Do a quick Google search on converged infrastructure and VDI, and you’ll find headlines such as these:
“Why Converged Infrastructure May Be a Game-Changer for VDI”
“Is VDI the Killer App for Converged Infrastructure?”
While the hype hasn’t quite lived up to the reality, there is a strong case to be made that converged infrastructure can be—and is—an important enabling technology for desktop virtualization. By delivering an integrated approach to infrastructure management and deployment, a converged infrastructure platform addresses one of the primary challenges in successful desktop virtualization deployments: management complexity. In addition, converged infrastructure can help alleviate the scalability challenges of desktop virtualization and can be extremely efficient as a platform to test new initiatives and successfully get them off the ground.
Here are some of the questions you may be asking about desktop virtualization and converged infrastructures, with an additional focus on how the combination of the two can affect the management of your server environment.
How does converged infrastructure support desktop virtualization?
Desktop virtualization is a new technology initiative that will typically have its own infrastructure, consisting of servers, storage, networks and a management platform. By deploying desktop virtualization in a converged infrastructure, you combine those resources into a single entity to simplify provisioning, management and scaling. With centralized management of the infrastructure you get a clear view as to where, when and how resources are being utilized so that you can make adjustments, whether you need more processing power, storage resources or network bandwidth. The converged infrastructure platform then gives you the ability to simply add those resources without disrupting ongoing operations.
Desktop virtualization often will start small in an organization, perhaps in one department or geographic area, then expand as the organization sees the benefits and the IT department becomes comfortable with the deployment. Scaling in a converged infrastructure environment is much simpler because it is easier to identify what you need and where you need it, and then it is easier to deploy, manage, pool and allocate those resources through template-based provisioning and dynamic allocation.
In virtual desktop environments, much of the focus is on the endpoint devices: PCs, laptops, thin clients, zero clients, tables and mobile devices. What are the issues and challenges in deploying servers for desktop virtualization?
How you manage and deploy your servers—and which servers you use—will have a significant impact on the success of your desktop virtualization initiative. In desktop virtualization environments, you may be delivering a variety of different desktops with different workload characteristics. You will also be dealing with spikes in demand caused by boot storms, such as at the beginning of the workday when many users are logging on, or the end of the day, when they are logging off.
You have to take the time to understand the workload requirements of the different users within the organization, and you have to make sure the servers you deploy are sized and scaled appropriately. You have a lot of options with servers in terms of memory size and configuration, the number of processors, management capabilities, etc.
In addition, you will have to consider other aspects of the infrastructure that can have an impact on the decisions you make about server deployments: These can include the type and amount of storage, network bandwidth and the remote protocols used to deliver desktops. By managing all of those resources together in a converged infrastructure environment, you will be able to make smarter decisions about which servers will help you deliver the right desktops to the right users at the right times, and in the right locations.
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What types of shared infrastructure platforms are available to support the deployment of desktop virtualization?
Early deployments of converged infrastructure combined all of the components in pre-integrated solutions. However, for desktop virtualization, this is not usually the best way to go. Each deployment is different and has different challenges, so taking a vendor’s preconceived idea of what you might need will limit your flexibility and may, in fact, wind up being more expensive because you will be buying resources you don’t necessarily need.
With a software solution such as Dell OpenManage Essentials, you can be much more flexible in choosing the right servers, storage and networks, while also leveraging any legacy equipment you may want to deploy in the virtual desktop environment. Dell also offers alternatives if you want to use a shared infrastructure solution that can be preconfigured with hardware. These include:
Dell PowerEdge , which is designed as a small office/branch office solution but has also proven to be effective for self-contained desktop virtualization initiatives.
Blade systems such as the Dell PowerEdge M1000e Blade Chassis, which supports shared infrastructures by removing the networking and storage identity from the server hardware, giving you more flexibility in deploying the resources you really need to support your virtual desktop environment.
For more information on how converged infrastructure solutions from Dell can support your desktop virtualization initiatives, visit http://www.dell.com/sharedinfrastructure.
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