Nimble storage and VMware team up

High Performance, Rapid User Provisioning and High Scalability of VDI Platforms are Paramount Requirements as Legions of Corporate Users Go Mobile

Nimble Storage, the provider of flash-enabled, no-compromise storage solutions, today announced that its flash-enabled storage architecture will be supported in the VMware View Mobile Secure Desktop architecture. As catalysts to successful virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) rollouts, VMware View and Nimble’s storage arrays combined offer high performance, rapid user provisioning and scalability, resulting in an ideal platform to support organisations’ mobility initiatives. Because VDI can now tie desktop environments to user identities and not just to devices, end users have the freedom to access their data and applications from any qualified device and from anywhere in the world.

One of the keys to VDI’s ability to support the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is having a storage architecture that effectively uses flash to provide low-latency access to data even in challenging corporate scenarios such as “boot storms,” which occur when multiple users log into their VDI workspaces simultaneously. Traditional storage was built before the use of flash became mainstream, resulting in high latency in accessing critical data. Flash as a storage tier is designed to store “hot” data, which requires data to be migrated dynamically among different tiers of storage to ensure that it is stored in the proper location. But tiered storage requires hours or longer to migrate data, making it unable to efficiently adapt to the rapidly evolving needs of VDI workloads. However, Nimble’s CASL architecture, built from the ground up for virtualised environments, integrates flash and high-capacity disks, and adapts to workload changes in seconds to optimise performance, capacity and cost.

“Supporting a high number of mobile users in VDI environments requires a unique combination of performance, capacity and price that is sometimes difficult to provide,” said Raj Mallempati, director of product marketing, End User Computing, VMware. “The VMware View™ Mobile Secure Desktop is an innovative way for IT to support BYOD initiatives by improving user access and mobility while streamlining application updates to enhance security and deliver a superior user experience.”

The single biggest obstacle to successful VDI implementations often is storage performance. The ability to quickly access virtual desktops as well as the data and applications stored in them is crucial in a VDI environment, and the additional strain of supporting access from mobile devices complicates an already challenging situation. Rather than bolting flash onto existing storage, Nimble Storage’s architecture was purpose-built for virtualised infrastructures. It fully integrates flash as a cache for read performance with low-cost HDDs for capacity, and accelerates write performance by always serialising and aggregating writes into full disk stripes, allowing Nimble to deliver high performance without sacrificing capacity and cost.

“We found that Nimble Storage’s unique architecture combining flash and disk delivers extremely high performance, which is the perfect environment for VDI,” said Paul Nicholson, vice president of information systems for EU Services. “Using Nimble Storage’s flash-enabled arrays in our VMware View™ environment has vastly improved how our highly mobile workforce accesses their applications and data – enabling us to serve an ever-greater number of mobile workers without sacrificing storage performance or capacity. In addition, we have cut our volume of help-desk calls in half and deferred future storage purchases by a couple of years.”

“Support for mobility has become a corporate priority for us, with our CEO, managers and regional supervisors all using iPads or other mobile devices in their travel and meetings,” said Tony Banken, network administrator of Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services. “They need not only 24×7 connectivity but also instantaneous access to their data. Our move to Nimble gave us superior IOPS and also the additional capacity made possible by superior compression – the main ingredients to providing VDI for a large number of mobile users. In short, Nimble has provided us no-risk VDI.”

Nimble’s Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) architecture uses inline compression to compress VDI data 40-50 percent without increasing latency. By providing efficient data compression Nimble is able to support VDI as well as other workloads, such as Exchange, on the same array. In addition, Nimble’s highly efficient snapshots can be taken more frequently to improve data protection without impacting performance.

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