How we tested VDI

It's a small office/retail/branch scheme that we found worked simply and was difficult to load down with work in a multi-core desktop server box (we used a dual-core HP media server). The X550 is an old-school idea with a virtualization-controlled twist that may please some organization’s budget needs.

We confined our testing to Windows XP sessions, since Vista is unpopular and Windows 7 is only now trickling into the general population. We tested using three different platforms.

The first platform, our ExtremeLabs cloud, was located in a network operations center (NOC) hosted by nFrame of Carmel, Ind. In the NOC was a switched Gigabit Ethernet platform using an HP DL 580 G5 (32GB, 16 cores), an HP DL585 G5 (32GB 16 cores), as well as a Dell Equallogic iSCSI SAN (4TB), Dell Force 10G Ethernet Switch, Dell R710 Server (32GB eight cores), connected to a Cisco multi-NAP connected infrastructure.

In this platform, we tested products with VMware ESX 3.51, VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V V2, and XenServer 5.5. Servers were connected to the Dell iSCSI SAN through the Force10 switch.

The second platform was a local network-based platform, where we tested NComputing X550, inside of an HP system, as the X550 is a terminal server that hosts a total of 11 users.

The third platform used a Dell server connected in our lab to our switched Gigabit Ethernet network, hosting Hyper-V underneath Windows 2008 Server.

And for Pano Logic, we used a Dell PowerEdge 1950 with 8GB RAM hosting vSphere and vCenter.

We tested provisioning of each product's VMs as well as how the VMs related to any security issues; everything we tested was secured via Active Directory services authentication. We accessed VMs either through another server running Windows XP clients, XP clients in hypervisor mode on laptops, native XP machines, MacBook Pro systems, and Linux Ubuntu 9.10 as hypervised atop MacOS.

The Sychron server was hosted on Sychron-recommended Fedora Core 8 in a virtual machine.

We used connections to various YouTube videos to judge multimedia quality, and used various Windows apps to test perceived latency and responsiveness.

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