Pivot3 integrates VDI appliance with VMware's View Storage Accelerator

The addition helps lower costs by requiring less solid state storage

Pivot3 has upgraded its vStac VDI appliance with better performance and integrated it with VMware's View Storage Accelerator, which helps lower the system cost since less solid state storage is needed, the company said on Tuesday.

The second generation of the vStac VDI appliance, called R2, serves virtual desktops using VMware View 5.1. Rolling out virtual desktops using an appliance instead of starting from scratch simplifies the installation process, according to Lee Caswell, founder and chief strategy officer at Pivot3.

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"It helps with the upfront configuration and also down the road if you want to add more performance," said Caswell.

One of the trickiest parts in a VDI installation is storage. Pivot3's architecture aggregates the storage capacity so that all virtual desktops have access to all of the storage resources on all appliances, which makes performance more predictable during peak times, Caswell said.

Pivot3 has with the new appliance adopted VMware's View Storage Accelerator, which is included in View 5.1.

View Storage Accelerator allows so-called golden images or linked clones -- which are master virtual machines that can be reused -- to be cached in RAM as opposed to stored on expensive solid state drives, according to Caswell.

That helps reduce the overall cost by several thousand dollars, and users still get fast read speeds. It also means appliances no longer have to be connected using 10 Gigabit Ethernet, instead regular gigabit ethernet links can be used without a noticeable drop in performance, Caswell said.

At the same time, the amount of RAM on an appliance has been increased from 96GB to a baseline of 128GB and a total of 384GB can be added. Up to 2GB of that can be allocated for View Storage Accelerator.

An upgrade to dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 processors (which have six cores each) has increased the number virtual desktops per appliance to 125, a 15 percent increase over the previous generation, according to Pivot3.

To increase the number of virtual desktops, up to eight appliances can be integrated into one array.

The vSTAC VDI R2 appliance will start shipping in November and will cost from $30,000.

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