A virtual desktop infrastructure can be great for management, security and ease of use, but these benefits come with a drawback; in instances of high I/O demand -- referred to as "boot storms" -- users often experience painful performance delays. The key to overcoming performance-related VDI issues is using storage powerful enough to handle spikes in I/O that is also cost-effective. Because solid-state drives (SSDs) can handle more IOPS, the technology is a good storage option for VDI environments and is often added to existing storage infrastructures to be used with traditional disks for back-end capacity. Recently, vendors have been selling new storage appliances and bundled stacks containing SSDs that are aimed at virtual desktops, giving managers more options within the solid-state realm to solve VDI issues in their environments. When implementing SSD, managers have to consider how they will use the technology: for example, what specific files will be placed on SSDs and whether the SSD will be used for tiering and caching. This guide provides insight from experts about how SSD can speed up VDI performance, what to consider before purchasing storage for your environment and what SSD options would work best in particular infrastructures.
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According to George Crump, lead analyst at Storage Switzerland, SSDs are even more prominent among VDI environments than they are in virtual server environments. While solid-state storage can help with VDI issues, the type of SSD still needs to be considered. PCI Express (PCIe) cards can be implemented in servers, SSD can be added to storage arrays or all-flash arrays can be used to improve performance. PCIe expansion cards create a direct connection that can be beneficial in dealing with high I/O demands, and data transfer with SSDs is much faster than with disk drives. In this podcast, Crump provides advice on running virtual desktops and virtual machines on SSDs.
Matching SSDs to VDI: Key considerations
While SSDs can help alleviate VDI boot storms, where they are placed makes all the difference. For example, it's possible to put only certain files on solid-state storage or to use SSDs as a caching layer to provide just enough IOPS to deal with instances of high demand. Read this article to learn what you should consider when sizing SSDs for a VDI environment and the most efficient way to use SSDs to resolve your VDI boot storm issues.
Determining the best SSD application for virtual desktop boot storms
How to size virtual desktops and define disk array controller requirements
Addressing VDI problems: Storage sizing
Options for solving VDI performance issues: SSD, flash, software
Fixing common virtual desktop infrastructure problems
A VDI environment has unique challenges because system performance is a higher priority than capacity. This article explains why the cost of alleviating storage bottlenecks has been the biggest obstacle standing in the way of VDI deployment. This situation has prompted vendors to increasingly offer products that include a combination of SSDs and disk drives, as well as compute and networking resources. Learn more about specific bundled stacks and storage appliances, and how they can improve a VDI infrastructure.
For Egan Co., a Michigan-based contractor, using a Compellent SAN for its VDI environment meant dealing with boot times lasting up to five minutes and slow performance. By implementing a hybrid SAN, Egan saw a dramatic performance improvement in its 220-seat virtual desktop environment. This case study explains how Egan was able to find a product that fixed the problems in its high IOPS environment.
How to cut VDI costs using SSDs and hybrid arrays
Law firm's virtual desktop performance enhanced with hybrid array
Hybrid flash array reverses marketing firm's difficulty with VDI storage
Whiptail flash storage array helps university speed up VDI performance