August 26, 2016

The Unbeatable All Flash Arrays for VDI

VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) runs user desktops inside a virtual machine that lives on a server. Each virtual desktop can be customized for a particular user yet has all the security, data protection, and simplicity of centralized management. With VDI, users have the freedom to access their virtual desktops at any time, from anywhere, on any device, plus administrators have the benefits of centralized management.

VDI is very flexible and used in countless applications across nearly all business segments and cloud infrastructures. It is essential when supporting a mobile workforce or cloud-hosting thousands of clients like software developers, game designers, college students, military and government personnel, insurance agents, etc.

The challenge is designing the hardware platform needed to support the VDI infrastructure. It’s not uncommon to find VDI deployments with hundreds to thousands of virtual machines.

So, let’s look at the numbers.

EMC reports that a typical VDI instance uses just 25 to 40 IOPS on average. This means one mid-range 1U all flash array could manage 10k to 15k users – that’s enough for a large enterprise! If you tried to deliver the same performance using hard drives, you’d need between 1,500 to 1,800 drives – equal to 62-75 2U RAID arrays – this would be between 3 to 4 array-packed racks consuming approximately 67,500 watts.

A simple mid-range all flash array, which can deliver the same IOPs as 1,800 HDDs is only 1U and 400 watts. Hundreds of times faster and hundreds of times more power efficient than hard drives, all flash arrays are ideal for VDI.

But how about Boot Storms?

Let’s say an all flash array can deliver 560,000 random 4k reads and you have a boot storm of 1,000 users. A typical boot storm lasting 10 minutes to an hour will place a demand of 100 IOPs (assuming Windows) per user. So a mid-range all flash array can sustain about 5,600 users simultaneously. Boot storms are generally 95% random reads so an all flash array will make quick work of a boot storm.   Another interesting bit of information from another report is that most users, once they are in work mode, only require 5 -10 IOPs. So an all flash array with 500,000 IOPs can support thousands of users, but if the application is write intensive, the IOPs drop to 360,000-370,000 IOPs, meaning about 3,000 users can be supported.

A single mid-range all flash array containing 12 terabytes provides about 12GBs per VDI instance assuming 1,000 users.  Multiple all flash arrays can be SAN connected to various servers if more capacity is required per instance.

What’s really important is the cost of a SAN-connected, mid-range 12TB array. The cost is $59,500. If you are supporting 3,000 VDI instances, the investment cost is only $20 per user and with an annual maintenance cost of only $10,000, less than $4 per user after the first year. These costs are quite difficult to beat.

The MAXio® All Flash Array meets all criteria for VDI

The BiTMICRO® MAXio All Flash Array is the perfect solid state storage solution for VDI deployments.  A single system supports either iSCSI / NAS or Fibre Channel connectivity. With 5TBs-12TBs of useable capacity and redundant drives and power supplies, it’s a solid, reliable solution for VDI.

The real key is the unique technology used to deliver extreme performance from the 20 RAID-protected 800GB drives. The MAXio All Flash Array delivers 560,000 random 4k read IOPs and 370,000 random 4K write IOPs. It can also deliver amazing responsiveness with read latencies as low as 738.72 nanoseconds (.738ms) and write latencies as low as 637.19 nanoseconds (.637ms) – all from a compact 1U enclosure!   All MAXio All Flash Arrays are VMware certified. BiTMICRO is a VMware Technology Partner.

Writer: Zophar Sante, Business Development
Date: 8/26/2016

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