Why Flash-Based Storage was King at EMC World

This week at EMC World VCE has been showcasing its latest solution for VDI and other high performance and availability workloads: The Vblock Specialized Systems for Extreme Applications. These specialized systems revolutionize VDI deployments and lead to successful project rollouts by providing a high quality user experience at a lower price.

For VDI, high quality equals high IOPS, often causing a trade-off between user experience and cost. Vendors with traditional storage arrays have struggled to offer viable, reasonably-priced VDI solutions because high IOPS increases the price per virtual desktop. This results in lower IOPS, poor performance and, ultimately, unhappy end users.

User experience, especially responsiveness, is critical to the success of a VDI project.  Today, users expect VDI devices to respond as well as a desktop (peaking at 2,000 IOPS), regardless of device type.

Traditional storage arrays have not been able to meet user needs because any VDI solution at scale also places tremendously high loads on storage systems as the input and output from virtualized desktops are aggregated and randomized by the interleaving requests.

Organizations are forced into utilizing complex strategies to work around VDI problems with limited success.  This involves time-consuming planning, error-prone design, and tedious manual configuration with compromised results. So it’s not surprising that when VDI project fails, it is usually related to storage, as explained in this article on TechTarget.

However, the introduction of the Vblock Specialized Systems for Extreme Applications has removed the traditional VDI bottlenecks.  The systems offer virtual desktop delivery, with application response times that are superior to physical desktops – delivering performance in the millions of IOPS with sub-millisecond response times.

By integrating EMC XtremIO technology, the VCE systems enable VDI users to boot up and log in quickly, from anywhere, and enjoy better access to the applications and information they need to get work done. Offered in one- and two-cabinets, the system is designed to help meet the requirements of the most demanding VDI scenario, ensuring the exceptional performance and responsiveness needed to support massively scalable solutions.

VCE supports two VDI platforms – VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop – to address the challenges of deploying a virtual desktop project.  Attendees at EMC World have been asking about the performance and scalability of these two platforms. We’ve been able to provide some exciting results.

We replicated a typical VDI project at scale on the Vblock Specialized Systems for Extreme Applications in our lab. The validation was based on real-world test scenarios, user workloads and infrastructure system configurations to support thousands of VDI sessions on both platforms.

The diagram below offers a summary of the results:


The complete reference architecture document on both VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop are available on the Vblock Specialized Systems for Extreme Applications page.

Finally, make sure you keep an eye on the Vblog for more news coming out of EMC World.

About the Author: Jay Chaudhury