Virsto Aims to Cut Costs of Virtual Desktops for IT

By Stuart J. Johnston

Virsto announced this week it is shipping its new Virsto Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) package, a storage virtualization solution designed to lower the cost of deploying virtual desktops and provide an improved experience for users.

Among the characteristics of virtual desktop deployments as compared to virtual servers are problems associated with bottlenecks caused by high numbers of inputs/outputs per second (IOPS) as well as more random disk accesses, according to Virsto.

"In contrast with virtual servers hosting 10 to 15 virtual machines (VMs), each VDI host typically supports 50 to 100 virtual desktop images. The more VMs per host, the more acute the I/O performance bottlenecks are," the company said in a statement.

"Virsto VDI is the Virsto virtual storage solution designed for use in virtual desktop environments," the statement continued.

Virsto VDI initially supports Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS) XenDesktop and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) VDI running on Windows Server 2008 Release 2 (R2) Hyper-V, although it is designed to be both hypervisor and storage agnostic. Among the company's stated aims is to cut storage costs for VDI deployments by in excess of 70 percent.

Among those are costs from over provisioning of storage.

"Virsto VDI installs in the parent partition of each Hyper-V host, creating the Virsto Virtual Storage Engine (VSE)," the company said.

The VSE creates a virtual storage layer which, in turn, creates a thinly-provisioned virtual hard disk (VHD) that supports "shared concurrent volume access."

The software solution's storage tiering can be used to store frequently-used data on the highest performance storage while keeping less-used data on less expensive media.

Virsto entered the virtualized storage market about this time in 2010 with its Virsto One package.

Virsto VDI works with Microsoft's System Center IT management tools, including Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, Windows Volume Shadow Copy Services, and Windows Server Failover Clusters. Its user interface is a Microsoft Management Console snap-in.

The package costs $2,800 per host, and each license supports 1 TB of logical storage.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

This article was originally published on April 06, 2011