VDI

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series 10ZiG 5818v Review

In this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the all new 10ZiG 5818v Thin Client.

Recently released and coming with Intel Atom D2550 CPU this thin client sets its self apart from others with the introduction of Windows Embedded 8 (WE8).

WE8 is essentially a cut down version of Windows 8 that is focused on devices that have limited storage space and are designed to fill a single role (like digital signage players, connectivity to Remote Desktop Services Farms and connectivity to VDI like Citrix VDI-in-a-Box).

Through this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the hardware of the thin client, the WE8 operating system including the tweaks 10ZiG have made to it as well as the performance of the thin client when connected to VDI sessions.

After unboxing and powering on my first impressions of the 5818v have been very positive particularly around

  • UEFI boot with a boot time of around 25s
  • The low power consumption
  • The array of ports
  • The robustness of design

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As anyone who reads my blog knows I am a strong advocate for VDI techonlogies particulary Citrix VDI-in-a-Box which has the key advantage of being able to use local storage (which is great for SSDs!).

As part of this I’m now happy to report that Citrix has used my old workplace (a medium secondary school in Oxfordshire) as a case study site and that the case study can be seen here.

Even in this modern world of HTML5 there is still a very strong case for Flash Video playback (after all its still the option of choice on YouTube), the only problem is when you play flash video inside a Virtual Desktop session (VDI) the servers CPU can quickly be chewed up and so ruin the experience for everyone.

The simple fix here is to use Citrix HDX Flash redirection and a compatible thin client like the 10ZiG 8848c (Linux powered) or any number of the Windows Embedded Standard options out there.
In this situation the flash video is rendered on the thin clients processor and with more powerful (but power efficant) CPUs becoming available in thin clients all the time you can expect a nice smooth video playback on your endpoint device without hammering the servers CPU.

A little while ago the guys at Axel let me borrow one of their M80 thin clients to try out with Citrix VDI-in-a-Box and also Microsoft RDS (Server 2008 R2) and I’m happy to say I can easily see this as a good thin client to use in the office although I have my reservations about use in classroom.

This review takes a look at some things that wern’t in the video (also makes some corrections to the video) and should help to give you a better overview of what the Axel M80 thin client can do. Continue reading

One of the wonderful things about Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V is that any driver that was written for Windows 7 will also run in Server 2008 R2! As such its very easy to take any Window 7 compatible PC (with a processor that can do hardware assisted virtualization like the AMD A and FX series) and turn it into a Citrix VDI-in-a-Box proof of concept (POC).

In the video below you can see me doing just that with a HP 6465b notebook (AMD A6 powered) which has been enhanced with a OCZ Agility 3 SSD.

Read on as well for a list of parts that cost less than £265 (exVAT)  that you could use to run your own proof of concept for 3-4 VDI users! Continue reading

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

Currently our VDI setup is only used in the Library and so we very rarely max out the usage on our server, however ealier today I spotted that we had 19 of our 20 VDI clients in use, by in use thats students logged in actively engaging with their computers.

I couldn’t resist checking up on the performance stats and shall we say………WOW……….less than 0.4 on the disk que length at all times and the response time never went above 2ms during average use (about 12-36MB/s) and only hit 9ms when the IO bursted to 84MB/s!

Screen shots can be seen below-

As promised to those that came along to the recent VDI Demo Day the PowerPoint slides are below with the video playlist above.

  1 - Intro Slides (583.2 KiB, 456 hits)

  3 - Fitzharrys School - Presentation (1.2 MiB, 778 hits)

  5 - App-V - Presentation (531.1 KiB, 517 hits)

The day covered a wide range of topics from how to setup a Citrix VDI-in-a-Box proof of concept, the options for thin clients from 10zig and how to take things one step further with Application Virtulisation through App-V.

I feel that the day was quite the success with 20 people from 16 schools attending, not only did we have people from our county of Oxfordshire come along but also as far as Bedfordshire and London.

Either way now its back to work, after all this backup server and Lync phones won’t set up themselves!

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

One of the great things about VDI is the ability to create a ‘golden image’, that’s one single image that includes the OS and Software which can be accessed from any endpoint. Whatever VDI software you go with will then take that golden image and duplicate it multiple times to provide the desktops for your users.

However this masse creation of desktops can cause a bit of a IO overload…..one problem of many that a SSD can solve….

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This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

In this series I am going to be looking at how PCI-E SSDs can be used with VDI, I’ll be covering the hardware in use, the user experience and also why I believe PCI-E SSDs to be the best option to get your virtual desktops running as fast as possible. Continue reading