If you're planning a virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, one crucial component is storage. Storage is often blamed for a virtual desktop infrastructure's ultimate failure or cited for its success. In addition to driving the success of the VDI, storage has a significant impact on the VDI's total cost.
When it comes to enterprise storage solutions for a virtual desktop infrastructure, several primary areas must be considered:
· Storage capacity – How much capacity you need isn't necessarily easy to determine. For example, thin provisioning, layered images, cloning, de-duplication, operating systems, customization levels, whether users will create shared or individual data, and other factors can affect the storage needs of your virtual desktop infrastructure. The way your desktops are cloned can also affect the benefits you can expect from various storage capacity features. For example, fully provisioned clones benefit from features such as thin provisioning and de-duplication while storage clones and third party clones don't benefit nearly as much if at all.
When planning capacity, it's tempting to go with a fixed allotment of storage per virtual machine. After all, this is most like a traditional desktop with a fixed hard disk attached. However, a single user could run dozens of virtual machines, which would result in an excessive, costly, and unnecessary increase in storage capacity. In contrast, thin provisioning allocates capacity in smaller batches on an as needed basis.
· Performance – The decisions made regarding storage can also hinder or improve performance, so make sure to consider how your choices could affect the VDI overall. In addition, an event known as a "boot storm" could place a heavy burden on the storage systems when multiple systems boot up at one time such as at the beginning of a shift. While solid state storage is often associated with higher performance, this performance boost comes with a higher price tag than traditional storage options. For the best of both worlds, consider a hybrid enterprise storage solution that uses solid state drives for commonly accessed data and traditional disk arrays for less frequently accessed data.
· Security – Another consideration is the security and the integrity of the data. Is an automatic backup feature included? How about redundancy or replication? If using a hosted storage solution, is the data mirrored at geographically diverse datacenters? It's also important to recognize that implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure doesn't automatically solve security issues. Though it may improve security, issues such as remote access, computer viruses, and confidentiality remain and must be addressed by your security team.
· Administration – In addition, ease of administration should also be considered. Who will be responsible for administering your enterprise storage solutions? What skills are needed? Will any processes need to be changed.
Moving to a VDI environment from a traditional network may also require a change in how the infrastructure is managed and administered. For example, if data is stored on a NAS system, virus scans on individual machines may not be necessary. Indexing, defragmenting, and system updates will also require different approaches.
In order for VDI to be successful, IT architects, administrators, and business leaders should carefully consider storage capacity, performance, security, and administration early in the planning and design process.
Stephanie Rose is the author of this article storage planning tips for virtual desktop infrastructure, VDI for short. One tip she will be discuss is how hybrid storage are great enterprise storage solutions for those looking to save money and increase their storage. In her free time she enjoys riding her bike and spending time with her family.