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Turbo-Charging VDI: Dell’s EqualLogic Hybrid SSD/SAS Arrays Deliver the Density

2010 saw great leaps from the VDI platform vendors, broadening the scope of potential use cases for server hosted desktop virtualization (VDI). VMware, in particular, upped the performance game with View 4.5’s storage enhancements, which offload storage optimization to the array. Dell’s moved quickly to capitalize on all of VMware’s storage innovations, add has also added intelligent workload tiering to handle multi-tiered workloads (like those found in VDI). It all comes together on the new hybrid SSD/SAS array in its EqualLogic PS Series (PS6000XVS).

VDI has often promised more than it delivered, due to stubborn complexity, performance and cost challenges. Chief among these challenges has been the high up-front capital costs and subsequent inefficiencies of the storage platforms deployed to support it.

Storage is at the heart of the VDI ROI equation. Successful companies must minimize both the up-front capital costs as well as the on-going operational expenses of VDI storage in order to realize high enough returns. In my view, this challenge poses the highest barrier to wider VDI adoption. Dell aims to turn this around.

I'm currently developing a 3-part in-depth look at the current state of VDI adoption, including a detailed review of the PS6000XVS's VDI performance testing results, architecture, features, and deep integration with VMware's vStorage API's and View 4.5. Part 1 is available here for download.

Testing results so far bode well for another great leap in VDI storage density. I thought I'd share an overview of these results for the Task Worker virtual desktop use case:

Our primary test objective was to determine the upper limits of density that can be achieved currently using VMware View 4.5 deployed against a single PS6000XVS array, leveraging the latest storage optimization features provided by both platforms.

To do so, the VMware RAWC VDI workload simulator was used to generate realistic task worker loads over a 5-hour period. This allowed the team to measure I/O performance during a boot storm, during a period when many users are launching applications, and in steady state when most users are working within applications. The XVS easily and efficiently handled the shift in IOPS demand and read/write ratios across these periods.

[PS6000XVS Performance Testing for High-Density VDI]

Testing showed that the Dell PS6000XVS, for a typical set of linked-clone non-persistent VDI task workers, easily achieved a density of 680 virtual desktops (85 10GB disk/1GB memory VMs per ESX server, generating 2-5 IOPS each)…with headroom. Above 680, server performance degraded such that overall latency exceeded our maximum threshold (20ms).

This is impressive VDI density. Maybe it’s time to review your VDI ROI calculations?

I'll share more results as I complete each part of the report, including additional details of our testing strategy and configurations. Keep checking back throughout December and January for my analysis of what this means for VDI density as we enter the second decade of the Virtual Era.

  • Premiered: 12/15/10
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): Dell EqualLogic VDI Desktop Virtualization Storage SSD SAS


the blog is so impressive and full of information.

By dell computers on 04/29/11


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