The Case for VDI Appliances and Mobile Secure Desktops
Posted on June 25th, 2012 under
By Lee Caswell, Founder & CSO
The Perfect Storm at the Desktop
There is a perfect storm brewing at the desktop. Not since the early days of PCs have we seen such a transformation of where computing happens, what a compute device looks like and what an operating system should provide.
IT organizations that are highly efficient in managing and investing complex infrastructures supporting shared applications are largely unprepared and under-staffed for a worker environment that is no longer made up of two or three corporate-approved beige PCs. This is especially true when those devices are no longer running approved operating systems with corporate applications and are accessed over a corporate-controlled wired network. The maelstrom of new device software and hardware combined with mobility threatens to overwhelm IT.
The Infrastructure Impact
It is no wonder given IT infrastructure skills that a centralized approach to handling desktop needs would be preferred. Centralized desktop control and management parallels the client/server model IT uses today. What is taking time to understand is the effect of running desktops on central server and shared storage infrastructure.
To understand how to design centralized virtual desktop infrastructure, or cVDI, one must first take a look at the unique elements of desktop use. Desktop users are humans and their performance needs are consistently difficult to predict.
What we see in the field is that performance needs vary broadly even when user profiles seem relatively constrained. A lowly reservation clerk may suddenly become a high performance user when he begins rendering graphics to help clients plan a stay, views video during a training session or starts a Skype session to collaboratively plan an event.
The Key Challenge is Storage
The biggest technical challenge of cVDI is sharing storage among many users. Disk drives are the slowest and least reliable component of any desktop and are a single point of failure. Moving to a centralized architecture requires sharing storage resources across many desktop users and responding quickly to performance spikes from any individual users.
On top of performance considerations, a central system that supports hundreds or thousands of desktops needs a high availability architecture along with enterprise-quality components which will add cost and complexity. Lastly, it’s an interesting challenge to centralize management and control without losing today’s “just buy a new desktop” mentality for solving user performance needs.
Desktop virtualization, like server virtualization, requires a new evolution of shared storage that breaks the performance, flexibility and budget constraints imposed by SAN/NAS storage. The unique storage requirements of centralized desktops are elegantly solved with a scale-out appliance architecture where appliances deliver converged shared storage, compute and network resources for virtual desktops.
Scale-out designs aggregate, protect and ideally load-balance precious storage performance to ensure that adequate, predictable performance is available for each and every virtual desktop across the Array of appliances.
If cost is no object, conventional SAN or NAS products combined with physical servers support the high availability and performance requirements. However, appliances solve the same solutions at 1/10th the cost of separate solutions.
More importantly, appliance systems can be simply configured and then scaled in granular increments that meet the need of IT to quickly respond to the changing performance needs of real-world desktop installations. Appliances based on a familiar Ethernet are also easy to manage with existing staff so that centralizing desktops does not require adding staff.
Calm the Desktop Storm with Pivot3 and Mobile Secure Desktops from VMware
It’s not hard to see why virtual desktops have become a top priority across IT organizations of all sizes. What other weapons in the IT arsenal keep budgets flat during yet another Microsoft upgrade cycle? What other dials can be turned to sustain response levels as the number and type of user devices and operating systems multiplies? What other tricks are up the IT sleeves to maintain security for a workforce that is increasingly mobile?
Pivot3 is proud to deliver a new scale-out appliance architecture ideally suited for desktop virtualization, certified by VMware and deployed at scale. Let us show you how to make Mobile Secure Desktops – central desktop virtualization – a reality today.