In late 2013, LG CNS planned to launch a Virtualized PC Services called CloudPC, through which consumers would be able to connect to their own virtual Windows-based PC. They would also be able to access the service from anywhere at any time, using many different devices—computers, smartphones, and tablets running the Windows or iOS operating systems, for example—and to run Windows-based applications, such as Microsoft Office.
In 2012, the company tested and assessed the performance of CloudPC using Windows Server 2012 and then moved on to Windows Server 2012 R2 in early 2013. LG CNS set up and configured its host testing environment on blade servers to match the environment that the beta version of CloudPC would require. The virtual client machine specifications included 2 gigabytes (GB) of memory on two virtual computers for standard CloudPC service and 4 GB of memory on four virtual computers for premium CloudPC service, with both having 50 GB of disk space. The same client/server configuration was used to evaluate other virtual environments to compare their performance with the Windows Server and System Center setup.
The assessment also included client computers that connect to virtual machines through a wide range of devices and operating systems. LG CNS performed the tests using a virtual machine with Windows 8 installed, a machine with Windows 8 Pro and RT installed, a machine with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed, and Dell Thin Client and Wyse Zero Client devices using Windows Embedded 8.0 and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry.
As part of the testing, LG CNS focused on two key factors that apply to the virtual machine templates that are generated when a customer signs up for the CloudPC service. First, when the tests included Remote Desktop Services on the Windows Server host, the virtual machines booted more quickly, compared with other (non-Windows Server) host environments. Second, Windows Server supports 320 logical processors on each host, with 4 terabytes (TB) of physical memory, and it can run up to 1,024 virtual machines. That means Windows Server takes full advantage of the virtual machine capacity of each host.
For testing of the IT administrative environment, LG CNS included components of System Center 2012 R2—many of which the company had not used before. Along with any test results, the company had to consider the costs of the various licensing options for System Center. A newer licensing structure brings all System Center capabilities under one license, which LG CNS found preferable to the previous single-product licensing scheme.
The primary scenario that LG CNS envisioned was to use Virtual Machine Manager and Orchestrator to automatically provision a virtual machine every time a customer submits a new sign-up request. Using Virtual Machine Manager, the company tested an automated workflow through Orchestrator and verified that the automated procedure can be implemented without creating multiple cumbersome shell scripts. Based on this scenario’s success, LG CNS deployed Orchestrator in late 2013, followed by more System Center components, including Operations Manager and Data Protection Manager, onsite, in 2014. The company is also putting IT procedures and tools in place to better support server administration, backup and recovery, and security that can be applied to the Hyper-V environment. These procedures and tools are unified through System Center to provide more convenient IT operations and to reduce IT costs.
Through its assessment of Windows Server, LG CNS has found that the operating system provides optimum performance and stability for its CloudPC service. The company attributes this performance improvement in part to the operating system’s support for deduplication, which affects not only general data files but also virtual machine images.
LG CNS has also taken the necessary precautions to safeguard valuable customer data in circumstances such as natural disasters and equipment breakdowns. LG CNS expects Windows Server 2012 R2 to reduce the company’s data-protection burden.
Additionally, LG CNS now has a way to perform high-speed continuous data protection throughout its large-scale host infrastructure: the company will execute automated data protection procedures for multiple-node cloning (copying multiple groups of computers) using Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager. Failover/failback can now operate with less reliance on SANs, which are expensive to buy and maintain, so LG CNS saves money.
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