Geek Speak

4 Posts authored by: mindthevirt

The Trouble Of VDI

Posted by mindthevirt May 29, 2015

In my last post, How To Right-Size Your VDI Environment, I gave some insight in how you can right-size your VDI environment and how to validate your VDI master template.

As VDI is gaining a bigger market share and SAN/NAS prices are dropping every year, there are also some problems on the horizon.

The benefits are often obvious and include, but are not limited to:


  • Central management for your entire desktop infrastructure, whether your end-users are located in the U.S. or in Europe.
  • Back and recover capabilities are endless since you can use build-in snapshots to take quick backups of your desktops and restore them within minutes and not hours or days.
  • Save money by reducing your carbon footprint and cut your costs for expensive workstations.
  • Easy and inexpensive way to migrate OS’s. You can easily deploy new desktops for your users with new Operating Systems.


With all the benefits of VDI, there are also some problems associated and you should be aware of them:


  • Not every Antivirus software is optimized for VDI desktops and often Antivirus scans & updates can cause severe performance impacts.
  • Windows license management becomes a nightmare, especially if you dynamically provision desktops.
  • Troubleshooting becomes more difficult since several components are involved which means you’ll often coordinate with other teams e.g. network admin, storage admin, VMware admin.
  • Not every storage solution is optimized or recommendable for VDI use cases. Just because you have a SAN sitting in your basement, doesn’t mean it will be a great solution for your VDI environment.  You should count ~10IOPS per active user.
  • Not all applications can be virtualized


This comprehensive list of benefits and disadvantages when choosing VDI, hopefully helps to you make a better decision as you and your company consider investing and expanding their VDI environment. If you have any questions regarding VDI benchmarking, things to consider or best practice, please post them in the comments below and I will make sure to address them quickly.

Guys, I'm really excited to be part of the Thwack community.


My first post "THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY TO MANAGE VIRTUALIZED SYSTEMS" reached more than 2550 people and my second post reached over 800 people plus a bunch of people who actively participated. This is great sign and shows that you all enjoy being part of this community.


In my previous posts we covered how you are managing your virtualized systems and what features are you using most.


In today's post, I would like to discuss one particular part of your virtual infrastructure, your Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Common questions I come across are, how to right size my VDI infrastructure, how many IOPS will my users generate and should I utilize VMware View Thin Apps or Citrix XenApp. I found the VDI Calculator by Andre Leibovici very helpful.


Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 9.37.38 PM.png


Additionally, I found LoginVSI to be great tool for VDI storage benchmarking and to find out how many VMs you can actually host on your system. I doubt that many of you are using it since it isn’t cheap but if you are using it or you have used it in the past, you know what I’m talking about. This tool fully simulates real VDI workloads and not just some artificial vdbench/sqlio/fio load. Also, VMware View Planner is supposed to be a great tool for benchmarking and right sizing your environment but I haven’t touched it just yet. Have you?

The last tool in my VDI repository is a tool created by the VMware Technical Marketing Group - VMware OS Optimization Tool. I am not going too much in detail here but just click on the VMware OS Optimization Tool and read my blog post about it. It is a great tool, which can be used to create your golden VDI image.


If you know some useful VDI tools or you used the tools, which I’ve mentioned above, please comment and share your experience with us. Let’s make this post a great resource for all VDI admins out there.

In my last post "THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY TO MANAGE VIRTUALIZED SYSTEMS", we talked about what systems are out there and which ones everyone is using. Ecklerwr1, posted a nice chart from VMare which compares VMware vRealize Operations to SolarWinds Virtualization Manager and a few others.



Based on the discussion, it seems like many people are using some kind of software to get things sorted in their virtual environment. In my previous job, I was responsible for parts of the lab infrastructure. We hosted 100+ VMs for customer support, so our employees can reproduce customer issues  or use it for training.


While managing the lab and making sure we have always enough resources available, I found it difficult to identify which VMs have actively been used and which VMs were idle for some time. Another day-to-day activity was to hunt down snapshots which consumed an massive amount of space.

Back then, we wrote some vSphere CLI scripts to get the job done. Not really efficiently but done. However, using SolarWind's Virtuailzation Manger now, I see how easy my life could have been.


My favorite features are the ability to view idle VMs and monitor the VM snapshots disk usage. Both features could have saved me lots of hours in my previous job. 

I am curious to know what features are saving you on a regular basis? Or are there any features, which we are all missing but just don’t know it yet?As Jfrazier mentioned, maybe Virtual Reality Glasses?

Hello Thwack-community,


For the month of May, I will be the Ambassador for the Systems Management Community.


First off, I would like to provide some background about me. My name is Jan Schwoebel and I'm on Twitter as @MindTheVirt and write the blog - Mind The Virtualization. I scored my first job in IT back in 2007 starting out as a junior consultant, managing customer systems and provide decision-making support. Over the last 4+ years I have spent time in technical support positions, specializing in virtualization and storage systems.


Today, I would like to start a discussion with you regarding managing virtualized systems. As the years progress, virtualization has become mainstream and today, many servers and applications are virtualized. An increasing amount of companies are even starting to run 100% of their systems on VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V. The reasons to virtualize 100% of servers and applications, or your whole datacenter, reach from being green and reducing the carbon footprint to ease of deployment of new servers and systems.


However, as it becomes easier to deploy new servers, switches and applications, it becomes more complex to manage all these systems efficiently and be aware of any issues which might arise. Often, we are not aware of how many snapshots a VM has, if we need to run a snapshot consolidation, how scalable the current infrastructure is, or what application is creating a bottleneck. Every other week a new company appears with a product promising to simplify server and data management.


Since, I’m working in technical support, I only hear from customers once it is too late and they hit some issue or limitation. As Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank always says: “There must be a better way”.

Indeed, there must be a better way and I would love to hear from you. What are you doing to avoid support calls? How do you manage your virtualized infrastructure efficiently? What products, workflows and techniques are you using and why?

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