Hypervisor: Can’t Do Just One

On 22 January 2013 by Pete Petersen



Image source: https://www.davisfarmland.com/megamaze/media.html

In the many travels to various customer organizations, there are several categories of organizations.

  1. Standardized on a single hypervisor, and are loathe to introduce another.
  2. Standardized on a single hypervisor, but are willing to entertain another hypervisor for a specific purpose.
  3. Not standardized on a hypervisor.
  4. Have not ventured down the road of the hypervisor at all. We are not addressing the last group (much) since moving to a virtual desktop and application solution is often a much larger stretch than simply virtualizing the hardware.

Deploying the hypervisor for server virtualization deserves a standardization, to be sure, and many organizations are in that mindset.

That being said, in speaking to all groups, espcially groups 1 through 3, in the context of deploying a virtual desktop implementation, the hypervisor should be tied to your choice of broker.

Put your infrastructure on your standard hypervisor. The one you’re used to. Your Active Directory, File Services, Web Interface servers, your Broker servers, and Secure Gateway servers. But when you go to deploy your VDIs, there are some thoughts that may be helpful here.

  • For example, if you are deploying XenDesktop and/or XenApp, then your hypervisor of choice for those VMs should be XenServer, and possibly with Provisioning Server. There are advantages to that deployment, and Citrix, by nature, will be writing to that style of deployment, and so you will always be ahead of the game deploying that way.
  • Or, if you are deploying VMware View Horizon, then your only choice is vSphere.
  • And another example, if you are deploying vWorkspace, then your hypervisor of choice for your VDIs should be Hyper-V. With the addition of Hyper-cache and Hyper-deploy, there is little advantage of sticking with your standard. And if your standard is XenServer, and you choose to deploy vWorkspace, then you’ll have to find another hypervisor anyway since vWorkspace will not deploy onto XenServer.

There is one exception, and we have run into this in numerous smaller organizations. That is, is your environment will not tolerate the addition of a couple more physical servers in order to deploy the additional hypervisor with some redundancy, then you may be better off sticking with what you have until you are able to grow to that point.

It was interesting to read Gabriel Consulting Group’s take on choosing a hypervisor, and it was gratifying to read the section “Technical Issues Drive Hypervisor Diversity.” Take a look at the write-up. Some very good data there.

Lesson of the day is that deploying your VDI solution on a particular hypervisor isn’t–and shouldn’t be–clear-cut. Consider the VDI solution that you’re deploying along with the hypervisor that’s already your favorite.