The Synergy: EMC XtremIOfor Citrix VDI Deployments

This blog was written by Chhandomay Mandal, Solutions Marketing Director for EMC All-Flash Storage


Citrix Synergy 2016 kicks off here at Las Vegas today. EMC and Citrix have been working together for a while now, and I am happy to announce that a portfolio of EMC products have been verified as part of the Citrix Ready® VDI Capacity Program for Storage Partners.

Citrix Ready VDI Capacity program is designed to help guide customers regarding their VDI storage needs. The program enables Citrix storage partners to test their solutions against a turnkey “VDI Capacity” test environment that contains the necessary compute resources needed to generate a reference deployment for a pre-specified number of desktops (e.g. 1,500- or 3,000-desktop environments), thus demonstrating the appropriate storage performance and capacity with a cost-efficient design.

We have multiple desktop configurations verified for the program. For example, the 1,500 desktop configuration leverages a single 5TB XtremIO Starter X-Brick for VM data and a VNX5600 for user data, while just a single 10TB XtremIO X-Brick for VM data coupled with a VNX5600 for user shares were sufficient to host the 3,000 desktops as specified in the Citrix Ready VDI Capacity program. We submitted the test results to Citrix back in December 2015, long before EMC Unity was announced. Going forward, we’d be leveraging EMC Unity instead of VNX5600 for the user data and file shares.

Today we have nearly thousand different customers running millions of virtual desktops in production on XtremIO. They enjoy better performance than physical desktops, tablets, or workstation-class laptops with SSDs – at a lower cost per desktop. XtremIO’s inline, all-the-time data services significantly reduce VDI capacity requirements.

The other important part is fast time to value with XtremIO for VDI. You can deploy virtual desktops in seconds, a benefit of in-memory cloning and XtremIO’s unique XenDesktop plug-in. Create a pool of thousands of desktops that’s ready for use in less than an hour. All of these with linearly scaling your VDI environments for both performance and capacity as you grow – without any disruption to your users, thanks to XtremIO’s true, N-way, active-active scale-out architecture.

Now, the proof is in the pudding. The Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Program for Storage Vendors (Phase II) had fairly stringent performance requirements, and the XtremIO configurations delivered these in flying colors with a lot of headroom to spare. The LoginVSI VSIMax was obviously not reached in both cases.

As shown in the paper and below, the 1,500 desktop test generated 32K IOPS during login storm, when new users were logged in at an average rate of one in every 1.38 seconds. We see that the latency was minimal – less than 1ms! Similarly, the 3,000 desktop solution delivered 50K+ IOPS with minimal latency as well. The XtremIO X-Brick can deliver much higher performance, so there is very significant headroom to grow in case your IOPS/user profile is more than the LoginVSI knowledge worker profile.

IOPS_profile_for_the_1500_desktop_login_stormFigure 1: IOPS profile for the 1,500 desktop login storm

Latency_profile_for_the_1500_desktop_login_stormFigure 2: Latency profile for the 1,500 desktop login storm

The other important aspect is the capacity reduction benefits XtremIO offers for XenDesktop deployments with its inline, all-the-time deduplication and compression. As the test results show, XtremIO achieved around 5:1 data reduction in the Citrix PVS-based environments.

You see that XtremIO delivers an unparalleled user experience for ALL user and desktop types at enterprise scale all the time. The deployment model is very cost effective – a lower cost than having physical desktops (while having an amazing end-user experience) and a quick deployment time – leading to a successful VDI project from pilot to full scale.

You can get the 1,500 desktop paper here, and the 3,000 desktop paper here. Learn more about XenDesktop deployments with XtremIO here, and about the XtremIO VDI solutions here.

About the Author: Chhandomay Mandal

Dr. Chhandomay Mandal is the Director of Solutions Marketing at Dell Technologies. He leads solutions across artificial intelligence, analytics, business applications, VDI and HPC as well as industry-specific solutions for healthcare, media & entertainment, semiconductors and smart manufacturing. Prior to his current role, he led Dell’s all-flash storage solutions marketing efforts for desktop virtualization, server virtualization and private cloud. Dr. Mandal has been awarded 13 patents. He has a PhD from University of Florida, MBA from Indiana University, and BTech from Indian Institute of Technology.