The Admin Corner | Atlantis Ilio removes the performance barriers to VDI

Virtual desktops are the way of the future. They are easy to deploy and update and offer tremendous savings potential. However, many are not seeing that savings due to the storage costs associated with VDI due to redundant data on the storage devices combined with the number one VDI killer… storage throughput. This week ClipTraining’s J. Peter Bruzzese explains the full story in his InfoWorld column entitled “VDI is often expensive — but doesn’t have to be”.

In the column J.P.B. mentions a product called Atlantis Ilio.  This is the only product we’ve seen so far that attempts to assist with storage throughput and the results are amazing.  We asked them a few side questions to see if we could round out the discussion a bit and they were happy to respond.

What if you are using VMware View’s linked clones, then do you not need this solution?

Yes, you still need Atlantis ILIO with VMware linked clones. In fact, CB Richard Ellis (see quote below) deployed Atlantis ILIO with VMware View 4.5 and linked clones.  VMware linked clones  reduce some the storage capacity consumed per desktop (measured in GB). However, the amount of storage throughput (measured in MB/s or IOPS) is exactly the same whether or not you use linked clones. If you have enough capacity but not enough storage throughput, then desktop performance will be slow because of the latency introduced when hundreds or thousands of windows 7 desktops compete for a limited amount of storage throughput (IOPS) to read/write to their hard drive. Because storage throughput is almost always the bottleneck, the number of IOPS is what determines the amount of storage disks and controllers a customer must buy.

Here is an example of 200 Virtual Desktops that is from a test done by one of our hardware vendor partners (Slide 15 in the deck we sent you). I have added what this would be in a persistent desktop to give you an idea capacity savings between a persistent desktop, non-persistent desktop with linked-clones and Atlantis ILIO. As you can see, the storage capacity reduction is 90% on top of the reduction that comes from linked clones. However, the important point is that we offloaded 96% of the IOPS, which is what determines how many storage disks and controller you have to buy. So, in this case a customer with Atlantis ILIO would either be able to buy 96% few storage disks or be able to put 10-20 times more desktops on the same storage with equal performance.

Here is a storage reduction video if you want to see a demonstration

 Also, what if your storage already offers dedup?

Traditional deduplication is performed as a post-process activity, applied to storage volumes after data has been committed to it. While data deduplication significantly reduces the storage capacity requirements (GB) of a virtual desktop environment, it does nothing to reduce the IOPS load on the storage infrastructure, meaning that all data must be written to the storage fabric before deduplication is performed. Post-process deduplication actually increases the number of storage disks required for VDI because the deduplication process itself consumes IOPS when running. Because storage IOPS is the primary bottleneck in a VDI implementation, post-process deduplication exacerbates the IOPS problem rather than improving it.

Atlantis ILIO Inline Deduplication

Atlantis ILIO performs deduplication in real-time on-the-wire, before any IO transactions reach the storage fabric. By eliminating up to 90% of IO traffic, the IOPS requirement for the storage infrastructure decreases by a similar percentage. At the same time, because no duplicate data is written to disk, post-process deduplication is not required, and the associated IOPS cost is never incurred.

An interesting solution as far as we’re concerned.

Posted on May 4, 2011 at 9:56 am

Categories: Product of the Week, The Admin Corner, VDI, Windows 7

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