VDI issues: How to use SSD to improve performance

Last updated:August 2015

Editor's note

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.

1Overcoming 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.

2Considerations 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.

3Real-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.

4Experts 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.