Posted by: Alan Perlman
SearchStorage.co.UK, VDI, VDI Storage, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
If you’re thinking about VDI, one of the most important considerations is your storage infrastructure. First of all, you’ll have to have a lot more capacity in your centralized storage environment whether it’s a SAN or NAS. The reality is most of the data on dedicated storage on your desktops will now be centralized in a VDI environment, even if you continue to utilize intelligent clients with localized storage. But storage capacity is only part of the picture. Performance is equally important. With VDI the last thing you want is for the storage infrastructure to introduce latency into your users’ experience. If that happens, it may be bye, bye VDI.
You have to consider storage infrastructures that are able to deliver on scalability and high performance. In addition, you want to make sure the storage infrastructure has several key features, such as data deduplication and intelligent tiering to help you manage data during it’s entire life cycle. This is important because (1) data growth is a serious challenge (particularly the growth of unstructured data) and just buying more storage is no solution, and (2) with deduplication and intelligent tiering technologies you can significantly reduce the amount of data you are storing and you can also store it on devices appropriate to its value to your organization. This enhances performance and optimization.
I was thinking about all of this while doing research for a client and I came upon an interesting article on the Tech Target site SearchStorage.co.UK from last week, written by Nigel Poulon, who is a storage architect working for a large global financial organization, or, as they say across the pond, organisation. You can check out the article yourself (VDI storage: Planning for the storage needs of a new virtual desktop implementation), but here are some of the key points:
- Be aware of boot storms. These occur when large numbers of workers arrive at work and start up their machines at the same time, or when many users are performing the same function, such as a virus scan. The boot storm relies in high I/O for specific periods, so when you’re shopping for a storage platform, make sure you ask your vendor how it handles boot storms.
- Think about read cache. According to Poulon, supplementing hard drives with sufficient reach cache in the array reduces back-end disk I/O and, therefore, it reduces latency. This means less back-end storage is needed for I/O purposes and there’s usually a better user experience due to decreased latency.
- Make sure you have data deduplication. “Deploying array-based block deduplication technologies is a no-brainer in today’s VDI environments,” Poulon states, noting that block-based data deduplication technologies commonly yield space savings of up to 80 to 90 percent. Post-process block-based dedupe is also a good fit, he notes, because there is generally not a large amount of data change being injested so space requirements won’t explode during the working day.
What do you think? Any tips about storage for VDI environments? Feel free to post a comment (or two).