Hi, there! We’re lucky today to have a guest post from Mallik Mahalingham, Founder and CTO, Springpath. He’s going to talk about Springpath’s HCI platform, Cisco and all things Citrix Synergy. Thanks, Mallik! — JL

Hi! As a first time guest blogger on Citrix, I would like to introduce myself. I am one of the founders of Springpath, a next-generation Hyperconvergence software company.

Springpath’s Hyperconverged Data Platform is what powers Cisco’s recently launched Hyperconvergence solution, HyperFlex. You can read more about it here. We are extremely excited to be working with Cisco, helping their customers adopt and deploy hyperconvergence in their datacenters.

Hyperconvergence is all about delivering enterprise class storage services on the same servers that host and run applications, VMs or virtual desktops. The confluence of technologies, such as multi-core CPUs, high-density memory, high-speed networking, low-cost SSDs, reliable distributed systems software techniques and modern file system implementations over the past few years, has made servers a first-class and reliable platform for providing storage services. It replaces the need for traditional storage systems such as dedicated NAS or SAN arrays. In addition, the simplicity of hyperconvergence has made it easy enough for anyone with a basic knowledge of servers and hypervisors to deliver storage services.

Back in 2012, when Springpath was founded, we looked at the early versions of Hyperconverged products entering the market and decided we should build a software platform from the ground up that will be more flexible, efficient, simple and future proof to support innovations like Containers. You can read more about our vision here.

Cisco was looking for an innovative hyperconvergence software vendor for their market leading UCS servers. Cisco picked Springpath and, in March 2016, Cisco launched the ground breaking Hyperconvergence Platform as a separate family of appliances called HyperFlex. We have been blown away by the reception that HyperFlex has been receiving in the market and look forward to making it the market leading Hyperconverged solution.

Cisco has a great partnership with Citrix that goes back many years. The combination of Citrix’s leadership in the end-user computing market and Cisco’s leadership in the datacenter has created the perfect partnership for accelerating the deployment of Hyperconverged infrastructures for desktop and application virtualization.

Cisco HyperFlex is a perfect platform for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, offering the following key benefits.

  1. Start small and grow on demand as you add more users. Perfect for VDI projects that start out as pilots and grow rapidly into thousands of users.
  2. Scale compute-only nodes independently from storage-heavy nodes. The majority of VDI deployments are compute or memory-bound. HyperFlex provides the ability to add disk-less servers or blades to scale virtual desktops, without having to spend on storage capacity, and all under the same management domain.
  3. Leverage fast and space-efficient native VM cloning to rapidly provision hundreds of desktops quickly.
  4. Handle performance demands of boot storms, login storms and virus scans without impacting user experience. HyperFlex’s patent-pending read and write caching algorithms helps absorb IO storms in SSDs.
  5. Lower the cost of storage capacity with always-on data deduplication and compression and help store more desktops per TB of storage than other solutions, without worrying about performance impact.

I can list out many more benefits, but I’ll stop here. Recently, we have been doing significant amount of performance and scale testing using LoginVSI with Cisco HyperFlex and Citrix Xendektop 7.8 using PVS and I am excited to share some early results from it here.

The Setup we used for the testing is as follows:


  • 8 node HX220c (with FI) Cisco HyperFlex Cluster
  • Nexus 9000 Switches

Desktop Software Image profile

  • Standard Windows 7SP1 32 bit
    • Citrix Receiver version number

Software versions (Citrix, etc.)

  • HX cluster running 1.7.1 GA
  • ESX/vCenter 6.0 U1b
  • Citrix XenDesktop 7.8 using PVS
  • Login VSI1.5.115
    • Knowledge worker test profile 

Results from the testing:

Cisco HCI

Figure 1 above shows the IOPS, Throughput and Latency of HyperFlex remained extremely predictable as the number of active sessions increased to 1000. With an average of 200 MBps throughput and ~2msec average latency, the setup is easily able to support 1000 desktops with a Knowledge worker profile.

Cisco HCI

Figure 2 above from the LoginVSI benchmarking tool shows VSIMax was not reached with 1000 knowledge worker desktops. It also shows there is plenty of headroom (VSImax Average vs VSImax threshold) from a response time standpoint. We will be sharing more results from the testing in Cisco Validated Design (CVD) documents but this provides a glimpse into how Cisco HyperFlex can support the most demanding of Citrix XenDesktop VDI environments with superior performance. This combined with the simplicity, ease of use, scalability, and reliability makes Cisco HyperFlex the right HyperConvereged Infrastructure choice for your desktop and app virtualization initiatives.

Please visit Booth #505 and Session #SYN120 at Citrix Synergy to learn more. Thank you for reading.

About Mallik Mahalingam: Mallik brings over 20+ years of experience in building and shipping enterprise system software products from the ground up. Before founding Springpath, he was a principal engineer at VMware, where he led both networking and storage product development for almost a decade—and built high quality enterprise virtualization products. At VMware, he also led ground-breaking industry-wide initiatives such as VXLAN and PCI SR-IOV. Mallik was the face of VMware on guiding VMware Partners and customers on technical matters. Prior to VMware, he held research roles at Hewlett Packard Laboratories and engineering roles at Intel and NetFrame Systems. Mallik was a research associate at IIT Kanpur and has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Madras. He holds over 60 US patents on many system software products.

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