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Xiotech Hybrid ISE and Desktop Virtualization: A Match Made in The Cloud

What comes to mind as one of the biggest roadblocks to mass desktop virtualization adoption? Storage might come immediately to mind for most of you. We constantly hear about storage in terms of IOPS, cache and how much it will cost to implement desktop virtualization. Some have taken it even farther by suggesting local disk as an alternative, which gives better performance/lower cost at the expense of sacrificing virtualization features. Is there a way to have the best of both worlds?

Yes. I give you Xiotech Hybrid ISE, a 3U box with hybrid SSD and SAS drives. To be exact, it has 20 SSD drives and 20 10K SAS drives, which collectively generate up to 60,000 sustained IOPS and a usable capacity of about 15TB.

If you're not impressed, what if I told you it has built-in adaptive intelligence that can move hot sheets of data between disk tiers for faster processing? It can do that in real-time. The key takeaway here is that it's "adaptive," which means the system will learn on its own specific application patterns and will perform data migration accordingly when pattern evidence suggests a performance gain.

So you may be thinking, okay, Eli, we have seen this before with dynamic sub LUN tiering (not talking about automatic tiering, which typically occurs every 24 hours; dynamic sub LUN tiering is live). It does not help with desktop virtualization, because it cannot react fast enough to weather a boot storm or login storm, so we are back at square one.

Not really. The Hybrid ISE also has application profiling capabilities, which means you can configure the system to record the pattern of a certain application, then save that as an application profile. If the system learns that a boot storm happens every day at 8 a.m., Hybrid ISE will move those affected sheets to SSD at 7:45 and then move them back at 8:30 to 10K SAS.

One downside I see right off the bat from a desktop virtualization perspective is that while you can use application profiling and that may suit your needs at this moment, application profiling is a very static process that needs constant updating in order to stay effective. What I mean by that is, today your boot storms may be happening at 8 a.m., but in few months, that might change to 8:30 a.m. The system does not have built-in intelligence to allow application profiling that's also dynamic. (Hint, hint, Xiotech!)

Even so, Hybrid ISE is a very welcome product for desktop virtualization enthusiasts, such as yours truly, and it could potentially be used at the storage platform for virtualizing desktops. The platform almost feels like it was purpose-built for desktop virtualization, and with support for both VMware and Citrix storage adapters, what else do you need?

Hybrid ISE also opens the door for more desktop virtualization storage innovations from other manufacturers, I know for a fact that Hitachi Data Systems, BlueArc, IBM and EMC are also building innovation to take down a potential 600 million physical desktops worldwide. 

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 03/08/2011 at 12:49 PM


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