The Ask the Architect email inbox is getting quite large and I’ve received some great questions. I thought I would answer a question around the small-medium business (SMB) space, as it relates directly to a recently delivered Virtual Desktops for the SMB TechTalk and the reference design included within the XenDesktop Design Handbook.
Namely, the SMB white paper focuses on use cases of 200-500 desktops, but what if you only have 50-100 desktops? Do you need all of the servers? Yes in that you will need the components if you plan to do single images but no you won’t need all of the physical hardware. For example, in the reference design, there were the following infrastructure components:
- XenDesktop Controller/Web Interface (*2)
- Data Store/License Server
- Provisioning Server (*2)
- NetScaler VPX (*2)
Of course all of these are virtual servers. If we are talking about 50-100 desktops, one virtual server could easily contain items 1, 2, and 3. Ideally, you would have a second VM, on a different physical server, which would contain 1 and 3 to allow you to have some level of fault tolerance (this is a decision you have to figure out). If you don’t need intelligent load balancing, remove the NetScaler VPX. Even if you need secure remote access, you could either get an Access Gateway virtual appliance or run Secure Gateway.
Once that is done, just distribute your windows desktops across the remaining servers.
It basically comes down to this… Nothing is preventing you from putting all of these items on one virtual server. If you are sub-100 desktops, that might be the best way to go to better consolidation. If it was me, I would still follow the guidelines in the TechTalk and white paper as making these separate VMs. You still get consolidation but have greater flexibility for potential future changes and can better optimize the OS for the role it is being asked to do.
Daniel – Lead Architect