Deploying Atlantis Computing ILIO Diskless VDI

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Several months back in my “First Impressions, Atlantis ILIO in the Home Lab” post I gave a quick preview of the performance Atlantis Computing’s diskless VDI solution can offer. Even with my lab gear I was able to obtain almost 12,000 IOPS out of a single Windows 7 desktop using IOMeter. With Atlantis Computing’s stated claim to provide each VDI instance with ~200 IOPS,  from my testing I could potentially provide enough IO for 60 VDI instances. This is on non-enterprise class hardware! Have a look at “Atlantis ILIO Diskless VDI and VMware View on Cisco UCS” for a deeper review of performance, design, and architecture around their solution. Outlined below is a start to finish view of how easy it is to deploy the Atlantis ILIO virtual machine and incorporate it into your VMware vSphere environment.

The Install

Step 1 – Build internal only vSwitch. Create a Virtual Machine Port Group for the ILIO VM (named ILIO-NFS in the example) and a  VMkernel Port Group for connectivity to the NFS export (named ILIO-VMkernel in the example):

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Step 2 – To deploy the OFV template, from your vCenter Client Click “File -> Deploy OVF Template”:

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Step 3 – Browse to the location of the downloaded OVF template and click “Next” to continue:

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Step 4 – Click “Next” on the OVF Template Details:

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Step 5 – Provide a name for the virtual appliance and an inventory location. Click “Next” to continue:

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Step 6 – Select the host or cluster to deploy the appliance to, click “Next” to continue:

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Step 7 – Select your desired resource pool, click “Next” to continue:

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Step 8 – Choose a destination Datastore for the virtual appliance, click “Next” to continue:

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Step 9 – You the default disk format as “Thick Provisioned Lazy Zeroed”:

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Step 10 – Map the “VM Network” source connection to a LAN/Management Port Group (this will be changed later). Click “Next” to continue:

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Step 11 – Review your settings and click “Finish” to deploy the OVF template. Be sure NOT TO check the box for “Power on after deployment” as we will be making changes to virtual machine hardware/settings:

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Step 12 – Once the VM is deployed we will edit its settings:

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Step 13 – From the “Hardware” tab remove the existing two existing E1000 NICS and add two new VXNET3 nics. One attached to your LAN/Management Port Group, the other attached to the NFS Port Group created on your internal switch (in my example ILIO-NFS)

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Step 14 – Changed the number of assigned vCPUs to two:

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Step 15 – Set the RAM to the desired value (see Atlantis Computing Administrators Guide for proper sizing). In my lab environment I am going to use the default of 22GB (the virtual machine requires 6GB for the base OS, so roughly 15GB will be available for the NFS export):

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Step 16 – Select the “Resources” tab. Set the CPU reservation to one vCPU at a minimum (in my example 2.4GHz), set the memory reservation to the full amount of memory allocated, and configure the “Hyperthreaded Core Sharing” to “None” for the Advanced CPU. Click “OK” when finished:

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Step 17 – Once the changes have been completed, power on the ILIO virtual machine:

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Step 18 – When the virtual machines boots, login as “poweruser” with the password of “poweruser”

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Step 19 – Configure your network interfaces. Hightlight each ethernet adapter and press the space bar to configure. Eth0 should be configured on your LAN/Management network and Eth1 on your NFS network:

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Step 20 – With all interfaces configured select “Done Configuring Interfaces”:

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Step 21 – Set the hostname for the virtual machine, click “Next” to continue:

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Step 22 – Configure your location, click “Ok” to continue:

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Step 23 – Set your time zone, click “Ok” to continue:

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Step 24 – Select “Don’t touch keymap”, click “Ok” to continue:

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Step 25 – On the “Atlantis ILIO for Diskless VDI Configuration” select “Next” to continue:

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Step 26 – I chose to enable compression (default is to disable):

 

Step 27 – Setup displaying the amount of space configured to provision desktops:

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Step 28 – Chose NFS as the export type for best performance. Select “Next” to continue:

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Step 29 – After the configuration ILIO provides a summary screen. Take note of the export path as that will be used to mount the NFS Datastore on your ESXi host. Select “Finish” when ready:

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Step 30 – Add the NFS Datastore to your ESXi host:

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Step 31 – With the Datastore created, I moved over my Windows 7 desktop for testing:

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Phew, that was a lot of screen shots! The actual deployment of the device shouldn’t take more then thirty minutes or so, time well spent. If you are considering a VDI project or need to add some horsepower to an existing environment be sure to give the ILIO appliance from Atlantis Computing a look.

-Jason

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