Deploying a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution can be demanding and expensive due to a large number of high-performance components required to deliver a fast and reliable user experience. Storage in particular can rapidly become a major hurdle to overcome with regards to performance and price. Industry-validated, cost-effective, all-flash storage will enable businesses across all verticals to adopt VDI.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) allows IT organizations to simplify and automate the management of thousands of users, securely delivering desktop-as-a-service from a central, secure location. Adoption of VDI is highest in industries where there are both high levels of regulation and a distributed workforce or many remote offices (healthcare, banking, education, retail etc.).
When effectively deployed, VDI delivers high returns on investment - reducing operating costs and closing security gaps through infrastructure consolidation, while also adding flexibility to the workforce which is now empowered to work from anywhere.
THE VDI TRAP
Because VDI touches so many users, it directly affects the productivity and bottom line of the organization deploying it. This high level of visibility puts immense pressure on IT to deliver performance to ensure a positive user experience, and this added pressure is the single biggest roadblock for VDI adoption. Storage is widely regarded as the biggest hurdle to overcome from both a cost and performance perspective.
In order to deliver a user experience on-par with users having their own desktop, the VDI infrastructure stack must service bursts of very high read/write I/O while maintaining ultra-low latency for all users at once. Failure to do so leads to the death blow of many VDI projects - users asking for their desktops back.
According to IDC, most failed VDI deployments are blamed on storage, as bursts of high I/O request impact user latency across the VDI platform. It is unsurprising then, that storage is often the most expensive and carefully selected hardware in successful VDI deployments.
Traditional spindle (spinning disk) based and even hybrid (spindle mixed with flash) storage has failed to meet the demands of VDI because these systems depend on a read/write cache to service low-latency I/O requests, however once the cache is overwhelmed, latency increases, the users complain, and the project dies.
THE ACCELSTOR DIFFERENCE
The storage demands of VDI are so high that even all-flash storage systems that are dependent on NVMe or NVRAM caching for low-latency I/O can fail to deliver a user experience that leads to a successful VDI implementation.
At AccelStor there is no cache. Only metadata is temporarily stored in global memory, so all write blocks are direct to disk – meaning all reads come directly from disk as well. This cache-less design means all I/O goes straight to/from the SSD media at near-cache speeds, significantly increasing performance, lowering latency, and providing better data resiliency than traditional cache-based systems.
RAID was designed in the late 1980s to provide resiliency and increase performance for spinning HDD based storage systems. It was widely successful at the time, so successful in fact that it is now still the foundation used by many so-called “state-of-the-art” all-flash storage systems. These ‘RAID optimized for flash’ based systems do two things that are far from optimized for flash:
- Write data to the SSDs randomly
- Write data more than once
AccelStor is very different. Born from an in-depth research project into the adverse effects of RAID on SSD media, AccelStor took a step back and uncovered a better way to use SSDs effectively.
At the heart of every AccelStor system is a cache-less, RAID-less technology called FlexiRemap®. The culmination of 10 years of research, 2 PhDs, and over 45 patents and counting; FlexiRemap® harnesses the true power of NAND memory with game-changing write I/O performance. With major funding from tech giants like Toshiba Memory as wide recognition like best-in-show at FMS 2016, this technology really is, revolutionary.
We will introduce the FlexiRemap® technology in next blog, and also to provide a simplified solution with a better ROI result for storage. We hope you found the content was interesting. Don’t miss out our next one!
Juan Mulford is a Solutions Architect at AccelStor. He has held different roles in IT for over 9 years, working with Satellite Communications, Networking, IP Surveillance, Storage and Virtualization technologies. For the last 6 years, he focuses on VDI solutions. He aims to research, design and test AccelStor’s terrific AFA system in virtual environments, supporting the Marketing and Sales Operations at AccelStor.
Stefan Ferrari is the Technical Sales Director at AccelStor, where he is the lead solution architect for EMEA and USA markets and runs the sales team in the UK and Nordics. He focuses on understanding customer needs, helping customers solve the issues not just with their current storage architecture but their current hardware and software configurations, and being hands on with customers to ensure they are well trained with POC’s and Installs. He also specializes in developing new solutions and closely co-works with RD team on the product development direction. Stefan has worked in the storage industry for 8 years, before that he was part of the IT Infrastructure management team for the UK National Health Service for 7 years.