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3 Tips to Better VDI Storage Virtualization

VDI Storage Virtualization
December 21, 2021 / Scott Arnold, Product Manager at Evolve IP

In a digital age, virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs) are becoming standard business practice. VDI’s equip remote workforces to be efficient and effective, centralizing IT admin management, implementing efficient hardware utilization, and empowering end-user desktops to run securely. 

In the case of VDIs, employees safely access company virtual desktops in real-time. For VDI to be scalable, however, storage must be addressed. Here are a few key storage-related operational dynamics you should consider when assessing your VDI needs: 

  • The risk of boot storm and login storm (when all virtual machines are on and active at the same time) are two areas of concern. A third area of concern is Window OS updates occurring simultaneously with the boot and login storms. We mitigate these concerns by leveraging our storage platform effectively and efficiently. 
  • Users have versatile performance needs, ranging from heavy to light workloads across the enterprise team 
  • Security protocols may vary by company, industry, or regulatory standards, requiring certain storage tiering or caching that must not impact overall performance 

VDI storage virtualization is game-changing for data-rich enterprise businesses. As more companies rely on data-hungry mechanisms, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, the need to implement better data management grows. In storage virtualization, all of a company’s storage arrays are kept in the same virtual pool. These are made into virtual disks and presented to host servers. Data can be kept in a data center, with custom configurations for how and when important data is stored. Pooling resources like this in virtual environments makes it easier to manage data, either internally or externally. 

Even though VDI storage virtualization solutions are highly technical, the challenges they present cannot disrupt the user experience. The average person logging in will have no idea what’s going on in the background, they just need on-demand, uninterrupted access to securely stored content. To achieve this, here are three tips: 

1. Expect and Account for Variable Demands 

VDI workloads are highly variable, especially in terms of input/output (I/O) demands on the storage infrastructure. Storage that can adequately support a VDI environment will be adaptable to meet variable I/O requests. Access patterns won’t be consistent across the course of a day or a week. During high-demand times, in which large quantities of data are called up, the VDI infrastructure has to support the demand placed by this activity on the storage arrays. These demands must be met within an acceptable latency period and without creating major delays.  

Overprovisioning data can be a viable solution for this, but it may not be cost-efficient. Managing a storage footprint is critical to keeping a healthy ROI, so scale is something that should be closely monitored. For every size of business, there will be a sweet spot of storage capacity to match varying demand. Deploying VDI in a hosted model, versus building VDI architecture on your own, is probably the best way to mitigate the risk of exceeding storage capacity. 

2. Keep an Eye on the “Logic” of a Logical View 

As vast quantities of data are stored in virtual pools, there’s a risk of obfuscating visibility and having the virtual environment cloud the view of admins. Remember that storage virtualization isn’t a new practice and has the same basic challenges of any large-scale storage system. The goal is to improve scalability, decrease redundancy, and enhance performance. All of this is only possible, though, if administrators can see what’s happening. In other words, storage virtualization makes it possible to aggregate or manage data across physical assets (data centers, etc.), but must be continuously monitored to troubleshoot issues and plan for future capacity. This practice requires an employee with a skillset who has specialized training with storage platforms. 

Storage environments are inherently heterogeneous and may be supplied by multiple vendors. Operating systems, network management interfaces, file systems, storage hardware devices, and more can all be part of a larger storage system. Virtualizing makes this easier, in theory, but doesn’t remove the disparity of structure or volume of inputs and outputs. It is essential that anyone handling it understands the logic of storage virtualization. This process is supposed to provide a logical view of physical storage resources, which should make it easy to monitor, search, mine, and otherwise use a company’s data. This touchstone will keep the data useful, not lost in the expanse. 

3. Know the Stats 

The third tip to better managing storage virtualization is to find and review storage statistics. Many performance issues can arise as virtual infrastructures consolidate servers. The denser the virtual infrastructure, the higher the strain on the stored content. There are tools that can analyze virtual infrastructure performance and should also have some sort of I/O or capacity analysis component. Knowing raw storage statistics, as well as performance statistics, will set a baseline for what is “normal/healthy” and what is an “aberration/problem.” 

Most management tools can use protocols like SIM-S or CIM to report on storage properties, latencies, and available capacity. This can keep performance bottlenecks from forming and alleviate configuration errors and more. Ultimately, keeping an eye on the numbers will ensure better storage performance. 

All the Benefits of Storage Virtualization 

Gartner predicted that 60% of organizations will implement data virtualization in their data integration architecture by the year 2022. An integral component of this is storage. 

Storage virtualization can make IT teams more productive, responsive to needs, and minimize, or even eliminate, downtime. For teams using virtual environments every day, this is far more than just a benefit, it is a necessity. 

Effective VDI storage virtualization has a lot of advantages: 

  • It allows for quick migrations 
  • It creates enhanced workflows 
  • It’s a cost-effective option, with more predictable spend 
  • It enables fast and easy access to data 
  • It allows multiple types of storage arrays 

Evolve IP systems deliver full control to the customer. This kind of control is key to not just implementing reliable storage virtualization systems, but maintaining them. If you’re ready to maximize productivity, ensuring future-proof levels of performance and capacity, contact us today. 

Categories: Virtual Desktops / DaaS
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