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VDI storage horizons broadening

Storage is a critical part of a successful VDI deployment; most IT administrators already know this.

There are many different reasons VDI can fail, but one of the most persistent — pun intended — is unhappy users.

VDI can make users unhappy if it’s buggy, laggy or slow, and the right storage for VDI deployments can help remedy all those things. Because virtual desktops read and write equally, admins must think about storage for VDI differently than they do read-heavy server virtualization. Virtual desktop workloads are also dynamic, and they change throughout the day from the initial boot storm at 9 a.m. to the mass log off at 5 p.m. The reads and writes are randomized, so the storage that admins pick to support VDI has to be able to handle those requests.

That being said, there’s a new breed of storage on the market that could provide even better storage for virtual desktop infrastructures. Companies can go the old-school route of buying storage hardware, or they can buy hardware that has software preinstalled to optimize how the storage works. Unlike deduplication, data is optimized before it’s written to primary storage, which is more efficient and takes up less storage space. As arrays with expensive flash become the norm for VDI environments, admins value the ability to use less space with these software-defined hardware products.

There are also vendors who offer software-only storage optimization. These products use existing storage better, either by accelerating storage that’s already there, or creating a virtual storage area network from disk that’s already there. In either case, the result is faster storage that can handle the heavy, ever-changing workloads of VDI.

Learn about these software-only vendors, as well as whether software-based optimization is better than hardware in our three-part guide, Software-Centric Storage Selections for VDI.