Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is poised to provide a new management and deployment model for end-user computing by centralizing physical desktops to virtualized desktop farms in the data center. The resulting environment offers increased manageability, enhanced security and data protection, while providing new capabilities such as anywhere, anytime access for teleworkers. The risk, of course, lies in end-user performance expectations and the return on investment (ROI).

Ideally, a VDI solution will provide an equal or better end-user experience than a physical desktop while keeping the deployment cost at par or lower than desktop deployment costs. If these objectives are met, the significant operational cost savings will support an immediate migration toward VDI for the majority of organizations.

The Challenges with Desktop Computing

The traditional model of desktop computing has been to deploy a thick client PC, one machine per user. In this client-server compute model, the PC is a workhorse, with dedicated CPU, hard drive, video card, display, operating system, etc. This approach does allow for fewer servers in the datacenter, a very good multimedia experience, and flexibility.

The thick client set up makes operating system updates and patch management one of the most difficult aspects of a desktop solution. Software management, application hot fixes, and upgrades are necessary for addressing bugs, providing enhancements, and addressing security vulnerabilities. But with traditional desktops, each PC has its own operating system and applications, and must be updated individually, a large drain on IT staffing resources.

Force 3 Reference Architecture: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

The Force 3 VDI reference architecture has two major goals:

  • To provide a better end-user experience than physical desktops
  • Provide direct cost savings against physical desktops

These goals are accomplished with two key components:

1.Storage Performance

In a typical VDI deployment, storage input/output (IO) becomes a major performance bottleneck, and therefore a major contributor to a negative end user experience. By centralizing the desktop loads, VDI combines the IO requirements of individual desktops into a centralized storage system. Even though the average user IO load can be 5-8 IOPS (IOs per second), the peak IOPS can range from 20 to 100 IOPS on a centralized platform. So during peak IO, such as morning login and evening logoff, the storage system should be able to handle the peak IO for all of the users at the same time, with little effect on the end user.

The Force 3 architecture solves the Storage IO issue by using flash array as the storage for desktop VM OS images. Flash array can offer very high IOPS at low latency. Even under heavy load, flash array provides consistent performance characteristics rather than an exponential performance degradation experienced by spinning disks. The FalconStor/Violin flash array used in Force 3’s architecture can provide up to 200,000 IOPS and 20TB of SLC NAND storage in a 3U unit.

Flash array, while providing great performance, is inherently more expensive than traditional spinning disks. To optimize the solution cost, the Force 3 architecture employs several mechanisms to reduce the flash array space requirements. The key components of the storage optimization include:

Utilization of VMware View Composer Linked Clone VMware Linked Clone uses writable snapshot technology to reduce the space requirement for a virtual machine deployment. Only changes to the master desktop image are stored on the Linked Clone storage

Placement of permanent user data to network storage via Folder Redirection and Persistent Disk By placing user persistent disk and VM swap file on a non-flash array storage and re-directing user data via folder redirection, the flash array storage requirement can be further reduced.

Regular refresh of desktop A high-performance flash array backend enables fast desktop refreshes. Regular desktop refreshes clean out the linked clone storage.

Disabling VM suspension A disabling virtual machine suspension feature removes requirements for suspend files for each VM in flash array storage.

2.Graphics and Multi Media Experience

Remote display protocol, which can provide quality graphics and a multi-media experience, is key to end user acceptance of the VDI solution. VMware View PC over IP (PCoIP) delivers a rich user experience over IP network with progressive build, bi-directional audio, and USB redirection in a completely new protocol.

To characterize the behavior of the VDI environment under heavy IO load, Force 3 performed storage stress testing on the Force 3 architecture-based VDI system. The stress testing was performed at the Force 3 Customer Innovation Center. Results showed superior performance and significant cost savings.

Related Blog Posts

See All Blogs

TechTarget: Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Solutions Boost Channel

Enterprises are turning to hyper-converged infrastructure solutions because of their simple deployment model and high levels of automation. Some channel partners are cashing in on the technology shift, but traditional storage products still represent an enormous market. In this article…

Cisco Live 2018: Vendor Opens Management Console to Partners

In this article for TechTarget, Force 3's VP of Client Solutions Jason Parry weighs in on the new opportunities arising from Cisco DNA Center. In Cisco's latest nod to software, the company has opened its Cisco DNA Center to developers,…

GCN: Building a Better Agency Through Software Orchestration

In federal IT, there is sometimes fear that software orchestration will render the technology professional’s role obsolete. This mindset, however, is misguided. In reality, the exact opposite is true: Orchestration has the potential to not only make federal IT workers’…

3 Use Cases for Harnessing Next-Gen HCI

These days, between budgeting shortfalls and the unending data explosion, federal IT organizations face significant pressure to do more with less. This decline affected all areas of IT including software, hardware, networks and outsourced IT services. But even as funding…

NextGov: No Better Time for Software Orchestration

As agencies look to modernize, software orchestration offers an opportunity to make sure all their software is working together. It makes sense: All of your software should work together. And, once implemented, software automation and orchestration can help IT systems…

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI): Scalability and QoS

For federal agencies, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) offers scalability, quality of service. Federal agencies today face extensive pressure to move faster. Nowhere is this truer than in the IT realm, where teams are expected not only drive operational efficiency and reduce…

IoT & The Intelligent Edge: Defending Outside The Firewall

The Internet of Things, though still evolving, has pushed its way into the workplace. The result? CSOs are working overtime to keep up. What’s the protocol for these connected devices, and how do they fit into the existing security infrastructure?…

GCN: The Hidden Challenges of Federal IT Modernization

In the next three years, an estimated $3 billion worth of federal IT equipment will reach end-of-life status, according to former U.S. Federal CIO Tony Scott. It’s an intimidating number, and one that indicates just how far-reaching the need is…

IoT in Federal: From Concept to Reality and Risk

The way we reconcile our security concerns with IoT’s inevitable integration will determine whether the revolution upgrades our lives or creates chaos.  Remember when the Internet of Things was more concept than reality? Those days are long gone. Demand for…

NextGov: How Can Agencies Prepare for a Software Future?

For federal agencies and their IT teams, change is inevitable. After all, it’s the nature of IT to change and grow alongside rapid innovation. Today, agencies must adapt as we shift from a hardware-centric model to an increasingly software-defined world.…

InformationWeek: Containerization Gains Traction & We’re Better for it

Cloud-based application development has taken big strides, and it's delivering benefits for enterprises such as federal agencies. Application development has forever been a thorn in the side of federal agencies. It’s tough, after all, to innovate when hampered by the…

TechTarget: Tech Launch Shakes Up Cisco Campus Network Design

Channel executives said Cisco's new campus networking approach offers software-defined networking, management and security capabilities, but will face a customer adoption test. Channel partners are absorbing a new take on Cisco campus network design in light of the vendor's revised…

GCN: Building a Better Backup

For public sector employees who work in national security, emergency response or disease control, data access can literally mean life or death. In the event of data loss, the consequences can be substantial, even when the immediate implications seem less…

GCN: Keeping Pace with SDN Means Embracing its Benefits

With the introduction of any new networking technology, two things are inevitable: First comes the hype, with organizations everywhere discussing whether to invest in it. Second is the panic -- particularly among the professionals tasked with implementing and adopting it.…

Channel: Cost, speed as hyper-converged infrastructure benefits

Channel partners active in hyper-converged infrastructure see an expanding set of use cases, although mission-critical applications may lag behind other HCI candidates. In this article from TechTarget, Force 3's next-generation networking director Jon Kim discusses recent developments in the hyper-converged infrastructure…

Cisco IoT Strategy Will Unleash Services Opportunities, Forge Ties With Technology Vendors

In this article from CRN, Force 3 CEO Mike Greaney joins other industry channel partners to weigh in on Cisco’s IoT Strategy featured at this year’s Cisco Global Partners SummitCisco Systems is putting its Internet of Things strategy into higher…

Programmability: How Federal Agencies Can Embrace Programmable Networks

In a professional climate that demands nonstop productivity, organizations everywhere depend on their technology to keep pace. More than ever, federal agencies want systems and processes that reduce complexity and waste. Even so, adopting and implementing new technology comes with…

SDX Central: Enhancing Network Security With SDN Automation

When it comes to software-defined networking (SDN) automation, certain benefits frequently get more attention than others. Take, for instance, the simultaneous provisioning of network functions and servers, which allows applications to become available in minutes instead of days or weeks.…

CRN: The benefits of pairing Cisco and VMware for software-defined networking

Until recently, many IT customers approached software-defined networking purchases as an either-or decision between Cisco and VMware. But, as software-defined networking grows in popularity, companies are increasingly deploying both Cisco and VMware solutions. Check out CRN’s article, “Partners: Enterprises are…

Force 3 Perspective: As software-defined networking gains traction, so do its visionaries

Jon Kim directs Force 3's Next Generation Networking division, which focuses in particular on software-defined networking (SDN) and other emerging technologies. Here, he weighs in on what the recent departures of SDN leaders for the venture capital world might mean…

For Customers, Software-Defined WAN Offers Automation, Savings, Efficiency

With benefits like automation, speed and increased efficiency, software-defined WAN promises to reduce the cost and complexity of wide area networks (WAN), while boosting real-time application performance. In TechTarget's feature SD-WAN technology offers channel partner opportunities, Force 3’s vice president…

Boosting Security in Software-Defined Networks

With the growing popularity of technologies such as software-defined networks (SDN), hyper-converged infrastructure and the Internet of Things, IT professionals must constantly prepare for new vulnerabilities in their efforts to bolster network security. In this recent guide from TechTarget, Software-defined…

How SDN builds next-gen security

As software-defined technology continues to gain traction in the federal space, agencies can expect to see a significant, positive impact on their own security posture. Those who embrace software-defined and other next-generation technologies will benefit from three key improvements that…

Force 3 at VMworld: What’s New and Next in Virtualized Computing

What was the overall atmosphere of VMworld? There was a lot of excitement around NSX, especially what the next big use case will be and what are further drivers of the technology. I think attendees were really looking for that…

‘No Respect’ for Critical Communication Infrastructures

"That’s the story of my life, no respect! I don't get no respect I tell ya!" - Rodney Dangerfield Much like the late Rodney Dangerfield, business phones tend to not get much respect. Considering the mission critical role that communications…

Webcast Recap: Next-Generation Data Center Security Webcast hosted by FCW.com

On May 28th Force 3, Palo Alto and VMware sponsored a webcast hosted by FCW.com. The webcast focused on Next-Generation Data Center Security and featured a presentation by Air Force CTO, Frank Konieczny, with a roundtable discussion featuring Jason Parry,…

Wireless Deployments: The Cost Question?

Wireless Deployments: The Cost Question? Radio Frequency engineers have a peculiar dilemma when it comes to standing up new deployments at facilities that are looking to implement Wi-Fi services. A frequent dilemma centers on the customer’s request for a pricing…

Agencies set building blocks of the software-defined enterprise

http://gcn.com/Articles/2014/07/22/Software-defined-data-center.aspx?Page=1

Catch up to your employee’s demands: Go beyond the desktop!

Take note, workforce. We have entered a new era: The Post-PC Era. No longer does the PC tie employees down with its chains. Studies show that sales of PCs are down 30% and it's not because we're in a bad…

VDI at Home: Building a 10-user Environment for $500 (Part 1)

Setting up VMware View Security Server Now that I have the base VMware View setup, I really wanted to watch videos on my iPad from Starbucks. To access the VMware View environment from outside, the VMware View security server must…

How can we help your agency achieve its mission?

Maximize your IT investments. Learn more about solutions and services from Force 3.