Is Storage Performance Predictability when building VMWare Virtual Desktop (VDI) Storage Clouds important? This can also apply to Citrix and Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Virtual Desktop Systems.
Here is yet another great example of why I just love my job. Last week at our Xiotech National Sales Meeting we heard from a net-new educational customer out in the western US. They recently piloted a VDI project with great success. One of the biggest hurdles they were running into, and I would bet other storage cloud (or VDI specific) providers are as well, is performance predictability. This predictability is very important. Too often we see customer focus on the capacity side of the house and forget that performance can be extremely important (VDI boot storm anyone?). Rob Peglar wrote a great blog post called “Performance Still Matters” over at the Xiotech.com blog site. When you are done reading this blog, head over to it and check it out 🙂
So, VDI cloud architects should make sure that the solution they design today will meet the requirements of the project over the next 12 months, 24 months and beyond. To make matters worse, they need to consider what happens if the cloud is 20% utilized or if/when it becomes wildly successful and utilization is closer to 90% to 95%. The last thing you want to do is have to add more spindles ($$$) or turn to expensive SSD ($$$$$$$$$) to solve an issue that should have never happened in the first place.
So, let’s assume you already read my riveting, game changing piece on “Performance Starved Applications” (PSA). VDI is ONE OF THOSE PSA’s!!! Why is this important? If you are looking at traditional storage (Clariion, EVA, Compellent Storage Center, Xiotech Mag3D, NetApp FAS) arrays it’s important to know that once you get to about 75% utilization performance drops like my bank account did last week while I was in Vegas. Like a freaking hammer!! That’s just HORRIBLE (utilization and my bank account). Again you might ask why that’s important? Well I have three kids and a wife, who went back in to college, so funds are not where they should be at…..oh wait (ADD moment) I’m sure you meant horrible about performance dropping and not my bank account. So, what does performance predictability really mean? How important would it be to know that every time you added an intelligent storage element (Xiotech Emprise 5000 – 3U) with certain DataPacs you could support 225 to 250 simultaneous VDI instances (just as an example) including boot storms? This would give you an incredible ability to zero in on the costs associated with the storage part of your VDI deployment. This is especially true when moving from a pilot program into a full production roll out. For instance, if you pilot 250 VDI instances, but you know that you will eventually need support for 1000, you can start off with one Emprise 5000 and grow it to a total of four elements. Down the road, if you grow further than 1000 you fully understand the storage costs associated with that growth, because it is PREDICTABLE.
What could this mean to your environment? It means if you are looking at traditional arrays, be prepared to pay for capacity that you will probably never use without a severe hit to performance. What could that mean for the average end user? That means their desktop boots slowly, their applications slow down and your helpdesk phone rings off the hook!! So, performance predictability is crucial when designing scalable VDI solutions and when cost management (financial performance predictability) is every bit as critical.
So if you are looking at VDI or even building a VDI Storage Cloud then performance predictability would be a great foundation on which to build those solutions. The best storage solution to build your application on is the Xiotech Emprise 5000.