Documenting a virtualization project

Experiences in Virtualization

Posts Tagged ‘outsourcing’

VDI: First connection

Posted by martijnl on May 9, 2007

Today we made the first connection through the Leostream Connection Broker from a workstation in Mumbai to a Virtual Desktop in The Netherlands. The desktop was correctly assigned and the user could log into it.

Other connections fail however so more checks will be necessary but seeing it work for the first time was great.


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VDI project is on the move

Posted by martijnl on March 23, 2007

Since the last update on February 8th a lot of progress has been made and we now have an almost functional VDI environment for our offshore development work in Mumbai, India and we already have interest from different other parts of the organization to implement this for their outsourced or offshore/nearshore projects (Spain and two major Dutch clients).

The VDI cluster of two HP DL585’s is up & running with ESX3 and 125 VDI seats. The VM’s themselves are running on a 2TB dedicated allocation in the EMC Clariion SAN. After assigning key users both in Holland and in India the templates for the various expertises (Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Software Testing) have been made and approved by the process managers in Holland and India.

The modelling for the templates varies, some expertise areas like Software Testing have created one template for all users, some expertises have created templates on a per project base (MS, Java). For this last group a process was created for template lifecycle management. Basically, we deploy a standard expertise template in a “staging” area, the projectleader takes care of bringing the template up to project standard, the template is stored in the library and the projectmembers are tagged to this template. At the end of the project the template is “degraded” to the template archive.

Leostream logoOn the Leostream side all went well, 75 seats of the Connection Broker were ordered directly via the Leostream site, and the correct license key was mailed the next working day. Configuration was pretty straightforward with only one issue. This related to putting the virtual desktop to suspend state after a users logs off. This was solved in an update of the software, a proces which is easy to do, backing up the configuration in one file is also a nice feature.

In Leostream Active Directory group membership (one group in AD for each expertise) is matched againt a Leostream policy, only one match possible. Within Leostream groups of VD’s receive a “tag” which can be linked to the policy and a policy can hold multiple tags. With this we can assign users to multiple types of VD’s (for instance if someone is working on multiple projects or cross-competence) by simply adding the tag to the policy and without extra fiddling in the Active Directory. After the users

logs in at the VDI site, they can choose a VD from a list which is controlled by their policy/tag settings and after that they receive a .rdp file which they can open with Remote Desktop from their own desktop. We however decided to use the Leostream Connect Tool which has to be installed at the physical desktop of the user. With this the user simply starts the tool, fills in his credentials and Leostream automatically picks a VD from the user’s available group of VD’s, creates the correct .rdp file, starts the VD and performs the user logon via Remote Desktop and suspends the VD after user logoff.

So basically all configuration on the cluster, Leostream and the templates is finished, we are now focussing on completing documentation, test plan and most of all, waiting on the 20Mb NL-Mumbai connection to be delivered. We had some unexpected delays due to a relocation of the development center to a different building on the same compound without our knowledge. As this specific building is off-net (no fiber coming into the building), so an extra fibre extension was required.

So, we still love VMware and VDI 😉

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VDI progress

Posted by martijnl on February 8, 2007

In my last post in January I wrote about the VMWare VDI project that got an OK to go ahead as planned. The progress has been slow mostly because of the leadtime that the long distance broadband connection to our development center in India has.

The two servers that we will begin with (more of the same HP DL585’s) will arrive next week and will take the place of the G1 585’s that we started our virtualization project with. The G1 machines are the ones where we will begin our VDI implementation with.

We are currently in a trial with the Leostream Connection Broker and I hope I can write more about the results of that trial next week. The project currently has one engineer full time working on the Leostream trial and making preparations for the production of the VDI templates. Ideally we want to use Microsoft Active Directory groups to distinguish between the different VDI users so assigning a VDI to a user will be automatic and the number of templates can be limited. At the moment it’s looking like we will end up with about 5 different templates for the different employee types (Java developer, Java architect, Microsoft .Net developer, Microsoft .Net architect and general Project Lead).

Through the Virtual Desktops these developers will get access to our internal development environments. The advantage of which will be that we only have one development environment to manage (thus avoiding potentially costly errors because of version differences  in development and testing systems) and we can centrally manage the access from the third party into our network infrastructure.

The disadvantage is mostly cost related as the necessary bandwith is not cheap, especially on the India side. Another disadvantage is the lack of all-around (publicised) knowledge about these types of implementations.

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Server Based Computing for outsourced development

Posted by martijnl on October 20, 2006

Leostream and VMWare have a very interesting recording of a recent webinar about using VDI in Outsourced Development scenario’s. We are looking into such a situation ourselves for an offshore development center and I got a lot of practical information about Leostreams Virtual Desktop Connection Broker and implementing VDI for an offshore scenario.

If this case flies the implementation of our VDI will ofcourse also end up here. Expect something in the next few weeks.

The webinar can be found through Leostream’s website: I don’t know how long this will stay but a direct link is this: webinar recording @ VMware.

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