Back in May VMware announced the release of View 5.1 which included several new and improved software features that dramatically impact End User Computing. And some of those storage-focused features, specifically the View Storage Accelerator (VSA) and View Composer API Integration (VCAI), add a BIG boost to performance.
Over the past few months we have had the opportunity to collaborate with the team at VMware on a Reference Architecture for View 5.1 using NetApp’s Agile Data Infrastructure and Clustered Data ONTAP®. Part of the architectural exercise included testing and documenting the performance enhancements of VSA and VCAI. The end result was a VMware white paper entitled “The VMware View 5.1 Reference Architecture for Floating Desktops on NetApp Storage” . The white paper chronicles the virtual infrastructure used for a 1000 Seat View Deployment, as well as the test scenarios, methodologies, and key findings for that desktop environment. The paper visually illustrates the radical performance deltas between a VSA and VCAI enabled, versus non-enabled, desktop environment – which serves as further validation for the great performance customers can expect with View 5.1 on NetApp Storage.
But why am I excited to see these new storage-focused features in View 5.1 validated on NetApp? Well, because first and foremost, it is a great thing for our customers. The new View features, used in conjunction with existing NetApp technology (e.g., FlexClone, Clustered ONTAP, FlashCache, Storage Tiering…), mean our customers derive even greater value, in terms of desktop delivery, performance and scalability for their virtual desktop environment. Additionally, this Reference Architecture for a 1000 Seat View deployment on NetApp Storage not only validates the performance enhancements the solution brings to EUC, but serves as a well document architectural guide that provides an easily expandable, building-block approach for desktop virtualization, and mitigates deployment risks so our customers can deploy with confidence whether it’s a stand-alone virtual desktop environment or for private cloud. Let’s take a look at a couple of the new features I mentioned earlier…
View Storage Accelerator (VSA)
View Storage Accelerator is an in memory (ESXi server memory) cache of common blocks. It is applicable to stateless (floating) as well as stateful (dedicated) desktops and is completely transparent to the guest virtual machine / desktop. It does not require any special storage array technology and provides additional performance benefits when used in conjunction with storage array technologies.
Offered in VMware View 5.1 as a Tech Preview, VCAI leverages the native cloning abilities in the storage array to offload storage operations within a VMware View environment. By offloading the cloning to the NetApp Storage Array, VCAI improves provisioning speeds and management in View Composer and offers customers the option to take advantage of the powerful NetApp Zero Cost clones (FlexClone technology) without requiring NetApp’s Virtual Storage Console. This enables our customers who have NFS storage arrays to use NetApp native clones in View deployments.
With VCAI, customers can now leverage both the linked clone capability that View provides and the capabilities provided by the NetApp storage array.
This reference architecture white paper specifically focused on the performance improvements in View 5.1, notably View Storage Accelerator for boot storm and application response time, and the View Composer Array Integration for provisioning and linked clone performance. Look for my colleague, Chris Gebhardt, to delve into the technical details on this sometime later in the next couple of month, but for now I just would like to point out a couple of the key findings:
1) Provisioning with VSA and VCAI on NetApp Storage
2) Virtual Machine Boot Storms with View Storage Accelerator and VCAI using NetApp clones
- 80% reduction in Read IOPS
With desktop virtualization technologies becoming increasingly more important (strategically and operational) within organizations, it’s imperative that a solution is comprehensive enough to address a broad range of requirements (“yeah, like security, cost, management, mobility...”), but also be able to deliver performance to meet the most stringent SLAs and the flexibility to keep doing all that in a dynamic environment. VMware View 5.1 on NetApp Storage provides a virtual desktop solution that is secure, cost effective, and easy to manage. Built on NetApp’s Agile Data Infrastructure, our integrated desktop solution is design to deliver top performance at-scale, as well as be flexible enough to rapidly adapt to changing business and IT requirements, consistently delivering an exceptional End User Computing experience across the global enterprise.
Check out the VMware white paper right now (here's the link again).