Nimble Storage's Hybrid Arrays Get Citrix VDI Nod

By Pedro Hernandez

Add virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to the list of workloads that are increasingly becoming a priority for flash storage vendors.

San Jose, Calif.-based Nimble Storage, a maker of hybrid enterprise data storage hardware, announced that its CS line of arrays have been given the Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Program's stamp of approval. According to the company, the systems adhere to the program's 750-user reference XenDesktop deployment criteria.

Certified solutions are subjected to Login VSI, a VDI performance and capacity testing tool. A simple pass/fail determines whether systems qualify for "Verified for Citrix XenDesktop" certification.

Nimble Storage submitted a CS220G-X4 array for testing on XenDesktop 7 and Login VSI 3.7. After subjecting the array to a boot storm and Login VSI testing, it not only held up by providing a stable and responsive experience, reported the company, it also made the case for switching to VDI. A boot storm describes a big influx of users that boot up at or around the same time, spiking resource consumption and potentially leading to degraded performance.

The per-user price of a VDI solution anchored by Nimble's CS220G-X4 plummets to $64, complete with one year of next business day support. "Our participation in the Citrix Ready program is validation of our commitment to provide a highly responsive yet cost-effective end-user experience for Citrix XenDesktop," said Radhika Krishnan, vice president of product marketing and alliances for Nimble Storage in a statement.

As configured, the CS220G-X4 handled a boot storm of approximately 2000 IOPs with an average block size of 4K to 8K IO. The company noted that with an approximate upper block size limit of 15K to 20K IOPs, the system had plenty of overhead to maintain stable operations during simulated rush of users.

"A positive end-user experience is heavily dependent on storage performance, and picking the right storage for VDI is a critical factor for success," added Krishnan. She asserted that for successful VDI implantations, "enterprises need a flexible storage solution that can cost-effectively handle peak loads of disruption as well as cater to the intensive write demands of VDI."

Earning Citrix certification isn't the company's first brush with VDI. In 2012, Nimble teamed with VMware for mobile VDI, bring a balanced, accelerated read/write experience -- SSD-accelerated architectures heavily favor the read side of the equation argues the company -- to VMware View Mobile Secure Desktop using Nimble's Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) technology, which utilizes SSDs and hard disk drives (HDDs) to boost application performance.

Now the technology has been given the green light by Citrix. "Our testing of the Nimble CS-Series array showed that a robust yet simple configuration is possible for VDI scenarios with up to 750 concurrent VDI desktop users," said Greg Fox, director of the Citrix Ready program, in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on April 21, 2014