back to article Nexenta beats off rivals as Citrix testlab rates its VDI offering 'cheapest'

Nexenta provides the cheapest VDI, according to data collected in a Citrix testlab by Gartner. Gartner research director and blogger Gunnar Berger has written an article - The real cost of VDI storage – in which he sorts suppliers on their costs. The data comes from a Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Validation Program for Storage …

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Misleading

Foolish to compare sw based, all flash, and "select" hybrid arrays.

Why compare a hybrid FAS 2240 to an all flash FA 420? Their architectures are different, and they serve different purposes to a customer.

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Trollface

Re: Misleading

Maybe so, but that's what customers are doing... Blame the marketing of certain all-flash vendors pretending to be the same $/GB as disk...

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Jad

Re: Misleading

"Foolish to compare sw based, all flash, and "select" hybrid arrays"

maybe so, but looking at the Nexenta Blog (that shows the IOPS in it's graph) they appear to be performing at least as well per desktop ... only Violin and Sanbolic scored higher (the Gartner post shows different numbers in the IOPS in which GreenBytes also does well)

As for the Nexenta SW based RAID, I know they're using ZFS, which if placed on systems with enough memory can outperform hardware RAID based systems, especially if they're using SSD ZIL.

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Anonymous Coward

or, you could skip Citrix entirely and just go for Dell-Quest vWorkspace + Equallogic Hybrid array, reduce complexity and beat the pants off all of these pricing models.

Anon as I work with just about all vendors on this list + Citrix + Dell

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Beyond misleading

(from my post on the Gartner blog...)

For a Gartner analyst to take these results and simply put them in a table as "comparable" is borderline irresponsible.

As Rob stated, this wasn't apples-apples, or even apples-pears. In SolidFire's case, the capacity used for this workload was 0.2% of the storage system, and even PEAK performance was only 10% of guaranteed IOPS.

You could easily put 7500 users on the same configuration for the same price, or, more likely, put dozens of other workloads on the same system with Guaranteed QoS, rather than add "yet another island" of storage for VDI.

The test situation may not have been ideal, but I don't fault Citrix. They aren't the one putting all the results in a table that implies they are comparable - because they aren't. They simply post the whitepapers so that you get the full context of each test.

Also, fwiw, in addition to the questionable pricing on the "lowest priced" result, it also isn't an HA configuration. Anyone recommending a non-HA storage system for a 750 user VDI workload needs to get their head examined.

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Anonymous Coward

ZFS = epic fail

ZFS sucks. Big time. Unless you're a big fan of data loss, downtime, and complexity.

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Trying to get to the Truth....

(...Also from my post on the Gartner blog...)

As a technical representative of X-IO that participated in the testing, this was an excellent opportunity to directly interface with some of the best XenDesktop performance people in Citrix. We are grateful that Citrix invited us to be a part of this initial round of testing. It’s clear however that some key points need to be emphasized here:

• The costs provided are simply misleading as warranty information is not included in most of the submissions. Warranty costs can add 70% (and more) to the overall solution cost used to compute $/Desktop. Without this information, there is not an accurate view of the total solution cost.

• The capacities reported by the vendors are estimates only. There was no actual data that was stored for 87% of the capacity (so these numbers are completely based on vendors “best case” estimates and we all know the difference between “marketing” and “real-world” statistics).

• Their “Estimates” for max numbers of VDI users are wrong. They’ve based the IOPS on synthetic load generators (so not real data). They are quite simply trying to justify not being able to size this “small”.

These, and more, require that each submission be carefully evaluated. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t….

Warranty costs can comprise 10%/yr (and higher) of the total solution costs in the first 3 years (30%), and 20%/yr in 4 and 5 (40%). So these can make up a significant cost of the solution, and only 4 out of 12 vendors reported any warranty information included in their reported “cost”. Here’s the breakdown:

• Nimble: 1yr, Next Business Day

• Nexenta: 1yr “Gold” support (you have to add the support of the physical server to this)

• NetApp: 3yrs, Next Business Day

• X-IO, 5-yrs, 4-Hr Parts On-Site

The other 75% of the submissions don’t talk about the warranty at all – I wonder why that is?

As a baseline for design, not everything can be tested that will have an impact to the end user. While allocated space for user data was required, no actual data was put onto the storage system in this test. So most of the capacity (user data, 87% of total) is based on the “estimated” compression/deduplication/etc” ratio (11/12 submissions) of each vendor. If the user data doesn’t compress to this ratio, you are looking at more hardware required (there are pretty aggressive ratios here). Some architectures have performance problems when they have to do this over a lot of data (as would be the case here), and would likely require more equipment as well. (Full Disclosure: X-IO does not do this by design)

Then (to make matters worse), some vendors report benchmark numbers in their papers for “estimates” (the really big IOPS numbers in the Gartner article’s table). What did those have to do with the tests run here? Absolutely nothing, and representing this as something that customers can reasonably expect in a VDI environment falls somewhere between specious and delusional.

While some sized for much larger numbers of desktops (overprovisioned for performance), we chose an ISE design that satisfied both the performance and capacity requirements of the test (LoginVSI Score 1,211) for the least TCO over 5-years. Could we have used our Hybrid array? Sure, but it had more performance than this test required, and would have increased the cost unnecessarily.

So was this test perfect? No, and not any test ever will be as long as there are vendors (we all have different viewpoints and goals). I feel they more prove that vendors are willing to commit money/resources/knowledge/people to further the understanding of the different parts to the storage “value” discussion. We are looking forward to the next round of testing and for there to be much more truth and transparency in the storage industry.

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Very misleading numbers.

The price table is amazingly misleading because some vendors sized an Array to match the performance requirements of the test (750 VDI Clients) and some used a standard Array which in some cases had much more capacity than was required for 750 clients.

From the ones who were clear about how under of over allocated their platform was you can actually extract the following table.

Nexenta $15 NA

NetApp $37 NA

Tegile $41 $20 The array was 50% utilized for the test

Nimble $64 $35 The Array had 1.8 more throughput available

EMC $100 $21 The Array had 4.6x more tput availabe (1 X-brick)

Fusion IO $105 NA

Greenbytes $113 NA

X-IO $200 NA

Violin $204 $9 The Array had 21.8x more tput available

Solidfire $267 $26 The Array had 10.6x more tput available

Sanbolic $542 NA

Interesting because from the numbers published in the Citrix reports the Violin Array which was apparently the most expensive tunres out to be one of the cheapest.

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