Hyper-convergence set the headlines in 2016, with analysts like Gartner forecasting that the global market would almost double up to 2019. One of the important use cases for Hyper-convergence is support for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments where it can overcome a number of the problems that have limited VDI’s return on investment so far.
The VDI Promise
VDI promised to solve many problems for the IT department as it tried to control the desktop environment and impose consistent standards of data security. VDI’s promise gained further weight with the rapid growth of mobile solutions and the popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) policies.
In a perfect world, VDI promised improvements in security, management and productivity for the IT team, as well as significant savings on helpdesk, deployment and support costs.
Although the basic concept was strong, IT teams struggled to optimize the benefits when VDI was running on a legacy infrastructure where storage and compute were separated. Growing volumes of data, which accelerated with the adoption of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, meant that storage capacity was frequently out of step with the demands of the VDI environment.
Scale and Storage Challenges
Converged appliances that combined compute and storage offered a limited solution to the storage problem. But, when the converged appliances reach full storage capacity, IT has to purchase and deploy additional units to meet storage demands. This can lead to over-provisioning and create bottlenecks when a business needs to scale the VDI environment to meet the demands of growth or capacity.
Scalability was a major concern because VDI workloads scale in a linear way. They require compute and storage to scale simultaneously – a challenge for legacy or converged infrastructures.
A Hyper-Convergence Strategy
Hyper-convergence can overcome the scalability challenge and deliver additional benefits of increased performance, improved user experience and cost savings.
Hyper-converged appliances combine compute, storage, network and virtualization resources into a single system. And, commentators believe that combination make Hyper-convergence an ideal solution for increasing the efficiency, performance and scalability of VDI environments.
When Hyper-converged appliances scale, they add all the resources needed to support additional desktops. That means there are no bottlenecks associated with legacy infrastructure and IT doesn’t have to overprovision storage to match scalability. This level of scalability is ideal for businesses that might be starting with a pilot project and before ramping up to a full production environment.
Performance and Cost Benefits
Performance also improves when storage bottlenecks are removed. Boot and login processes are faster and applications are more responsive, improving end user experience and productivity. Those performance improvements are particularly important for VDI environments supporting persistent desktops, which allow users to maintain settings between sessions.
Combining VDI and Hyper-convergence can offer important savings on both capital expenditure and IT management and support costs. Deployment and scaling are simpler and faster, while the improved performance and user experience can reduce demands on the helpdesk.
The majority of Hyper-convergence deployments to date have been concentrated in large and mid-size organizations, but the growing acceptance and understanding of the technology’s benefits is likely to lead to solutions that are affordable for small and medium businesses.
Cloud Technical Services has considerable experience and expertise in both VDI and Hyper-convergence and can offer advice on suitable solutions as well as practical support in deployment, training and managed services.