Photo credit: Knight Chess / Ricardo630 / CC

Checkers and chess.

Wait, what am I talking about? What do checkers and chess have to do with VDI? Absolutely nothing! Or do they — after all, it takes a certain future-minded approach to deliver content to your end users. In my previous blog, where I talked about project vs. solution, I focused on why VDI fails. Well, what I was really getting at is the approach to VDI must be holistic. You must think outside the box of a project and look at the fact that VDI is all-encompassing to the end user, and, thus, you need to accelerate the performance of not just the virtual desktop but all applications the desktop accesses.

Let’s examine what is so appealing about VDI:

  • Centralized management

  • Security

  • Desktop image consolidation

  • Enhanced troubleshooting

  • The “any” factor (access from anywhere, anytime, any device)

  • Long term next generation capable.

With all of the advantages to virtualized desktops, VDI adoption has been much slower than expected. Roadblocks have included internal politics between departments, unrealistic expectations (such as “VDI will save us money)”, lack of VDI expertise/training, and no unified vision of an end solution.

When servicing end users, pitfalls can abound. Did you catch what I said in that last sentence?  I said “service,” not VDI. VDI is not what the customers are asking for. When they say they need a new desktop, what they are really saying is “I need to do my work.” And to do their work, they don’t always need a desktop or VDI session. What they need is access to their data (and, thus, a means to accomplish their tasks at hand).

So I ask you this:

  1. How many users have a dedicated PC at their desk?

  2. How many of them use their smartphone for work?

  3. How many of them access work through a laptop or another device at home?

  4. How about tablet usage?

  5. How many users access data through VPN?

  6. How many of your users use all the above devices for work in one way or another?

Is a virtual desktop really suited to handle so many workloads? If we are using so many devices for work, the question at hand should be “is a virtual desktop the result of delivering content to your end users?” The answer is a resounding “no.” VDI is the first step in the journey to a EUC environment.

Having more mediums to deliver content to your end users does complicate the back-end infrastructure. Traditionally, you build a POD of hardware for a virtual desktop infrastructure and keep it segmented from all other workloads in the data center. Moving further into the EUC journey we now must take into consideration hardware requirements for mobile device management delivery, hosted application delivery, user profiles, Horizon workspaces, file presentation, RDS sessions, and VDI. These offerings for your end users will require the ability to scale with efficiency and dedicated performance.

Traditionally, to accomplish this you would build out multiple PODs, but this becomes expensive and adds a lot of complexity — and costs can get out of control. With SolidFire’s guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS), we can eliminate the need for PODs, such as siloed data centers, and bring everything into an elastic infrastructure. The benefits of building your EUC environment on SolidFire storage are numerous:

  1. Data efficiency through global deduplication resulting in lower overall storage costs

  2. Performance on demand and ability to fine-tune performance for not just a VDI desktop but for all applications

  3. Reduced complexity of multiple storage arrays into a single storage environment

  4. Extremely easy APIs for automation

  5. Scale as needed without complex redesigns of hardware or software environment

  6. Simple hardware/software upgrades without downtime or need for scheduled maintenance

Looking at a board with 64 red and black squares, VDI is simply a game of checkers. I have one unit (the desktop) I need to move around the board. However, the business is complex. There are many different pieces that move in different ways. To be the best at chess, you must think ahead and understand what effects a single move will have on any future moves. If your infrastructure is built in a rigid “checkers” fashion, failures and complaints are likely to be made. However, with an elastic multi-tenant, shared-nothing, invisible storage platform like SolidFire, you can be the business on top shouting “checkmate!”

Learn more about VDI at the SolidFire Learning Center.


Jeremy Hall

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