Just about every customer I’ve talked to about deploying a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) brings up the challenges of evaluating storage solutions. For many, VDI can be difficult to implement at the scale required to make these projects economical. The performance, capacity and management burden VDIs create can eliminate the benefits of VDI storage solutions that are not specifically designed to meet these unique requirements. Scalable, high-performance, file-based storage systems are key components in a successful VDI implementation and greatly affect ROI. Here are five areas I would consider before choosing which storage platform to use.
#1. Cost effective, scalable storage capacity
The key is to obtain a solution that supports the cost-effective scaling of storage capacity. As more storage capacity is added, the networked storage solution should not become exponen¬tially more expensive.
#2. Provide availability, data protection and reliability features while keeping costs in line. By implementing a storage solution that eliminates architectural complexity, non-integrated products, expensive proprietary networking protocols, cumbersome administration and licensing, organizations can achieve optimal performance, lower costs and simplify storage management in virtual desktop environments.
#3 Integrates with management tools
The centralized management and protection of virtualized desktop images and their data are essential to effectively delivering on the promise of a VDI. However this centralized management strategy also needs to extend to the networked storage solution used in support of the VDI.
#4. Efficiently stores data
How efficiently a networked storage system manages data it stores is rapidly becoming a determining factor as to whether or not an enterprise can afford to deploy some storage solutions in their VDI environment. Initial findings of organizations that have already deployed VDI suggest that they are fraught with duplicate data. In these circumstances, storage technologies such as de-duplication remove duplicate data and enable organizations to minimize the total amount of storage capacity that their VDI deployment consumes. In-line compression technologies also help reduce capacity requirements. It is very important to ensure these data reduction technologies can be used without penalizing performance.
#5. Storage performance – high IOPs at low cost
Many applications are increasingly dependent on storage and require robust performance from their storage platform. However, often this is currently achieved by using expensive FC disks or high-performance SAS disks. It should be possible to deliver very good random and sequential I/O while keeping costs low. This facet of storage needs to be considered in addition to capacity and performance.
Cost effective, high performance VDI storage solutions usually exhibit the following attributes:
- Application or use-case optimization – A storage platform should be increasingly aware of applications and what they need from the storage platform
- Backup/recovery via snapshots and replication of virtual machine images and application data
- Simplified management and reporting to easily install, manage and increase virtual file storage utilization
- In-line de-dupe and compression
- Scalable and extensible platform
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Russ Fellows and John Webster over at Evaluator Group have similar recommendations.