Around the Storage Block

Data Protection for VDI Goes Way Beyond File Restore



Funny story: One day, way back when I was in grade school, I passed a door in the hallway that was usually locked. There was nobody in the little room, and I noticed a long row of light switches on the wall. Curious, I reached up and flipped a few of them.... (Yeah, I was that kid.) The hallway immediately went dark—completely dark! There was mild panic for a minute or two, teachers scurrying around, a few kids shouting on the floor above me. When the lights came back on, I was promptly escorted to the principal’s office. My classmates teased me for weeks.

The point is, the smallest action can have far reaching implications in a widely dispersed system. No where is this more true than in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). If you have hundreds of end users relying on a central IT system, you need reliable data protection against possible disasters, malware, or human errors.

A hedge against chaos in virtual desktop environments

Some data centers that experience data loss require little more than file restoration to get back to the business of doing business. But as Scott Lowe points out in the Gorilla Guide to Hyperconverged Infrastructure for VDI, “Data protection in VDI goes way beyond just making it easy to get users back up and running. In fact, it comes down to being able to fully recover the desktop computing environment just like any other mission-critical enterprise application.”

VDI-data-protection-SimpliVity.jpgFaced with downtime costs of $108,000 per hour on average,* IT organizations must be prepared to recover desktops and data quickly, before the situation becomes a crisis. Organizations that deploy hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) with built-in data protection get the resiliency they need and can significantly reduce or even eliminate downtime. European law firm Eubelius, and US business services firm High Cotton deployed HPE SimpliVity powered by Intel®, got the data protection they needed, and achieved some surprising performance results.


The switch to HCI: “One look… and we knew it was the way to go.”

Eubelius’ siloed IT implementation had reached the end of its useful life. The law firm’s legacy infrastructure and storage arrays were maxed out. Backup and recovery procedures squandered storage capacity and took hours to complete. The IT manager knew they needed to modernize and also improve performance in their end user computing environment.

“We took one look at HPE SimpliVity and we knew it was the way to go,” he says. The new HCI solution “is easy to deploy and administer. The product’s built-in data protection features and rapid VM cloning and recovery capabilities were major selling points. After seeing HPE SimpliVity we didn’t even consider any of the traditional solutions.”

The HCI solution helps Eubelius safeguard critical data and avoid application downtime. The firm has slashed backup and recovery times from hours to just seconds. “When we had a problem with our 700GB SQL server we were able to fully recover it in just a couple seconds. With the old solution it would have taken hours to restore services.”

From marginal data protection to 60-second response times

High Cotton business services also needed data protection for their VDI environment. Like Eubelius, they were leaning toward a hyperconverged solution. The disjointed IT environment at High Cotton was becoming increasingly risky and expensive. The company relied on a varied assortment of legacy equipment and didn’t have any in-house data protection. Disaster or equipment failure meant certain business disruption: restoring applications, including VDI apps, could take hours or days.

They selected HPE hyperconverged infrastructure as the foundation for the company’s next-generation datacenter. "HPE SimpliVity gives us amazing agility and operational efficiency…. We are able to efficiently replicate all our business critical data on 15-minute increments to our secondary datacenter 670 miles away for business continuity and DR,” says the director of IT. VM-centric administration and global unified management dramatically simplify operations, without requiring special expertise or retraining existing IT staff. “We respond to weekly file restore requests in 60 seconds now … before, it took 4 hours, best case.”

Hyperconverged infrastructure built for data protection

A technology refresh with HPE SimpliVity can make your virtual desktop environment more agile and boost application performance. Built-in resiliency, backup, and disaster recovery features can be managed simply from a single interface and provide benefits to the entire organization.

The author of the Gorilla Guide highlights the role that hyperconvergence can play, not just in restoring data, but in restoring entire persistent desktops in end user computing environments. “In a hyperconverged infrastructure environment with comprehensive data protection capabilities, even VDI-based desktop systems enjoy backup and replication for users’ persistent desktops,” Lowe points out. “In other words, even if you suffer a complete loss of your primary data center, your users can pick right up where they left off thanks to the fact that their desktops were replicated to a secondary site. Everything will be there — their customizations, email, and all of their documents.” 

That’s solid data protection.

Read the Gorilla Guide to Hyperconverged Infrastructure for VDI to learn what else hyperconvergence can do for virtual desktop environments.

To learn more about HPE SimpliVity solutions for VDI, download this infographic.


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About the Author


I’ve been with HP/HPE for over 12 years covering data storage, software-defined storage, and now hyperconvergence and software-defined infrastructure as part of the HPE Storage team.