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Don't put too much focus on VDI 'hardware vendors'

Source:  Instudio68/Fotolia

When it comes to VDI hardware vs. software, opinions can be divided among storage professionals. But according to Brian Madden, focusing on that might be a useless exercise.

Don't become too concerned about whether your storage is hardware-focused or software-focused. Stacks are essentially commodity parts -- hard drives, solid-state drives and processors. The value -- such as performance and management -- comes from the software. If you feel reluctant about handing over your critical storage to a software vendor, you could be limiting your options and avoiding storage vendors that might otherwise be a boon to your project.

"We're not buying jugs, we're buying the milk," Madden said. "Don't worry about your storage vendor being a software vendor. They're all software vendors."

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Where do you land on the 'hardware vs. software vendor' debate?
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Both are critical to making sure that performance, reliability, and HSA are met. Virtual boxes are only as good as the underlying hardware they are housed on, and boxes themselves will perform sub-optimally if the systems are correctly balanced that run on them. Disk speed, network speed, cpu configuration, etc. are all important to be tuned and monitored for optimal use.
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There always seems to be a race between hardware, and software, like a pendulum. I'm not sure there will ever be a right answer for long, because just when you think we've reached limits in software, here comes another hardware innovation.  I think the same applies to the cloud storage options.  Whether it's closer to the hardware, or implemented via a software layer, I don't think there's a single 'best answer there.
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Solidly on both sides.

Neither is of much value without the other.... It's a bit like asking "which side of the coin is better." Go ahead, try it. Take one side away and you won't have much of a coin.

Hardware and software have been leapfrogging each other since The Beginning of (computer) Time.... I suspect the race will continue for some time. And that symbiosis is as it should be.

The wisest choice is to follow (and respect) both avenues. They support each other. The two bookend question have always been (and I suspect will always be) "what's the best hardware to extract the most from this software" and "what's the best software to get the most our of this new hardware...?
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