VMware View Reference Architecture

Reference architectures are great for seeing how the manufacture recommends designing their solutions for a particular environment.  I was going through the reference architecture for VMware View for large environments (1000 users +) a few days ago and found it pretty interesting.  The document is fairly detailed and lengthy so I thought I’d summarize some of the high points to show how VMware built out their architecture.

For VMware View, VMware uses what they call “Building Blocks” to scale their solution.  A building block is designed to handle 1000 VMware View users.  Each building block is comprised of 2 ESX clusters (detailed below).  Building blocks are put together to form a “POD” which is 5 building blocks capable of handling 5000 users.  Outside of the building blocks you will still need to have your typical infrastructure components like vCenter, Active Directory………..


  • VMware View Cluster = 500 Users across 8 ESX Hosts
  • VMware View Building Block = 1000 Users or 2 Clusters
  • VMware POD = 5000 Users or 5 Building Blocks


  • 8 ESX 3.5 Hosts
    • 2 x Quadcore Processors
    • 32GB RAM
  • Network
    • 48 Port Switch
    • 10GB Uplink to core network
  • Storage
    • Shared storage infrastructure

Building Block

  • 2 VMware View Clusters = 16 Hosts
  • 2 Network components (two 48 port switches uplinked to a core with load balancing)
  • 2 VMware View Manager Connection Brokers for redundancy


  • 5 Building Blocks
  • 5 VMware View Manager Connection Broker servers
  • 5 Network Components tied back to the core and load balanced

Network Recommendations

  • Minimum bandwidth for RDP = 30Kbps per session
  • 100 – 150 is a good rule of thumb per session (LAN)
  • 150ms minimum latency for RDP

Storage Component (per Building Block)

  • 5 x 4+1 RAID5 groups using 300GB 15k Fibre Channel drives
    • 1 R5 group for Full Clones
    • 4 R5 groups for Linked Clones
  • 16 iSCSI LUNS
    • 1 LUN for Home Drives
    • 1 LUN for Full Clones and Templates
    • 14 LUNs for Linked Clones

Virtual Desktops

  • 8 Virtual Desktops per Core
  • Windows XP
    • 512MB RAM
    • 8GB Disk

Obviously this is a very high level overview of what a large environment would look like.  If you want to read all the details and look at the pictures you can view the entire 36 page document here:  http://www.vmware.com/resources/wp/view_reference_architecture_register.html  It does require a quick registration.

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