We are currently looking for a server-side virtualization solution for our developer desktop-systems. We so far chose XenDesktop since we are already running Xen for virtualized servers. This is a small deployment, we are talking about 30-40 Desktops running Eclipse simultaneously.

The question is: Will it be sufficient to have only 1-2 machines with lots of CPUs, memory and local storage to run this system or do we have to run a dedicated storage array with iSCSI or even FC?

I am not completely aware on how the XenDesktop-Services running on a dedicated W2k8-Server deploys the individual images.


All you're talking about storing is images of the workstations right? You'll be storing actual code in repositories, etc.

It sounds like the desktops wouldn't need to be backed up or shared with another server, so there's no need for a central storage point.

If this is the case I'd use local storage due to its cost and simplicity. If it's not, what other requirements are missing?

  • Yes actual code should be stored in repositories. But the developers would have to check in their work every day before logging out, or their data would be lost. If I want to store some kind of state, I have to use shared storage, otherwise local storage should be sufficient? – Raptor Oct 26 '11 at 14:36
  • Okay I rechecked: I have to save the state of the machines. The devs will not save their data externally everytime they logout. So at least a diff of the states should be saved. The question is: Does XenDesktop save only such diffs on the XenDesktop service or are full images copied (which would be too slow I think). – Raptor Oct 26 '11 at 14:55

Local storage is faster than most types of storage arrays, especially iSCSI. Stuff as many hard drives as you can into the box, and if it's not enough, use a SAS adaptor to run a local attached hard drive box. I'd invest in a reliable raid controller with battery backed cache and raid 6 for double failure protection.

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