By Dave Simpson
– Most IT organizations considering a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) are still in the proof-of-concept stage, but it's already clear that the storage challenges of VDI will far exceed those of virtual server environments.
To address some of those challenges, FalconStor Software today announced support for VDI on its Network Storage Server (NSS) SAN Accelerator, which leverages solid-state disk (SSD) drives to boost I/O performance.
Fadi Albatal, FalconStor's vice president of marketing, says that VDI environments can easily require 10x the performance requirements compared to physical desktop infrastructures. And that's the level of performance improvement that FalconStor claims with its NSS SAN Accelerator for VMware View, which the company will showcase at next week's VMworld conference in San Francisco.
"Sharing resources in a VDI environment creates I/O performance bottlenecks, which affects SLAs [service level agreements] with users," says Albatal, "and various events can take 30 minutes to two hours in a 1,000-desktop VDI environment. It can be particularly acute at certain times of the day." Those events include virtual desktop creation, booting, login, logoff, shutdown, running virus scans and patches, and other routine activities, all of which can create "I/O storms."
FalconStor's SAN Accelerator appliance leverages SSDs to provide a dynamic or persistent block-caching layer. For VDI environments, the company recommends a mix of 3% SSDs and 97% SATA drives in terms of capacity.
Albatal says that the NSS SAN Accelerator can reduce the implementation costs for VDI, citing storage cost-per-user figures of $30 to $40 for implementations of up to 5,000 virtual desktops.
FalconStor also touts the data protection features of the NSS SAN Accelerator for VMware View, including snapshots, thin clones, replication and file-level protection in a three-tier approach that can include the entire VMware View environment, VMware View user data repositories, and a self-service file recovery feature that enables users to recover their own files.