Dell EqualLogic Hybrid Arrays for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

By | February 11, 2014

If you are one of those who always keep an eye on new technology updates, then you surely know the benefits offered by Desktop Virtualization. If you are still unaware about this form of technology, then you must read this article. Desktop Virtualization or in short VDI simplify the management tasks and reduce the costs. These potential TCO (Total Cost Ownership) benefits are mainly noteworthy, but VDI deployments still often require you to make an up-front investment in new hardware and software. Particularly, the cost and management associated with storage for VDI deployments can be a big challenge, as you need to consider a solution that can handle the performance and capacity requirements that come along with VDI.

So which storage option is best for your VDI deployment: SAN or NAS?

What I am trying to find is an answer related to with Hybrid SAN Arrays and Industry leading NAS systems. A comparison between these two would help to explore potential results and benefits of both.

The Desktop Virtualization solution is an opportunity for organizations to set up end user computing infrastructure that restructure the management of client devices, also helps to improve security and compliance, and provides a consistent user experience.

According to white-paper I received from Principled Technologies, which is commissioned by Dell, we are going to see the comparison, but before start comparison we must understand its principle technology.


Desktop Virtualization isolates the operating systems, applications, and user data from physical devices, make possible for IT companies to increase maximize control over the desktop computing environment and their corporate data. Centralized management of virtual desktop assists to make things easier for desktop deployment, speed up software updates, and reduce traditional patch management. All these things point out that VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) notably reduces the cost of operating for managing various client device environments. Benefits are not limited to this only; it also helps to trim down hardware update cycles, which can lower desktop provisioning capital expenses.

VDI advances device flexibility, serving companies cost-effectively support the growing use of handheld and mobile end-user devices, which users are demanding to increase their productivity. Furthermore, centralized data storage keeps end-user data in the data center, which helps to ensure data security and regulatory compliance.

To make things easier Dell introduced EqualLogic PS series and here we are going to see its advantages.

Dell EqualLogic PS Series Hybrid SAN Arrays are well-matched for VDI environments. These Hybrid Arrays merge SSDs (Solid State Drives) and HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) in the same chassis. In addition, the EqualLogic PS Series software which comes up with automated tiering capabilities put the frequently accessed base desktop virtual machine on low latency. On the other side, high performance SSD storage helps to ensure maximum performance. Occasionally accessed data, such as end-user application files are placed on low cost, capacity optimized HDDs, allowing companies to meet VDI performance demands without over-provisioning more expensive SSD storage.

In addition, the EqualLogic architecture of scale out allows companies to develop their VDI environments with the most desirable way in both capacity and performance by additional storage arrays. This also gives an exclusive advantage to EqualLogic, because traditional scale-up architectures add more disk trays to the same storage controllers, which addressing capacity growth while ignoring the required performance.

To compare EqualLogic hybrid SAN arrays with other VDI storage solutions in the market, Principled Technologies evaluated two storage solutions – obviously, the first one from EqualLogic and second one from the industry leading NAS solution provider in the Industry – in a realistic VDI deployment circumstances. They actually considered an IT organization that is deploying virtual desktops for almost 800 task workers with 10 GB of storage capacity per user and throughput capacity of seven to eight IOPS per desktop.

The company developed a solution for these requirements with VMware view using a Dell EqualLogic PS611XS hybrid array for one configuration and the industry leading NAS solution for the second configuration. The rest of all components kept same for both configurations. To make a reasonable comparison, the industry leading NAS solution contained a similar number of SSDs and HDDs. Additionally, both storage platforms take advantage of software-based caching or tiering features that incorporate SSDs for “hot” data blocks commonly found in VDI workloads.

To test both configuration Principled Technologies used VSI software that measures end user performance in all desktops. They also performed a fair comparison for cost, system performance, power consumption, simplicity of deployment, and efficiency of operational management for both the solution in this scenario. While performing comparison for 800 task works in desktop environment, they discovered that both the solution equivalent in terms of performance, but EqualLogic solution was slightly superior in the following areas:

Cost: The Dell EqualLogic PS6110XS solution costs $102 per desktop, while the industry leading NAS solution with similar configuration costs $210 per desktop, $108 difference, which also means customers who are willing to use VDI would save 51 percent per desktop with EqualLogic. In a price war Dell seems a clear winner.

Energy Consumption: Dell EqualLogic PS6110XS also consumed 68 percent less energy per desktop. So it is also a clear advantage over competitors.

Easy to use: As compared to industry leading NAS solution provider Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SAN Storage array is very simple to deploy and monitor by using software tools like EqualLogic Group Manager, SAN HQ (SAN Headquarters) and Host Integration Tools that come with array at no extra license or maintenance costs.

All these things make Dell EqualLogic PS6110XS solution an extremely smart option for VDI deployments.

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