This content is part of the Essential Guide: VDI issues: How to use SSD to improve performance

How to address the VDI storage sizing problem

One challenge with VDI storage sizing relates to scalability. VDI storage solutions can vary from server-based hard drives to SANs, but there are no solutions that can support both a small number of users for a reasonable cost as well as a lot of users, making planning for project growth very difficult. In this video, VDI expert Brian Madden discusses this problem and explains that there are two options for addressing it. Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out what the options are.

[With VDI], you've got to start slow. And I've recommended to people … start small, pick a few groups and figure out how that works.

Well here's the problem: What is an appropriate storage solution for, let's say, zero to 100 users? Probably the hard drive that came in your server is fine for that -- maybe some SSD, maybe some RAID cache. But now, once I get a little bit bigger, I need a different [solution]. Maybe up to 300 users you might [need] some kind of appliance … some kind of software that reads things differently. But I don't use that software for as [few] as five users because I might have to pay $10,000 in software -- it's not worth $2,000 per user. And then as I grow a little bit more, maybe I want [a] faster SAN or an appliance. And maybe I want to get into distributed processing amongst my servers, and then I [keep growing]. So the problem we have here is that there is no storage solution for VDI that is cost-effective for your first 10 users that will also scale to 5,000 users. It just doesn't exist. Now, yes, there are companies that scale, and they talk about linear scalability, but they're entry-level solutions [that cost about] $75,000. So you're not starting out with 100 users because now you're paying [about] $700 per user just for storage. So if you want to get the money out of the storage, you've got to go to VDI in a big way, really quickly. Or be willing to build your project, size it appropriately for your environment, and then go back to your boss a year later and say, "You know how awesome that was, that we did that VDI for 100 users? Now let's quadruple that." And you're like, "Yeah, but we have to throw away everything that we just bought before," and your boss thinks you're an idiot. But it's the way the technology works.

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