Virtual Desktop Platform Shootout, Part 1 of 4

Other Related Blog Posts: 2 of 4; 3 of 4; 4 of 4

Author:  Jamie Engelhard, CTO
Contributor:  Michael Rocchino, IT Support Specialist

Engelhard CTO


Earlier this year a large Philadelphia based law firm engaged Helient to help them identify the optimal solution for a planned 1500-user virtual desktop deployment across their 21 offices worldwide. Faced with an aging fleet of desktop PCs and with an eye toward future upgrades to Office and Windows, the firm has made a strategic decision to virtualize their next-generation desktops. Recognizing the importance of a highly scalable and flexible platform to host their Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and averse to making additional investments in legacy solutions, the firm wanted to take full advantage of Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) capabilities to future-proof their solution. Due to the size and critical nature of these investments, as well as the progressive position they would be taking on an emerging technology solution, the firm wanted to be absolutely sure they made well informed decisions throughout the process, starting with vendor selection. Based on our established expertise in these two key areas, Helient was selected to evaluate the two market-leading competitors in both the hyper-converged infrastructure arena and the VDI software space.

Over the next few weeks, this multi-part blog series will detail the products that comprised our test environment, outline our testing methods, and present a summary of our findings. Our analysis will be divided into two parts, which aligns with the project’s two distinct phases:

Phase 1: Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 vs. VMware Horizon 6

Our first published results will focus on the application performance and desktop density achievable using the latest versions of the two industry leading products in the VDI marketplace: Citrix XenDesktop and VMware Horizon. Helient used Login Virtual Session Indexer (Login VSI) to launch and measure the relative performance of hundreds of simultaneous VDI sessions in both of these platforms. Login VSI has become the industry standard to evaluate and validate virtual desktop performance and scalability, and we leveraged it here to perform highly normalized load testing and a detailed analysis of bandwidth utilization and desktop density. In addition, we put both solutions through timed trials for boot storm performance and measured the impact on identical hosting infrastructure throughout all tests.

Phase 2: Nutanix vs. VMware EVO:RAIL

Second, we will provide a comparison between the potential candidates for hosting the Virtual Desktop Machines (VDMs) and directly related servers. For this phase, we will report on the performance of two competing hyper-converged SDDC solutions: VMware’s EVO:RAIL and Nutanix’s Virtual Computing Platform. The project objective in this case was to determine the maximum achievable desktop count on a representative unit of each solution using a common desktop image, as measured by Login VSI.

We hope you are as excited to hear the results of our shootout as we are to bring them to you! Check back next week for our second installment, in which we will describe the testing environment in detail and discuss exactly what is meant by the term hyper-converged as applies to virtualization infrastructure.

Other Related Blog Posts: 2 of 43 of 44 of 4

Jamie Engelhard, CTO – Helient Systems LLCJamie is an industry leading systems architect, business analyst, and hands-on systems engineer. As one of the founding partners of Helient Systems, Jamie brings an immense range of IT knowledge and focuses on several key areas such as architecting fully redundant Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solutions, Application integration and management, Document Management Systems, Microsoft Networking, Load Testing and end-user experience optimization. Jamie has provided technical, sales, and operational leadership to several consulting firms and scores of clients over his 20 year career in IT. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact