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Sub-$500 VDI: Not Just From the Big Boys

Anyone who has tried to go down the VDI path for a small client virtualization installation and came to a hard stop will welcome any arrangement that makes it easy. VDI is a tough technology to reign in compared to the great success we've had in virtualizing servers. Many situations can bring a VDI effort to a stop, including a cost model that still puts physical PCs as the ROI winner.

At VMworld, one product that caught my eye is Kaviza's VDI-in-a-box. Simply put, Kaviza makes a broker that works pretty much anywhere to anywhere. The current offering includes support for XenServer and VMware hypervisors, with Hyper-V support coming. The endpoint can be anything from a PC client install (bring your own computer to work anyone?) to native RDP and Citrix HDX support for use on a number of thin-client devices such as Wyse and 10ZiG devices.

I noticed a few things from running the demo. For one thing, VDI-in-a-box can utilize direct attached storage. I've long thought that DAS has a use case in virtualization to some extent, as the cost savings can be so great that a shared storage infrastructure may not be required. Of course, many factors go into any decision; but DAS can be high-performance and eight drives or more can be on a local array.

The Kaviza solution utilizes a virtual appliance on each hypervisor to broker the connections to a wide array of supported endpoints (see Fig. 1).

Kaviza VDI-in-a-box

Figure 1. Kaviza's VDI-in-a-box builds on commodity components (in green) and provides the broker as a virtual appliance and uses a supported protocol to bring a VDI session to a number of devices. (Click image to view larger version.)

The best part of the Kaviza solution is that it can run under $500. This includes the server, hypervisor, Kaviza ($125 per concurrent user) and Microsoft costs. This cost does not include the device if a non-PC is used; on the high-end the street price would be $425 per client with Kaviza's online ROI guide.

Does a sub-$500 VDI solution not offered by VMware, Citrix or Microsoft appeal to you? Share your comments here.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 10/26/2010 at 12:48 PM


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