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back to article Pure Storage to VDI players: Flash array trounces the platter

Pure Storage has announced its FlashArray is ready and waiting to accelerate virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) applications at scale, ready to support thousands of skinny and full-fat desktops. It also join the rest of the flash start-up brigade - Greenbytes, Nimble Storage, Tintri, Tegile, Violin Memory and Whiptail - in …

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$100

...desktop?

Why thank you my good man, I'll take three.

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WTF?

Is that $100 per month/ year/ lifetime... ?

And why the cheddar-cheese would any company put SSD in a laptop, oh the comparison irony chart goes off the scale here...

Pretty sure it's still cheaper to stuff a server full of RAM and run the VDIs in there, do people still use spinny disks for virtual desktops, get up to speed people :(

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Pint

Expensive... heres something to try instead.

Yikes - its frightening that decent server RAM is currently so much cheaper per gb that an all flash storage array...

Why not try this out - stick your VMware view golden images on an NFS share mounted on a free ZFS ramdrive - enable block level dedupe (for space saving) and synced writeback to persistant storage (for resilience) enabled. Witness how many golden image VM's you can boot from THAT badboy!

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Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Expensive... heres something to try instead.

I hadn't thought that far into it and that sounds extremely cost friendly in comparison. I will say that Nexenta community version of ZFS immediately popped up in my mind on pretty much commodity hardware. Has for quite a while and I seem to recall they've already been certified for VMWare and Xen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Expensive... heres something to try instead.

For 1000 desktops ? I don't think that would fly... You need to have something that would make admins' life easier.

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Bronze badge

The Price is Right???

With all this hoopla over performance by these arrays, the element of cost per desktop seems to have gotten lost. Some of the other commentators have picked up on this, too.

With appliances costing over $100K/TB, the economics seem a bit strained. Remember, what is being replaced is a $300 notebook. Given a raw but stingy 20GB per desktop equivalent, at $50K/TB for an Accela flash array this alone is $1,000 per seat. Add in the VMWare, amortize the large server running the VDI, and provide a thin desktop, and the economics are really strange. Of course, thin provisioning and dedupe help a lot, but the numbers are still upside down.

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Anonymous Coward

20:1 dedupe... ? Not sure I buy that...

How can anyone get 20:1 dedupe with VDI ? In lab testing doesn't count.

Chris -- do they have any customers or is this just in lab testing?

I can see IT still betting on hybrid solutions. The recent 800 and 1000 users architectures from tintri and nimble seem to cover everything -- desktops, user data, misc app storage and be more appropriate for IT shops like ours to pick up.

Also seems like Citrix PVS, VMware VSA, SnapVolume all will make the need for 100% flash obsolete.

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OK – so the VDI market space is definitely moving at a break neck pace. We are in the midst of a perfect storm of data center compute solutions, storage performance with flash technology and user access and mobility with the BYOD revolution. Seems like we are already at VDI 2.0 and most of the implementations I run into are already behind the curve at version 1.0 or nothing at all – or are they?

Pure all flash storage solutions definitely seem to have a good corner case fit for this workload – or at least part of it. The desktop itself – the core OS image and application(s) layer seem to fit well into the all flash and deduplication methods of the all flash solutions. However, I think this comes at a cost – the true cost of capacity for the users behind the desktops.

If you have already migrated all of the user data out of the desktop image leaving only the profile/persona behind, then thin (Linked Clone or PVS) or fat (Full) desktops can be traded off by how you want to manage OS and application updates and pools of desktops. Stateless or Persistent desktops don’t impose that much impact on the infrastructure – but they do affect the user experience.

Question: Do I need to have distinctly different storage platforms for the different parts of my virtualization infrastructure or is there a better, easier to manage model. Traditional spinning disk only solutions have obvious drawbacks of size, cost, and complexity even if the performance measure is easy – just add more spindles and capacity increases too. All flash solutions make performance measures easy – they are fast – all fast – just get enough space to support the workload. How much space that is depends on a lot of variables – namely deduplication and thin provisioning methods and frequency and uniformity of data updates.

I think hybrid solutions provide the best of both technologies. Performance and capacity sizing is still required and although this is a new type of sizing exercise for many storage admins, it is not rocket science. With this hybrid storage (flash + disk) approach you can get the performance (maybe not at screaming levels) needed to support the active workload and the capacity (definitely not at screaming prices) to store the rest of the less-used infrastructure data.

My bet is that all flash solutions will allow IT teams to deploy some interesting VDI solutions, but be prepared for the added cost – the per desktop OS/application layer will be higher than hybrid solutions and there will likely be another storage requirement somewhere else in the picture to hold the user data that lies somewhere between the desktop background image and the corporate file share repository.

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Anonymous Coward

I agree about the need for 1 storage solution, but based on what I know the world has to move toward a linked virtual disk model with as users data and other pieces stored separately.

Can we get a story on that... Citrix ? VMware ?

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