My new favorite question !! “What is your Windows 7 strategy?” What appears to be a pretty straightforward question has led to some FANTASTIC discussions around Virtual Desktop opportunities lately. It’s been my recent experience that most companies have been on Windows XP a few years longer than they would like to be so Windows 7 is something that is at the forefront of their mind. Once the question is asked it usually starts moving towards a Virtual Desktop discussion (VDI) pretty quickly. I’ve found that Windows 7 migration is one of the largest catalysts to get the momentum moving on a VDI architectural discussion (the others being VDI-Security, desktop disaster recovery as well as ”bring your own computer” or BYOC). This makes sense since most of the time you buy a new PC with Windows 7 and not upgrade an existing desktop to Windows 7. This is especially true if the existing desktop hardware is at least two years old.
The upside to the VDI and Windows 7 discussion is this: it’s about as good a time as any to move to VDI then at any other point in time. You already must replace the desktop hardware, so you might as well investigate the viability of virtualizing the desktop. Sometimes it takes a little more than just a Windows 7 strategy to get things moving. VDI also has some really nice side benefits like helping with local and remote users and their disaster recovery ramifications. For instance, for a few years I ran the Systems Engineering Group for my region at Xiotech. At the time I had 8 or 9 engineers and it never failed to happen that at least once a quarter someone’s laptop hard drive would crash, or better yet, get stolen – it always seemed that the AE’s had the most issues 🙂 . Each time that happened it took that SE or AE two or three days to get back up to speed and that’s if they had a good backup and we could ship them a replacement laptop quickly. If not, it was a week. What a VDI Architecture could have delivered was a “Desktop/Laptop Disaster Recovery process”. In this case, they could have simply stopped into a store such as BestBuy, Target, or Fry’s Electronics and purchased a laptop, walked into a Starbucks (WiFi) and downloaded the VDI client and away they would go. Now, if you don’t have remote users, think of the ability to swap out a failed desktop and have the end user up and running in an hour. It’s HUGE!!! The whole BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) concept really can take this to the next level. Imagine the helpdesk team never having to image a laptop or desktop hard drive ever again. You give the end-users a set dollar amount and require them to pick up 2 or 3 years of 24/7 phone support on the laptop/desktop and just supply them with a remote desktop access.
Let’s look at the security enhancements you get with a Virtual Desktop architecture. If you are a financial trading company, maybe you want to be able to lock down the company’s information as tightly as possible. If you are a K-12 or University facility, maybe you want to keep the students from altering the OS/applications that might affect the next student. The ability for a new desktop instance to be spawned at each unique login means that if a student loads a virus into the desktop, the next time someone logs in, they get a fresh, virus-free image. What seems to have gotten the most attention in these K-12 institutions is the ability to offer the “Computer Lab” applications to home users. Imagine a student logging into a VDI session from anywhere in the world and having the same level of access as if they were on campus. The same look/feel etc. Maybe the student has an iPad or a NetBook. They can then access the lab 24/7/365.
So if you are struggling with concept of VDI and are looking for different ways to justify it hopefully I’ve left you with a few things to consider. If nothing more, ask yourself (or the desktop team) the following: “What is our Windows 7 strategy?”
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Tagged Citrix VDI, DAS, Direct Attached Storage, Emprise, Emprise 5000, Emprise 7000, Emprise 9000, FAS, ISE-NAS, VDI, VDI-Performance, VMWare, Windows 7, Xiotech
If you look up Emprise in the Merriam-Webster dictionary you will see that it means “an adventurous or daring enterprise.” That pretty much describes the Emprise product family’s launch 2 years ago. We did something that no one else was, or is doing today. Imagine being able to start from scratch on a storage solution, and I’m not talking about controller software. I’m talking a complete re-engineering/architecting a solution that is built with enough resiliencies to offer the only zero-cost 5-year hardware warranty in the storage industry. Not only is it super reliable, but it’s ridiculously fast and predictable. When you can support 600+ Virtual Desktop (Performance VDI) “bootstorm” instances at a whopping 20 IOPS per bootup in 3U of space, I would classify that as wicked fast!!!
In those 2 years we have not sat around on our laurels. Steve Sicola’s team, headed up by our VP of Technology David “Gus” Gustavsson, has really outdone themselves with our latest Emprise product launch. Not only did we move our entire user interface from “Web Services” to a RESTful API (ISE-Manager (blog about this later) and our iPhone/iPad App), he also released our 20(ea) 2.5” disk drive DataPac which has 40(ea) 2.5” drives in 3U of space for about 19.2TB’s space and a TON of performance. His team also released our ISE Analyzer (advanced reporting solution built on our CoreteX/RESTful API (www.CorteXdeveloper.com )– I’ll blog about that soon) and our next release of our Emprise product family, the Emprise 9000. I swear his team doesn’t sleep!!!
So, the Emprise 9000 is a pretty unique solution in the market. Today, when you think “scale out” architecture the first thing you might think about is NAS. Hopefully our ISE NAS !! We hope moving forward you will also think of our Emprise 9000. The Emprise 9000’s ability to scale to 12 controllers puts it way above the 8 controllers the 3PAR solution scales to and above the 2-controllers the rest of the storage world produces (EMC Clariion, Compellent, HP EVA, IBM XIV etc). When married with our Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) it truly gives our customers the most robust, scalable solution in the storage market today.
Let’s be clear, the Emprise 9000 is not just a controller update. It’s a combination of better, faster controllers, RESTful API and our ISE technology combined to solve performance starved applications issues like Virtual Desktops, Exchange, OLTP, Data Warehouse, Virtual Servers as well as various other types of applications found in datacenters today. The ability to give predictable performance whether the solution is 10% utilized, or 97% utilized is a very unique feature. Did I mention it comes with our free zero-cost hardware maintenance? 24x7x365 !!!
So for those keeping a tally at home, and for those competitors that want a little more information on what the Emprise 9000 can do, here is a quick list: (this is not all the features)
- Each controller has a Dual quad-core Nehalem CPU’s!!
- Scale-out to 12 Controller pairs
- 8Gb Fibre Channel ports
- N-Port Virtualization (NPIV)
- 1Gb or 10Gb iSCSI ports (10GB later this quarter)
- You can run both FC and iSCSI in the same solution.
- Scalable from 1 to 96(ea) ISE’s of any size
- Max capacity would be 1.8PB with 96(ea) 19.2 TB ISE’s
- Support for greater then 2TB LUNS
- Thin Provisioned Volumes
- READ only Snapshots
- Writeable Snapshots as well. Think “smart-clone” technology of VDI
- Heterogeneous Migration
- You want to migrate off that EMC, HP, 3PAR, HDS, etc – we can do it natively in our storage controllers.
- Sync/Async native IP or FC replication
So, as you can see it’s a pretty impressive list!! And as with all new products, we will be adding new features pretty quickly so stay tuned to announcements from us around the 9000. BUT there’s more!! But I can’t really go into it today 🙂 Just stick around a couple of months for some even cooler stuff Gus’s team will be rolling out. I just got back from a week in Vegas getting feed by a firehose about all the stuff we will be rolling out by the end of the year. WOW !! Impressive to say the least !!! 🙂
@StorageTexan <-Follow me on Twitter
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 3PAR, Clariion, Compellent, CX4, DAS, Direct Attached Storage, EMC, EMC V-MAX, Emprise, Emprise 5000, Emprise 7000, Emprise 9000, Equallogic, EVA, Exchange 2010, FAS, HP, ISE, Magnitude 3D, NetApp, Performance Starved Applications, Pillar, REST, RESTful API, Solid State Disks, Thin Provisioning, VDI, VMWare, Xiotech