Ever heard of the term "money pit"? Dictionary.com defines it as "any entity or venture which requires more money for maintenance and drains financial resources." Some would say that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), despite promising great savings over individual desktops, is nothing but a money pit.
That claim seems odd because VDI on paper is incredibly cheap -- so where is the money going? It turns out that much of it is heading toward storage. Three storage factors conspire to goose VDI costs: the excessive amount of storage needed, the lack of storage optimization for VDI, and the fact that storage throughput becomes an expensive performance bottleneck.
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It stands to reason that if you are going to virtualize (centralize) your desktops, then you'll be taking an OS (like Windows 7) designed for local installation and putting it on some form of storage (SAN, NAS, or DAS). You must prepare for heavy disk I/O.
So what do you need to optimize a VDI deployment?
You can start at the end, literally. At the endpoints, use some form of thin/zero client or RDP software to connect to your Windows 7 VDI systems. Make sure you choose clients that perform well and have a solid reputation. You also want to provide a high-fidelity user experience -- at least equal to what's offered locally -- so consider products such as Citrix's HDX and LucidLogix vGPU switching.
Then there's the storage system. When seeking a vendor to provide storage for the VDI client systems, you need to look beyond the SAN, NAS, or DAS. What additional tools is the storage vendor providing to assist with VDI? Likewise, what is your virtualization vendor offering to help optimize storage use and performance?