Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Andreas Grabner, Tim Hinds, Alfredo Diaz, Kevin Benedict, RealWire News Distribution

Related Topics: Virtualization, .NET, Open Source, Cloud Expo, Security, SDN Journal

Virtualization: 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.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Are you interested in accelerating innovation, simplifying deployments, reducing complexity, and lowering development costs? The cloud is changing the face of application development and deployment, with enterprise-grade infrastructure and platform services making it possible for you to build and rapidly scale enterprise applications. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Gene Eun, Sr. Director, Oracle Cloud at Oracle, will discuss the latest solutions and strategies for application developers and enterprise IT organizations to leverage Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build and deploy modern business applications in the cloud.
Hybrid cloud refers to the federation of a public and private cloud environment for the purpose of extending the elastic and flexibility of compute, storage and network capabilities, in an on-demand, pay-as-you go basis. The hybrid approach allows a business to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing environment offers without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-party vulnerabilities. Hybrid cloud environments involve complex management challenges. First, organizations struggle to maintain control over the resources that lie outside of their managed IT scope. They also need greater infrastructure visibility to help reduce maintenance costs and ensure that their company data and resources are properly handled and secured.