Stories by Tom Henderson

VMware View 3/4: Superior speed, management features

We began testing with VMware View Version 3, but upgraded to Version 4 during the testing cycle. The big difference between the two is that View 4 adds a new transport protocol – PCoIP -- that speeds communications between hosted VMs and clients.

Citrix XenDesktop 4: Flexible and fast

Citrix's XenDesktop 4 was the most accommodating VDI platform tested, likely owing to its origins as a hybrid of Linux and Citrix. While it's not a lightweight platform, we found it to be the most flexible. Microsoft recommends XenDesktop for its own Microsoft Standard VDI and Premium VDI suite client-side components. XenDesktop runs on Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare's ESX/vSphere platforms, as well as XenServer.

How Microsoft Does VDI

Microsoft does not offer a specific, purpose-built VDI tool comparable to XenDesktop or VMware View, so we did not include Microsoft in our test. In fact, based on Microsoft's longstanding relationship with Citrix, Microsoft suggests using XenDesktop for VDI — especially for Windows 7 hosting.

How VDI affects the network

Setting up a VDI infrastructure obviously placed a burden on the network to provide fast response times between the server and client device.

How we tested VDI

We confined our testing to Windows XP sessions, since Vista is unpopular and Windows 7 is only now trickling into the general population. We tested using three different platforms.

How we tested the virtualization products

We used the same host platform, an HP DL580 G5 (four-socket, 16-core Intel Xeon CPUs) server – for the qualitative portion of this test as we did in the quantitative portion of our test published earlier this month.

Virtualization thwarts green OS initiatives

There are certain popular system architectures that transcend the operating system and will turn your efforts to build a green network operating system brown, figuratively speaking.

Greener pastures for Web server farms?

Web farms, whether they are powered by open source Apache or Microsoft's IIS, often require serving up Web content so quickly that the CPU/chipset conservation models we tested as part of our "green" operating system assessment would be of no use.