This content is part of the Essential Guide: The rise of hyper-converged architecture for storage

Is hyper-converged storage for VDI a good option?

Hyper-converged storage can be a great fit for VDI because it eliminates complicated configuration that comes with virtualizing desktops.

Hyper-converged systems can be ideal storage for a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) because all of the complex...

configuration issues can be handled by the vendor. The system can be preconfigured with the right kind of storage and networking to make VDI work well, and having a single contact for support will also make the administrator's life easier. All the pieces of the system are not only designed to work together, but can be optimized for the specific type of virtualization (VDI or server virtualization). This makes it comparatively easy to start with a small pilot system and then upgrade and expand it to support the whole organization.

Remember that VDI is a system that provides the CPU, graphics and storage resources to run desktop operating systems so that only a low-end terminal is needed on each desk. For organizations that were facing the end of life of Windows XP, for instance, it was possible to convert the old XP PCs into VDI terminals and give users Windows 7 (or 8) running on a VDI server, rather than upgrading hundreds of PCs to run the newer desktop operating systems.

VDI offers substantial benefits to the IT department, since configuration of clients, updates and security can be handled on the server by the administrator rather than requiring a visit to each PC. Likewise, hyper-converged systems can offer IT departments the potential to simplify management. However, VDI configurations can be complex and costly -- that's because getting a large number of virtual desktops to work at acceptable levels of performance can require substantial investments in server hardware. It may actually be more expensive to implement VDI than to replace PCs. The hope is that reduced administration and maintenance costs will produce long-term savings.

Another major issue in finding storage for VDI is supporting boot storms that occur when hundreds of users all turn on their virtual PCs in the morning. As most hyper-converged systems have some amount of flash built in, it can help lower the latency seen from boot storms.

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