Ever feel like someone is telling you everything you want to hear while their true raison d’être is for their own gain?
Maybe I’m off base here, so I‘ll ask you to help me decide
The Challenge of VDI
VDI is a great means to drive down the operational cost associated with providing and servicing an end user environment. The challenge to VDI is that the environments are very large. I mean moderate installations are commonly 1,500 seats and at the high end we have customers looking at 50,000 – 100,000 seats. At this scale it is easy to understand why the storage infrastructure cost can be a large hurdle facing an organization considering the adoption of VDI.
This sounds like a winner
Most enterprise storage arrays have a means of cloning LUNs in some manner where each clone only consumes a fraction of the actual amount of storage that is being provisioned. These types of clones only charge you for the uniqueness of each copy. At NetApp we offer this feature with FlexClone.
Zero storage costs for every virtual desktop? Sounds like a match made in heaven for VDI doesn’t it? At this point you might be saying, “Where do I sign up for such a solution?” I know my competitors are hoping you are, but before you buy into the smoke and mirrors, can I ask you to watch their demo of this solution?
As demonstrated in my competitor’s demo, each Virtual Desktop requires its on LUN (or LUN clone) in order to be provisioned. See, the EMC crew is banking on you not being aware of one major point:
An architecture requiring one LUN per Virtual Desktop is simply unmanageable for any sizable installation.
In the NetApp VDI demo which we will highlight at VMworld 2008, customers will see NetApp deploy 5,440 virtual desktops in less than 25 minutes while only consuming the storage required for a single desktop. On the surface this solution sounds exactly like what I am banging against. The blurring of this distinction by EMC is good for business (note: good for their business not necessarily yours).
In Chad’s blog he graciously provided us with a back handed compliment regarding our VDI demo. He mocked the scale of 5,440 desktops, trumpeting that EMC has already provided VDI tests scaling to 10,000 desktops.
See what I think that Chad and the EMC guys want to do is impress you with is scale… remember VDI environments can be massive. However did you catch the magic trick in the video? Did you realize that with EMC in order to deploy 10,000 desktops one has to provision and manage 10,000 LUNs.
I guess if you love LUNs then this is cool.
OK, seriously, who in their right mind thinks that this design is easy, simple, & scalable?
In our VDI demo for VMworld, NetApp creates 5,440 desktop with 32 volumes. If we would have done 10,000 desktops it would have taken 64 volumes (or a few less).
Let me see here, which is more impressive… 64 volumes or 10,000 LUNs. That’s right, VDI with NetApp requires less than 1% of the storage objects required by EMC to create and mange this solution.
As the goals of Virtualization include driving down cost while adding simplicity, I believe that NetApp’s VDI solution is like a golf score; where lower is better.
We stand alone
While almost everyone in the storage industry can clone LUNs only NetApp can clone files, and virtual disk files make up the storage for virtual desktops.
In an upcoming post I will share with you more information on optimized storage for VDI. I’ll give Chad and crew a head start here… It has to do with eliminating boot storms and reducing the post deployment storage growth in the VDI GOS and user storage space.
The used car salesman approach revisited
Maybe Chad has made some assumptions about our technology, or maybe he’s working too hard, I mean he keeps misspelling my name in his blogs (thanks buddy).
For those of you who recognize me at VMworld (see my picture at the top of this page) stop by and say hi. I’d love to show you the demo and hear about your virtualization plans; however, while you’re there watch out for this guy. He might try to get you into a new car…