The VMware Horizon Suite on Nutanix: A Match Made in Heaven?

By Steven Poitras
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This article was originally posted on the VMware End-user Computing blog on April 11, 2013.

I recently had the opportunity to head over to the VMware HQ and conduct a white boarding session on the VMware Horizon Suite on Nutanix solution.

When looking at the diagram in the solution video I noticed one thing, white space. Rather than having complex lines going to LUNs/IQNs or chassis to arrays or uplinks, all we had to show was the Horizon architecture, which is what we really care about.

One “ring” to rule them all

Obviously convergence is a key trait we live by at Nutanix so when thinking about Horizon Suite on the Nutanix platform, the following idea came to mind: why can’t we just put Horizon Workspace and Horizon View on the same platform?

Simple answer: we can, and did with amazing results.

Flash for performance, HDD for capacity

When looking at the majority of VDI deployments these primarily consist of random IO footprints which are read heavy during boot storms and write heavy during operation. This random IO can cause issues for traditional spinning disks as the seek times can drastically impact performance and user experience. Horizon Workspace Data, however, mainly consists of sequential IO, which can take advantage of spindle count to provide maximum throughput.

One of the key things we want to ensure with Nutanix ILM is around data placement; always make the data local and optimize it’s tier location for the workload. In order to do this we constantly monitor the type of access patterns and where the requests are coming from. In the case of both desktops and Workspace Data, this ensures all of the IO always occurs locally. In terms of access patterns, this means that random IO will hit the flash tier and sequential IO will be automatically be placed on the HDD tier for throughput. We also like to keep things simple, this means all of this is handled for you automatically without the need for any configuration.

The Reference Architecture – How to build it

The VMware Horizon Suite on Nutanix Reference Architecture as the first to be released and validated by VMware. This reference architecture covers both VMware Horizon Workspace and Horizon View deployments on the same scalable 2U appliance.

In the figure below we show how the Horizon Suite, including Horizon Workspace and Horizon View, can be run on the Nutanix platform:

The Results

After close validation and collaboration with the Horizon Workspace Performance team we were astounded at how the solution performed together. During the test benchmarking we had 5,000 concurrent sessions on the Horizon Workspace Data platform performing uploads/downloads while running Horizon View Desktops where we are able to get up to 400 task worker desktops.

What does this mean?

Now to the real question; what does this mean for you? What this means is now you can spend more time at home or on the golf course since your complete EUC suite can be delivered with ease with the VMware Horizon Suite on Nutanix solution. Rather than build out separate infrastructures for both Horizon View and Horizon Workspace, you can now simplify things with a single solution.

Did I also mention it was 2U and can scale as your users do? It’s simple. Need more desktops or data, add a node and the capacity is automatically made available. Need to deploy a new site? Drop in a 2U block and you have desktops and data services for your end-users.

To learn more about the solution or if you have any questions feel free to reach out on Twitter @StevenPoitras.

To learn more about how else Nutanix and VMware can meet your needs, please visit and follow us on Twitter @Nutanix.