Recently, IBM announced availability of the Citrix VDI-in-a-Box solution as a part of IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure solution offerings.
Citrix VDI-in-a-Box is a pre-packaged purpose-built Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) software appliance for small and medium sized businesses and enterprise departments. Its all-in-one design with a shared nothing architecture allows easy and cost-efficient initial deployments as well as supports seamless scalability to meet growing demands.
VDI gives users the freedom to access their desktop applications from any device. It has recently developed traction in the market due to its many benefits, including increased security and reduced Total Cost of Ownership. Companies that offer VDI to their employees reduce the number of desktop applications and licenses they must manage, and subsequently reduce their ongoing operational costs. At the same time, with fewer applications to manage, companies can more tightly control authorized access to the applications, protect corporate data and ensure standards compliance.
Five things to know about IBM solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box are:
1. IBM solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box is based on IBM Reference Architecture
IBM Reference Architecture (RA) defines building block approach to build fully integrated and tested solutions, providing a high degree of flexibility and customization choices. With pre-configured and validated reference design, RA simplifies implementation, helps accelerate ROI, enables clients to deploy with confidence, and offers a more cost-effective and flexible virtual desktop environment for a wide range of customer sizes, user types and industry segments.
2. IBM solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box runs on proven IBM System x servers
The Citrix VDI-in-a-Box can be deployed on IBM System x high performance dual-socket servers, the x3550 M4 and x3650 M4, powered by Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family.
IBM System x servers are developed, quality tested, and certified by IBM, the leading vendor in technology patents for 20 years running, and they are backed by IBM's incomparable worldwide service and support.
IBM System x servers deliver business value over the long term due to advancements in scalability, reliability, and performance, combined with flexible configuration options, energy efficient components, and robust systems management tools.
System x servers are top-ranked by TBR (Q412 Report) for customer satisfaction and top-ranked by ITIC for reliability and uptime (ITIC February 2013 Survey).
System x achieved leadership virtualization performance for TPC-C virtualization as the first x86 server (x3650 M4) to achieve 1M transactions per minute.
3. IBM System x servers are optimized for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box
IBM and Citrix work closely together to test Citrix XenServer hypervisor on selected System x servers, and IBM has a proven track record of customer success with Citrix-based solutions running on these servers.
VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors supported by Citrix VDI-in-a-Box are rigorously tested by IBM through the ServerProven program with IBM System x servers to assure a high degree of confidence in compatibility and reliability.
IBM System x servers can help to support more virtual desktops due to large memory and I/O capacity support.
Integrated IBM Virtual Fabric support combined with IBM System Networking offerings can help to minimize response time and ensure service level agreements for better desktop user experience.
Excellent reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) features provide outstanding uptime for a productive user environment.
On average, a dual-socket IBM System x M4 server can host about 150 virtual desktop sessions. The solution can scale to the thousands of virtual desktops by adding more System x servers.
4. IBM solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box is easy to deploy and manage
Citrix VDI-in-a-Box is delivered as an integrated software appliance which supports most popular and robust virtualization environments such as Citrix XenServer, VMware vSphere, and Microsoft Hyper-V. It is designed to be simple and affordable, and it allows Windows administrators to deploy VDI infrastructure with minimal costs and efforts.
Citrix VDI-in-a-Box appliance includes everything needed for traditional VDI environment: connection broker, desktop provisioning, load balancing, and user profile management. It uses shared nothing architecture to avoid costly storage infrastructure to keep costs optimized.
Citrix VDI-in-a-Box runs on general purpose System x servers with the internal storage, connecting them into a highly available distributed VDI grid.
Centralized management simplifies administration of personal virtual desktops and VDI server farms. Grid architecture automatically performs all synchronization tasks, hiding underlying control processes from the administrators. It also supports policy-based dynamic desktop provisioning deployment tool to reduce time and complexity in configuring a virtual machine.
Achieving high availability is as easy as adding one more server to the VDI infrastructure. Grid architecture automatically replicates configuration and images and performs load balancing across VDI nodes.
5. IBM solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box does not require expensive infrastructure elements
Many traditional VDI implementations require expensive infrastructure elements such as high-performance external shared storage, load balancers, connection brokers, provisioning services, and clustered database servers for scalable and highly available configurations.
Unlike other traditional VDI offerings, Citrix VDI-in-a-Box solution supports built-in connection brokering, provisioning, scalability, and availability features that employ shared-nothing architecture with cost-efficient IBM System x server internal storage.
For more information, refer to the Citrix VDI-in-a-Box on IBM System x solution brief.
Ilya Krutov is an IBM Redbooks Project Leader. He writes books and papers on many topics related to IBM System x, IBM BladeCenter, and IBM Flex System. Follow Ilya on Twitter at @IlyaAtRedbooks.