Sphere 3D Solutions FAQ

Who is Sphere 3D?

Founded in 2009, Sphere 3D is the first company to deliver true replacement grade virtual desktops and virtual applications.

Desktop Cloud Computing (DCC) is a new concept in the desktop virtualization world. In the past, traditional virtual desktop implementations were plagued by poor performance and complex solutions, and failed to deliver on the promises of virtualization. Today, Sphere 3D’s Desktop Cloud Computing solution delivers on the promises of virtualization. With a new class of high-performance virtual desktops that perform as fast or faster than physical desktops, Sphere 3D offers true replacement grade virtualization.

Sphere 3D’s GLASSWARE 2.0TM technology also paves the way for greater productivity, choice and convenience. Imagine the ability to access any software on any Smartphone, Tablet or Desktop. Imagine no more lengthy downloads, installations, or the need for special configurations; no more computer crashes or waiting hours for software updates. Just point and run…finally the real cloud has arrived.

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What is Desktop Cloud Computing (DCC)?

Desktop Cloud Computing or DCC is a new class of virtual desktops that perform as fast as or faster than contemporary desktops today. DCC leverages highly optimized object-based disks in the form of solid-state storage local in the appliance. This design allows Sphere 3D to dramatically reduce the unnecessary latency that accompanies many VDI approaches of the day. Keeping the OS and Temp disks on local storage allows the most active data to be as close to the computing resources as possible, providing unmatched performance. In addition to reducing storage latency by using local storage, reducing network latency is also a key objective in providing DCC.

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What is a Sphere 3D Appliance?

The Sphere 3D Appliance is a 1U or 2U server appliance, purpose-built to provide virtual desktops that are meant to replace physical PCs. The Sphere 3D solution can serve 50-200 virtual desktops on a single appliance. This approach dramatically reduces the footprint in physical hardware and networking that often accompanies VDI implementations. Deployment is simple and requires only that you install the Sphere 3D Appliance in a rack, plug it in, and configure networking. After you provision the Virtual Machines (VMs), you are on your way to experiencing the fastest virtual desktops in the industry.

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What does a Sphere 3D Appliance provide?

The Sphere 3D Appliance provides the hypervisor platform for running virtual desktops using VMware View, as well as other VDI managers. It provides all the local storage needed to run the virtual desktops, allowing you to use your Storage Area Network (SAN) or Network-Attached Storage (NAS) to maintain user persisted data.

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What exactly is a hypervisor?

A hypervisor is an abstraction layer that sits between the hardware and the operating system of a virtual desktop. It enables virtualization by allowing the separation of the operating system from the physical hardware. The hypervisor software allows multiple operating systems to run on a host computer concurrently. It is the hypervisor software that coordinates the low-level interaction between virtual desktops and the underlying physical computer hardware.

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How does the Sphere 3D Appliance provide cost savings?

As a result of the dramatic performance achieved, and the high density of VMs per appliance, the Sphere 3D solution allows organizations to repurpose many of their investments to other parts of the organization. The Sphere 3D Appliance also dramatically increases IT management efficiencies and control, as well as dramatically reduces the costs associated with cooling and power consumption.

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How does the Sphere 3D solution differ from other VDI solutions?

Many of the current VDI infrastructures rely heavily on shared storage and complex networking to provide their virtual desktops. Sphere 3D reduces as much latency as possible utilizing the highly optimized solid-state storage local to the hypervisor host to provide the fastest virtual desktops in the industry. This approach has also dramatically simplified deployments as well as the infrastructure needed to serve virtual desktops. Sphere 3D has also created game-changing technology called Sphere 3D’s Desktop Cloud Orchestrator to help manage your virtual desktop environment.

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What does a typical Sphere 3D solution look like?

A typical Sphere 3D deployment involves the following components, as illustrated in the diagram below. Sphere 3D’s solution will leverage and integrate with any of these components that already exist within the customer’s infrastructure.

Typical Sphere 3D Deployment

Typical Sphere 3D Deployment

Sphere 3D Deployment Components

Connection Server – Manages the distributed platform for running virtual user desktops using VMware ViewTM. Enables centralized and efficient management of the distributed enterprise virtual desktop platform.

Server Network – Manages the networking communications for the Sphere 3D Appliances, which host the hypervisor platform.

Microsoft Active Directory – Provides directory services for provisioning and authenticating users and systems.

Sphere 3D Desktop Cloud Computing Appliance – Hosts the hypervisor platform for running virtual desktops using VMware ESX. The Sphere 3D Appliance uses highly optimized local solid-state storage to run the virtual desktops and store the OS and Temp disks, and can be optionally configured to store user data as well. Typically, two Sphere 3D Appliances are deployed in a failover configuration to ensure high availability. The Sphere 3D Appliance scales horizontally to meet a client’s current and future needs.

Storage Network – Provides the communications between hosts and storage devices.

Storage Array – Provides disk storage to maintain user data and session information. Depending upon the client’s infrastructure, the storage array may be implemented using a customer’s existing Storage Area Network (SAN) or Network Attached Storage (NAS).

vCenter Server – Hosts the software suite from VMware for vSphere and ViewTM Composer.

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How does the Sphere 3D Appliance work in a VMware environment?

In a VMware environment, the Sphere 3D Appliance functions as the VMware ESX hypervisor host, which can serve from 50-200 virtual desktops on a single appliance.

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Do you support VMware only?

Today, Sphere 3D only supports VMware ESX, to effectively support 85-90% of all virtual desktops implementations on the market. In addition, Sphere 3D Desktop Cloud Computing Appliances are compatible with many of the other third-party tools that manage, deploy, and provision virtual desktops to a VMware ESX environment. Your Sphere 3D sales representative will be glad to provide you with additional detailed information on Sphere 3D-supported products.