Virtualization-Aware Systems Simplify Scalability and Streamline Management for VMware Horizon Desktop-as-a-Service Offering
XtraDesktop is an IT service provider that hosts, deploys, and manages a highly successful VMware Horizon desktop as a service (DaaS) offering. Xtradesktop delivers their service only through a partner channel and makes their partners more successful with this solution. The company was founded in 2013 in The Netherlands, and joined Egroup Investments in 2017. Egroup is the parent company of Uniserver, one of the biggest cloud providers and VMware partners in The Netherlands.
XtraDesktop had originally deployed its DaaS service using Atlantis ILIO—a 100% software solution for optimizing virtual desktops—with Dell EqualLogic storage systems. “We put 100 desktops on each Atlantis ILIO instance,” explained Marco Broeken, Chief Technology Officer at XtraDesktop. “Our biggest challenge with that solution was scalability. Since we were limited by the amount of desktops we could put on each volume, we had to provision another storage appliance every time we added a new partner or group of desktops. The environment became far too complex from a management perspective. Since our company was growing rapidly, we knew it was time to implement a more powerful infrastructure solution that would make it easier to scale and manage our DaaS service.”
Broeken admitted that he didn’t look at any other technology solutions before choosing Tintri. “We always knew that our original solution wouldn’t be able to scale to the size we needed as our business expanded,” Broeken said. “I had been following Tintri for several years, so I already knew that their virtualization-aware storage systems would be perfect for us. We didn’t bother running a POC with any other vendor, since none of the other solutions even came close to the flexibility and manageability of the Tintri systems.”
XtraDesktop purchased a Tintri system for its DaaS production and testing workloads in 2016. After seeing how well the Tintri system performed on those workloads, they purchased another Tintri system to provide additional capacity for a new 2,000 VM environment in 2017.
“Tintri provides deeper insights into all of our VMs, with comprehensive statistics on latency, throughput, and IOPS,” explained Broeken. “By moving to Tintri, we have been able to eliminate the ‘noisy neighbor’ problem when running multiple workloads on the same array, since Tintri’s QoS guarantees that all of our VMs will have enough performance. With full visibility into each VM, we can now troubleshoot any performance issues quite easily. This has improved the quality of service we are delivering to our partners.”
XtraDesktop’s IT team has already deployed 717 VMware Horizon desktops on the Tintri T820 system. The array is running at 56% capacity, and 99.67% of IO is coming from flash with an average latency of only 0.72ms. “We can host 2000 VMs on one Tintri T850 unit,” Broeken reported. “That’s the perfect size for our desktop solution. From a scaling perspective, that means we can deploy a much higher number of desktops without having to make additional investments into new infrastructure. The amount of desktops per rack is exactly the sweet spot for us. Allowing our partners to become more scalable as well.”
Management Simplicity – Easy to manage / Ease of management
“By using Tintri Analytics, we can accurately predict when we’ll run out of capacity, giving us advance notice of when we will need new systems,” noted Broeken. “Our admins can easily learn how to use Tintri with just hands-on experience—we don't need to send them to vendor training sessions to understand the environment. As a result, ongoing management dropped from several hours per week with the previous solution, to nearly zero with Tintri.”
“By moving to Tintri, we are now able to on-board new partners much faster, increasing customer satisfaction.” Broeken said. “With our previous solution, we had to figure out how many customers we could host on a certain storage VM. With Tintri, it's a no-brainer. We developed a block which contains capacity for 2000 VMs. It’s like a blade chassis, with the Tintri below it. We’re now able to quickly scale out on a per-block or POD basis. If we need another 2000 VMs, we simply add another block. We plan to use Tintri for all of our production workloads going forward,” concluded Broeken.
IT Service Provider
VMware Horizon (with View)
Traditional storage: Dell EqualLogic systems
Existing Atlantis ILIO software and Dell EqualLogic storage systems were too complex to manage and difficult to scale
Tintri T820 and T850 storage systems
Primary Use Case
Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering used by nearly a dozen partner companies
Cut the time needed to onboard new partners from weeks to just a few days
Gained the ability to improve DaaS offering with deeper insights into latency, throughput, and IOPS
Enabled fast and easy, linear scalability
Reduced storage management from several hours/week to almost zero