Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is, simply put, the process of running virtualized desktops for users within an organization using server-based computing. You have the option of running persistent or non-persistent virtual desktops.

If you are interested in knowing more about these types of deployments, you can find out more by using your favorite search engine. If you are like me and you just want to click on a link and have the information pop up on your screen, here is a blog post that explains VDI in more detail.

For example, a VDI deployment with Hyper-V can be explained with the diagram below. The RDP client logs in to the web browser server, then the RD Connection Broker server lists and orchestrates the virtual machines. The AD server authenticates access. The RD Session Host server redirects the RDP client to the right virtual machine and the RD Gateway server publishes and makes the VM available to the authorized user.

VDI deployment with Hyper-VVDI deployment with Hyper-V

Whether you are running persistent and/or non-persistent virtual desktop solutions, your organization will still require storage for your virtual desktop user home directories, etc. You can deploy additional LUN storage. However, with traditional LUN storage, you are likely to run through the following process:

    1. You, as the VDI administrator, will define the storage requirement for each user.
    2. You’ll submit the storage requirement request to your storage administrator.
    3. The storage administrator creates the LUN storage base on your requirements.
    4. You create your master image/golden image for your virtual desktops.
    5. You’ll provision the virtual desktops to your user when you are ready.
    6. You’ll run into late night support calls when your user runs out of disk space to store their files/presentations/media in their user home directories.
    7. You make a call to your storage administrator to provision more storage @ 1am in the morning.
    8. You and your storage administrator work through the wee hours on the support calls.
    9. Repeat steps 6 through step 8…monthly, weekly, or even daily!

 

 

A Better Solution for VDI Users with Cloud Storage

 

 

Did the previous process flow sound familiar? What if you and your storage administrator could host your own hypervisor agnostic on-premise cloud storage solution within your own firewalls for your virtual desktop users’ home directories? What if you, as the storage administrator, can easily increase the bucket capacity for each user when a support call comes in with a few clicks? All of this is possible because software-defined cloud storage solutions such as Cloudian are designed from the ground up to be:

    • Simple
    • Highly scalable
    • Always-on with secure and encrypted access

 

VDI deployment with cloud storageHyper-V VDI deployment with cloud storage for VDI users’ home directories

Instead of fielding late-night support calls, easily provision S3 buckets for each virtual desktop user and provide secure S3 portal access without missing a beat. With some on-premise cloud storage solutions, you can:

    • Use the inherent multi-tenancy feature to create and deploy storage for all VDI user home directories.
    • Use QoS to throttle each user’s PUTs and GETs.
    • Monitor per user usage and easily review reports for chargeback purposes.
    • Use replication or erasure coding on a per storage policy to ensure each group has the right data protection benefits.

 

To see how easily a virtual desktop user can use a secure cloud storage system as a home directory, watch the following video:

A Virtual Desktop user using Cloudian HyperStore Cloud Storage as his home directoryPer bucket and per user granularity is possible. It is because some cloud storage solutions are fully Amazon S3 compliant. Think about it – rather than creating additional LUN storage for your VDI users’ home directory requirements, I can simply create a master image that has the secure on-premise cloud portal for every group and every virtual desktop user defined in the web browser of the desktop master/golden image.

From that one golden image, I can deploy hundreds or thousands of virtual desktops that have a secure on-premise cloud storage solution for all my virtual desktop users. My virtual desktop users can easily access and use my deployed cloud storage as their home directories from any web browser. Best of all, many cloud storage solutions also support NFS/SMB/FTP via its native file access integration. This means you get the benefit of industry standard file protocols access without any third-party gateways!

With cloud storage solutions for user home directories and for file sharing purposes, we get the following benefits for virtual desktop deployments:

    • Simplified virtual desktop deployment with a hypervisor agnostic cloud storage solution. Minimize your late night “virtual desktop user is out of storage” support calls.
    • Scale-out and highly available home directories for virtual desktop user storage. Each storage bucket capacity is tunable for each virtual desktop user. There is no single point of failure with cloud storage.
    • Secure in-flight data and data-at-rest with AES-256 encryption.
    • Simplified and flexible data protection. Virtual desktop users can manage their own data protection and retention requirements.
    • Predictive analytics for storage planning. Use built-in analytics to manage your storage growth requirements.
    • Fully S3 compliant storage. This means you can support hundreds of S3 compatible applications using your very own on-premise cloud storage solution.
    • Software-defined. Use any x86 commodity server to deploy your own hybrid, private, and public cloud storage solution and minimize your operating cost.
    • Manage access and performance with QoS throttle. Easily manage user PUTs and GETs by using QoS throttles at the group or user level.

 

With the availability of secure cloud storage solutions for on-premise deployments, it’s a no-brainer to look into simplifying our lives so that we can get away from the repetitive user storage support calls in the middle of the night. Say goodbye to conversations such as:


“Help! I can’t save my executive briefing presentation and videos on my desktop. I need to securely share the presentation and videos with our Tokyo office. I am getting an error on my desktop pointing out that my e:\ drive and my user home directory is full. And NO, I cannot delete any of the existing files to make space for these new files and videos because I need all of it to be always accessible to me.”

To find out more about the advantages of cloud storage solutions, visit Cloudian.

Cheers,

Dominic
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