Being persistent: The true power of VDI

VDI came on the scene over the last decade as the next logical thing to do with server virtualization. With server virtualization, IT organizations got a taste of server consolidation with immediate cost savings and centralized management and turned to the next big consumer of capital and labor resources… desktops. Apps and desktops had been virtualized with Citrix for years. However, the transition to VDI involved server management that was foreign to many desktop management tools and operations models, thus making VDI and its OS per user concept a seemingly straightforward pursuit. Of course, early adopters soon learned that VDI wasn’t as simple as server consolidation.  They learned that the infrastructure demands for running VDI at scale could be quite extreme as large numbers of very disk I/O intensive VMs on shared storage pushed the limits of their existing virtual infrastructure to the point that IT had to give a hard look at the ROI of VDI.


Making Desktop Virtualization affordable

Meanwhile Citrix has been working with key partners like NetApp to reduce the cost and complexity of VDI. Our joint goal has been to make VDI not just simpler technically to build and scale, but also affordable. With lower cost,  the benefits of centralization, security, mobility, and employee productivity make the deployment of desktop virtualization, and when appropriate, VDI, a simple “no brainer.” The availability of Citrix XenDesktop on the new NetApp Clustered ONTAP solution delivers incredible value for a complete storage solution not just for desktop OS VMs, but also for the apps, profiles and user data that go along with desktop virtualization. In fact, NetApp recently announced sample storage array configurations leveraging new Flash Cache 2 technology that deliver persistent, personal desktops with high availability for OS, personally installed apps, profiles, and data for as little as $35 per user.



Why clustered storage for VDI?

As I mentioned above, VDI is just one form of desktop virtualization, but it is particularly useful when users require a persistent desktop experience enabling a user to connect and reconnect from any device exactly where they left off – with virtual resources reserved for that VM whenever needed. Persistent desktops can also be customized by the user with user installed apps, plug-ins, and other personalization that wouldn’t otherwise be captured in a profile. These personalizations require high availability. Not that a desktop VM can’t be simply rebooted, but the state containing the user’s personalization must be available with no single point of failure. Clustering shared storage for hosting this state ensures availability, but must deliver on the IOPS requirements for VMs. Not all users need a persistent, self-customizable experience, but solutions like the XenDesktop on NetApp Clustered ONTAP solution ensure affordable desktop virtualization for even the most demanding users.



Kevin Strohmeyer - Director of Product Marketing, Desktop and Apps, Citrix

Kevin Strohmeyer is director of product marketing for the Desktop and Apps group at Citrix. He is a product evangelist and responsible for helping to drive the go-to-market strategy for the company’s market-leading desktop virtualization solutions, Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp.