Organizations are beginning to realize that their storage systems are being used differently when they're supporting a number of virtual machines rather than serving the needs of a single physical server. Virtual environments (virtual servers and virtual clients) present a different, much more intense, pattern of reads and writes that overcome the caching solutions built into many storage devices. Virsto Software recently spoke with me about this issue and what they're doing about it. Virsto focused on their most recent announcement — applying their technology to virtual desktop environments.
Virtual desktop environments differ in significant ways from virtual server environments that are often deployed to meet consolidation objectives and private cloud initiatives. Instead of hosting 10 – 15 virtual machines (VMs), each back-end host may support anywhere between 50 – 100 virtual desktop images configured in its own dedicated physical server. VDI environments exacerbate the storage challenges in server virtualization environments. The more VM’s per host, the more acute the I/O performance bottlenecks are.
Virsto VDI benefits users by:
Changing the economics of VDI Supporting enterprise-scale VDI Simplifying VDI managementAdditionally, it provides storage tiering, scales to thousands of virtual desktops, and is the only solution to support thousands of snapshots. Virsto VDI also accelerates the provisioning of thousands of images and seamlessly integrates with VDI solutions.
Since some of the files are shared among virtual desktops (operating system images, images of some applications, shared data), they find that that the rules they used to provision storage result in over provisioning the environment.
Since many virtual desktops are reading and writing data to the storage system, the pattern of reads and writes is quite different as well. This means that traditional caching approaches built into today's storage media may not be effective. The result, of course is a performance profile that is much slower than expected.
Virsto has developed an interesting approach to address the issues virtual processing environments create. The company has developed an interesting, very intelligent caching environment that processes I/O requests before sending them along to the storage system. This approach makes more effective use of the storage device's capabilities and improves overall performance.
Virsto has also developed a dynamic provisioning solution that allows the organization to more effectively use available storage while still obtaining higher levels of performance.
If your organization is embarking on the journey to a more virtualized environment, it is worth the time to try out Virsto's software. The company is offering organizations a chance to download and then try out the software in its own environment.