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OmniCube - Businessforum.fi
OmniCube™
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop 7
Reference Architecture
Date: November 17, 2014
SimpliVity™ and OmniCube™ are trademarks of SimpliVity Corporation.
All trademarks and registered trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. Information
in this document is subject to change without notification.
Reproduction in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of SimpliVity is strictly forbidden.
© SimpliVity Corporation 2014
Publication Date: 11/17/2014
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SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
1
Introduction and Executive Summary................................................................................................... 4
2
SimpliVity Overview .............................................................................................................................. 6
3
2.1
The Best of Both Worlds ............................................................................................................... 6
2.2
Technology Overview.................................................................................................................... 6
2.2.1
OmniStackTM .......................................................................................................................... 6
2.2.2
Core Innovations ................................................................................................................... 8
2.2.3
Data Virtualization – Driving VDI Data Efficiency and Performance ................................... 10
SimpliVity OmniCube Reference Architecture for Citrix XenDesktop 7.............................................. 11
3.1.1
Reference Architecture ....................................................................................................... 11
3.1.2
Why run Citrix XenDesktop on SimpliVity? ......................................................................... 13
3.1.3
XenDesktop recommended VDI model and total model range .......................................... 13
4
Customer Case Studies........................................................................................................................ 13
5
Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... 14
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
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1 Introduction and Executive Summary
SimpliVity has solved the problems IT organizations typically face when deploying Virtual Desktop
Infrastructure (VDI).
The proposed advantages of VDI and the value offered from centralized management of desktop images
throughout an organization were unfortunately often outweighed by the associated costs and
complexity.
Early VDI implementations were plagued by:
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Boot storms. It’s that moment at 9 a.m. when every employee fires up their desktop at the
same time, causing long load times for employees and performance degradation for other
applications sharing the infrastructure.
Siloed infrastructure. VDI consumes CPU, RAM and IO resources, and doesn’t leave enough
resources for critical applications, forcing VDI to move to its own silo.
Data Protection. It’s often too costly, in terms of legacy server and storage infrastructure and
Wide Area Network (WAN) bandwidth, to provide the same levels of protection to VDI as
supplied to critical applications.
Poor User Experience. Employees grew accustomed to the level of performance and control on
physical desktops. Early VDI implementations were almost exclusively linked-clone as persistent
desktops were too expensive.
What is the root cause? Cost.
The high cost of infrastructure needed to support the new VDI projects quickly cancelled out the cost
benefits of desktop administration. Storage often reached 60% or more of the cost of desktop
virtualization implementations.
According to Gartner, “Businesses have been quick to discover the benefits of virtual desktops but have
been slow to adopt the technology due to the overwhelming cost. Although license costs are fixed, other
costs, such as for storage, servers, endpoint clients, and networking hardware, are flexible. To reduce
the high cost of desktop virtualization, Gartner challenges organizations to look outside of the
technologies that they have been using for years in server virtualization and instead look into emerging
technologies that seek to change the cost model.”1
With SimpliVity, the cost-benefit scales start to tip in favor of VDI.
1
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Gartner. “Attacking the High Costs of Desktop Virtualization.” 2012. Presentation.
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
SimpliVity’s OmniCube is the industry’s first and only globally federated and hyperconverged
infrastructure solution. Designed and optimized for virtualized environments, OmniCube is a 2U rackmounted building block that delivers server, storage, and networking services. In addition, a complete
set of advanced functionality enables dramatic improvements to the management, protection, and
performance of virtual workloads—all at a fraction of the cost and extreme reduction in complexity
compared to today’s traditional infrastructure stack.
OmniCube provides an optimal platform for VDI because it:
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Eliminates boot storms. OmniCube provides inline deduplication, compression and optimization
of all data at inception, once and forever, which eliminates IOPS as redundant data is never
written to disk. Critical IO resources are reserved for desktops and applications, which prevents
boot storms.
Consolidates siloed infrastructure. OmniCube provides the perfect platform for data center
consolidation, merging the infrastructure, management screens and operations of all critical IT
applications, including VDI.
Integrates Data Protection. VDI no longer needs to be relegated to “second class citizen” status
in the data center. You can commit to, and fulfill, SLAs to the business while improving RTOs and
RPOs for VDI.
Improves User Experience. Persistent desktops are the preferred choice by users and the
technology most likely to be embraced as it most closely resembles the physical desktops of the
past. OmniCube’s inline deduplication, compression, and optimization is that “emerging
technology” that changes the cost model, making persistent desktops a reality.
SimpliVity’s OmniCube is the perfect solution to deliver VDI with the user experience customers expect
and at the cost that you require.
In this paper, SimpliVity will demonstrate its reference architecture with Citrix XenDesktop 7.
Citrix XenDesktop is a desktop virtualization solution to automatically deploy and broker virtual desktops
within the datacenter, based on top of VMware vSphere infrastructure. SimpliVity’s OmniCube is fully
certified through Citrix to work optimally with XenDesktop versions 5.0, 5.5, and 7 (see
http://www.citrix.com/ready/en/simplivity/omnicube ).
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
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2 SimpliVity Overview
2.1 The Best of Both Worlds
SimpliVity was founded in 2009 with a mission to simplify IT.
SimpliVity’s intention has been to deliver to customers the best of both worlds:
 x86 Cloud Economics
 Enterprise Capabilities
o High Performance
o Data Protection
o Data Efficiency
o Global Unified Management
On one hand, enterprise customers are asking for the “economics of the cloud.” Specifically, they are
looking for commodity hardware, provided in a pay-as-you-grow model, enabling greater agility to keep
pace with business demands. However, on the other hand, customers are not willing to sacrifice the
enterprise capabilities that their critical applications require. Applications like VDI require performance,
protection, efficiency and global unified management.
Only SimpliVity can offer the best of both worlds: x86 cloud economics with enterprise capabilities.
2.2 Technology Overview
2.2.1 OmniStackTM
With the goal of Simplifying IT via the Best of Both Worlds in mind, SimpliVity developed its
revolutionary OmniStackTM technology.
SimpliVity’s solution is the revolutionary hyperconverged platform—a scalable, modular, 2U building
block of x86 resources that offers all the functionality of traditional IT infrastructure in one device. It is
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SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
an all-in-one, IT infrastructure platform that includes storage, compute, networking, hypervisor, real-time
deduplication, compression, and optimization along with powerful data management, data protection, and
disaster recovery capabilities.
SimpliVity’s hyperconverged platform includes three fundamental elements:
1. OmniStack, the foundational software, delivers the critical enterprise capabilities: performance,
data efficiency, data protection, and global unified management.
2. The OmniStack Accelerator Card is a PCIe card with an FPGA and NVRAM, protected with super
capacitors. It provides data processing at near-wire speeds, delivering enterprise-class
performance and reduced latency by deduplicating, compressing and optimizing all data inline,
at inception, once and forever.
3. The hardware platform. Today, SimpliVity technology is delivered in two form factors:
a. OmniCube is an elegant 2U building block based on x86 industry-standard systems
containing compute, memory, SSDs, HDDs, and 10GbE interfaces that can be clustered in
an efficient scale-out manner.
OmniCube Technical Diagram:
b. Cisco UCS: At VMworld San Francisco in August, 2014, SimpliVity and Cisco announced a
new joint partnership and solution, leveraging SimpliVity’s software and Accelerator Card
and Cisco’s server UCS platform.
The benefits delivered by this framework include performance acceleration by eliminating redundant IOPS,
capacity optimization, and WAN optimization through the deletion of redundant data sent between data
centers and remote offices. The solution delivers x86 cloud economics with Enterprise-class functionality.
SimpliVity refers to this level integration as Hyperconvergence (3.0)
The solution is designed for high availability with no single point of failure. By combining the powerful
capabilities in a scalable IT building block and leveraging the pool of resources, SimpliVity provides dramatic
improvements in economics and IT simplification when compared to legacy solutions.
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
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2.2.2 Core Innovations
OmniCube and OmniStack-powered solutions encompass three core innovations that fundamentally solve
the Data Problem in today’s datacenters.
1. Data Virtualization Platform
The core technology that performs inline data deduplication, compression, and optimization* on all
data at inception across all phases of the data lifecycle (primary, backup, WAN, archive, and on the
cloud), across all tiers within a system (DRAM, Flash/SSD, and HDD), all handled with fine data
granularity of just 4KB-8KB.
a. Reduce IOPS to SSD/flash or HDD
b. Reduce capacity and associated space and power
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SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
c. Enablement of global mobility of VMs and data, at a fraction of the time and cost
d. *Optimization: technology that strips the data of overhead that is injected by the Operating
System and the Virtualization stack (for example, the vSwap file), thus contributing to the
efficiency of IOPS, storage and WAN transfer.
2. Global Unified Management
An intelligent network of collaborative systems that provides massive scale-out capabilities as well
as VM-centric management through a single unified interface for the entire global infrastructure. A
key differentiator with the OmniCube GUI is that the management interface is fully integrated with
VMware vCenter as a plug-in. A single administrator can manage all aspects of the OmniCube from
within vCenter.
3. Hyperconvergence
A single software stack that combines the functionality of up to 12 different products in one,
running efficiently atop a single shared x86 resource pool and leveraging a commodity server
platform to deliver Enterprise IT. The solution delivers Enterprise functionality, protection and
performance on x86 commodity servers. Our customers are benefiting from 3x TCO savings based
on acquisition cost of IT infrastructure, cost of labor, space, and power. Additionally, a low-cost
10GE network is sufficient in order to run a high performance, high functionality IT.
The result of SimpliVity’s three innovations is the market’s most efficient infrastructure for the modern,
agile datacenter—a globally federated hyperconverged IT platform that enables VM-centric global
management of all VMs, their data, and the underlying infrastructure.
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
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2.2.3 Data Virtualization – Driving VDI Data Efficiency and Performance
SimpliVity’s Data Virtualization Platform is the core technology that performs inline data deduplication,
compression, and optimization on all data, in real-time, at inception, once and forever. It performs these
actions across all phases of the data lifecycle (primary, backup, WAN, archive, and on the cloud), across all
tiers within a system (DRAM, Flash/SSD, and HDD), all handled with fine data granularity of just 4KB-8KB,
and resulting in dramatic performance gains and capacity efficiency for VDI
SimpliVity’s data virtualization platform has several key benefits that address the core requirements of
today’s data center, and which are especially applicable to VDI:
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More efficient use of the SSD storage cache. A deduplication process that operates at the right
point in the data stream can reduce the footprint on the cache, improving overall system-wide
performance and allowing for VDI. Because of VDI’s high commonality, the vast majority of data
is served directly from flash or memory, allowing for a superior user experience for all user
profiles
Dramatic bandwidth reduction on replication between sites. SimpliVity’s deduplication and
compression provides automatic WAN optimization and enormous replication efficiency
meeting or exceeding the capabilities of dedicated WAN optimizer appliances. Deduplicating
and compressing data before it is sent to a remote site makes the transfer itself more efficient
and saves significant bandwidth resources.
Enhanced data mobility. A fundamental principle of server virtualization is the mobility of the
VMs, but coarse-grain data structures significantly block mobility in a traditional infrastructure
environment. When the data is deduplicated, it is easier to move VMs from one server to
another, and it is easier to move data in and out of the cloud for the same reason.
Efficient storage utilization. Required capacity can be reduced 2-3X in standard primary use
cases based on the effective use of deduplication, compression, and optimization. For VDI
workloads, capacity requirements are reduced even further, with VDI platforms on SimpliVity
often seeing 20x-100x data and IOPS reduction.
Dramatically Enhanced performance given that less actual data needs to be written to disk or
read from disk. This is amplified in application environments such as Virtual Desktop
Infrastructure (VDI), where “boot storm” can generate multiple GB of random reads from disk.
With deduplication, compression, and optimization, that can be reduced to tens of MB. Thanks
to inline capacity AND I/O deduplication, SimpliVity can handle massive boot or patch storms
with no impact to overall desktop/application performance
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
3 SimpliVity OmniCube Reference Architecture for Citrix
XenDesktop 7
3.1.1 Reference Architecture
Through a series of detailed and rigorous lab tests, SimpliVity has developed a SimpliVity-validated
Reference Architecture for deploying and running Citrix XenDesktop 7 on OmniCube.
Citrix XenDesktop is a desktop virtualization solution to automatically deploy and broker virtual desktops
within the datacenter, based on top of VMware vSphere infrastructure. SimpliVity’s OmniCube is fully
certified through Citrix to work optimally with XenDesktop versions 5.0, 5.5, and 7 (see
http://www.citrix.com/ready/en/simplivity/omnicube).
To support different worker types, Citrix provides multiple technologies to deploy virtual desktops. Full
Clone virtual desktops are typically used for developer workplaces. Non-persistent desktop pools,
effective for most users not requiring administrator access or application install privileges, are provided
through RDS Session based Desktops.
With Citrix XenDesktop on SimpliVity, you have the flexibility to start small with a single OmniCube and
scale up incrementally. This provides the best of both worlds: start small and grow massively without an
impact to the desktop performance, and without changing architecture or refreshing infrastructure as
you scale. Now, organizations have the flexibility to purchase only the infrastructure they need today
and then scale as-needed, thereby maximizing utilization of IT investments. The new consumption
model (buy only what is needed, pay-as-you-grow) is a drastic change for the better compared to the
past where customers were forced to purchase gear today that they may not need until next year
through the constraints of legacy, monolithic designs.
As a best practice, the overall necessary infrastructure management components (vCenter server, Citrix
servers) will be hosted onto an external OmniCube management cluster.
Management Cluster Reference Architecture:
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
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To guarantee the best user experience, the OmniCube design for full clone, persistent desktops will be
split into different building blocks. A Federation hereby is represented through different vCenter
instances. Due to the amount of synchronous tasks a single vCenter server can support at a given time,
splitting the environment into multiple vCenter datacenters helps to increase those tasks.
Persistent, Full-Clone Desktop Reference Architecture:
RDS Session based desktops – leveraged for non-persistent type of workers – can be created with the
help of Citrix Provisioning Services. To achieve maximum user density in the smallest footprint, 12
OmniCubes per Federation will be deployed, resulting into 2,400 Session based Desktops.
Non-Persistent Session Desktops Cluster Reference Architecture:
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SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
3.1.2 Why run Citrix XenDesktop on SimpliVity?
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Modular incremental scale, pay-as-you-grow, match investments with your needs today, instead
of guessing for the future
Data Virtualization Platform: Inline, fine-grained deduplication and compression at inception of
data maximizes storage efficiency of high-commonality environments like VDI
Integrated into VMware vCenter
High performance – hardware-accelerated inline deduplication vastly increases VDI storage
performance
Business continuity and data protection - VM centric backup capabilities for persistent desktops
3.1.3 XenDesktop recommended VDI model and total model range
SimpliVity has a number of models in the OmniCube family, specifically the CN-2200, CN-3000, and CN5000. Each model has a range of individual scalability including various CPU and memory options. For
the Citrix XenDesktop VDI environments, SimpliVity recommends the CN-2200 model with varying CPU
and memory options depending on the type of desktop (persistent/non-persistent,
standard/performance) required.
4 Customer Case Studies
Town of Newington, Connecticut
The Town of Newington, population of 30,000, is located just south of Hartford, Connecticut. The town’s
dedicated IT team of five provides 24/7/365 services for 21 different departments, including public
safety. The IT department consists of two on-campus data centers, with 200 full-time users and multiple
applications.
SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture
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The local government faced a number of challenges with their legacy storage environment, including
increasing complexity and cost as data grew and VMs proliferated, including Citrix Desktops.
The town deployed SimpliVity to replace all of its existing legacy servers, storage, backup and disaster
recovery solutions. It greatly benefits from the SimpliVity Data Virtualization Platform and Paul Boutot,
CIO for the Town said: “One of the nice things we really liked about the SimpliVity solution was that all
administration is done within VMware’s vCenter.” The Town now runs its Citrix desktops alongside its
critical public safety and other local administrative applications, all on the SimpliVity platform.
https://www.simplivity.com/case-study-town-newington/
MLB Network
The MLB Network, launched on January 1, 2009 in a record-setting 50 million homes, is the ultimate
television destination for baseball fans, featuring the multiple Emmy Award-winning "MLB Tonight," live
regular season and Postseason game telecasts, original programming, highlights, and insights and
analysis from leading baseball experts.
Using the award-winning DIAMOND media asset management system, MLB Network records more than
3,000 hours of content per week. That content is then categorized and catalogued for future use on the
network during its 24/7 programming.
Prior to deploying SimpliVity, MLB Network found the management of multiple solutions and vendors to
be a significant burden in managing not only the DIAMOND system, but also the VDI desktops used to
access this and other enterprise applications.
According to Tab Butler, Director of Media Management and Post Production for MLB Network,
“SimpliVity has enabled us to utilize a collection of tools to develop, manage, and support our in-house
developed asset management system DIAMOND. It provides a highly flexible and reliable platform that
is dynamically scalable to meet our ever growing requirements.”
http://www.techvalidate.com/product-research/simplivity-omnicube/case-studies/A36-068-8A6
5 Conclusion
This paper documents SimpliVity’s validated reference architecture for XenDesktop 7, demonstrating
the benefits of SimpliVity’s OmniCube in enterprise VDI environments.
The SimpliVity OmniCube is the only truly hyperconverged platform on the market and the reference
architecture has successfully demonstrated that it is the perfect platform to run VDI workloads,
delivering the performance, availability, protection, efficiency and protection requirements.
For VDI environments, SimpliVity provides the best of both worlds: x86 cloud economics with enterprise
capabilities.
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SimpliVity OmniCube and Citrix XenDesktop Reference Architecture