VDI deployment: Key storage considerations

VDI deployment: Key storage considerations

In a virtual desktop infrastructure, one of the biggest challenges is storage. The combination of shared system images and high-volume logins can create boot storms, which translate to poor user performance. Building an infrastructure with all-SSD storage systems, which would deliver the needed IOPS, is very expensive, so IT shops often use a combination of spinning disk and SSD. Check out this guide to learn how to choose storage for VDI, how to keep costs down, the best approach to image management, storage efficiency techniques and more.

Table of contents:

How to manage storage in a VDI environment

Determining what kind of storage should be implemented -- and how to manage it -- can be a tough concept when it comes to VDI. The success of VDI lies in the quality of user experience, which storage has a direct impact on. This rundown of key considerations regarding storage for VDI covers everything from types of storage to storage features that should be used in order to get the most out of your virtual desktop environment.

Pilot programs and right applications enhance VDI project plans

Cost and efficiency can change drastically with different infrastructures in a VDI environment, making planning prior to implementation extremely important. Finding storage that can withstand common boot storms, but is within a reasonable price range, can be a difficult balancing act. Some organizations that use the same applications across the board are good candidates for desktop virtualization, and by using pilot programs environments, it can be implemented much more effectively.

VDI storage system choices: Flash appliances, bundled stacks

In a VDI environment, performance is much more important than capacity because the speed at which tasks are performed is ultimately what drives the user experience. That means storage that can execute higher IOPS will work best, but with cost often standing in the way, combinations of storage, such as flash appliances and bundled stacks, can be the best storage options to support VDI.

Combating VDI performance and capacity problems with image management

VDI allows users to all share one disk image, which is often sold as a benefit due to easier management. However, with many users sharing one image, bottlenecks cause performance to drop. In this video, VDI expert Brian Madden explains how these performance issues can be reversed by caching single shared images. He also argues that the simplified management doesn't stem from VDI itself, but creating an environment with that same simplified management without VDI is extremely difficult.

Using single-instance storage to maximize VDI storage capacity

Single-instance storage in a VDI environment can be very beneficial from a capacity standpoint. When many users have the same data or applications, shared images can be created. Additionally, caching and deduplication can be used to further maximize the capacity of storage. In this video, find out from VDI expert Brian Madden how single-instance storage works in a VDI deployment.

Learn more about single-instance storage

Beware of VDI storage cost expectations

Cost claims made by VDI vendors are often attractive, advertising the licensing price per desktop as something affordable. This can set customers' pricing expectations around storage far too low. While the argument surrounding why the ROI for VDI is worth it can be difficult to make, Eric Slack, analyst for Storage Switzerland, explains that the real savings occur after an investment is made in equipment.

Using careful configuration planning to control costs for VDI storage

In order to find the right balance between performance and cost, research before deciding on what kind of storage will be used is essential. This often requires using a combination of more expensive SSDs and less expensive SANs with SATA drives. Learn about planning for VDI storage requirements, with information on benchmarking tools, persistent versus stateless desktops and more.

How to address problems with VDI storage sizing

Planning for project growth in a VDI environment can be very difficult because there aren't many affordable options for storage with decent scalability. Sizing storage large enough to account for significant growth is usually too expensive for small deployments. In this video, VDI expert Brian Madden suggests two ways IT shops can plan for growing environments. Find out how by watching the video or reading the transcript.

Alleviate cost overruns with storage benchmark planning tools for VDI

Cost is often the culprit behind stalled VDI projects, since licensing and adequate storage can be very expensive. VDI storage benchmark and planning tools can help by giving administrators a better idea of their storage requirements before beginning a project. These VDI benchmarking and planning tools can alleviate surprises by telling organizations if their existing storage system or one they're considering buying can support a real VDI workload.

VDI IOPS: Accelerating performance, for a price

People often believe they can save money with VDI by limiting IOPS to the average amount used per desktop. However, allotting IOPS based on the average desktop doesn't take into account instances of boot storms or high volume tasks, and it ignores the speed capabilities that users are accustomed to from their desktop or laptop computers. Providing sufficient IOPS without sacrificing performance can be costly, but in this video, VDI expert Brian Madden argues it's worth it, and effective performance in a VDI environment shouldn't be sacrificed for a lower cost.

VDI price tag varies with quality of user experience

Vendors' claims that VDI deployment can save money aren't untrue. Replacing PCs with thin clients can save hundreds of dollars per user. But these cost savings usually come with a greatly inferior user experience, says VDI expert Brian Madden. In this video, Brian explains the math behind his argument.

Check out the links below to learn more about VDI

When is VDI worth it?

Configuration and allocation of VDI storage

VDI storage capacity and performance requirements

VDI vs. traditional desktops: How to get the best of both