HP ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops with Citrix XenDesktop

Veterans of server based computing and VDI are all too familiar with some of the complexities of buying desktop virtualization. Great strides have been made to simplify the sizing and configuration of desktop virtualization infrastructure, but at the end of the day, when you build and deliver shared resources, you have to think carefully about how those resources will be used and make decisions about how much excess capacity you need to ensure you meet the needs for peak usage.

Of course this isn’t anything new for many IT processes, from email servers to network capacity, IT decision makers and managers of capital and operational budgets are used to the challenge of understanding bottlenecks and distributing resources accordingly. However, desktop purchasers have historically not had this problem. Ever since the rise of the personal computer, end user computing was relatively easy to budget… employees needed a machine at their desk or in their bag and purchasing managers set goals and guidelines for how often those machines needed refreshed. Waiting too long to refresh meant spikes in operational costs as repairs and off-cycle purchases were required, or organizations simply outsourced the PC procurement and management to further smooth the budget cycle.

The distributed nature of PCs, and the management challenges of patching and updates and the vulnerability of having sensitive data lying unsecured on thousands of unmanaged hard drives has left IT looking for a better answer, which brings us right back to centralized desktop virtualization.

The HP ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops with Citrix XenDesktop is a new and unique type of desktop virtualization. Instead of leveraging a hypervisor to abstract the OS from hardware, XenDesktop streams an OS right to bare metal to dedicated microsystems with dedicated CPU, memory and graphics all neatly arranged in a rack mount chassis. This eliminates the overhead and complexity of abstracting the hardware and managing VMs. This also eliminates the system overhead required to share those resources leaving more power for the desktop. All in all, the solution presents a very interesting alternative to VDI.

At the same time, the solution is another great example of the power of FlexCast technology from Citrix. And that power can be seen in the way the FlexCast management infrastructure is designed to promote these innovative solutions that leverage common image management, profile management and app virtualization combined in a common delivery architecture. The unique Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) technology that enables bare metal, just in time OS provisioning gives all the benefits of VDI without hypervisor management.

What makes this solution most interesting is the ease of purchasing and deploying. There is no configuration work required to figure out how much hardware or storage to purchase,  you simply buy as many systems as you need and rack and stack as you grow from the first 180 desktop on up. This alone could make this solution very attractive to organizations desiring the security and management of centralized virtual desktops, but want to avoid the management of virtual infrastructure.