00
14:10
14:20
14:30
14:40
14:50
15:00
15:10
15:20
15:30
Consumed Memory
120
100
80
60
Management
40
Compute A
Compute B
20
0
Active Memory
60
50
40
30
Management
20
Compute A
10
Compute B
0
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Network bandwidth is not an issue on this solution with a steady state peak of approximately
79,000 Kbps.
Network Kbps
90000
80000
70000
60000
50000
Management
40000
Compute A
30000
Compute B
20000
10000
12:40
12:50
13:00
13:10
13:20
13:30
13:40
13:50
14:00
14:10
14:20
14:30
14:40
14:50
15:00
15:10
15:20
15:30
0
Monitoring of a single sample XenApp session host showed that its processor reached a maximum
of 87% during the test run.
RDSH Host VM CPU
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
12:36
12:46
12:56
13:06
13:16
13:26
13:36
13:46
13:56
14:06
14:16
14:26
14:36
14:46
14:56
15:06
15:16
15:26
15:36
CPU
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
The Nutanix Cluster IOPS figures taken from the Nutanix Web Console showed that the cluster
reached a maximum of 1,297 Disk IOPS during the test run with the Management node having the
lowest disk IOPS of the three nodes.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
The Login VSI Max user experience score for this test indicates that the VSI Max score not reached
so there should have been little deterioration of user experience during testing.
Notes:

As indicated above, the CPU graphs do not take into account the extra 10% of CPU
resources available through the 2690v3’s turbo feature.

Subjective user experience showed mouse movement and window response times when
clicking within a running session during steady state were good. Video playback quality was
good.

User login times were consistent up until the final few sessions were launching when a few
session took some extra time to login.
512 GB of memory installed on each node is more than enough for this configuration and should
run equally well with less memory installed.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
Acknowledgements
Thanks to Dwayne Lessner and Steven Poitras of the Nutanix Engineering team for the technical
detail presented in section 2.2 of this document.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
About the Authors
Peter Fine is the Sr. Principal Solutions Architect for enterprise VDI solutions at Dell. Peter has
extensive experience and expertise on the broader Microsoft, Citrix and VMware solutions software
stacks as well as in enterprise virtualization, storage, networking and enterprise data center design.
Rick Biedler is the Solutions Development Manager for Datacenter appliances at Dell, managing the
development and delivery of Enterprise class Desktop virtualization solutions based on Dell
datacenter components and core virtualization platforms.
Paul Wynne is a Principal Engineer within the Cloud Client Computing team at Dell. Paul has over
10 years’ experience architecting and supporting VMware, Microsoft & Citrix technologies on a
range of Enterprise Storage, Switching and Server technologies.
Andrew Breedy is a staff engineer working in the Dell-Wyse Datacenter engineering group. Andrew
has extensive experience in server hardware and on Microsoft and VMWare virtualization solutions
as well as a background in engineering test processes and performance analysis and
characterization.
Manish Chacko is the Sr. Technical Marketing Advisor for Citrix-based solutions at Dell. Before
writing about technology, Manish spent time designing, implementing and supporting technologyin IT, Systems Engineering & Network Performance & Monitoring. Manish was a long-time Dell
customer and advocate before becoming a Dell employee.
Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance for Citrix® XenDesktop® | v.7
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