The Trouble with VDI and Latency

Frank Ohlhorst
F5 Networks has added enhanced support for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments, virtual desktop applications and for Citrix-based virtual machine software. That comes right on the heels of the company forging ahead with products that optimize applications and WAN communications, namely the BIG-IP Edge Gateway, which I had the opportunity to review.

During the product testing, it became readily apparent to me how important bandwidth management, latency control and traffic optimization are about to become with the coming onslaught of VDI installations, especially since the display protocols around VDI are so sensitive to latency and available bandwidth.

However, the question remains: When large organizations decide to push out wide-scale VDI implementations, will they be able to achieve success without investing in LAN and WAN traffic optimization? I think not, and I also believe that many organizations are going to be surprised at their disappointment with VDI as they move implementations from the pilot stage to actual deployment.

So the big question here for CTOs becomes, 'How are you measuring and managing your bandwidth?"

Simply put, I think devices such as F5's products are going to become a critical element as we move towards pushing more data over the LAN and the WAN-so plan accordingly and don't be surprised if bandwidth becomes the true enemy when deploying VDI, VoIP and other latency sensitive technologies.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Dec 20, 2010 2:12 PM Adam Adam  says:
Frank, you are correct in raising the issue of latency and bandwidth when it comes to deploying VDI. Besides WAN accelerators, another solution for dealing with this challenge is Ericom Blaze, a software-based RDP acceleration and compression product that provides improved performance over WANs and congested LANs. Blaze accelerates RDP performance by up to 25 times, while significantly reducing network bandwidth consumption over low-bandwidth/high latency connections. For more info, see: Adam Reply
Apr 19, 2012 7:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Another view would be to eliminate RDP altogether since it seems to be viewed as the culprit. I would recommend taking a look at the Oracle/Sun Sun Ray zero client technology. The realtime nature of painting remote displays and I/O to remote devices precluded use of TCP and so the Sun engineers developed the Appliance Link Protocol (ALP) using UDP with optimizations specifically for low bandwidth/high latency links. The Sun deployment was on the order of 30,000 desktops in 170 countries. It worked extremely well and continues to deliver high value to Customers in industries where workers are highly mobile. Reply

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