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Three key VDI storage challenges

Ezine

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Challenge 1: Poor performance

One of the biggest VDI storage pain points is performance, which can be compromised when multiple VMs on the same server access shared physical

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resources at the same time. This can happen during “boot storms” when a large number of users attempt to log on simultaneously. Concurrent desktop antivirus scans (or “AV storms”) can also be a culprit because they can completely saturate shared compute and storage I/O resources.

One way to remedy the situation is to overprovision storage, but this is an expensive and at best temporary solution, as bottlenecks tend to recur as a virtual desktop infrastructure grows.

Some innovative vendors are addressing these issues with offerings tailored to the storage needs of a VDI. Nimble Storage’s CS-Series array family is one example. Nimble’s “secret sauce” is its Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) architecture, which features inline data compression, integrated flash cache for performance, low-cost hard disk drives (HDDs) for capacity and sequential writes. A large adaptive flash cache prevents boot storms by absorbing the heavy, read-intensive I/O load, with cache reads that are some 50 times faster than disk reads. Nimble addresses AV storms through its sequential layout of writes. By coalescing random writes into a full stripe, Nimble enables write operations that are on the order of 100 times speedier than those on conventional arrays, which employ fixed layout methods.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) also has storage systems designed to meet the rigors of VDIs. The HP VirtualSystem CV2 for VMware View is built specifically for client virtualization, combining P4800 iSCSI storage-area network (SAN) storage with HP high-density BladeSystem compute nodes to create a complete VDI solution. The HP VirtualSystem CV2’s high-performance shared backplane, scale-out clustered storage technology and performance-enhancing solid-state drive (SSD) layer help mitigate boot and AV storms, even as an installation scales up to 1,000-plus users.

This was first published in February 2012

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