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Diskless VDI with Cisco UCS & Atlantis ILIO · PDF fileVirtual Desktop Infrastructure...

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  • Diskless VDI with Cisco UCS & Atlantis ILIO Eliminating Storage from VDI Architectures

    White Paper

    August 2011

  • 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information .White Paper Page 2

    Contents

    Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................... 3

    The VDI Cost & Performance Challenge .................................................................................................. 5

    Cisco UCS and Atlantis Computing Solutions Overview ....................................................................... 6

    Diskless VDI Next Generation VDI Architecture ................................................................................ 11

    The Cisco UCS and Atlantis ILIO Diskless VDI Architecture ............................................................... 13

    Comparing Diskless VDI to Existing Approaches to VDI Storage ...................................................... 24

    Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................... 29

    Appendix 1 Previous Cisco UCS and Atlantis Computing VDI Reference Architecture Testing .. 31

    Appendix 2 - Test Methodology .............................................................................................................. 35

  • 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information .White Paper Page 3

    Executive Summary For VDI to be successful, it must compete with physical PCs on both price and performance. There are two key technology bottlenecks that are driving the cost of virtual desktops upward and causing virtual desktop to underperform physical PCs: The VDI Memory Bottleneck VDI requires large amounts of high-speed memory to maximize the number of desktops that can run on a single server and lower the cost per desktop. However, existing server platforms lack the ability to deliver more than 128GB of high-speed memory per server, which lowers density and increases costs. The Cisco Extended Memory Architecture eliminates the VDI memory bottleneck by delivering up to 384GB of high speed memory on a dual socket server. The VDI Storage Bottleneck The unique nature of the VDI workloads requires customers to purchase massive amounts of shared storage or expensive SSD based storage to deploy VDI with acceptable desktop performance. IT organization routinely undersize storage to fit within the budget of a physical PC, which leads to not having enough storage per desktop to deliver the right level of desktop performance. This ultimately leads users to reject VDI in favor of more familiar PCs. Atlantis ILIO software optimizes VDI to deliver high performance virtual desktops with less storage. If VDI cost more and is slower than a physical PC, how can we expect it to gain widespread adoption? Cisco Systems and Atlantis Computing have partnered to deliver a revolutionary Diskless VDI architecture that eliminates the need for all disk-based storage. For the first time, Cisco Extended Memory Technology and Atlantis ILIO VDI Optimization software make it possible to replace shared storage or local SSDs with local memory for virtual desktop storage. With Atlantis ILIO, virtual desktops consume up to 90% less storage capacity, making it possible to run all virtual desktop on local server memory instead of disk.

    What are the Benefits of Diskless VDI using Cisco Extend Memory and Atlantis ILIO?

    Unmatched Performance Memory outperforms even the fastest Local SSD storage and delivers virtually unlimited IOPS to desktops locally, which dramatically improves all aspects of desktop performance including boot time, login, application launch, patching and anti-virus scanning.

    Lower Cost Using Atlantis ILIO and Cisco UCS Extended Memory, it is possible to drive down the cost per desktop from both a CAPEX and OPEX perspective:

    CAPEX The upfront cost per desktop can be decreased below $200 per desktop including the server hardware and storage.

    OPEX - Diskless VDI architectures mean that IT organizations can lower operating expenses by eliminating rack space for SAN/NAS storage, lower power and cooling requirements and eliminate the operational expenses of maintaining disk-based storage and replacing failed disks.

    Increased Lifespan and Reliability Memory does not suffer from the same lifespan issues for write-intensive VDI workloads as SSDs, meaning that Diskless VDI architecture will be more reliable and have lower operational costs because there will be no failed disks to replace.

  • 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information .White Paper Page 4

    Cisco UCS and Atlantis ILIO Diskless VDI Architecture Price vs. Performance

    1 Diskless

    VDI

    2 Local SAS with ILIO

    3 Local

    SSD with ILIO

    4 Local

    SAS+SSD without

    ILIO

    5 File

    Storage without

    ILIO

    6 File

    Storage with ILIO

    7 Block

    Storage 1 without ILIO

    8 HP Servers

    with FusionIO

    CAPEX Costs & Price/Performance CAPEX Total Cost Per Desktop

    $197 $219 $237 $219 $392 $457 $1,833 $380

    Cost Per IOPS

    $0.58 $0.87 $0.76 $2.55 $38.52 $1.83 $29.63 $1.04

    Decreases OPEX Costs Supports Blade Servers

    x x x x x NO Disk or SSD Replacement

    x NO Power & Cooling for Disks/SSD

    x NO Rack Space for Disks

    x x x x x

  • 2011 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information .White Paper Page 5

    The VDI Cost & Performance Challenge

    Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) delivers tremendous benefits in terms of reducing the cost of provisioning, upgrading and maintaining desktops, as well as, making computing resources more flexible. However, VDI is relatively new to most IT organizations and requires careful design and the right architecture to deliver a high-performance, cost-effective and scalable virtual desktop infrastructure. Many companies have deployed VDI only to realize that their VDI architecture could not scale or deliver an acceptable user experience without requiring additional, massive investments in storage infrastructure. In order for VDI to achieve broad adoption, it is critical that virtual desktops deliver better-than-physical PC performance and the upfront costs of implementing VDI are equal or lower in cost than a physical PC. While it is possible to deliver better-than-physical PC user experience or deliver a cost per desktop below that of a physical PC, it is not possible to do both with traditional storage such as SAN/NAS or Local SSDs without compromising.

    Better-Than-Physical PC User Experience When implementing any major change to a desktop computing environment, winning over end users must be considered a critical success factor. With traditional storage, it is possible to deliver a good user experience but it comes at a storage cost that can exceed $1,000 per desktop. If the IT organization sizes traditional storage to fit within the cost of a physical PC, the user performance is far slower than a physical PC. When desktop performance is noticeably slower than a physical PC, users will reject VDI in favor of retaining their existing physical PCs. VDI projects are often limited in size, cancelled or re-architected based on poor desktop performance, which is most often caused by VDI storage performance.

    Cost Per Desktop below a Physical PC In order for most companies to transition all of their desktops from physical to virtual desktops, the total cost of a virtual desktop must be lower than that of a physical PC. The major expense of VDI is not software or server hardware, but storage. Storage can consume 50-80% of the total VDI budget if sized to deliver an acceptable desktop performance.

    The VDI Storage Bottleneck While the Memory and CPU of a VDI desktop remain on the physical hardware where the desktop executes, the virtual desktop hard drive is moved from being connected directly to the physical hardware to having to traverse multiple network switches. Simply stated, VDI replaces one dedicated, low latency and inexpensive physical PC hard drive with an expensive, shared, high latency storage array. The result is both increased latency based on the number of network hops from the Windows operating system to the storage array and decreased desktop performance. In addition, disk IO that is optimized by the OS for a dedicated physical PC hard drive is randomized by the hypervisor converting previously sequential IO that is easy for storage to consume to random IO that decreases storage and desktop performance (this is also known as the IO Blender effect). As more desktops are added to the VDI deployment, storage contention issues arise from large numbers of VDI desktops competing for a limited pool of storage input/output per second (IOPS).

    The VDI Memory Bottleneck Running many desktops on a single virtualized server means running multiple OS and application instances on a single server, which demands large amounts of memory. Since CPU performance is outstripping memory performance, memory bottlenecks are a common problem. As companies migrate from Windows XP (128MB recommended memory) to Windows 7 (1-2GB recommended memory), the density of a servers is constrained by memory and not CPU. Enterprises are often forced to deploy either four-socket servers or multiple two-socket servers to address this problem. These solutions result in more expensive servers, increased power costs, and higher licensing co

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