Converged Infrastructure

More affordable, high-performing desktop virtualization: ProLiant DL380p Gen8 & Windows Server 2012

Author:  Kirk Manzer -  HP Technologist and Architect, Client Virtualization Engineering


In the not so distant past client virtualization was considered a solution best suited for large enterprises. However with improvements in virtualization software, the growing popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) plans, and lower overall costs per user, client virtualization has entered the mainstream small and medium-sized business (SMB) market. Many SMBs are looking at client virtualization as a way to meet the pressing demands for flexibility while retaining control of the computing IT infrastructure. They are excited about the increased security and efficiency, as well as the potential cost savings client virtualization can deliver.


The HP Client Virtualization (CV) SMB Reference Architecture (RA) for Windows Server 2012 makes it simple to deploy a high-performance virtual desktop solution without a high price tag. The HP CV SMB RA for Windows Server 2012 offers several key advantages:


  • Provides leading performance – Benchmark testing--detailed later in this blog--confirms that the HP CV SMB RA for Windows Server 2012 can support at least 175 virtual desktops per host server with excellent response time. In addition, customers can benefit from performance advancements with HP ProLiant Gen8 servers, ensuring that the solution can comfortably meet the needs of their organizations.
  • Makes deployment easy – It is easy to set up the HP CV SMB RA for Windows Server 2012 solution on the HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 server and configure the desktop images, so virtual desktops can be quickly delivered to users. Because all of the software comes from Microsoft, there is no need to work with a third-party vendor, and licensing costs are kept to a minimum. Customers can start with the sample bill of materials included in the reference architecture, and then tailor the solution to meet their unique needs.
  • Includes everything needed – With the HP CV SMB RA for Windows Server 2012, there is no additional infrastructure to deploy─ no need for additional management servers, databases, or storage area networks (SANs), and no need for additional virtualization or management software. Everything needed is included in the solution.

Fully tested, ready to run


The HP CV SMB RA for Windows Server 2012 design is based on extensive scalability testing conducted by a team from Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. The final design was then re-tested to ensure that the reference architecture meets all Microsoft and HP performance requirements.

The initial scale tests and final reference architecture tests were performed using the Login VSI version 3.6 (V3.6) performance and scalability testing tool to generate desktop workloads and gather data. The tests used the standard “medium” user workload profile (equivalent to a knowledge worker), which consists of typical desktop activities such as using email; running office applications such as word processing, editing spreadsheets, and creating slideshows; and viewing high-definition (HD) video that is running on the host server. The test framework measured and reported the active (or logged-in) session response time for activities such as opening applications and user interface clicks, as well as CPU utilization, disk I/O latency, and queue length in pending I/O operations.


For more information, see Login VSI.


The purpose of the initial scalability tests was to examine the limits of the HP and Microsoft VDI solution, and then to identify the “sweet spot,” or maximum number of user logins meeting HP and Microsoft performance requirements as defined by a CPU utilization of less than 80 percent and login response time of less than 3 seconds. This number of user logins was then used to design final reference architecture.


Initial scalability test results


The team from Microsoft tested up to 250 simulated users on a single host. They then identified the number of user logins at the established limit of 80 percent CPU utilization and 3 second response time, and compared the results to find the “sweet spot” to use for the final reference architecture.

The scalability test results were very impressive. The Login VSI limit for the tests running Windows 7 target virtual machines was reached at 239 users and at 235 users for the tests running Windows 8. The following sections detail the results of the tests.


Results for tests with Windows 7 desktop virtual machine


The following graphs show the results of the tests that used target virtual machines running Windows 7.

Figure 1 shows the CPU utilization (or percent total run time) along with the number of user logins, over time. At the 80 percent CPU utilization limit, there were approximately 180 simulated users logged in to the system.


CPU Utilization.JPG

Figure 1. CPU utilization for tests with Windows 7 target virtual machines


Tests were also run that used target virtual machines running Windows 8. Similar to the Windows 7 tests, at the 80 percent CPU utilization limit, there were ~175 simulated users logged in to the system.


Together with Microsoft software and HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 servers, the HP Client Virtualization SMB Reference Architecture for Windows Server 2012 delivers an impressive VDI user density per server along with the many benefits of a traditional enterprise VDI without its complexity and startup cost ─ a very practical VDI solution for small and medium-sized businesses.


For more information visit the HP Client Virtualization website and stay tuned for the technical whitepaper that will provide a sample bill of materials and more performance detail.

Herby Schenker(anon) | ‎02-07-2013 08:44 AM


I do not understand, why you are using SSD's for the Hyper-V VDI server.

Does this really have an impact of the performance and the density of the VDI's ?


Normally we use a ADDLE with 8 Disc in a RAID 5 and build a partition c: for the Hyper-V itself and the second partition for the VDI's.


In the report you say nothing about the GPU, What are your using here and what do you recommend (depending on the Workload type) ?




phil.mclean | ‎03-06-2013 02:15 PM

Hi Herby - this paper is speaking about an older version of PVS which took advantage of the SSD’s and no longer does. The technology has also changed since we posted the original blog and that it’s not required for Citrix anymore – here’s a link to the latest RA’s - - I hope this helps.

Leave a Comment

We encourage you to share your comments on this post. Comments are moderated and will be reviewed
and posted as promptly as possible during regular business hours

To ensure your comment is published, be sure to follow the community guidelines.

Be sure to enter a unique name. You can't reuse a name that's already in use.
Be sure to enter a unique email address. You can't reuse an email address that's already in use.
Type the characters you see in the picture above.Type the words you hear.
About the Author
About the Author(s)
  • 25+ years experience around HP Storage. The go-to guy for news and views on all things storage..
  • Technology marketing professional with over 25 years of experience in energy, semiconductor and IT industries.
  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
  • More than 25 years of enterprise and midmarket Strategy and Marketing leadership and experience. Prior HP appointments included VP of Marketing for Adaptive Infrastructure and VP of Marketing for the HP Storage Division. Past positions prior to HP include VP of Marketing and Business Development for First Virtual Communications as well as Principal and Founding Member of Adjunct Consulting.
  • Over 12 years of consulting, new technology services development and marketing experience covering data center, IT infrastructure, cloud technology domains. Hande holds a M.B.A degree from Bentley College, MA.
  • More than 25 years in the IT industry, managing ITSM, service development and delivery projects in Technology Services. Specialized in end2end support for ISV based business solutions. Certified ITIL and project management expert.
  • Hector has marketing and communications expertise. With vast experience within the Enterprise Digital Marketing communications team at HP.
  • Editor and writer with 12+ years experience in the corporate software and technology sectors.
  • Marketing & communications professional with over 15 years of experience in a variety of industries across multiple continents. Part of HP Financial Services - helping customers build IT investment strategies that support tranformation and the ability to deliver business goals.
  • Eduardo Zepeda, WW TS Social Media Program Manager & Internal Communications for WW Technology Services Blogging on behalf of HP Technology Services (TS_Guest)
  • Julia Mason-Ochinero is WW CME Marketing Lead, HP Enterprise Marketing. In this role, Julia is responsible for driving dialog with CSPs on how they can transition to sustainable, profitable business models and enter into co-opetition with over-the-top (OTT) content providers who are changing this industry’s landscape. She joined HP in 2010 from Accel Partners (where she worked as a consultant.) Prior to Accel, Julia held marketing leadership positions with companies including Adobe, Nuance, OpenWave, Novell, Nuance Communications and RealNetworks. She began her career in Chicago working with organizations including AT Kearney, Andersen Consulting and Ameritech. She currently resides in Silicon Valley.
  • Focused on cloud, virtualization and appliance solutions for HP technology.
  • Hello! I am a social media manager for servers, so my posts will be geared towards HP server-related news & info.
  • HP Servers, Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and ExpertOne
  • More than 23 years of enterprise IT Marketing and Communications experience; working on the HP Converged Infrastructure Marketing team from when it was first pioneered and launched to the market in 2009.
  • I help clients use service management to create business value for themselves and their customers. I am a senior ITIL examiner and I have written many ITIL books and pocket guides. Find out more at or Follow me on Twitter @StuartRance
  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
  • Teri is responsible for the social media program for the HP Networking and HP Storage business units. Teri has has held global roles in IT, Operations, Sales, Partner Programs, Communications, and Marketing at HP.

Follow Us