Originally Posted by Stealth Pyros
This sort of setup intrigues me and I'd love to experiment with it in some sort of LAN center setup. It may be very expensive in the start-up phase (maybe not even that since you can buy the hardware in bulk) but I think long term it'll offer good cost reductions and improved efficiency. Maintenance would be easier in my eyes, and you wouldn't have to interrupt your customers since you can use VMotion/etc. tools to move VMs between "servers" on the fly. I also see it being a more secure setup since the customers wouldn't have access to all the beefy hardware.
If I want a LAN center with say 64 "terminals" that my customers will use, how powerful would those 64 terminals have to be? Assume that I'd have some monstrous hardware in the back with 256GB of RAM or even more, and enough HD7950s (or whatever GPU, say even 2 7950s per gaming terminal) to make anyone on OCN cry in joy, along with whatever processors would be appropriate (racks of IB-Es anyone?). I'm just being theoretical here for the sake of curiosity. I'd love to start up a business some day and it consists of a LAN center for PC gaming.
Would love to hear back from anyone that's experienced such a setup.
In addition to what's been said already, one of the bottlenecks is the network performance. Steve Perlman's Onlive has developed some unique hardware and software to get their online gaming service working, as well as providing remote desktop services (DaaS = Desktop as a Service). Here is some interesting stuff, though the editor seems preoccupied with licensing stuff: http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/gabeknuth/archive/2012/01/25/Breaking-down-OnLive-Desktop-_2D00_-Why-this-is-not-the-desktop-virtualization-solution-you_2700_re-looking-for.aspx
VMware favors PCoIP, which essentially compresses the data before it's send over the network. It's much more complicated, though. Teradici has developed custom chips that run PCoIP which are used by many zero client manufacturers. VMware can support those zero clients via software or - better - via dedicated PCoIP PCIe boards installed in the servers. Microsoft has yet other technologies - RDP and RemoteFX. Citrix is well known for HDX, many years and perhaps still the leader in VDI and remote desktops.
In the Linux world there is NX, and lately also SPICE, a technology developed by Qumranet (sounds familiar? should be) and acquired by Redhat - see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPICE_%28protocol%29
. Though Redhat dropped Xen in favor of KVM/qemu I sincerely hope that Xen will be able to profit from SPICE.
This is as far as my limited knowledge goes. Some year or two ago I played a little with NX and other remote desktop protocols to see how they perform. My objective was to set up a home server with zero clients for everybody, running their applications in VMs on the server. I soon realized that the remote desktop part would be a major headache, in particular since I insist on zero clients
(well, I guess a real thin Linux thin-client would be fine too). Alternatively (or in addition to that), the remote desktop should run on iPADs.
Good luck with your LAN center.