Window on WANs

Oct 22 2010   4:52PM GMT

For virtual desktop infrastructure over the wide area network, latency is unavoidable

Tessa Parmenter Tessa Parmenter Profile: Tessa Parmenter

Site news writer Jessica Scarpati reported recently that latency is the biggest concern among networking professionals considering a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment — and well it should  be. Not only are delay and network outages inevitable, they’re exacerbated over a wide area network (WAN) connection compared to a local area network (LAN).

According to a survey of 1,197 VMworld 2010 attendees conducted by storage vendor Xiotech and WAN optimization vendor Silver Peak, 55% of respondents said they would deploy VDI outside of a LAN. Of those attendees 22% would do so over private WAN, 27% over virtual private networks (VPNs) and 6% over a third-party or cloud computing infrastructure. That’s almost a quarter of networking professionals who are in for a surge of “the network is slow” phone calls after implementing virtual desktop infrastructure over their enterprise wide area network.

Although latency is unavoidable, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to make virtual desktop infrastructure perform better over the WAN or that businesses should forgo the idea altogether. Eugene Alfaro, manager of global IT operations and support at Simpson Manufacturing Company, Inc., has been working with virtual desktop infrastructure over the WAN for several years and has found a way to make users satisfied with VoIP performance. To learn his tips and tricks, read VDI over the WAN: How latency affects virtual desktop performance.

1  Comment on this Post

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  • saturno
    Hello there, I do not foresee any medium to large VDI implementation in a near future, but for me this subject (VDI over WAN or high latency networks) have a big interest. After reading this (tips and tricks), I think that it might be a little too optimistic even with trafic shaping and wan optimization. I would like to see VDI working with 250 to 350 ms delays and find it usable. Like I said, I do not have personal experience with VDI scenarios over WAN, but I do have experience with Windows Terminal Services for almost a decade, supporting tens of users over private IP MPLS WAN (with QoS) and public VPN. About this, there is one thing I know, when the delay reaches 200 ms delay, the user experience is highly degraded and around 300ms almost unusable. I'm not stating that this (my) thought is 100% correct, but would like to hear some thoughts about this. Regards,
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