I'm going to take a look at RHEV for Desktops. What should I look for?

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops write-up.

A month ago, I wrote about the release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, but couldn't spend any quality time with it because of the post-BriForum video work that needs done after every show. Now that we're about to wrap that work up, I want to do a write-up similar to what I did for Virtual Bridges VERDE earlier this year. Before I break out the lab, I figured I'd get an idea of what you all would like to see.

What's interesting to me is to see what's changed since Red Hat bought Qumranet in 2008 (!) and morphed SolidICE into what is now RHEV for Desktops. Of course, no write-up would be complete without a good look at the SPICE protocol, which is sort of an enigma since it's been absent from the VDI landscape for about 18 months. Nonetheless, I'm excited to get my hands on it again to see if it remains a viable option in the world of PCoIP, RemoteFX, EOP Xtream, and HDX.

Here's a list of the things I plan to take a brief look at:

  • Hypervisor (it's KVM, but if I uncover anything interesting about RHEV, I'll make note of it)
  • Supported OSes
  • Networking
  • Protocols
  • Active Directory integration
  • Storage & provisioning
  • Load balancing, clustering, session brokering
  • Distributed capabilities (branch offices, offline, etc…)
  • Protocol (SPICE for sure, but does it do RDP, too?)
  • Administration
  • User environment, data, and profiles

So, if there's anything you know I should be looking for that's not on the list, or if there's something you want me to specifically look at, let me know. Once the BriForum videos are done, it's my first order of business, so look for the rundown in a few weeks.

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@Gabe, I think it's very important to drill into Spice. RDP is not going to help in this solution set due to RemoteFX working on Hyper-V only. I suggest test at least the following scenarios.

1) Test on LAN <30MS latency, high bandwidth on 5 monitors and 1 monitor and note the impact on bandwidth running basic office apps, and basic media like youtube.

2) Same test in a WAN at least 150MS latency and I would play with at least two bw settings.

3) Repeat step 2 above introduce some loss

4) Find out what policy is available to help with remote access scenarios.

5) Can SPICE work with non RDS based use cases. If not, once again we have a VDI only solution.

I am sure you won't have time to do all these, but it's all about these basic requirements first. If they can't handle these, then the rest is academic interest, which is fine if that is the goal.


I'll see what I can do with regards to latency and loss tests - that's a good idea that I was holding on to for another time, but it makes sense to do it at the same time, especially if that's what people are most interested in (as am I, actually).

The overall goal is just to take a "first look" at the product, so maybe I've got two articles there - one for the overall product, and one for SPICE.

My use case for RDP is that if SPICE is only practical on the LAN, RDP could be the WAN fallback protocol. Not RemoteFX, of course, but plain-old RDP. Then again, maybe SPICE over the WAN performs well enough to not necessitate a fallback.



Some other things I want to know if supports or can do...

- Supported end-points/clients, OS X, Linux, Java clients, etc?

- USB/peripheral support

- What management features exist for supported OS’s (including RDS/TS)

- Support for granular administrative tasks, helpdesk users roles, remote support/control sessions, etc?

- Support for package deployments, msi’s or 3rd part application virtualization integration?

- Can desktops/sessions be assigned based on users location?

- Multimedia redirection, flash, etc?

That should keep you busy :)



I'd like to see the RHEV for Desktops add-on covered if possible.

USB support is NOT currently part of the SPICE protocol.  The latest SPICE devel todo list says they plan on adding USB to SPICE.  That means that RHEV is currently using something else for USB support. What is that something else?  I assume that it is something Qumranet licensed that they didn't own and why it isn't part of SPICE... and why whatever it is hasn't been released as FOSS by Red Hat yet.

SPICE *IS* currently tied to KVM and not usable as a general purpose remote display protocol.  That may change at some point.  My guess is that SPICE would have to be more widely deployed so people see the value of it... and then there'd be a push to extract it outside of KVM.

I'd like to hear about how well KSM works when you have a number of similar VM guests running on the same host.

I'd like to hear how well NFS performs as a shared storage backcend compared to iSCSI and Fiber Channel.

v2v is a fairly new feature they added.  It would be nice to hear about how well that works.


1. USB redirection and general peripheral support

2. What's already added to the list


I don't know how well it performs but here's an article on the SPICE site with the protocol running on a Nokia phone:


I would also take a close look at any graphical artifacts caused by compression techniques.  I know my users have complained about the 'fuzzy' look resulting from Quest's 'Graphics Acceleration' in vWorkspace 7.1 even on it's 'Highest Quality' setting.  We have stopped using GA unless the connection requires it (very limited bandwidth scenario).

Rodd Ahrenstorff