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Sanbolic 2014 Predictions - The Year VDI Meets SDS

VMblog 2014 Prediction Series

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2014.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by CEO Memo Michailov and Andy Melmed, VP Enterprise Architecture, Sanbolic

2014: The Year VDI Meets SDS

There's little argument amongst IT professionals that the adoption rate of desktop virtualization in the enterprise environment has yet to meet the levels anticipated by pundits for the past several years. However, given the many advancements in this technology and the most recent product releases from major virtualization vendors showing significant progress regarding ease of installation, administration and upkeep, desktop virtualization finally looks poised for take-off in 2014.

Offering massive improvements in usability through unified management consoles, smoother rollouts and upgrades, simplified application mobility migrations, and more, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions from leading vendors such as VMware and Citrix have paved the way for enterprise customers to deploy virtual desktops easily and securely at large scale (tens of thousands of desktops). This provides a huge relief for desktop administrators already working overtime to complete more tasks with less staff as the economy continues to move forward at a snail's pace.

One (pivotal) area in which VDI continues to struggle, however, is storage, where cost factor (price per GBs) makes it extremely difficult for organizations to fully realize the benefits of desktop virtualization.

For many organizations interested in VDI, the cost of procuring, installing, managing, operating and maintaining a high-end storage array, which is often necessary to meet the potentially intense I/O demands of VDI, has simply proven too high to justify implementing. Even though executive management was acutely aware of how much time, effort, and ultimately investment capital their administrators could have saved managing the hundreds or even thousands of desktops comprising their desktop environments, the bite that storage alone would have taken on their budgets and, subsequently, the impact it would have had on their ability to realize an optimal return on their investment, forced them to dismiss any further consideration of desktop virtualization.

It is our belief that in 2014, enterprise customers will, at last, be properly equipped to overcome the "storage" barrier that has plagued VDI since its advent. Through the concept of software-defined storage (SDS), organizations will be able to use commodity server and storage hardware to build their own storage systems. Powered by intelligent software, such as Melio, these systems can provide the advanced storage management capabilities (i.e., mirroring, replication, storage live migration, dynamic volume expansion, QoS, snapshots, etc.) typically found in higher-end storage arrays-at a fraction of the cost.

Depending on the particular SDS solution used to build these "customized" systems, massive scale-out (exabytes of storage) and extremely high levels of performance (hundreds of thousands of IOPs) will enable customers to cost-effectively and easily meet the demands of mid- to large-size VDI environments. Such systems can be employed when new storage is needed or when an existing storage infrastructure requires augmentation to improve storage resource management and utilization. Not only will they prevent vendor lock-in, but also help customers avoid the outrageously high margins of traditional storage arrays and the exorbitantly high-priced maintenance contracts that accompany them.

SDS offers VDI customers the flexibility to choose the (commodity) storage devices best-suited to meet their specific needs (i.e., capacity, performance) and combine them into one or more pools of storage that can be most effectively utilized through features such as intelligent data placement (i.e., the automatic placement of data on particular storage media based on file system access profiles) and user-defined data tiering. By implementing an SDS strategy, customers can dramatically reduce desktop administration and maintenance efforts while keeping overall cost in check to ensure the greatest return on their investments in VDI.

Yes folks, we firmly believe 2014 will be the year VDI meets SDS. And when that happens, the VDI adoption rate in enterprise environments should be well on its way to approaching the levels the IT industry has been anticipating for all these years.

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Published Friday, December 06, 2013 3:57 PM by David Marshall
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