Three key VDI storage challenges


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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

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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