The impact of storage in Virtual Desktop Infrastructures

Herco van Brug, Senior Consultant at PQR, last week released an interesting paper about the storage implications in VDI environments.

The 14-pages paper, titled VDI & Storage: Deep Impact, covers an area of virtual desktop infrastructures that is not investigated enough most time:

…when implementing a VDI infrastructure certain points need to be addressed. First of all, the TCO/ROI calculation may not be as rosy as some people suggest. Secondly, the performance impact on applications, specifically multimedia and 3D applications, needs to be investigated. And finally, don’t forget to check licensing aspects, as this can be a very significant factor in VDI infrastructure.
While centralized desktop computing provides important advantages, all resources come together in the data centre. That means that the CPU resources, memory resources, networking and disk resources all need to be facilitated from a single point – the virtual infrastructure.
The advantage of a central infrastructure is that, when sized properly, it is more flexible in terms of resource consumption than decentralized computing. It is also more capable of handling a certain amount of peak loads, as these only occur once in a while on a small number of systems in an average data centre.
But what if the peak loads are sustained and the averages are so high that the cost of facilitating them is disproportionate to that of decentralized computing?
As it turns out, there is a hidden danger to VDI. There’s a killer named “IOPS”…