PCoIP is done, but VMware is still Blasting away!

User experience, user experience, user experience.  This is what defines successful VDI implementations over failed ones.  Right now, if you have remote workers accessing a virtual desktop using PCoIP, you’re probably doing it wrong.  Why?  Bandwidth.

Virtual desktops are amazing when it comes to remote access.  No more “my VPN isn’t working”, “dammit I forgot to power on my desktop”, etc.  However, remote access often sucks because the user’s connection sucks (hotspot with 1 or 2 bars, hotel wi-fi throttled, in-flight wi-fi).  Optimizing bandwidth is crucial in these scenarios.

I didn’t realize how much bandwidth is consumed by PCoIP until I watched network utilization in Activity Montior on my Mac.  Then I decided to measure it, compared to Blast Adaptive, then to Blast H.264.  To test, I played a 1080p video for a minute.  Here are the results:

protocol graph.png

Let’s break this down into throughput:

PCoIP: 160 MB / 60 sec. = 2.67 MB/s * 8 = 21.3 Mbps

Blast Extreme Adaptive: 51 MB / 60 sec. = .85 MB/s * 8 = 6.8 Mbps

Blast Extreme NvEnc H.264: 25 MB / 60 sec. = .42 MB/s * 8 = 3.33 Mbps

To put this in perspective, the cheapest home internet plan from Comcast is 10 Mbps down.  That doesn’t cover half of the required throughput for PCoIP.  Blast Extreme can be the difference maker when standard, non-technical users work from home.

And a quick test using a hotspot with a terrible connection varying anywhere from .5 Mbps and 15 Mbps is a great verifcation of these results.  Blast clearly outperforms PCoIP not just in HD streaming, but even just moving windows around within the virtual desktop.

If you have an active VMware Horizon subscription, you know what to do.  If you’re buying new servers, get a GRID card.  Please.

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