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Consider Using Virtualized Desktops

July 11, 2014

Virtualized desktops are an increasingly popular option. They can be used instead of Microsoft (News - Alert) RDS and Citrix XenApp, which are terminal-based application delivery methods. In addition, Linux operating system-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure methods and open-source hypervisors provide economical alternatives. Consider, too, how VDIs are now “less vulnerable to resource strangleholds and configuration flaws,” according to a report from Jasmine McTigue at Information Week.

On the other hand, VDIs do need more technical expertise and lead to higher costs.

Yet, McTigue points out that recent solid state storage advances mitigate the “cost and performance impact of storage on VDI deployments.”

Consider the use of virtualized storage systems and software-defined storage architectures, such as DataCore SANsymphony and VMware Virtual SAN. In fact, Ben Goodman, who is a technical evangelist at VMware, claims Virtual SAN can save 25 to 30 percent over a more typical virtual desktop deployment with reduced storage costs.

It was pointed out that mixed solid-state/spinning-disk volumes are half of the price of the same I/O characteristics in pure spinning disk configurations, the report adds.

And respondents to the 2014 State of Enterprise Storage Survey say that automatic tiering of storage is now in pilot phase (22 percent), as well as limited (18 percent) or widespread (14 percent) use by enterprises.

Looking back, virtual desktops were largely restricted to spot deployments, because of the drawbacks seen by end-users. VDI means that there will be issues with connectivity and customization. “It burns through CPU cycles, storage, and bandwidth,” McTigue said in the report in summarizing the limitations. “It takes effort to set up a logical set of images and roles and stick to them. OS and software licensing can be a nightmare.”

But it is now time to reconsider those long-held views because of all of the advances and economic realities.




Edited by Adam Brandt

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