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Desktop Virtualization: Enjoying The Best Of All Worlds
 

Desktop Virtualization: Enjoying The Best Of All Worlds

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When enterprise mobility initiatives demand high-performance, customizable workspaces, IT leaders can respond with a virtual desktop delivery model that uses complementary technologies to meet ...

When enterprise mobility initiatives demand high-performance, customizable workspaces, IT leaders can respond with a virtual desktop delivery model that uses complementary technologies to meet business requirements while keeping costs in check.

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    Desktop Virtualization: Enjoying The Best Of All Worlds Desktop Virtualization: Enjoying The Best Of All Worlds Document Transcript

    • 42 2014 Issue 02 | Dell.com/powersolutions Perspective Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2014 Issue 2. Copyright © 2014 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. When enterprise mobility initiatives demand high-performance, customizable workspaces, IT leaders can respond with a virtual desktop delivery model that uses complementary technologies to meet business requirements while keeping costs in check. By Mark Bowker Desktop virtualization: Enjoying the best of all worlds E nd-user desktops are a natural workload for IT service delivery, particularly as workplace mobility programs gain momentum. IT professionals responsible for the delivery of virtual desktops are keenly focused on optimizing the user experience — which may involve resolving potential infrastructure complexities if not bewildering performance challenges. Now, technology advances that recognize, prioritize and intercept I/O (input/output) from virtual desktops enable organizations to confidently deliver a full-featured, PC-like virtual desktop experience. At the same time, these advances help preserve existing IT investments, scale predictably with end-user demands and provide IT with highly effective controls while boosting end-user flexibility and satisfaction. SamRobinson/FITCH
    • Dell.com/powersolutions | 2014 Issue 02 43Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2014 Issue 2. Copyright © 2014 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. Examining market drivers Market interest in desktop virtualization has grown in response to the rapid technology changes of recent years. Enterprise success with server virtualization has spawned an infrastructure-as-a-service paradigm based on consolidated, shared resources that can be centrally managed, patched, upgraded, protected and monitored for compliance. In a desktop virtualization scenario, a golden image can be created, cloned and deployed for employee use in both headquarters and remote locations while IT maintains control — and equally important, keeps information secure. Other workplace realities further drive desktop virtualization initiatives. Although desktop computers remain essential, increasingly mobile employees depend on alternative endpoint devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets to do their jobs. A growing number of companies implement bring-your- own-device (BYOD) programs to save on capital expenses. However, BYOD requires that IT manage a multitude of devices and operating systems. Although many applications support both PCs and mobile devices, the interface may differ; for example, mobile versions of applications often lack important features of their desktop counterparts. Virtualizing desktops enables users to enjoy the same interface and experience regardless of the device. Putting performance first Key to the success of desktop virtualization initiatives is the ability to reproduce the accustomed PC experience — especially the performance aspect. However, many organizations considering a virtual desktop delivery model are challenged to cost-effectively deliver the kind of performance users expect. According to ESG research on desktop virtualization market evolution, desktop performance concerns are most often cited as the reason for restricted use of desktop virtualization.1 And therein lies the problem for IT: In a PC architecture, the processor, memory and storage are situated close together and communicate locally. But when desktops are virtualized and consolidated, the shared storage they use must deal with multiple virtual CPU/RAM units sending and receiving data. The attendant I/O bottleneck makes delivering PC-caliber performance extremely difficult. End users will not tolerate delays and lags that affect business productivity. Some IT organizations configure more storage than needed for capacity purposes, just to have more spindles to speed performance. As a result, many IT organizations have compromised the experience by deploying nonpersistent desktops. These pools of desktops are initiated on a session basis and do not offer customization and personalization by employees. Such desktops are easier to manage than persistent desktops, because patches and upgrades are applied to a single image. They also are more cost-effective to deploy than persistent desktops because they require less storage. For some end users, nonpersistent desktops are fine, such as in a call center, where workers log in to whatever workstation is available and call up a virtualized desktop that grabs their personal information. In contrast, persistent desktops enable a superior user experience by retaining individual user data, but they require a great deal of storage capacity to maintain performance and to retain growing user data stores. As shown in the figure, nearly three-quarters of respondents who are current desktop virtualization users identified “significant increase in storage capacity” as the Technology advances that recognize, prioritize and intercept I/O from virtual desktops enable organizations to confidently deliver a full- featured, PC-like virtual desktop experience. What is the primary storage infrastructure challenge your organization faces when it comes to supporting centralized virtual desktop images? (Percent of respondents, N=80) Significant increase in storage capacity requirements: 71% It has significantly increased storage capacity requirements and negatively impacted storage performance: 10% Don’t know: 6% Negative impact on storage performance: 13% Source: ESG Research Report, "Desktop Virtualization Market Evolution," February 2013. Primary storage challenges of centralized virtual desktops 1 Source: ESG Research Report, “Desktop Virtualization Market Evolution,” February 2013.
    • 44 2014 Issue 02 | Dell.com/powersolutions Perspective Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2014 Issue 2. Copyright © 2014 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. primary storage challenge they face when supporting a centralized virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). So what’s the answer? Flash technology can speed performance, but who can afford the amount of flash required to deliver virtual desktops at scale? ESG found that the majority of respondents who are current desktop virtualization users chose total cost of ownership as their top criterion for selecting VDI solutions and vendors, with ease of management a close second.2 How can organizations provide the experience of persistent virtual desktops at the scale, cost and manageability of nonpersistent ones? Overcoming the storage I/O bottleneck What if IT had a solution that intercepts and offloads I/O to head off storage congestion? In that case, because the I/O stream intercepts desktop traffic, IT can deliver the essential features needed for persistent virtual desktops: high-performance storage, scalable capacity and cost-effectiveness. Such a solution, used in combination with Dell storage, helps extend the virtual architecture already in use, avoiding disruption to the existing environment. The GreenBytes® IO Offload Engine provides one such solution. The IO Offload Engine is designed to use patented no-latency, in-line deduplication to dramatically reduce the amount of capacity required for persistent virtual desktops. It manages golden images, replica data stores and linked clone areas, offloading virtual desktop I/O such as boot and swap traffic from primary storage to solid-state drives (SSDs) so that the existing storage area network is not affected. SSDs, no longer configured to store all data, become a cost-effective option, and the data that is directed to them is deduplicated. In addition, because the IO Offload Engine is designed to drastically reduce I/O, wear and tear on SSDs is subsequently minimized: Enterprises get high I/Os per second as well as SSD endurance. Obtaining a PC-like experience The IO Offload Engine enables IT to easily deliver what users demand: the full PC experience, including fast performance and the ability to customize the environment. Performance is maintained even during boot and provisioning tasks, and deduplicated snapshot replication helps speed up provisioning. Existing storage investments can be preserved without being choked by massive amounts of VDI-related I/O. Combining technology like that offered by GreenBytes with the Dell PowerEdge VRTX platform leads to an easy-to-deploy, easy-to-scale virtualization solution. Designed for small-to-midsized organizations and remote offices, PowerEdge VRTX delivers simplified IT in a single small-footprint, converged unit built specifically for virtualized environments, driving down both cost and complexity. The integrated configuration supports PowerEdge M-Series server nodes pre-configured with storage and networking, as well as a Chassis Management Controller that converges the management of servers, storage, networking and power in a single tool. Delivering virtual desktops with assurance Virtualized desktops are commonly implemented in remote offices, offering IT a simple way to maintain control of the environment and still deliver an optimal user experience. Similarly, converged infrastructures in turnkey configurations are commonly deployed in remote offices, where simplicity is essential because many offices lack on-site skilled IT personnel. The combination of PowerEdge VRTX and desktop traffic interception technology provides an all-in-one virtual desktop solution designed for simple deployment and optimal performance. This approach offers a manageable, scalable, cost-effective way to address the VDI conundrum, satisfying users with high performance while helping IT reduce costs and simplify management. Key to the success of desktop virtualization initiatives is the ability to reproduce the accustomed PC experience — especially the performance aspect. Author Mark Bowker is a senior analyst at ESG. He researches application and desktop delivery technologies and evaluates the impact the solutions have, or will have, on IT strategy and the broader marketplace. Learn more PowerEdge VRTX: Dell.com/vrtx 2 Source: ESG Research Report, “Desktop Virtualization Market Evolution,” February 2013. Dell and PowerEdge are trademarks of Dell Inc.