EMC Infrastructure for Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 (MCS):  VNX (NFS), vSphere™ 5.0, and Citrix Profile Manager 4.1

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Reference Architecture:

This document describes the reference architecture of the EMC Infrastructure for Virtual Desktops enabled by EMC VNX Series (NFS), VMware vSphere 5.1, Citrix XenDesktop 5.6, and Citrix Profile Manager 4.1; tested and validated by the EMC Solutions group.


Key Results and Recommendations: 

EMC VNX FAST Cache provides measurable benefits in a desktop virtualization environment. It not only reduces the response time for both read and write workloads, but also effectively supports more virtual desktops on fewer drives, and greater IOPS density with a lower drive requirement.



Separating personal vDisk storage from desktop storage improves the user experience. The personal vDisk storage workload is more sequential even though the IOPS is higher than desktop storage. Segregating these two workloads by creating two different storage pools improves the LUN response time of the personal vDisk storage and thus improves the user response time.



Log on process in personal vDisk XenDesktop environment takes slightly longer than non-personal vDisk XenDesktop environment. Our testing shows that personal vDisk log on took 17 seconds where as non-personal vDisk environment took only 5 seconds.



Personal vDisk Desktop needs to do additional processing on the IOs so it can be sent to the appropriate storage device. This will increase the CPU utilization on the ESXi server that is hosting the virtual desktops. Our testing shows that during steady state Login VSI testing, the average ESXi CPU utilization on the personal vDisk (32%) environment is about 15%, higher than the non-personal vDisk environment (27%). During a virus scan, the average ESXi CPU utilization in the personal vDisk (20%) environment is twice as high as in the non-personal vDisk environment (10%).


Reference ArchitectureProven Solutions Guide


Original Links:


Originally Published:  May 2012


Documents Attached:

  • Reference Architecture:  EMC DOC ID: H11008
  • Proven Solutions Guide: EMC DOC ID: H11007


(Document attachements are done to ensure that the collateral referenced in this post survive any changes to the orignal links.  As documents are updated from time to time, the best practice should be to use the original document links, however, they are also attached directly to ensure longevity of the link)