Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Rishi Bhargava, Stefan Bernbo

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Doggin’ It with VDI

My IT guys were at their wits end trying to manage the 1000 or so desktops, spread out over four different locations

Hey there; the IT Dog back with some color commentary on our VDI experience. When I first heard the name, I thought VDI was the latest model Volkswagen diesel, but as the guy with the suit explained in the last blog, VDI is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.  Now that you know what VDI means, I am sure you know all there is to know about it, right?  Well, I wish it was that easy for me.

Where Do I Begin?
I guess I’ll start from the beginning.  At my company, my IT guys were at their wits end trying to manage the 1000 or so desktops, spread out over four different locations, with various flavors of Windows and who knows how many different versions of applications and other personal stuff.  I kept getting the ‘we need more staff to manage this mess’ line from them.  A lot of these problems had to do with acquisition and expanding business – which is all good.

Queue the VDI sales guy with the big Mercedes: “I’ve got just the thing to solve your problems: VDI”.  Let’s see…take control of the company computing assets all from the back room, what a great idea!  No more tech support phone calls, no more sending staff out to offices to get chewed out because some website they were on loaded some garbage on to their machine and now it runs slower than a weenie dog in a foot of snow.  All this ‘problem solving’ was going to cost a bundle however and I was the guy who had to sell management on it.  With my tail on the line, we bit the bone and put the system in.

I Wish My Problems Were “Virtual”
We were at the bleeding edge of the VDI wave so we expected some start up and implementation issues.  Our vendor helped us specify and design a system to meet the performance requirements and within the budget we had sold management on.  We installed racks of new servers, more spinning disks than at the Frisbee Dog World Championships, power, cooling, wires, wires and more wires.   We had it all going on.  I spent a month going around selling all the end users on this saying their lives were going to be better – no more sitting on hold, waiting for support, the latest and greatest applications, easy access anytime, anywhere with the potential to support any device in the future, yadda, yadda, yadda.  We went live a few months later and that is and began to observe performance.

“Houston, We Have A Problem”
It did not take long to find out about some of the potential issues facing VDI installations today.  The first problem we had to deal with had to do with simply getting all the users up and running every morning. I learned about the dreaded “boot storm.”  Of course I had no idea what a boot storm was until we started this project.  I thought it referred to something from Nazi Germany.  But there it is, we have a boot storm problem – when lots of users try to start up their machines at the same time, it puts a tremendous load on the VDI hardware and network and all users suffer from poor service and slow startups.  I have to admit – it happened to me also and as you know, being a dog, my life is too short to be waiting around for things like that.

It turns out we designed a system for a typical day in the office for our 1000+ users.  What we did not do was design the system for  that would be responsive for a “100 year” type of event like loading 400 user images at the same time.  Basically our system was 90% perfect but the last 10% was really causing problems for the company.  The feedback I was getting was pretty tough to take.  I felt like I just pooped on the carpet.

Getting to 100%
As you remember from your Econ 101 class, there is a bell curve distribution for just about everything and IT system usage fits that model pretty well.  I went back to our vendor to discuss what it would take to get that last 10% of performance to manage the “100 year boot storm event” (really it was every day) and it turns out this is a very common problem with VDI. You see, the main challenge is that if you build your VDI for the average 'steady state' IOPS usage (the 90% system), you can do it cost-effectively but then performance is inadequate during the usage storms. It turns out the problem is the 90% system is limited in the number of IO operations per second (IOPS) it can handle.  One solution to the IOPS problem is to scale up by adding more disks to size IOPS for the peak usage.  The problem with that is then your system becomes 2x the total price of all the 1,000 PC and, all that extra IOPS you just bought sits idle most of the time and the capacity is unused.  Since I put my tail on the line for this system, my bosses promptly cut it off and I was on the hook to fix this problem with limited resources.

Stop the Spinning
We needed to get creative to solve the IOPS problem.  The solution we came up with was to buy a limited quantity of SSDs and use SSD caching software to reduce the IOPS workload on the spinning disks.  This made sense since things like the PC image which needed to be accessed by all users when they start their system can easily be stored in SSD cache and accessing that from SSD will increase IOPS without adding more spinning disks.  Once the boot storm passed every morning, the SSD caching software would recognize that and start caching other heavily accessed data automatically so system performance would be improved all day.  We solved our immediate problem and were able to focus on other VDI related management issues.


Tell me about your experience rolling out VDI.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Peter Velikin

Peter Velikin has 12 years of experience creating new markets and commercializing products in multiple high tech industries. Prior to VeloBit, he was VP Marketing at Zmags, a SaaS-based digital content platform for e-commerce and mobile devices, where he managed all aspects of marketing, product management, and business development. Prior to that, Peter was Director of Product and Market Strategy at PTC, responsible for PTC’s publishing, content management, and services solutions. Prior to PTC, Peter was at EMC Corporation, where he held roles in product management, business development, and engineering program management.

Peter has an MS in Electrical Engineering from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

@CloudExpo Stories
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
"Venafi has a platform that allows you to manage, centralize and automate the complete life cycle of keys and certificates within the organization," explained Gina Osmond, Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Venafi, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
"Coalfire is a cyber-risk, security and compliance assessment and advisory services firm. We do a lot of work with the cloud service provider community," explained Ryan McGowan, Vice President, Sales (West) at Coalfire Systems, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform innovator for agile business IT, has been recognized with the Customer Value Leadership Award for its nWorkSpace platform by Frost & Sullivan. The company was also featured in a new report(1) by the industry research firm titled, “Desktop-as-a-Service Buyer’s Guide, 2016,” which provides a comprehensive comparison of DaaS providers, including CloudJumper, Amazon, VMware, and Microsoft.
Regulatory requirements exist to promote the controlled sharing of information, while protecting the privacy and/or security of the information. Regulations for each type of information have their own set of rules, policies, and guidelines. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are faced with increasing demand for services at decreasing prices. Demonstrating and maintaining compliance with regulations is a nontrivial task and doing so against numerous sets of regulatory requirements can be daunting task...
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, sha...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, discussed how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved efficienc...