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back to article How many VMs can you stuff in that box? How to get into the VDI biz

Greenbytes and Pure Storage are both start-ups well under way with fast and ground-up designed all-flash arrays. Both have a strong VDI focus and say that serving virtual desktop images from their flash arrays is consistently and reliably fast, affordable and secure, and makes hard disk drive arrays look like sluggards. They …

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How many VMs can you stuff in that box?

How to get into the VDI biz?

If your desktops are using Linux, you can use vserver with the hashify functionality to cram many thousands of VMs into a moderately sized box because all the storage can be file-level deduplicated with a free consequence of memory deduplication for binaries and DLLs (consequence of connection between inode numbers and mmap() ), so the only thing you need is enough CPU. The actual space/RAM requirements per VM (after the first one) will be negligible.

And on the desktop you only need something tiny like a CuBox to run a minimalist Linux distro (possibly running off a shared NFS root and booting off dhcp) to run an X server.

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Childcatcher

Re: How many VMs can you stuff in that box?

I am helping with a VDI implementation right now. It, however, will be Windows-based clients. I am curious about the methodology you describe. By setting up memory deduplication, won't that mean that if a single instance is compromised, all are? From an efficiency standpoint, that might be great, but I think the risk involved might be unacceptable to many organizations. The caveat is, of course, that I am not sure I understand how this would actually work.

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Re: How many VMs can you stuff in that box?

There is no risk - Vserver comes with a file system patch that enables copy-on-write hard-link breaking, so as soon as a guest changes a file that has been hashified, it gets it's own private copy of that file, not shared with any of the other guests.

All of this is of no use to you, however, as it is a Linux-only technology. Windows doesn't have anything this advanced and efficient available. The best you can do in that case s block level disk deduplication at SAN level and page level memory deduplication at hypervisor level, both of which are extremely expensive in terms of resources (disk I/O and SAN side RAM for disk deduplication, and CPU and RAM I/O for page level memory deduplication). Linux Vserver's approach, OTOH, is effectively free (you just periodically run a hashification (say once/week), and from there on you get the memory deduplication for free.

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Angel

Storage is just one aspect of overall VDI cost

Hi all, Dimitris from NetApp here (www.recoverymonkey.org).

No flogging of wares (in either form of the word's meaning).

Just wanted to mention that storage is just one aspect of overall VDI cost. You have OS licenses, connection broker licenses, hypervisor licenses, servers to be purchased, thin devices, really solid networking, and all manner of other stuff that's usually not free.

Focusing so much on the storage is like saying:

I want to build a blender, and I'm just focusing on the motor.

A blender as a solution is more than the motor. Yes, a reliable motor is really important, but you need a solid housing, the bowl, blades, motor control, and a reliable way to transmit the motor movement to the blades.

D

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Storage is just one aspect of overall VDI cost

Agree, the critical piece, and major cost, of VDI is the network connection, assuming all of the VDI images are not hosted on the LAN (which they might be at a hospital or large office). I have seen many a client get into VDI. The stuff in the data center is relatively straight forward, Flash array or no Flash array, but when you are trying to serve desktop to 400 sites around the US, people almost always forget about the need to have an MPLS (or otherwise ultra-stable, secure, and bandwidth guaranteed lines to all EU clients)... and generally some form of back-up connection to the data center hosting the images in the case that there is an issue with the MPLS. That is really costly. VDI is slick from an IT and user perspective. I have yet to see a business case the takes all of the things into consideration that should be taken into consideration and still makes sense. If you are doing VDI for a centralized location which can be served from a stable LAN, sure, but it gets much trickier if you have many remote sites or employees.

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WTF?

Vendor c*ck wangling fest

Since when did ElReg become a platform for vendors to pimp their offerings and dis the competition?

I'm all for product reviews, but only if performed by independent experts, not sales monkeys from said vendors! (apologies to said sales monkeys...keep up the spin!)

Getting tired of this "mine is bigger than yours" BS on a supposed news site.

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