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Report written by Hugo Bonnaffé

OVH Virtual Cloud Desktop: what sets it apart from the competition?

OVH has launched its Virtual Cloud Desktop and Cloud Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) offerings. Why did OVH use VMware's Horizon solution to build these solutions, and what platform are they based on? Get the answers from François Loiseau, Senior Cloud Architect within the team that designed these solutions.

Overview of technical choices

OVH's Virtual Cloud Desktop solution is based on VMware Horizon technology. There were several reasons for this choice, not least the long partnership that exists between OVH and VMware. "We mastered VMware technologies so that we could use them for our Private Cloud solution, for example. Our relationship with VMware has given us and our customers access to Horizon 7 before everyone else. That being said, we're not just relying on VMware's solution to build our service. We used it as an essential building block, around which we added automation. And we will gradually add additional layers of services: backup, the ability to interconnect virtual desktops via the vRack, and so on."

Aside from our good understanding of VMware technologies, OVH was also drawn to Horizon due to its "Simplicity, compared to competing technologies, and performance, including Blast Extreme technology, used to compress the video stream." All that was left was to choose infrastructure which performance and affordability, so that we could offer a solution which was around 30% less expensive than the competition, but without sacrificing any of the quality. "In order to work, Horizon relies on the vSphere hypervisor. This is a key advantage, because OVH's Private Cloud provides
"vSphere as a Service", with maximum availability and infinite scalability. We therefore used the Private Cloud to host the Horizon management machines. The Virtual Cloud Desktop is deployed on dedicated servers, interconnected via the vRack. This hybrid infrastructure is a typical example of how OVH services are combined, something our Private Cloud customers are used to. In addition, OVH's solution stands out from the competition by offering administrator access to the Virtual Cloud Desktop. "Most competitors offer very limited virtual desktops, especially when it comes to installing applications. With our Virtual Cloud Desktop, you are not limited to a catalogue of applications, you can install any software, and even use the licences that you already have (Bring your own licence)."
We were able to provide this freedom through extensive work on infrastructure security and by isolating each virtual desktop within a VLAN, so that no user could negatively impact another. What are we working on next? "Increasing the choice of available operating systems, now limited to Windows, by offering Linux distributions, and Mac OS too."

Which Virtual Cloud desktop should I choose?

The range of virtual desktops offered by OVH, which currently includes four models, from £7.63 ex. VAT/month, was designed to cater for a variety of needs. From office use (browsing the Internet and working with Excel files which exceed 100 MB) to photo and video editing - with models including a GPU card. There is also a development model, for running run Java IDEs for example.

Cloud Desktop Infrastructure: the solution for deploying and running a pool of virtual desktops

As soon as a company has a collection of over 50 workstations and a certain level of complexity to its IT system as a result, it is usually more convenient for it to run its own Virtual Desktop Infrastructure - VDI. Aside from being able to reproduce your local network on a remote infrastructure fully managed by the IT manager, it makes deploying workstations more efficient. You can create your own templates, including the OS as well as the applications and user rights needed depending on the job title and department. Thus, a workstation for a new accountant in the finance department could be deployed in just a few clicks.
To simplify the implementation of this VDI infrastructure, OVH has unveiled a Horizon-based VDI as a service solution, completely hosted on Private Cloud: Cloud Desktop Infrastructure. A solution that guarantees high availability, scalability, compatibility with vRack (to create hybrid infrastructures combining dedicated servers, for example to host application servers) and Dedicated Connect (which lets you link your busuiness network to OVH, without exposing your infrastructure to the public network).