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VDI benchmark launched to measure storage performance, costs

Analyst firm Evaluator Group develops VDI-IOmark benchmark to calculate I/O performance and cost per user for virtual desktop infrastructure storage.

Analyst firm Evaluator Group today launched the VDI-IOmark, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) benchmark for storage. The benchmark measures I/O performance and costs per desktop for VDI storage.

Evaluator Group senior analyst Russ Fellows said the idea for the benchmark was born about a year ago when vendors began publishing costs per desktop for their storage when used with VDI. He said those figures were not based on standard testing, and there was no way to verify the claims or compare different vendors’ offerings.

“VDI deployments are getting derailed because of costs and I/O problems,” Fellows said. “There’s virtually no realistic sizing for performance. “We started getting inquires from end users on VDI asking what they need to know about storage. We recognized a need for a benchmark, although that's not something an analyst usually does.”

The analyst firm put together the VDI-IOmark organization, which it describes as a coalition of industry groups, vendors and IT users. No members of the organization have been identified, although the press release announcing the VDI benchmark included a quote from BlueArc’s vice president of product marketing, Ravi Chalaka.

The benchmark is storage-specific and only measures VMware View implementations now, although Fellows said Evaluator Group plans to add support for Citrix XenDesktop and Microsoft Hyper-V.

The VDI benchmark can run on servers handling 1,000 VDI users, 12 CPU, 96 GB of RAM and multiple I/O ports.

There are already VDI benchmarks available, but Fellows said VDI-IOmark costs less and is easier to use and set up than the Login VSI and RAWC benchmarks, which look at the entire system.

VDI-IOmark tests storage system performance only. It does not test the efficiency of the hypervisor, server capacity, CPU or memory. It looks at the I/O required for clone, boot, login, user workload, virus scan and reclone operations. VDI-IOmark calculates the price for storage licenses for tested storage capacity and three-year maintenance and divides that by the number of VDI instances to get a cost per user.

The benchmark criteria include maximum response times; all storage must reside on the systems being tested. VDI-IOmark will publish price/performance benchmarks when vendors make them available.

VDI-IOmark will charge an annual license fee for beginning at $2,500 for vendors. End users can get the license free for 30 days for evaluation.

Like any storage benchmark, VDI-IOmark will require industry buy-in to be valuable.

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