BlogDesktop Virtualization

VMware released their new VMware View planner 3.5, a tool designed to simulate large-scale virtual desktop deployments. The new version 3.5 supports VMware Horizon 6, simulation of RDSH session and Application publishing among other things. A detailed feature list and testing results can be found at –

The complete whitepaper can be found here –

As part of the testing, VMware performance team used Pure Storage FlashArray FA-420 (11TB) and were able to scale the desktops from 1000 desktops to 3000 desktops. In this blog article we focus on the storage characterization and results.

We start with the hardware configuration and system architecture and discuss the VMware View Planner 3.5 results.

Configuration details

The hardware and software used in the test is shown in the table below.


Test Setup

The Server –SAN – Storage configuration is shown in the picture below. Quite straight forward, we have the Cisco UCS rack mount servers connected to two (redundant) fabric switches and the Pure Storage FlashArray is connected to the SAN switch (redundantly configuration).


Use Case and results

The test run was done starting with single server to figure out how many desktops a single server can host. Based on that more servers were added to scale upto 1000 Windows 7 virtual desktops. Then a 2000 desktops run was done followed by 3000 desktops run. We discuss the 3000 desktop results in this section.

Test Results for 3000 Desktops Test Run

The Group-A and Group-B response time of 3000 desktops is shown in the figure below. The results indicate that VMware View Planner 3.5 demonstrated scaling up to 3000 desktops in terms of driving a standard benchmark workload, managing inbound uploads, analyzing latency data, and meeting quality-of-service (QoS) criteria of that many number of desktops.

We were seeing close to 20,000 IOPS during the steady state with about 70% writes, and we observed the I/O latency to be consistently less than a millisecond.


The latency of individual Group-A and Group-B operations is shown in Figure below. As seen in these graphs, the response times of all these operations are well below the threshold of Group-A of 1 second and the Group-B threshold of 6 seconds. Notice the Group-B operations are more I/O intensive and a score of 3.86 seconds is quite impressive for 3000 desktops.




The data reduction on the Pure Storage FlashArray was around 9 to 1 with the array being 46% full. This is after many runs of View Planner 3.5 with 1000, 2000 and 3000 desktops. The dashboard of Pure Storage showing the data reduction is shown in the figure below.


The complete white paper is available for download at VMware website here, please read for more details.

Bottom line is :

1. Desktops scaled linearly on a single FA-420 11TB array from 1000 to 2000 and eventually to 3000 desktops with almost same score for each run.
2. The View Planner score was impressive –
0.56 seconds (threshold for passing is 1 seconds) on group-A
3.96 seconds  (threshold for passing is 6 seconds) on group-B
3. The half second View Planner score means every desktop users were having a great user experience as the score reflects the user’s application response time.


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