Index

Frequently Asked Questions


Below are brief answers to frequently asked questions. Please refer to the "How to" links for details on technical questions and for trouble shooting guides.

Table of Contents


What is Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?


Kaviza VDI-in-a-box is the industry’s first and only turnkey desktop virtualization product that delivers production-ready virtual desktops that cost less than a PC. Kaviza accomplishes this by eliminating the expensive shared storage, high speed interconnects and server infrastructure that traditional server-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) require.

What is Included in Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?


Kaviza VDI-in-a-box comes packaged as a single virtual appliance. All the functionality needed to create, provision, manage and load balance virtual desktops is included in this appliance. Kaviza VDI-in-a-box has a built-in connection broker, load balancer, user manager and desktop provisioning server. The Kaviza appliance runs on a commodity server running a hypervisor such as ESX. Multiple Kaviza servers can be linked together to automatically provide high availability. Kaviza handles all the connection brokering and load management across the grid and automatically handles failover in case of server failures.


How does Kaviza VDI-in-a-box Work?


Kaviza virtualizes desktop images and runs them on servers that users can access from any location via repurposed PCs or thin clients. By virtualizing and centralizing the desktops, organizations decrease PC management costs and improve security, while end users benefit from flexible access and improved levels of SLAs. Unlike traditional server-based desktop virtualization, Kaviza requires minimal investment to get started because it eliminates expensive infrastructure such as shared storage that traditional VDI needs.


How does Kaviza’s Approach differ from other VDI Solutions?


Kaviza has re-architected the VDI stack to create a desktop-specific, shared-nothing architecture that creates a highly available grid of virtual desktop servers out of commodity servers. Kaviza eliminates expensive infrastructure that traditional VDI typically needs. For instance, with Kaviza you don’t require high-speed interconnects and expensive high-throughput shared storage. You do not require additional management servers because Kaviza’s entire solution is packaged as one consolidated virtual appliance (i.e. a piece of software that is pre-installed and ready to run).


How is Kaviza VDI-in-a-box used in Organizations?


Kaviza customers are radically improving PC management and availability by replacing traditional PCs with Kaviza virtual desktops that are centrally managed and provisioned. Since Kaviza costs less than PCs to deploy, and Kaviza scales on demand, organizations are able to repurpose existing PC budgets to deploy KavizA: Here are some scenarios in which Kaviza virtual desktops are used:

  • PC Replacement: When considering a PC refresh cycle, for the same budget you can upgrade to Kaviza virtual desktops. Benefits include sizable reduction in operational costs of patching and updating desktops, greater security, lower unplanned downtime, disaster recovery, and extending the client lifecycle by 2-3X.
  • Terminal Services Upgrade: Upgrade from accessing select applications with terminal services to full virtual desktops with KavizA: Kaviza’s affordable pricing gives you the power of virtual desktops at PC prices. Patching and managing the desktops is simpler with Kaviza than managing Terminal Services.
  • Windows 7 Migration: Ease the migration issues typical of an OS upgrade by deploying Microsoft Windows 7 on Kaviza virtual desktops. This enables you to preserve the current user desktops while upgrading.
  • Remote Office/Branch Office: Kaviza’s appliance-based approach offers the flexibility to co-locate Kaviza servers at remote/branch offices and still manage them centrally. This overcomes the WAN bandwidth constraints that traditional centralized VDI architectures face.
  • Desktops as a cloud-based service and managed services: Kaviza’s scale-on-demand architecture enables service providers to incrementally scale their datacenter as demand grows, without having to over-invest and over-provision upfront. Kaviza’s flexible architecture also enables managed service providers to choose the right configuration based on their client’s bandwidth constraints – either co-locating Kaviza servers at client sites and managing them remotely or centralizing the servers, depending on the WAN connectivity to the client.


How long will it take to break even with Kaviza Virtual Desktops?



Since the cost to acquire a Kaviza virtual desktop is lower than the cost of a PC, you break even with a deployment of just 25 desktops and higher. As the ongoing operational cost for virtual desktops is significantly lower than for PCs, Kaviza generates a return-on-investment within the first three months of deployment.


How much does a Virtual Desktop with Kaviza cost? How does this Compare with other VDI Approaches?



The total cost per virtual desktop with Kaviza is lower than the cost of a traditional PC. The actual cost will vary depending on the size of your desktops, the types of servers and their resources and the thin clients you use. See Kaviza website to obtain a breakdown of costs.


How do I Buy Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?


Kaviza VDI-in-a-box can be purchased through one of our worldwide distributors, resellers or directly from Kaviza: To purchase, to find a local reseller, or to get more information, please email sales@kaviza:com


How can I try Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?


A free time-limited trial is available for download at http://www.kaviza.com/VDI/Registration.aspx.


How can I learn more about Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?


There are several resources including online demos, videos, free webinars, and whitepapers. For a list of resources, click here.


What do I need to get started?


Chances are you already have just about everything you need to get started. You will need the following:

  • A commodity server such as a Dell 2970, HP DL360 or an IBM X-series server with direct attached storage. Please refer to the System Requirements document for details on sizing and estimating capacity.
  • A hypervisor such as the free XenServer or VMware vSphere ESXi hypervisor. For ESXi use the 60-day free trial license that comes with it. Once that license expires you will require an Essential or Standard license. You do NOT need vCenter.
  • Kaviza’s VDI-in-a-box™ virtual appliance. Register at http://www.kaviza.com/VDI/Registration.aspx and download the free trial appliance from the customer portal. You will also be able to access all the documentation once you register. Once downloaded simply import it into your hypervisor and power it on, login to its administrative console and follow the simple instructions. Step by step instructions to configure it and create your first Kaviza desktop can be found in the installation and administration guides located in the customer portal and here.


How do I Access a Kaviza Desktop?



The endpoint through which you can access a Kaviza desktop can be a PC (a Windows, MAC or Linux PC), a thin client or mobile devices such as the Apple iPad or the Android phone. Thin clients reduce power consumption significantly but many customers use old refurbished PCs to save costs. and replace the refurbished PCs over time. For specifics on the supported endpoints supported click here.


Are there other Components?



Yes, in addition to the Kaviza VDI-in-a-box appliance, Kaviza also provides three optional components: a Kaviza Java Client, a Kaviza Gateway and a Kaviza HDX accelerator.

  • The Kaviza Java Client is a zero-maintenance client that provides a browser-less and a more locked down method for accessing Kaviza desktops. It is available free-of-charge to Kaviza customers and comes bundled with the Kaviza VDI-in-a-box appliance.
  • The Kaviza Gateway allows you to access Kaviza desktops from outside the firewall without a VPN with the RDP protocol. The Kaviza Gateway can be downloaded for a free trial from the customer portal.
  • The Kaviza HDX accelerator provides the Citrix HDX protocol. This can be purchased for an additional amount. HDX provides a richer user experience and support for a wider range of USB peripherals while using less network bandwidth.


What do I need to run Kaviza VDI-in-a-box in my Environment?



Kaviza VDI-in-a-box is an integrated virtual desktop provisioning and management solution that requires just a commodity server and a hypervisor to run. To set up Kaviza you need:

  • A commodity server with direct attached storage. For high availability you need to use at least two servers.
  • An industry standard hypervisor. Today we support the free XenServer and VMware vSphere ESXi. Support for additional hypervisors is planned and will be available in future releases.
  • Kaviza VDI-in-a-box virtual appliance. You can download a free trial version from http://www.kaviza.com.
  • Access devices through which a user can access their desktops. These devices can be regular PCs, MACs and linux desktops, thin clients and mobile devices such as the Apple iPad and Android phones. Click here for more details on access devices and peripherals.
  • Appropriate Microsoft licenses for the desktops. You can start with volume licenses for XP or Win7 during testing and then switch to the VDA license for production.


What Steps are Required to Deploy Kaviza?



To deploy Kaviza requires a few simple steps. You can watch a video that illustrates deploying a single Kaviza virtual desktop server at: http://kaviza.blogspot.com/2009_10_27_archive.html. Click here for a full list of videos. Steps to creating desktops with Kaviza:

* Create a Kaviza server by loading the Kaviza VDI-in-a-box appliance on to a commodity server with direct attached storage running a supported hypervisor and configure the appliance for your environment. For instance, you can specify where to access the directory server (Active Directory or LDAP).
* Create at least one desktop template and ensure that it works in your environment.
* Set policies that govern how Kaviza provisions user desktops.
* Add more Kaviza servers to create a highly available grid that will continue to provide virtual desktops when there is a server failure.


How long does it Typically take to Deploy Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?



In 2 hours you can create your first set of desktops with Kaviza. In another hour you can have a production ready environment consisting of multiple Kaviza servers interconnected and working together.


Which Hypervisors does Kaviza VDI-in-a-box Support?


Kaviza VDI-in-a-box is currently supported on the free XenServer and VMware vSphere ESXi hypervisors. We will soon provide support for Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor.


What Client/Desktop Operating Systems do you Support?


Kaviza currently supports Windows XP (32-bit) and Windows 7 (32- and 64-bits). Support for Linux desktops such as SuSE is on the roadmap.


What Protocols does Kaviza VDI-in-a-box Support?



Kaviza’s solution is protocol agnostic. Kaviza supports RDP 6 and 7 and the Citrix HDX protocol.


Do you Provide ways to Enhance RDP?



Kaviza’s solution works seamlessly with Wyse’s TCX software that provides multi-media redirection, audio synchronization and support for a larger number of USB devices. Wyse thin clients V90L and C90LE are certified to work well with Kaviza.

The Citrix HDX protocol provides a richer user experience while using less bandwidth. The trial version of Kaviza will allow you to try HDX for free.


How can I Estimate how many Servers I need?


Kaviza is an out-of-band software that generates very little overhead during steady state operations. As a result you can use the sizing guidelines specified by the vendors of your hypervisor. For details on how many desktops per server please click here.


Where does Kaviza store User Data?


User data (e.g. user’s documents, photos, etc) can be stored on the virtual desktop or more ideally on a networked filer. If it is stored on the virtual desktop, it should be backed up regularly to prevent data loss in the event of a failure. Kaviza does not back up user data stored in the virtual desktops. Note however that all the images, templates and configuration data are backed up by Kaviza across the servers in the grid. Kaviza’s recommended best practice is to store user data on a networked filer.


How is User Data Protected in Case of a Server Failure?


User data is typically kept in a filer outside the Kaviza servers. This protects against any desktop server failure. Kaviza always maintains a redundant copy of all configuration data and all the desktop images and templates to protect against data loss on server failure.


Where does Kaviza store User Profiles and Preferences?



User profile data (e.g. profiles, preferences, cookies, favorites, etc.) are stored in the AD or LDAP, or in a profile management application (e.g. from ProfileUnity, Appsense or RTO Software).


How does Kaviza handle user personalization?



Kaviza works seamlessly with your existing user personalization setups such as roaming profiles, folder re-directions, 3rd party profile management services, to handle the user personalization in virtual desktops. However, in the next release (ETA: Mar 2011) we will bundle Citrix's user profile manager services (UPM) with our product for free.


Does Kaviza Support Persistent and non-Persistent Desktops?



Yes. We provide policies that allow you to provision persistent and non-persistent desktops. On 'user logout' and ‘Scheduled’ desktop refresh policies are used for non-persistent desktops. The policy that allows support for persistent desktops is ‘manual’. The Kaviza persistent desktops behave like your physical computer. All the modifications made to the desktop such as additional software installations and data are vistored on the virtual desktop. Please note however that these desktops are not backed up by Kaviza and backup software should be installed on them to ensure that a copy of changes are kept.


What are the Benefits of Pristine or non-Persistent Desktops?



There are several benefits of a pristine desktop:

  • User gets a “freshly brewed” desktop each time, thus guaranteeing a virus-free desktop that performs well.
  • Reduces desk-side support for the IT staff because the user is given a standard desktop each time. If problems arise, the IT administrator can simply ask the user to log out and log back in and avoid the need to diagnose the problem.
  • Allows the IT staff to provide a consistent, tested environment to a group of users and ensure that what they receive is exactly what IT tested and created.
  • Allows the IT staff to manage hundreds to thousands of desktops by managing just a few image.

Non-persistent desktops allow you to achieve economies of scale that reduce the TCO of virtual desktops.


Are Persistent Desktops Managed? What are the Limitations of using Persistent Desktops?



Yes, persistent desktops are managed. Persistent desktops are generated from a template just like a non-persistent desktop. The difference between the two is their refresh policy. A persistent desktop is created with the “manual" refresh policy whereby the desktops are not re-created from their template unless explicitly requested by the administrator. As a result, all changes made by the user to that desktop (e.g. installing software) are available across logins. However, Kaviza does not save the changes made to these desktops. If the server housing the desktop fails, all changes will be lost. Therefore we recommend that these persistent desktops be saved from time to time with standard backup software. Note that using persistent desktops reduces the management economies of scale provided by virtual desktops. Thus persistent desktops should be provided to users only if absolutely necessary.


Does Kaviza Support Application Streaming?



Yes. Application streaming solutions such as Microsoft’s APP-V runs seamlessly on Kaviza and can be used in conjunction with Kaviza VDI-in-a-box.


Do I need VMWare vCenter to run Kaviza?



No. vCenter is not required to operate a Kaviza grid. Kaviza VDI-in-a-box has a built-in connection broker, load balancer, user manager and desktop provisioning server which allows you to manage all the servers in the grid as one logical server. In addition, Kaviza provides linked clones to reduce storage without vCenter. But if you use vCenter to monitor your ESX servers, you may continue to do so with the Kaviza VDI-in-a-box running on ESX. To do so, you will need to make the vCenter information known to the Kaviza grid so that Kaviza can interoperate with vCenter.


Can a User have Multiple Desktops Assigned to them?


Yes. A user can have multiple desktops assigned to them. When the user logs in, they will be provided with a choice of desktops they have access to.


Can a User Simultaneously Login to more than one Desktop?


Yes. Users may connect to multiple desktops that they have access to simultaneously.


Does Kaviza Support Dual Monitors?


Yes. Kaviza VDI-in-a-box provides multi-monitor and dual-monitor support via the RDP and HDX protocols. Through the Kaviza login screen, a user can specify either of these or a specific screen resolution.


Can I Run Graphics Intensive Applications (e.g. Watching Videos, CAD/CAM Applications) with Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?



Yes. Performance of graphics applications relates to the protocol and whether you are accessing the desktop via a LAN or a WAN. Most remote protocols do not handle multi-media and flash very well. If you use RDP, you can get good performance for graphics-intensive applications by coupling Kaviza with thin clients such as those from Wyse with TCX and HDA: TCX provides multi-media redirection, USB redirection and audio synchronization. HDA provides compression for better user experience over a WAN. With Win7 the base protocol supported will be RDP 7.0 which addresses multi-media redirection and audio synchronization much better than RDP6. Finally, you can opt to use the Kaviza HDX accelerator. The HDX protocol provides richer user experience while using less bandwidth allowing it to provide a good user experience even over a WAN.


Can I Connect to USB Devices from Kaviza Virtual Desktops?


Yes. You can connect to a variety of USB devices via the RDP and HDX protocols. HDX supports a wider range of devices.


How does user Authentication work with Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?


Kaviza can be configured to use your corporate user directory such as Microsoft Active Directory. Once configured Kaviza only uses the users and groups in the database to determine what type of desktop they are to receive. User authentication is done by the regular desktop login scheme. This approach allows Kaviza to more readily support different user databases. Kaviza provides a "Kaviza user database" where you can enter a list of local users for connection to desktops in Windows Workgroup mode.


What are Typical User Wait Times when Logging into a Kaviza Virtual Desktop?



Login is typically just a few seconds since Kaviza can be set up to have desktops pre-started prior to user login. Most customers find Kaviza login times to be significantly faster than traditional Windows login times. Your login times will depend on your environment, your user database performance and if using profiles, the performance of your user profile system. Finally, It will also depend on the utilization of the server on which the desktops reside.


What is the Task of a Connection Broker? Does Kaviza have one?



The connection broker connects a user to a virtual desktop. Kaviza has a built-in connection broker, so no additional software is needed. In fact, each Kaviza server has a connection broker and so as you add more servers you also add more connection brokers and you don't have to worry about connection broker bottlenecks.


Does Kaviza have a Notion of “Linked Clones”?


Yes. Kaviza has an implementation of linked clones to reduce storage requirements. This is offered as part of our standard offering. VMware vCenter or other software is NOT required to provide linked clones.


What is a Desktop Template? Can I set up Multiple Desktop templates with Kaviza VDI-in-a-box?



Yes. A “desktop template” is a policy wrapper around an image. An image consists of the OS (e.g Win XP or Win7) and the applications on the desktop. The template contains policies that specify the size of a desktop (e.g. amount of RAM), how many to create, what USP peripherals can be accessed from the endpoint device and when the desktops should be refreshed.
You can set up multiple templates and images and you can assign multiple templates to a user.


How do I Assign Desktop Templates to Users?


You can assign templates to either users or groups using Kaviza’s management console. These users and groups can be entries in your existing user database or the Kaviza user database.


Can I assign desktop templates based on an end-point location or an IP address rather than to users?




Yes. You can do this by operating these end-points in Kiosk mode and assigning a template to the Kiosks instead.

Reference:
Kaviza VDI-in-a-box Kiosk Feature Configuration Guide


How do I Print from a Kaviza Virtual Desktop?


Printers attached to the endpoint device can be enabled through a setting in the desktop template. In addition, networked printers whose drivers are installed on the virtual desktop image can be accessed from the virtual desktop.


How do I Estimate the Number of Kaviza Licenses I need?


Kaviza VDI-in-the-box is licensed per concurrent user desktop. Desktops that are “On Hold” for a user are treated as a concurrent desktop.


How does Kaviza VDI-in-a-box Secure Access to Desktops from users’ home or Internet Cafes?



Kaviza VDI-in-a-box offers a Gateway that provides a secure SSL-tunnel to Kaviza desktops without the need for a VPN. This gateway runs on a Windows 2008 server and can be used with the RDP protocol. Soon we will be providing an HDX gateway.


Can Users Access Kaviza Virtual Desktops without a Browser – e.g. in Locked-down Kiosks?



Kaviza offers a zero-maintenance Java client that can be used without a browser. This can be setup in "Kiosk" mode where the desktop available is based on the specific Kiosk as opposed to the user. This is useful where you want to provide a standard desktop no matter who is accessing it. Example uses are for publicly available desktops at libraries, nurses station at hospitals or break rooms in manufacturing shop floors.


Can Kaviza Virtual Desktops be Accessed from Regular (fat) clients?



Yes. Regular laptops and desktops of various makes (e.g. Windows, Mac and Linux) can be used to access a Kaviza desktop.


What are the Requirements on the Endpoint to Access Kaviza?


The endpoint will require a browser or the Java Runtime Environment (JRE 1.5 or greater) if you want to use a Kaviza Java Client to access Kaviza desktops. If the endpoint is a MAC or it is Linux based you will need the open-source version of RDP called Rdesktop on the endpoint if using RDP. If you are using HDX, you will need a free Citrix HDX receiver for the specific OS on our endpoint. If you are using HDX, you can also access a Kaviza desktop directly from a Citrix receiver. This latter ability allows us to support a wide range of thin clients and mobile devices such as the Apple iPad and Android phone since there are Citrix HDX receivers for the more common devices and thin clients. For more details please see various topics in "How to guides" for endpoints.


How does Windows 7 activation work in Kaviza?


The Kaviza desktops are setup to follow the activation mechanism (KMS or MAK) enforced on the underlying image from which they are created from. So, if you have prepared the image for MAK activation, the desktops generated from these image will be automatically activated using the pre-configured MAK settings on the underlying image. Similarly, if you have prepared the image for KMS activation, the desktops generated from these images will be automatically activated using the pre-configured KMS settings on the underlying image.

Please note that the desktops created from Kaviza are dynamic. When desktops go through a refresh cycle in Kaviza, new desktops gets created to replace the old ones. Each of these new desktop will require activation and will got through the process of activation as prescribed on the the underlying image. So, if you are working with MAK keys, please ensure that you have sufficient number of activation counts for the activation to proceed smoothly. For setting up the underlying image for KMS or MAK activation, follow the Microsoft recommended process for setting this up.

Here is an interesting article from Technet on activation:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/office2010/archive/2009/08/24/volume-activation.aspx

Other Reference:
Kvz100018


How does Office 2010 activation work in Kaviza?


Office 2010 uses the same volume activation technology as Windows 7. Please follow the Kaviza article 'How does Windows 7 activation work in Kaviza' for reference.

Here is an interesting article from Technet on activation:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/office2010/archive/2009/08/24/volume-activation.aspx

Other Reference:
Kvz100018


Will Kaviza work with a Cisco Nexus 1000 virtual switch on ESX or any other distributed switches?




The Kaviza solution has been tested to work with VMWare Virtual switches . If you are looking at using Cisco Nexus 1000v Series or any other distributed switches series, you need to try and test it in Kaviza. First thing to try is to see if these switches show up as standard 'Network Adapter' setting from within Kaviza configuration module. Kaviza uses these network adapter settings to generate the desktops on that NIC. Once you are able to configure the network adapter setting, next thing is to import a VM into Kaviza and see if they are able to start up properly and come to a RUNNING state properly.


Is there a way to assign printers by location or by end-point's IP address to the users?



Here are some ways you can handle this.

Step 1: Prepare an image with all the print drivers.

Load all of the required print drivers into the image. One method is to build the desktop image and connect to all of the printers as the administrator. This puts the printer drivers on the system but does not make them available to all user profiles. You might have to create the required ports if you are directing to network printers.

Step 2: Setup a login script on the image to automatically map the appropriate printers to the users based on the location they are connecting from.

The end-point's IP address (namely the location of the users) is made available in the registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Kaviza\dtagent\endPointAddress on the virtual desktop.

Some additional notes:

  • Normal windows behavior would be to load the driver during this connection. Since you have loaded the drivers in step one, the version is checked and installed/updated s needed. This could take a very long time. So, certainly keeping the drivers up-to-date on the image and pre-loading the driver in step one speeds things up and is less prone to errors.
  • If you are working with Windows print server, the desktop image must be updated anytime the print driver changes at the windows printer server. If this happens, we would recommend completely uninstalling the old driver and then re-installing the new one both at the server and on the image. Over writing fails or corrupts more often than succeeds.
  • Since we use Citrix's HDX stack, another possibility is to explore Citrix's Universal printing option. Universal printing consists of a generic printer object (Citrix Universal Printer) and universal printer drivers that work with both Windows and non-Windows clients. Instead of setting up individual print drivers on the image (Step 1. above), you can experiment using the universal printer driver instead.

Citrix Reference:
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/index.jsp?topic=/xenapp6-w2k8-admin/ps-printing-citrix-universal-configuring-all.html


Is there a way to limit certain USB devices from re-directing to the desktops?



Yes. Since we leverage Citrix's HDX stack, based on the article from Citrix, this certainly can be done.

Citrix Reference:
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/index.jsp?topic=/xendesktop-rho/cds-customize-usb-support-rho.html


I am Interested in Becoming a Partner. Can I Obtain an NFR License?




Yes. Please contact sales. You can email moc.azivak|selas#moc.azivak|selas. You will need to first become a partner and complete a sales and technical training before having access to an NFR license.

Tip! Did you know?

Kaviza VDI-in-a-box 4.1 has these cool new features:

  • HDX Remote Access with CAG 4.6 and 5.0
  • Citrix Universal Profile Management (UPM) bundled at no charge
  • Mac Address support for desktops
  • Enhanced static desktop functionality

Tip! The Kaviza Grid Explained


You manage the Kaviza grid as one entity even though it has no single control point. This design eliminates bottlenecks of conventional VDI while centralizing management: