Around the Storage Block

Solving all your problems with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure


Virtualization VDI_solutions_blog.jpgAre you dealing with any of these problems?

  1. Tired of hearing users complain that they can’t access the corporate network with whatever device they want.
  2. Need to continue to work cost out of your IT infrastructure.
  3. Trying to evolve your gen-1 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) into more of a Desktop as a Service.
  4. Can’t mine bitcoin fast enough to keep pace with a crashing market.

HPE is delivering the latest solutions for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure with VMware Horizon or Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp. You’ll find these solutions can solve all your VDI problems. . . except for maybe #4 (but one of our key solution partners can actually help there).

Virtualization problems old and new

Virtualization challenges have been plaguing companies over the past decade or more. The good news is that vendors and IT orgs have addressed many of the classic challenges and realized the benefits of virtualization: lowering cost and increasing efficiency. 

Now, however, we’re seeing customers with new challenges to further optimize virtualized workloads and drive cloud-like speed and management in the data center, while still reducing overall cost. They’re coming in a few varieties:

  • Managing multi-cloud—You want to manage virtualized workloads on-prem as well as in co-lo and hosted environments, and you want to do so in a way that’s non-disruptive to the user. A related ask is to deliver Desktop as a Service within the enterprise, taking a service-oriented approach to VDI with elements of self-service, automation and back-end accounting.
  • Shifting CAPEX to OPEX—While trying to drive overall savings, we are also aware of your preference for variable payments based on time or usage (versus traditional one-time, upfront investments). Also in this bucket is the desire to not trade off data security for cost savings, especially where the data in question can be valuable intellectual property, corporate financials, data pertaining to minors or patients.
  • Managing a new mix of resources—This challenge comes in two dimensions, whether it’s supporting a diversity of mobile workforce BYOD,or allowing IT to optimally mix best-of-breed solution elements.

Modern solution for virtualizing desktop and apps

So what should you be looking for in a VDI solution? Seek out these top benefits:

  • Density—Expect to reduce system footprint, whether to save on space and power, or just to reduce required racking and stacking. You want a solution that packs more usable capacity, throughput and performance into fewer “U”s.
  • Lower cost—Along with reducing overall TCO and getting cost into the preferred form and timeframe, getting the cost per desktop down is another key metric. An illustration of how this works was captured in a related VDI blog.
  • Scalability—It’s important to be able to easily and non-disruptively scale higher by adding capacity or upgrading controllers to support user growth, especially as the best practice is to deploy in phases.
  • Performance—A world-class solution ensures sub-millisecond average latency across various uses cases, such as heavy-performance user workloads, boot storms and even storage controller failure.

Getting schooled on VDI

The Corona-Norco Unified School District (CNUSD) is an expansive collection of elementary, middle, and high schools that has been in operation for over 125 years. It’s now the tenth largest school district in California, with more than 53,000 students. As the name suggests, they serve one of the most demanding, distributed workforces. . . students. They had the early insight to serve this user base with virtual versus traditional desktops, but their original storage arrays could not scale beyond 500 virtual desktops. Though the district had the ambition to support thousands of concurrent users, the cost of scaling legacy storage up to that many VDI desktops was far too high. 

The solution for CNUSD? HPE Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash arrays running VMware Horizon on VMware vSphere.

Once this next-gen VDI solution was deployed, CNUSD realized a number of benefits. They achieved 6:1 reduction in storage management costs along with significant reductions in system Hardware (50%) and admin labor (83%). In addition, they saw twice the performance with one HPE Nimble Storage array than half a rack of Dell EqualLogic systems. Most importantly, they scaled to a VDI deployment that immediately accommodated over 3,000 concurrent users, and was positioned to continue to grow. Here’s the link to the more detailed CNUSD case study.

HPE Storage solution for VDI

HPE storage provides one of the most efficient, intelligent, and highly available data platforms for VMware Horizon and Citrix XenDesktop as well as desktop as a service. What’s special about this offering is predictive flash. It delivers flash-performanceHPE-VDI-Logos-Lg.png up to 3.8M IOPS and consistent sub-millisecond latency. Unique to the product is HPE InfoSight—it’s AI for the data center—that predicts and prevents issues before they affect business and transforms how infrastructure is managed and supported. HPE InfoSight also has specific benefits for cross-stack visibility into virtualized environments. The breadth of product models and absolute scalability of HPE 3PAR StoreServ and HPE Nimble Storage systems enable a predictable, rightsized and affordable match for any VDI deployment. This is a best-of-bread solution that can even be bought in a pay-per-use model through HPE Flexible Capacity.

Bitcoin mining and a whole lot more

Need help in your cryptocurrency work, too? Turns out, our key partner that enables the acceleration of VDI, also does a lot more. NVIDIA Virtual Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) solutions deliver rich immersive user experiences. It’s the key ingredient that lets VDI environments support the needs of, for instance, remote workers, Windows 10 deployments and power users leveraging CAD/CAE applications.

With NVIDIA, it becomes easier to deliver native user experiences across multiple virtualized devices. Specifically, we see their GRID vPC and GRID vApps powered by the NVIDIA Tesla M10 cards as the way to meet the rising graphics requirements of new productivity apps and especially Windows 10 upgrades. Here’s a link to a  recent article in Forbes that details how GPUs play a key role in VDI and so much more. And, yes, along with VDI, GPUs have become the key enabler for Artificial Intelligence (AI), High Performance Computing (HPE), gaming and cryptocurrency mining

Where to go for more information

We continue to publish new resources on VDI. Check them out, including:

HPE Storage for VMware Horizon with NVIDIA solution brief

HPE Nimble Storage Citrix VDI solution brief

BrightTalk webinar on how to improve the performance of VMware Horizon 7 recently delivered by product experts from VMware and HPE.

Mike Harding HPE.png

 Meet Around the Storage Block Blogger Mike Harding, Product & Solution Marketing, HPE.  Mike leads the marketing of new and established solutions and products at HPE. He came to HPE via Nimble Storage, and prior to that led the marketing of the NetApp Converged Infrastructure effort, including the multi-billion dollar FlexPod solution. Mike has over 25 years of marketing experience at both start-ups and larger tech companies and tweets regularly under the handle @mhardi01.

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