Marc Huppert

Stage XI: Teradici APEX+ A new FibreChannel storage

After my HomeLab Expansion in Stage X, I modified my HomeLab again....

Desktop Virtualization enhancement with Teradici APEX

After the replacement of my Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Units (Stage X), I got a free PCIe slot at my Apple Mac Minis....

I have implemented VMware View at my HomeLab Long time ago with access from outside via the VMware View Securtiy Servers. I have implemented several VMware View Projects at customer environments. I always recommend a PCoIP offloading card (Teradice APEX 2800). The difference is so huge, comparing the Desktop performance with and without an APEX Card.

I decided to get one of these cards for my HomeLab.....

Here are the specifications of my APEX2800:

PCIe Card

  • PCIe x4 slot Gen 2.0
  • Half height, half length (HHHL) Card

System requirements

  • ESXi 5.0 or later
  • VMware Horizon View 5.0 or higher
  • up to 2 cards can be added per Server

Hardware Accelerator

Display resolutionPortrait modeLandscape mode

After installing the Card physically inside my Thunderbolt Expansion unit, I need to install the ESXi drivers. I choosed the Update Manager Version, so I uploaded the file: to my Update Manager repository, created a Extension Baseline and applied that baseline to my host. I installed the APEX driver inside my Windows virtual Desktops to enable the offloading feature.

I tweaked my APEX settings on the ESXi host with these commands:

cd /opt/teradici

./pcoip-ctrl -I (this displays information about your card)

I am using my 27" iMac (Stage IX: FibreChannel for all) as a Workstation. This machine has a resolution of 2560x1600, the APEX default is 1920x1200. I changed the setting with this command:

./pcoip-ctrl --set-max-resolution 1 (1 is of 2560x1600, 2 for 1920x1200, 3 for 1680x1050 and 4 is for 1280x1024)

I enabled the PCoIP offload inidcator using this command:

./pcoip-ctrl -P "offload_indicator 1"

Now you can see a red or blue dot at your View Desktop on the top left Corner.

Red = Offloaded using APEX

Blue = Not offloaded (using Software PCoIP)

I tuned the bandwidth threshold for PCoIP offloading using this command:

./pcoip-ctrl -P "bw_disable_threshold 0" (Session bandwidth threshold for offload cancelling =0)

./pcoip-ctrl -P "bw_enable_threshold 1" (Session bandwidht threshold for offload enabling =1)

A new FibreChannel storage

After one year with my custom build Nexenta Community Edition storage, I ran out of capacity. I had upgraded the storage Subsystem with additional 4 HDDs in the past now I was time for a new FibreChannel storage.....

I was able to get an IBM DS3500 FC storage for my HomeLab. Here are the specifications:

RAID controller

Single or dual active, hot-swappable Controllers

Cache1 gigabyte (GB) cache per controller with 2 GB upgrade (battery-backed)
Host interfaceTwo 6 Gbps SAS host ports per controller standard with the option to add a daughter card with additional
Supported drives12 x 6 Gbps SAS 3.5-inch drives: 2 TB 7.2k rpm nearline

I was very happy getting the Dual Controller model with the 2GB Cache Upgrade and 12 x 2TB HDDs. I inserted two 8Gbit SFPs into each controller to get 8 paths per LUN....

I set-up one HDD as Hot-Spare and the other 11 HDDs as Raid6. The IBM DS3512 supports VAAI, very nice...

I created the following LUNs on my new FibreChannel storage subsystem:

14 x 500GB for my ESXi Hosts

1 x 500GB for my iMac

1 x 1 TB for my MacBooks

I have a usable capacity of 16TB inside my Raid6 array. 8,2TB are still free. Should be enough for a few months....

I have already new plans for my HomeLab, check it out at Stage XII: A new NAS for vDP