My VMworld SMB VDI Challenge

October 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

With a show as large as VMworld I think it is important to set your agenda and goals prior to attending, as well as the usual networking I have set myself a SMB VDI challenge.

As I find myself working in this space quite often I have decided to use VMworld to gather the thoughts and opinions of as many vendors and attendees that have experience or opinions of VDI specifically with Horizon View in the SMB / SME space.

Whilst there are now a wealth of products on the market that can help you with your VDI deployment sometimes it isn’t clear if these are all applicable to the SMB space, so I am keen to learn what does work and what doesn’t work when you are trying to virtualise your desktops in an SMB / SME environment.

When working in the SMB / SME space, budget is often one of the biggest constraints and this makes the importance of choosing the right components even more important, often solutions that claim the lowest cost per desktop may assume creating a larger amount of desktops than your typical SMB solution. Also making decisions about what is and isn’t really required to make a successful VDI solution are all more imperative.

Below are just some of the questions I will be looking to answer, of course from my own experiences I have my own thoughts on these matters and would love to compare notes, but I am looking to go with a open mind and gather the thoughts of many. I will then be looking to compile a complete SMB / SME VDI resource to share with your all, the must have tips and tricks and an A-Z of the vendors you need to be considering in this area and why.

Example Requirements


100 desktops for a small SMB or as a building block for a larger company. Existing vSphere Essentials + for server virtualisation.


300 desktops for a medium SMB


800 – 1500 desktops for a large SMB / small SME.


SMB VDI projects come in all shapes and sizes, from the smallest sub 100 desktop deployments up to the larger 1000-1500 desktops rollouts. But all of these solutions will tend to start with a proof of concept and a gradual rollout. I am interested to know how people move from proof of concept to full roll out and interested from the vendors how to the deal with scaling deployments.

Assessment and Monitoring

Is it needed? Do you know the tricks of the trade to virtualise hundreds of desktops without assessment? Failing finding this magic trick what are the best tools to use and once your desktops are virtualised how do we ensure there continued success?


I think most people are aware that one of the key components to a successful VDI project is the storage, what does work, what doesn’t work. Is flash a must have and what is the average IOPS per user.


Just how do you manage the user persona? Is View Persona management good enough or is a dedicated persona management solution a must have, if so what product?

Persistent or Non-Persistent

One of the constant debates when it comes to VDI is persistent or non-persistent, I think we would all like to live the non-persistent dream but is it realistic and if it has to be non-persistent what technologies need to be used to enable this, how is patch management managed, how much storage is required? 

Desktop Optimization

Have you got the secret ingredient to optimizing your View Desktops, did you take a step too far?


What is the right recipe for dealing with applications in VDI, installation in the golden image or application virtualisation with View or maybe a hybrid approach?

View Configuration

Just how many View Connection Servers and Security Servers are required, how much memory and CPU do these need in the smallest of deployments, what load balancers will bring these components together?

Thin Clients

Are they all the same, does one product really stand out from another?

Deployment Strategy

I am a big fan of utilising departmental champions to ease the deployment of VDI, but what has and hasn’t worked for you?

So if you are a vendor in this space that would love to tell me about your successes and share your must have white papers, or if you work with SMB’s or for an SMB and want to share your experiences I want to hear from you at VMworld. Likewise if you are just heading down this journey lets catch up and compare notes.

I’m really looking forward to VMworld and I look forward to sharing with you all my findings of my SMB VDI Challenge!

Who’s up for the challenge? Contact me on twitter @virtualisedreal or fill out this form

Vendors Currently on Board

Below is a list of vendors who are up for the challenge and I will be catching with at VMworld.

Name Product VMworld Stand #
Nutanix Converged Storage and Compute G318
Fusion IO NAND Memory and Software Based Storage Solutions S217
Nimble Hybrid Storage Solutions E513
Atlantis ILIO In memory storage technologies S108
Dell Cloud Client Computing Wyse / Dell DVS Solutions D208
SimpliVity’ Building block approach to virtual infrastructures P308

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