One of the biggest knocks against virtual desktop infrastructure is the tax it places on storage area networks (SANs) for I/O performance of desktop applications. Not only are SANs expensive, they are generally being used to run mission-critical databases applications, which means storage administrators don’t have a whole lot of interest in allocating what little excess capacity there might be to desktop applications.
The solution to this problem, says Seth Knox, director of marketing for Atlantis Computing, is to run VDI as persistent storage directly in memory. Version 4.0 of Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI software is not only significantly faster because of its reliance on memory, but it eliminates the contention that often exists between storage and VDI administrators. And because it relies on comparatively inexpensive RAM memory, Knox says the costs wind up being around $300 per desktop compared to $1,000 to $2,000 for a comparable SAN-based approach.
That approach, adds Knox, also enables VDI implementations running on the latest servers to scale to over 10,000 desktops that can actually run applications faster than a physical PC. Deployable in both VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop environments, other features of Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI software include replication technology that maintains a real-time optimized backup on shared SAN/NAS storage to preserve the state of all persistent virtual desktops, automated deployment tools and the ability to clone a desktop in as little as five seconds.
In addition, Knox says Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI software analyzes I/O traffic patterns and then uses that to better tune performance while still compressing data and providing inline data deduplication.
Despite performance and cost issues, interest in VDI has been growing because manageability and compliance issues are pushing IT organizations towards centralization of desktop PCs. Knox says Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI software can take advantage of RAM or Flash memory to solve both performance and cost issues by making sure that the only thing traveling between the server and an instance of VDI are the delta changes made to any application.
Since being founded in 2006, Atlantis Computing has sold over 250,000 licenses to just over 200 customers, thanks largely to a strong relationship with VMware. Running VDI software directly in memory should not only make its VDO software faster, but the rate at which it is being adopted should substantially improve as well.