Insights, Best Practices and Forward Thinking from the Customer Facing Team, Solution Architects and Leaders on Extreme Performance Applications, Infrastructure, Storage and the Real-World Impact Possible

Is this the year of virtual desktops?

by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on August 23, 2013

What’s stalling virtual desktop deployments?
Virtualizing desktops has been one of the top 5 IT initiatives for the last few years. However, about half of the VDI projects are stalled due to unacceptable user experience and project cost overruns.  Bad user experience leads to low adoption. The user experience issues become acute when small pilots are scaled up from 100s of desktops to 1000s. Over-provisioning of storage and constant tuning leads to increased cost.

Choosing the right storage is an art!
Storage plays a big role in the success of VDI implementation. Choosing the right storage is an art rather than a science.  The incumbent storage vendors play the scare-tactics in suggesting that their band-aided legacy products with more disks than you need are the right storage. Customers buy into such claims without performing correct tests.

While VMmark provides a clear and concise benchmarking for server workloads, virtual desktops lacked a similar methodology to benchmark/compare/contrast the infrastructure to help customers make educated decisions based on the facts.  Today, the industry is full of claims and self-weighted matrices which if wrong, does not help adoption of the VDI solution overall.

VMware + Violin Flash = VDImark
The new VDI benchmark is finally here! Flash memory storage leader, Violin Systems partnered with Virtualization, VDI and Cloud Software leader, VMware on this effort. Recall that Violin was also associated with VMware’s initiative of adding power and density attributes to the VMmark benchmark.  In 2012, the server ecosystems created VMmark benchmarking records using Violin flash Memory Arrays. Now, the VDI benchmark, VDImark has been validated using Violin systems. This clearly shows the impact that Violin Systems and flash storage, in general, is having on the virtualization, data center and cloud markets.

With View Planner 3.0 released, the existing View Planner can be run as a benchmark, VDImark, which will help VMware partners and customers to precisely characterize and compare both the software and hardware components for their VDI environments.

VDImark is a score that denotes the number of VDI desktops/users that can be run on a given VDI configuration (CPU, storage and fabric) for a consistent VMware set user experience (user operations & application response time less than the set threshold).  For example, a VDImark score of 500 indicates that the VDI deployment with 500 desktops using the configuration specified as part of the score will be able to consistently meet the minimum user experience standard VMware set for the industry.  The larger the value, the more desktops that can be deployed without any user experience degradation. The vendor also needs to submit details on the configuration to achieve the score. This provides insight into the cost of deploying the solution. With a consistent benchmarking score and the configuration details, the customer will be able to decide the best solution for their VDI initiatives.

Storage of choice for VDI  - Violin flash Memory Arrays
Violin has a proven record of delivering VDI with superior performance and scalability and low TCO. Multiple customers have successfully deployed 1,000s of virtual desktops running on Violin flash Memory Arrays, including the US Department of Defense (few thousands of desktops), Great American Insurance Group (2,000 desktops), National Air Traffic Systems--NATS (6,000 desktops), Anglia Ruskin University (3,000 desktops) and a multi-billion dollar construction company (10,000 desktops). NATS not only successfully deployed virtual desktops to achieve the operational flexibility but also expected save £9 million over 4 years. Anglia’s VDI delivered 30-40% in power savings and also reduced boot times by nearly 90%, in addition to the core goal of reducing Microsoft licensing costs.

Checkout our recent white paper on how Violin is offering a highly differentiated yet economical storage solution to make virtual desktop a reality.

Violin can accelerate VDI adoption by running ‘VDI at the speed of memory’. Customers now have a benchmarking tool in VDImark to make the right infrastructure and storage decisions.

Yes!  I think it is the year of virtual desktops!