The Top Attributes of HCI for VDI

September 24, 2019 | Posted by

Many companies are discovering the advantages of using virtual desktops for distributing workloads to employees across their global workforce. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) allows you to consolidate your critical applications in a centralized data center, and to simplify and streamline End-User Computing (EUC) operations. Using virtual desktops, employees throughout your company can access workloads and data from any location, on any type of device.

But to get the full benefits of VDI, you need to optimize your virtual desktop environment with the right infrastructure. Your hosting architecture must power your VDI platform to deliver better outcomes, a superior end-user experience, and a higher ROI. If your hosting architecture can’t support the high-density, IO-intensive workloads of VDI, it will result in higher costs for your virtual desktop environment, a frustrated workforce, and maybe even damage to your brand.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why HCI is the best architecture for hosting your VDI system. We’ll also discuss the top attributes that you should look for in an HCI infrastructure solution.

A Superior User Experience

To be successful, your VDI must deliver an uncompromising end-user experience, one that is superior or comparable to physical desktops. HCI provides a robust architecture that is more suitable for hosting VDI workloads than traditional infrastructure. By combining servers, storage, and networking into modular software-based units, HCI eliminates the infrastructure bottlenecks of a traditional three-tier architecture. This reduces latency and improves the performance of virtual desktops for end-users.

You should also look for an HCI solution that provides the following elements, which will help to further improve the overall performance and efficiency of your VDI platform:

An NVMe flash-optimized storage pool, which provides faster processing and response times for IO read/write requests.

Automatic redistribution of VDI workloads across all nodes on your HCI infrastructure. This creates a common pool of compute, storage, and networking resources that all virtual desktops can use, enabling faster data processing and response times.

An intelligent HCI architecture with policy-based management capabilities that allow you to provision more storage and IO capacity for high-priority workloads. This ensures that those workloads get the resources they need, and aren’t competing for resources with medium or low-priority workloads.

Smaller IT Footprint for VDI Hosting

The modular, software-based architecture of HCI operates on industry-standard hardware. An HCI footprint typically takes up less space than a traditional IT footprint, which requires separate hardware blocks for enterprise-grade servers and storage units.

Also, an HCI architecture that utilizes ultra-low latency NVMe flash storage will support up to 3X more virtual desktops per node. This further reduces the size of your IT footprint for VDI hosting, since it allows you to achieve higher desktop densities and support more end users with less hardware.

Simple Infrastructure Management

As a traditional three-tier architecture grows, you must continuously add new servers and storage units to your infrastructure to support increased numbers of virtual desktop users. This makes your IT footprint very complex and hard to manage.

Since HCI requires a smaller IT footprint, it simplifies the management of your IT infrastructure. You can deploy HCI’s modular units as a distributed, scale-out architecture. Look for an HCI solution that allows you to manage all clusters as a single domain from one user interface. This makes it easy to manage large-scale deployments with clusters in multiple locations.

Predictable Scalability

HCI lets you manage your infrastructure in cluster deployments, where you designate a certain number of users and nodes per pod (i.e. 1 pod = 10 nodes = 500 users). This makes it easy to predict your IT scaling needs, since you know how many pods, or node clusters, you need to add each time you scale up. For example, if you need to add 1000 users over the next year, you will need to add 2 pods, or a cluster of 20 new nodes.

Also, look for an HCI solution that offers flexible and granular scaling options, allowing you to scale your infrastructure according to its needs. For example, you should be able to add  either new all-compute or all-storage nodes in order to address specific infrastructure bottlenecks and thus improve the performance of your VDI environment.

Lower TCO

HCI lowers the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your VDI system in several ways:

Hardware Cost Avoidance Savings – Since HCI requires a smaller IT footprint, and uses less expensive industry-standard hardware, you have to buy less hardware at a lower cost to host your VDI platform. This reduces your capital expenses for building and scaling your infrastructure.

Data Center Cost Savings – The smaller IT footprint requires less data center space, power, and cooling, which saves you money in operating expenses.

Labor and Maintenance Cost Savings – The smaller IT footprint requires less maintenance, and industry-standard hardware can be serviced by your regular IT staff.

Increased ROI 

All of the HCI attributes mentioned above will contribute to an increased ROI for your VDI system. By providing a superior end-user experience for virtual desktops, HCI helps your employees to become more productive, which increases your profitability.

The smaller IT footprint used to support the HCI system is easier to manage and scale, and provides savings in hardware investment, data center operations, and maintenance costs. An HCI infrastructure helps your VDI platform to achieve maximum efficiency with minimal cost, and helps your company achieve a positive ROI for VDI.

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