|By Peter Velikin||
|February 16, 2013 10:00 AM EST||
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.
SaaS companies can greatly expand revenue potential by pushing beyond their own borders. The challenge is how to do this without degrading service quality. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director at Anexia, discussed how IaaS providers with a global presence and both virtual and dedicated infrastructure can help companies expand their service footprint with low “go-to-market” costs.
Jul. 23, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,235
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 23, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,871
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Jul. 23, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 586
Ovum, a leading technology analyst firm, has published an in-depth report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a DevOps Release Management Solution, 2016–17. The report focuses on the automation aspects of DevOps, Release Management and compares solutions from the leading vendors.
Jul. 23, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,562
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 23, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,324
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
Jul. 23, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,696
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Jul. 23, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,138
As companies gain momentum, the need to maintain high quality products can outstrip their development team’s bandwidth for QA. Building out a large QA team (whether in-house or outsourced) can slow down development and significantly increases costs. This eBook takes QA profiles from 5 companies who successfully scaled up production without building a large QA team and includes: What to consider when choosing CI/CD tools How culture and communication can make or break implementation
Jul. 23, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,473
Continuous testing helps bridge the gap between developing quickly and maintaining high quality products. But to implement continuous testing, CTOs must take a strategic approach to building a testing infrastructure and toolset that empowers their team to move fast. Download our guide to laying the groundwork for a scalable continuous testing strategy.
Jul. 23, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,778
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Jul. 23, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,911
"We formed Formation several years ago to really address the need for bring complete modernization and software-defined storage to the more classic private cloud marketplace," stated Mark Lewis, Chairman and CEO of Formation Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 23, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,384
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jul. 23, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,332
Most organizations prioritize data security only after their data has already been compromised. Proactive prevention is important, but how can you accomplish that on a small budget? Learn how the cloud, combined with a defense and in-depth approach, creates efficiencies by transferring and assigning risk. Security requires a multi-defense approach, and an in-house team may only be able to cherry pick from the essential components. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Vlad Friedman, CEO/Founder o...
Jul. 23, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,754
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Jul. 23, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,576
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 23, 2016 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,078
With over 720 million Internet users and 40–50% CAGR, the Chinese Cloud Computing market has been booming. When talking about cloud computing, what are the Chinese users of cloud thinking about? What is the most powerful force that can push them to make the buying decision? How to tap into them? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yu Hao, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, answered these questions and discussed the results of SpeedyCloud’s survey.
Jul. 23, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 702
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Jul. 23, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,049
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Jul. 23, 2016 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 748
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
Jul. 23, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,013
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Jul. 23, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,151