[CentOS-virt] WinXP Xen guest: compare VNC vs RDP

Ed Heron Ed at Heron-ent.com
Thu Apr 23 00:00:34 UTC 2009

From: "Joseph L. Casale", Wednesday, April 22, 2009 4:23 PM

>> I'm experimenting with using WinXP Xen guests as an alternative to
>>upgrading workstations.  The administrative advantages seem overwhelming.
> Using the beta opensource parvirt drivers? Performance would be 
> unacceptable
> otherwise. On that note, my environment would not permit the unstable 
> nature
> of such an exercise...

  Actually, no.  I'm using the fully virtualized guest.  My test virtual 
machine server is a Dell PowerEdge 2900 with dual-core Xeon with stock 
CentOS 5.  It only runs at 2Ghz, but I'm finding acceptable performance for 
the standard business applications that my users will run.  The system can 
go up to 2x4 core Xeons running at 3.33Ghz or something.  Ram can go up to 
48G and it has the option of 2 banks of 4 slots for hotswap hardware RAID. 
I'm hoping to be able to run about 12 virtual XP boxes on a 2900 with 8 x 
3Ghz cores and 16G RAM.

  My current workstations are 1.6Ghz Celerons with 512M to 1G RAM.  They are 
only running Outlook Express, Internet Explorer and a couple of proprietary 

  If paravirtualization drivers for WinXP ever become stable, that'd improve 
performance and probably increase the number of WinXP VM's quite 

>>  Please share thoughts about using VNC vs RDP for remote desktop
> RDP will be way faster, not to mention using vnc provides access to the
> console which won't have video performance needed.

  Have you done any real world like testing?  My experience seems to 
indicate VNC being faster on a LAN.  Since the console is being redirected 
in the host, rather than the guest, it seems to demand less processing 
power.  Also, turning off remote access in the guest loads less software. 
Since the host supports the VNC console access, it becomes available much 
sooner than WinXP get termserv up.

>>  Please share any anecdotal information regarding user reactions and/or
>>implementation issues.
> There's nothing cooler than Xen, but IMHO opinion I would be using 
> something
> a bit more stable for Windows guests, it's not the right tool for >this< 
> job
> as far as I am concerned.

  I've got some local databases with chatty Windows clients that becomes 
unuseable across the WAN and doesn't play well with MS Terminal Services. 
Rather than have a stack of physical WinXP machines for my remote users, I'm 
looking at virtualization.  VMWare gets too expensive, too fast.

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