“We must support a mobile workforce.” “Our users insist we embrace a bring-your-own-desktop (BYOD) initiative.” “We must secure our data in the datacenter!” Just about everyone in IT is faced with one or more of these challenges.
So far, the silver bullet solution has been to build a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or, more recently, to move workloads into the cloud. But, for all its advantages in security, power savings, and centralized management, VDI poses challenges of its own.
To IT, VDI poses the challenge of complexity. Standing up and managing VDI is a full-time job, requiring specialized skills and training. To organizations, VDI poses the challenge of cost. Not only do you need to acquire sufficient compute and storage hardware, you need to purchase additional software to manage VDI, raising the price tag even higher.
The biggest challenge, however, is posed to the end user. You can host your VDI on powerful hardware and provide your end users with a high performance display protocol, but sometimes you just can’t overcome the performance hurdles for end users that require a graphic-rich experience.
What if you have users that require the power of a workstation, or the graphics of a dedicated GPU? How do you reap the benefits of VDI, while still giving these users the experience they need?
Easy, take the “V” out of VDI.
What is a Hosted Desktop Infrastructure?
Plain and simple, a Hosted Desktop Infrastructure, or HDI, consists of Windows and Linux desktops running on enterprise hardware that is located in the datacenter, instead of under or on the user’s desk.
Any HDI solution provides data security, moving data off of the user’s end point and into the datacenter. Depending on the route you take to implement your HDI, you can reap even more benefits, such as power savings, shared application usage, and centralized management of user assignments to desktops.
Choosing how you implement HDI depends on your end users’ needs.
Hosting Workstations in the Datacenter
Some applications and users require significant power. In these cases, build your HDI using high-power workstations, such as those available from HP, Dell, or Amulet Hotkey. By pairing the remote workstation with a high-performance display protocol, such as HP RGS or Teradici PCoIP, you can ensure that users get at-their-desk performance for applications that run in the data center.
In some cases, the performance may even be better. Often, the data for complex applications is hosted on separate servers that are already located in the data center. By moving the workstation into the data center, as well, you shorten the path between the application and its data.
Of course, workstations can be pricey. To mitigate the cost, incorporate a connection broker into your HDI solution. A connection broker manages user assignments and connections to resources in the data center. It allows you to pool your workstation resources, sharing workstations between users to maximize resource utilization.
Do you have users who like to log into a workstation, kick off a calculation, and then go home? Do they always remember to log out the next day? If that sounds like a familiar scenario, a connection broker is for you. It monitors the user’s session, allowing you to disconnect idle sessions or automatically log out users.
HP Moonshot Systems
Some applications and users require less power, but still desire the performance and persistence of dedicated hardware. For these users, try out an HP Moonshot System.
The HP Moonshot System infrastructure is designed to address speed and scale. It provides a variety of servers, which HP designates as cartridges, which are purpose built for different workloads. For HDI workloads, the HP Moonshot System uses the HP ProLiant m700 Server Cartridge.
The HP ProLiant m700 Server Cartridge features four AMD Opteron X2150 APUs for hosted desktop infrastructure workloads. Because each user has an independent CPU, NIC, RAM, SSD storage, and GPU, the high-density HP Moonshot System delivers a fully functional PC desktop experience to each user. Users enjoy consistent, reliable performance and high-quality service running varied individual workloads.
As when hosting workstations, you’ll need to connect users to their HP Moonshot System desktop using a high-performance display protocol, such as HP RGS, and consider integrating a connection broker to improve end-user access.
No matter what solution you go with, the key is to give your end users the resources and power they need. That may mean HDI, it may mean VDI, and it may even mean implementing both. Learn more about all of your options, then build the data center that works best for you.