Recommended Reading : SolidFire Unveils A Reference Architecture for Large-Scale Corporate VDI Deployments

In a new whitepaper that details a reference architecture for large corpora VDI deployments, SolidFire lays out an architectural blueprint.  This is an excellent read.  It covers everything from an architectural overview and details to real-world use cases, to infrastructure details to both network and storage configurations.  It also provides a methodology for leveraging SolidFire’s clustering and QoS strengths by allowing adjustable performance and capacity in a scalable granular way, allows guaranteed performance levels, simplifies VDI administration and lowers the per seat cost of a deployment.solidfirevdi


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Recommended : Nimbus Data Aims High and Delivers; Also Releases VDI Benchmark

Fast performance is one aspect – but when you couple to a suite of data reduction technologies and storage features you get something much more useful and resilient. Some of the features in the latest arrays from Nimbus Data are well thought out and absolutely great from and enterprise and cloud perspective.

Nimbus Data has really arrived. Its new Gemini arrays challenges it’s competitors in a serious way.  It has hopped over the leading flash array competitor by offering full non-disruptive upgrades coupled with full array redundancy, hot-swap-everything, in-line data reduction in the form of thin-provisioning, replication, deduplication and compression and NFS and CIFS.  The amazing thing is that those are just the tip of the iceberg.  A deep dive video really reveals an excellent design and some surprisingly great advancements to flash array technology in general :

It has also demonstrated something that many other leading flash vendors have not been able to do.  It leverages eight 16 Gbs FC ports in its Nimbus Gemini arrays. It also offers two hot-swappable controllers. They have advanced the multi-protocol capability of the product by offering the ability to run 40 Gb ethernet and Infiniband at the the same time or alternatively ethernet and fiber channel at the same time. They have adapters that can run at 10 Gb ethernet.  The controllers parallelize the IO across all 24 flash drives.  The modules can be removed from the front – a great design for removing the flash modules (most excellent – no removing the array out of the rack, taking the top off and potentially having servicing dilemmas like some vendors).


In a new benchmark they demonstrated the strength of the new arrays at handling VDI.  The benchmark was run with a Nimbus Gemini dual-controller 2U F400 all-flash array with 24 TB of raw capacity.

Data Point : The single array had 17.6 TB usable capacity for the test, and featured 24 one terabyte solid-state disks and a 4 TB cache with write-back caching.  A single Nimbus Gemini F400 can support more than 4,000 simultaneous VDI users at less than $40 per desktop.

You can read the full report :


The focus on a unified array operating system (more on this in a future post) that offers a full range of storage features that I have written about in earlier posts is an important aspect of the new arrays.


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Accelerating VDI with Flash Storage : Super-Charging Your VDI Deployments

In this post we look at some of the great work being done at Pure Storage around supporting VDI deployments.  They have produced a four part series in which they demonstrate a VDI cloud under stress and running on Pure Storage flash-based arrays. A lot of the flash vendors have demonstrated similar high performance characteristics for VDI.  One aspect that sets apart different vendors is their support for in-line deduplication, thin-provisioning and compression, as well as, clones and snapshots.

In this  VDI demo (which is part two of four)  Pure Storage shows testing  they did in their labs. They show a VDI cluster with eight nodes with DRS and HA turned on. (You may want to look at the first part (of four) of these Pure Storage VDI videos. ) They created a linked clone desktop pool with 1000 linked clones and another persistent desktop pool with another 1000 desktops.  They provisioned 30 TB for the persistent desktops (30 GB/desktop).  The linked clone desktops they provision 4 TB volumes of 10 each.  They provisioned 80 TB with half of the storage used.  Many of the desktop are thin-provisioned.  They were getting about a data reduction of 22 to 1 which is on the high side – they guide customers to 6 to 1.  It is important to note that Pure Storage does data reduction in the form of : deduplication, thin provisioning and compression.  You can see what they did in this video (part two) :

In part three they show what the end-user experience is like.  They talk about the City of Davenport’s VDI deployment.  Flash storage had a dramatic effect. They used the VMware View Planner tool to give them performance. They used linked clones and persistent clones. They demonstrate a boot storm (or login storm).

Finally, in the fourth session – they focused on the administrator’s experience. They do some administrative operations and show it live. They showed some interesting numbers :

  • Provision 50 GB Desktop from template (traditional disk array : 5 min  Pure : 50 sec)
  • Boot 100 desktops  (traditional disk array : 15 min    Pure : 22 sec)
  • Storage vMotion 50 GB VM (traditional disk array : 4 min Pure : 25 sec)
  • Recompose 100 VMs (traditional disk array : 45 min Pure : 3 min)


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