The demand for thin-client (VDI) deployments is increasing driven by a combination of Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC), Security concerns and the scheduled release of Windows 8. This is not a new business requirement, it’s been around for a while, only held back by the twin problems of achieving a sensible ROI and getting VDI to perform at scale.
Much of the problem can be attributed to the intense storage IO traffic that VDI generates all pushed out over the SAN to the shared storage controller. Shared storage enable workload migration, operational flexibility and resilience but causes a real bottleneck from a performance perspective. VDI moves the storage IO problem that makes our Laptop boot time take forever, away from a single cheap commodity disk inside the computer to an expensive enterprise storage system.
Deployments of a few hundred or more VDI sessions really start to drive the IOPS demand through the roof, impacting associated systems and delivering disappointing to catastrophic performance results.
Underneath the covers of a typical VDI environment there are multiple demands made on the shared storage:
- Real data – such as loading spreadsheets, saving presentations and email
- Provisioning traffic – virus protection and operating system patch updates
- Boot traffic – whilst the VDI session initiates and loads the operating system into memory
- Swap traffic – where the VDI session exhausts real memory and starts paging data to the disk
On our laptop or desktop we notice these things as it takes a while to boot up, to load the latest version of our virus system and when we run too many applications at once, things start to slow down. VDI just exacerbates this problem causing boot storms at the start of the working day and making provisioning new software a long, slow process. This IO management challenge is delaying adoption and driving up the costs of large scale VDI/VM.
GreenBytes have introduced a small footprint plug-and-play network device called the IO Offload Engine which fixes the problem painlessly. The IO Offload Engine delivers enterprise-scale VDI performance at minimal cost, deliver custom per-session settings, all while retaining their existing architectures and VMware View stack.
IO Offload engine was purpose-built as a VDI business solution for Managed Service Providers (MSP), Telcos and Enterprises. An all-OPEX pricing model allows companies to purchase what they need, when they need it. Starting with a single IO Offload Engine capable of 1000 VDI, users can scale to 4500 in incremental licensing upgrades.
Beyond 4500, additional appliances will be shipped for field installation. Customers can scale their VDI environment with a known cost for deployment. Configured as a Highly Available (HA), low-touch appliance, the IO Offload Engine removes the storage bottleneck and enables more VDI use cases to be deployed without hesitation, expanding the number of use cases that meet ROI targets and enhancing end user satisfaction.
“The GreenBytes IO Offload Engine leverages existing infrastructure investments without forcing IT organizations to rip and replace costly IT equipment or re-design the architecture,” said Mark Bowker, senior analyst, ESG. “The GreenBytes IO Offload Engine captures the I/O intense data stream and processes it in a more effective and efficient manner without interrupting performance or the integrity of the data stream. The offloading can dramatically help streamline desktop provisioning, eliminate boot storms, and erase the pain point associated with desktop images constantly swapping to disk.”
“More like a next-generation switch and less like a storage device, the IO Offload Engine runs beside the storage already in place and complements, rather than competes, with traditional SANs,” said Bob Petrocelli, CEO and CTO, GreenBytes. “Being a plug-and-play VDI solution, IO Offload Engine installs and scales out in minutes to drive down costs and avoid user interruption. The end result is affordable VDI available on a pay per- use model. This recurring price model supports the OPEX preference of enterprises and service providers, and cost-effectively solves current VDI IO problems without changing existing architecture.”
“Telcos, MSPs, Outsourcers and Large Enterprises have been crying out for a simple and non-disruptive way to scale-up their VDI environments in an affordable way,” said Jur Faber, CEO, Consolidate-IT. “The GreenBytes IO Offload Engine is a perfectly engineered solution to this intractable problem. Early customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with intense demand for POC units in the 100,000-plus VDI session space.”