I had the opportunity to communicate with Kyle E. Murley, Lead Library Digital Technology Initiatives as San Diego State University about how SDSU is using technology from Virsto. Thanks for taking the time Kyle!
Please introduce yourself and your organizationI'm Kyle E. Murley, Lead of Library Digital Technology Initiatives at San Diego State University. I’ve been on campus for seven years and in this particular role for five. San Diego State University serves 35,000 students and more than 5,000 faculty and staff. The university provides open laboratories with upwards of 800 public access computers available for research and general use. We pride ourselves on offering technology that supports SDSU’s academic mission by delivering students and faculty 24/7 access to innovative software and applications.
What were you doing that needed this type of technology?Virsto’s Storage Hypervisor addressed a problem we were experiencing in our current environment: the complexity of managing storage arrays as well as the challenge of how to best deploy costly SSD efficiently and effectively to boost performance.
What products did you consider before making a selection?We looked at Datacore and we were not impressed with the technology because it had a higher reliance on specific hardware and physical connections to enable similar performance and efficiency gains that were offered in Virsto’s software only solution. We looked at a number of other competing solutions but didn’t find anything as up and coming and exciting as Virsto.
Why did you select this product?Virsto’s innovative software approach to storage met our immediate and future virtualization needs, combining technology innovation wpith a strong engineering and technical team with implementation services that took the time to really understand our environment and our ultimate objectives for the project. The product allowed us to transform our IT environment by offering easy-to-implement, low-maintenance virtual desktops without the costs or risks associated with building and deploying a VDI.
What tangible benefits have you received through the use of this product?Virsto’s no-compromise approach to storage virtualization delivers consistent high performance, with storage thin provisioning and greatly simplified, self-service bulk provisioning of VMs, all of which are managed through a seamless integration with the vCenter management interface. This level of integration alleviated the headache of SDSU having to manage multiple consoles. Other key benefits include:
- 100% software-only solution, providing native hypervisor & block based storage support
- Support for 2x host VDI density while maintaining fast VDI endpoint performance
- Seamless integration for existing VM management and provisioning workflows through VMware vCenter and View Manager
- Ease of use allowing less-experienced system administrators to rapidly deploy virtual machine storage in VDI environmentsSince deploying Virsto, we have begun receiving favorable feedback from other departments on campus and a high level of interest in how the product makes VDI more accessible to other areas within SDSU.
What advice would you offer to others who are facing similar circumstances?The best advice I can give is to engage the VDI user community, your partners including VMware and storage solution providers to really explore your options. I would also suggest getting your hands on to some of the products and test them in your environment beforehand.
Snapshot analysisAlthough I'm not a fan of the catch phrase "Storage Hypervisor" (see Virsto offers storage virtualization for Hyper-V and vSphere for a more complete discussion of this topic), it is clear that SDSU is received a number of benefits from Virsto's technology regardless of what it is called.
As organizations deploy virtual processing software, regardless of whether it is to create virtual desktops or servers, deploying storage virtualization technology should be a companion technology because it can make storage as agile as system images.