Virtual storage area network (VSAN) and VMware View can offer cost savings and performance benefits compared to traditional SAN implementations for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). If you are starting a new desktop virtualization project, it would be wise for you to take the time to explore your options and compare VSAN to other options.
This technology lends itself very well to the VDI environment from both a cost savings and performance perspective compared to the use of traditional storage solutions. In this white paper, I shall explain each of the five reasons why VSAN might be the right choice for you with your VMware View implementation.
Reason #1: Cost Savings
While each VDI implementation is unique, many factors come into play when designing and planning your VDI project. VSAN and VMware View offer an attractive solution from a financial perspective, perhaps saving you as much 50 percent compared to a traditional SAN infrastructure supporting your VDI environment.
Large, modern storage arrays are easily in the $100,000s and into the $1,000,000s before you know it. These complicated arrays require skilled technicians to configure and maintain and are often the source of unwanted latency, perhaps based on configuration errors or hardware limitations of the array.
The up-front investment in a traditional SAN has been an obstacle for many organizations moving forward with their VDI implementation. VSAN now makes the leap into VDI a much safer strategy than in the past as you start with as few as three ESXi hosts and scale up each cluster to thirty-two hosts. Additionally, you have a tremendous amount of flexibility for the hosts in terms RAM, CPU, networking, and disks.
In short, you will likely spend more on each host you purchase but you will save greatly on the elimination of the traditional storage requirement.
Reason # 2: Better Performance
In addition to the cost savings of using traditional shared storage, there are likely performance benefits of using VSAN for VDI. Some of these benefits include:
- First and foremost, everything is "close to home." Meaning a VM is accessing its VMDK file on the local host that it is running on, eliminating latency through the network and storage array.
- Each host has a combination of traditional magnetic SATA/SAS drives as well as SSD.
- Traditional SAS and SATA drives support IOPS in the 150-200 range where SSD can be in the thousands to millions of IOPS range.
- Each host utilizes 30 percent of local SSD for read cache and 70 percent of local SSD for write buffer, which greatly improves performance in the virtual desktop environment. This unique feature also helps reduce or eliminate "boot storm" problems. Reduce the number of SAN configuration errors. Most configuration errors in your vSphere environment occur in the setting up a traditional SAN architecture.
- You have the opportunity to utilize Network I/O Control (NIOC) with distributed virtual switches. Quality of service (QoS) for types of traffic and individual VMs allow you to prioritize VM traffic under periods of network contention.