Flash and VDI, a marriage made in heaven!?!


Happy New Year!!!  And what a year it’s been, Flash keeps getting cheaper: Moore’s Law (faster & more dense), new Purpose built All Flash Storage Arrays with truly in-line Data Deduplication, and new form factors of Server Flash along with updates to software integrating it all together!  And that’s just some of the developments we’ve seen in 2013.  In the case of these developments, they have all directly impacted planned VDI deployments, or in some cases resurrected failed VDI deployments.  They are all parts of deploying a non-stop production ready and scalable VDI infrastructure. 

Business Case for Virtual DesktopsBut before you jump back on the VDI trail, it’s important to understand your business case for virtual desktops.  Why are you deploying VDI?  What problem are you trying to solve?  Starting with the business case should impact your design, and ultimately make you a success with your business sponsor. 

Like everything in IT, there are Good Use Cases (flexible desktop access with centralized application access) and Bad Use Cases (software licensing & management savings).  One thing is clear, every use case is different.  There is no “One-size-fits-all” approach.  What do your users need?  Non-persistent (Pooled) vs persistent desktops (Dedicated)?  They both cover a unique set of pros and cons that need to be considered, where is the user data, what is the application workload?  All things that need to be considered, all things that require choice in infrastructure.  A service provider deploying tens of thousands of seats in a multi-tenant deployment has much different infrastructure requirements than a remote office/branch office deployment with less than 100 seats.   Having a portfolio capable of scaling and providing the right fit is exactly what EMC provides.

“Flash everywhere” has long been the philosophy here at EMC.  After all, your application requirements, not a vendor’s biases, should dictate how best to leverage the capabilities of Flash to drive the greatest value for you.  Choice is everything, especially for VDI deployments.  Consider a 500 Desktop VDI deployment where accelerating boot time is a key performance consideration.  An architecture where a hybrid storage array with a few Flash drives configured as a Cache could directly address the challenge at hand.   FAST Cache in the EMC VNX Platform can be configured to do exactly that; in fact, the video demonstration below highlights a 500 user Citrix XenDesktop infrastructure when boot time was reduced 44%, with just  TWO Flash drives and a simple FAST Cache enablement.

EMC FAST Cache reduces XenDesktop boot 44% with only two flash drives

Again, back to understanding the full business justification for deploying VDI.   Looking to deploy a scalable solution that can support 2,500 users in only 6U with linearly scalability?  And I mean linear scalability.  2,500 Users in 6U, 5,000 users in 12U….  That’s where a Purpose Built All Flash Array can swallow up any IO storm thrown its way from any deployment model, but also with its real-time inline data reduction can not only handle the workload with ease, but can dramatically reduce the costs per desktop and simplify deployment.  But to do it, you need an array designed for exactly that…  EMCs XtremIO more than covers VDI deployments at scale.  Take a look while EMCs own Chad Sakac hammers a single X-Brick with 2,500 Citrix MCS VDS desktops using LoginVSI.  The results speak for themselves.  Quoting Chad, “Everyone gets an Ultrabook Experience”, and happy users = happy admins.  

Breakthrough Login VSI Benchmark with 2,500 Citrix MCS users

For more details on the advantages of XtremIO for VDI deployments visit www.XtremIO.com/VDI, and if you’re part of the EMC Partner Community or a Citrix Partner attending the Citrix Partner Summit next week stop by the EMC booth.  Let us show you why EMCs full portfolio will allow you to provide the right infrastructure based on your customers’ VDI business goals.  EMC is the solution for VDI!

All that and we haven’t even touched on replication and high availability/disaster recovery, stay tuned to insideflash.emc.com, for a teaser check out http://www.xtremio.com/vplex or ask me at the Citrix Summit 2014 next week.  Follow me on twitter @SamMarraccini to get the latest from Inside Flash, including video highlights from the Citrix Summit

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