HP VDI storage solution
The cost of desktop and notebook client computers has decreased over time. The majority of the total cost of ownership for computers is still, however, related to management. These expenses are mostly made up of providing break/fix support and updating operating systems, applications, and hardware.
A new client computing strategy called Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) picks up where thin computing leaves off in order to make desktop management a more sustainable business model. By leaving the client hardware on the user’s desk and moving the operating system and software to the data center, virtualizing a desktop computer takes inspiration from mainframe computing.
IT can more efficiently manage software updates and provide predictable data protection thanks to the centralization of desktop computer resources. VDI solutions, by using HP 3PAR license, make use of enterprise storage assets to offer cutting-edge features like high availability, snapshots, and replication to safeguard user systems. For instance, when user issues occur, VDI implementations can quickly return to a recent snapshot of the system state that existed before the issue, allowing users to continue working.
Providing enterprise-class storage performance, functionality, and management at a fair price is the one thing that virtual desktop initiatives face the biggest difficulty with. The management cost/benefit equation of HP VDI is well understood, but storage performance requirements are frequently underestimated, which is why this is a challenge. Using conventional enterprise storage architecture can also be very expensive to meet the performance and capacity needs of even a modest VDI implementation.
Large arrays of high-RPM disk drives have historically been used to scale performance in traditional SAN vendor architectures, but hard drive performance (as measured in IOPS) has reached its limits. Traditional storage vendors have made attempts in recent years to add enterprise-class flash solid state drives (SSDs) in an effort to meet VDI performance requirements, but the costs have been prohibitive. The performance of VDI must be maximized while operating and capital costs are minimized, which calls for a new storage strategy.
In order to deliver extremely high performance at a reasonable price, the licensed HP VDI Nimble Storage has developed the first converged storage solution that seamlessly combines flash drives and inexpensive SATA disks. A single HP Nimble Storage array performs far better than much more expensive tiered storage solutions.
The licensed HP Nimble eliminates backup windows, greatly enhances recovery point objectives (RPOs), and drastically cuts down recovery times by integrating primary storage and backup into the same storage architecture. Nimble has developed a new storage strategy that gets around the drawbacks of legacy storage architectures and has a much lower total cost of ownership, which makes it ideal for virtual desktop infrastructure.
Performance requirements for VDI storage
The two main stages of a virtual desktop’s daily use cycle are boot and steady use. When users turn on and log into their computers, the boot phase begins. The level of read activity during this phase is typically the highest on a desktop. IOPS are produced less overall during the steady use phase, but writes dominate. Update patching and virus scans, which also have a high write component, are less frequently sustained storage I/O load events. In addition to speeding up reads, a successful HP VDI storage solution must also maximize write performance.
On each user’s physical desktop computer, the boot process is isolated and has exclusive access to CPU, memory, and storage resources. The operating system and other system-level tools from third parties, like an antivirus program, are read from disk and loaded into memory during the boot process.
The desktops are forced to compete for storage space under the VDI model, which transfers this isolated heavy read activity to the shared storage infrastructure. A typical desktop typically boots in between 30 and 60 seconds after processing files, for instance, Windows 7 boots to the login screen, which requires reading about 350 Megabytes. When dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of virtual desktops boot from the same shared storage resource, maintaining reasonable boot times necessitates much higher I/O performance. A boot storm is the term used frequently to describe this period of intense reading activity.
Read and write IOPS drastically drop to a steady state after a desktop has finished its boot process. Average desktops typically require 6–10 IOPS at steady state, whereas power users may need 25 IOPS. Heavy users (like programmers compiling code) might use up to 50 IOPS. However, a boot storm far exceeds the steady use IOPS requirements, so in most cases, sizing for boot storms will satisfy VDI requirements.
Upgrades and antivirus activity place significant performance demands on VDI storage. These intense IOPS activities typically peak at or just below boot storm levels.
The load is heavier during the longer duration of the load, which puts more pressure on the HP VDI storage. In order to meet heavy write IOPS demand, adding cache is insufficient by itself to handle heavy read IOPS boot storms. Both performance improvements for write bursting and intelligent caching for read bursting are required for well-designed VDI storage. The main consideration for VDI storage sizing is to meet the performance demand for IOPS. But if you overprovision for storage performance, your costs will skyrocket.
For 1,000 users, traditional physical desktop implementations would place 1,000 hard drives in each desktop computer. To rack and power this amount of overprovisioning in a centralized data center would be prohibitively expensive.
I/O optimization and caching techniques are used by storage vendors to deliver performance that is greater than the total of the individual hard drives. In the past, SAN architectures dealt with performance issues by escalating the number of power-hungry, high-speed disks as IOPS requirements increased. In the world of HP VDI, this solution is simply not feasible because replacing desktop SATA drives comes at a much higher cost, which significantly raises initial capital expenses.
VDI Nimble Storage Solutions
For VDI storage to maximize the storage density of numerous desktops while still being cost-effective, a new strategy must be developed. The performance challenge can be directly addressed by using an all-Flash storage solution for VDI, using HP Primera License, but doing so comes at a high cost per desktop and with very little capacity, which has an impact on scalability.
Due to the previously mentioned cost and resiliency problems, adding flash to a legacy tiered storage architecture and treating it like a spinning disk does not offer a sufficient solution.
Nimble Storage had the advantage of building a storage architecture from scratch using the most recent storage technology advancements without the baggage present in legacy tiered storage architectures developed over the past 20 years. The CASL (Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout) architecture was developed by Nimble Storage to make the best use of cutting-edge technologies like flash SSD, high-density disk drives, and multi-core CPUs to create a new converged storage platform for the upcoming 20 years.
Nimble Storage enhances read and write performance for VDI
The CASL architecture from the licensed HP Nimble Storage (HP VDI storage solution) makes use of multi-core CPUs and its variable-length block architecture to perform inline data compression on writes, maximizing hard drive and flash storage capacity. In most cases, this strategy increases usable storage by 50%. The scaling of VDI implementations and the lowering of the overall cost per desktop depend on CASL’s ability to optimize write activity.
Hard drives are well known for their excellent sequential I/O performance but poor random I/O performance due to the physical head movement (disk seeking) demanded by contemporary file systems. By physically coalescing random writes before committing data to storage media, Nimble CASL architecture significantly minimizes the movement of hard drive heads.
Flexible Zero-Copy Cloning
No matter how big the new volumes are, Nimble Storage’s advanced zero-copy cloning technology quickly provisions those using base images in a matter of seconds. This enables quick provisioning of brand-new VDI desktop boot images while maximizing priceless storage resources through block sharing and inline compression. You could, for instance, make clones of a base image and add role-specific configurations and applications.
If you want to reuse pre-existing configurations even more, Nimble also lets you make clones of clones. Although each clone has applications and configuration linked to particular roles, the clone doesn’t have to use the shared storage used by parent images and clones. The total amount of storage needed across the organization for VDI is significantly reduced by swift zero-copy clones.