A virtual desktop infrastructure can be great for management, security and ease of use, but these benefits come with a drawback. At times when a lot of users log in, it creates instances of high I/O demand -- referred to as boot storms -- users often experience painful performance delays. The key to overcoming performance-related VDI issues is using cost-effective storage that's powerful enough to handle spikes in I/O.
Because solid-state drives (SSDs) can handle more IOPS, the technology is a good storage option for VDI environments and is often added to existing storage infrastructures to be used with traditional disks for back-end capacity.
Recently, vendors have been selling storage appliances and bundled stacks containing SSDs that are aimed at virtual desktops, giving managers more options to solve VDI issues in their environments. This guide provides insight from experts about how SSD can speed up VDI performance, what to consider before purchasing storage for your environment and what SSD options would work best in particular infrastructures.
Solid-state strategy for virtual desktops: Where and what type
While SSDs can help with VDI issues, the type of SSD still needs to be considered. PCI Express (PCIe) cards can be implemented in servers, SSD can be added to storage arrays or all-flash arrays can be used to improve performance. PCIe expansion cards create a direct connection that can be beneficial in dealing with high I/O demands, and data transfer with SSDs is much faster than with disk drives. In the following links, two industry analysts provide advice on running virtual desktops and virtual machines on SSDs.
For VDI sizing, budget and IOPS are two important factors to consider. Continue Reading
Learn how to determine the amount of performance and capacity your VDI will need, and how to deal with common VDI issues such as undersized storage. Continue Reading
Adding SSD as a cache is a popular strategy to boost VDI performance at a low cost, but knowing whether data is compatible is important. Continue Reading
Overcoming VDI boot storms with SSD
While SSDs can help alleviate VDI boot storms, where they are placed makes all the difference. For example, it's possible to put only certain files on SSD or to use SSDs as a caching layer to provide just enough IOPS to deal with instances of high demand. In addition, using SSD for strategies such as storage tiering can alleviate day-to-day I/O contention.
Learn what you should consider when sizing SSDs for a VDI environment and the most efficient way to use SSDs to resolve your VDI boot storm issues. Continue Reading
According to analyst Marc Staimer, the best SSD application for dealing with boot storms comes down to the number of virtual desktops in your environment. Continue Reading
Many users are able to work around the most pressing VDI issues by turning to these storage strategies. Continue Reading
3Making the decision-
Considerations for choosing your VDI storage
A VDI environment has unique challenges because system performance is a higher priority than capacity. This has prompted vendors to increasingly offer products that include a combination of SSDs and disk drives, as well as compute and networking resources. Learn more about specific storage options for a VDI infrastructure, how to evaluate products and what should be considered when making a final storage decision.
Today's storage vendors are creating products catered to overcoming the unique challenges of virtual desktop environments. Continue Reading
Expert Alastair Cooke explains how to determine whether your existing storage will be adequate for a VDI implementation. Continue Reading
Scalability and performance need to be taken into account when choosing VDI storage -- and that means traditional SANs may not be the best option. Continue Reading
Real-world users solve VDI issues
VDI environments have unique IOPS requirements that traditional SAN or NAS arrays are often unable to provide. That's why many users turn to storage that is equipped with SSD -- most often in the form of hybrid arrays or all-flash arrays. The following provides examples of businesses that were able to overcome their VDI issues and save their implementations by deploying flash.
A Tegile hybrid array and data reduction features helped this business overcome performance issues in its 200-desktop VDI environment. Continue Reading
A Nimble Storage hybrid array helped this law firm solve the performance problem that its 350 virtual desktop users had been experiencing. Continue Reading
Marketing firm EU Services found a happy medium between low cost and high performance for its VDI with a hybrid array. Continue Reading
When flash cache didn't give them the performance bump they needed to overcome boot storms, University of Portland bet on an all-flash array. Continue Reading
Experts describe SSD and VDI
These excerpts of expert interviews and presentations take a deeper dive into VDI strategy, including background on persistent and non-persistent desktops and how to plan for IOPS.
VDI expert Brian Madden explains why it's so difficult to predict how much storage a given VDI implementation requires.
Common VDI issues -- slow performance and the ability to provide capacity -- can be solved with single-image management.
Because of usage spikes throughout the day, VDI storage needs should not be based on the daily average use of IOPS.