Clearpath’s Blog on IT Infrastructure, Hybrid Clouds and IT Security

Supercharge your Storage for Virtual Desktops with VMware vSAN

Posted by Clearpath Solutions Group on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 09:42 AM

Virtual Desktops are a Challenging Workload

Performance is one of the most important aspects of a successful VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) solution; any poorly performing virtualized experience means an immediate dip in an organization’s productivity, not to mention a reluctance by end users to embrace it. Storage is, arguably, one of the most important ingredients that affects VDI performance.

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Virtual desktops run against shared hardware (like storage), so times of heavy use can be very taxing on that hardware. Phenomena like “boot storms”,  created when a lot of users boot up in a short window, can overwhelm your infrastructure and degrade the overall service. “Login storms” can have a similar impact, as can malware scans and other I/O intensive activity. Managing the growth of VDI adoption can also be difficult if your infrastructure is too rigid to scale quickly or cost-effectively.

The Limits of Traditional Storage

It used to be that the only option for expanding your backend storage capacity (i.e. your SAN, or storage area network) was to buy more and scale up large arrays, and when you hit the ceiling, shelling out a lot of money to scale out and buy another stack – all expensive and proprietary with their own management tools. As companies evaluate their options to accommodate growth, it’s not always good economics to make such a big upfront investment. Nor does that approach makes sense for addressing the ebbs and flows of today’s dynamic environments.

Which is why virtualized storage has gained so much traction.

To handle the increasing demands of VDI, and to make better use of existing storage investments, companies are turning to virtualized storage.

How Virtualized Storage Works

VMware_vSan_1-1

Virtual SANs virtually pool together server-attached commodity storage from across the environment and make it available to workloads. Consuming applications are never aware that the storage they use may, through a software layer of abstraction, be distributed across x86 servers and their attached solid state drives (SSDs) or hard disk drives (HDD). This elegant approach gives you scalable storage that maximizes existing capacity that would otherwise sit underutilized, and is generally cheaper per GB compared to other network storage approaches. Scaling up or out are both faster to implement, and easier on the budget – it’s much simpler to procure a $25,000 server than a $100,000 SAN.

The benefits:

  • Pay-as-you-grow affordable storage with reduced Capex
  • Maximize use of existing capacity across your environment
  • Faster acquisition and provisioning of additional storage

VMware vSAN™ Virtualized Storage

vSan_VMware

VMware, the leader in virtualized compute with VMware vSphere®, has applied its vast expertise to the storage arena. vSAN is embedded in the vSphere kernel, making it more efficient than any virtual appliance which has to tax the CPU with overhead because it runs in addition to the hypervisor. It also leverages server-side flash to cache and buffer I/O traffic, minimizing storage-related latencies.

The virtual storage created by vSAN delivers at-scale, exceptional performance to apps and virtual desktops. IT admins can provision enterprise-ready storage in a few clicks utilizing management tools they’re already familiar with, like VMware vCenter™. And automated self-tuning capabilities continually rebalance storage resources to meet demand, making this a relatively hands-off solution. vSAN also includes workload resiliency and business continuity with stretch cluster support (stretching software-defined storage clusters across multiple sites) for VMware Horizon®, VMware’s VDI solution.

Ready to Supercharge your Storage for VDI?

VMware vSAN delivers radically simple storage for virtual desktops and apps. If performance, scalability, cost, and protecting your existing investments are important factors for your future storage solution, Clearpath can help. We have expertise spanning VDI, storage, and virtualization strategies, and can guide you on the best path for success.

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