German car manufacturer relies heavily on Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Engineering (CAE) to give them a competitive edge, design and save money on better parts and even save fuel. Until now, the engineers were using traditional high-end workstations for their CAD software. Those workstations are costly to be kept up to date. “Security is a concern when subcontractors need access to these systems” said the program manager, “data can be stolen and access is never water-tight in case a contract is terminated.”
(This case study is divided into two parts: this first part describes the design of the actual VDI infrastructure using VMware Horizon and the design of the monitoring and reporting solution using vRealize Operations Manager. Click here for part two.)
So, this company was looking for a solution to virtualise these desktops, to give engineers access to the right desktop session at the right moment without wasting time and resources and not worry about keeping locally installed software packages up to date.
“We decided that we want to move away from CAPEX intensive hardware and rather rent the environment in a pay-as-you-go model”, explained the program manager. comdivision provided a best in class Desktop-as-a-Service solution with GPU support and a system architecture that provided security, availability, resource monitoring and sizing as well as reporting.
Fabian Lenz, comdivision's lead architect for the VDI infrastructure on the case, knew they would face several hurdles during this project: “From a VDI perspective, we had to account for several types of desktop configurations, depending on the department using the resources,” said Lenz, “but more importantly, we had to plan for a suite of engineering tools that are very resource-intensive, especially regarding GPU usage.”
The customer wanted to monitor utilization and have reporting capabilities per department. “We needed to optimize sizing and availability,” said the program manager, “and we envisioned that we could proactively anticipate diminishing resources.”
Lenz and his team delivered a best-in-class solution: VMware Horizon for Desktop virtualization with a Nvidia plugin for GPU to support the extensive 3D rendering and CAD workloads. These IaaS workloads – Windows and Linux desktops – are running on two vSphere Clusters in an off-premises data center.
“The customer was extremely satisfied with the design!” exclaimed Lenz. He described the environment: “We set up four different types of virtual desktops, depending on the GPU configuration, where the departments can choose or run a mix of the four.” He continued to explain the security environment: “We rolled out three types of access: an internal load balancer that connects to two Horizon brokers to assign desktop sessions and two external connections where two-factor authentication was implemented, either using RSA or Yubikey. The latter two connect to another load balancer that dispatches the sessions.” And the customer's program manager added: "comdivision did a great job. Best of all, Fabian and Alain's team finished on time and on budget. We are looking forward to implementing all the features the system promises."