At the Citrix Solutions Lab, our primary focus is the validation of end to end customer relevant solutions and to document our results to ensure partner and customer success.
Storage represents one element of our overall design but an area where technologies are rapidly changing and customers are looking for more support and guidance. The drive for more cost optimized approaches also calls out some of the newer entrants to the storage marketplace and yet we could not help but wonder about the effectiveness of these solutions and how well they would play within our overall reference architectures.
Our traditional approach would be to incorporate a single solution as part of a reference architecture and document the associated results. With a myriad of technologies in the storage space, we simply could not deploy separate full reference architecture projects for each type and obtain the associated differences.
In working closely with the Citrix Strategic Alliances team, we decided to take a unique approach to allow vendors the ability to put their best foot forward when it comes to integrating with a Citrix VDI solution. Instead of deploying a full multi-site, multi-FlexCast solutions architecture, we created a test bed allowing the storage vendor to insert their solution into a 750 user single site VDI deployment. The goal of the test was to allow each vendor to highlight their most cost optimized as well as effective solution for this environment while providing us the opportunity to see 12 vendor solutions over the course of the testing.
Vendors could configure their storage device as they saw fit, iSCSI, or Fiber, number of LUNS, number of network paths, but all under specified guidelines and time limits. Some of the guidelines they had to follow included creating LUNs to support a 5 GB write cache file per user as well as LUN space for 30 GB of data storage per user. As for timelines, each vendor had one week to install, configure, and execute the test.
Once they had configured their storage, we ran a very standard straight-forward test using LoginVSI test tool. A vendor was allowed to apply their best practices to their storage; however, they could not change the testbed configuration, unless like in a couple of cases a new software driver was required. What we found from working with these vendors in the lab is that all were very professional, understood their product, were proud of their product, and worked hard at showing their product in the best light. Tests like these are never as simple to complete as they appear on paper, but we enjoyed working with all 12 vendors.
It was never the Lab or the test’s goal of choosing a “winner”, but to give the vendors a chance to show off their storage solution in a VDI environment. You can visit the Citrix site, see the 12 different vendors results, and links to their white papers around the testing, and make your decision on which would work in your solution.
The Program overview as well as results can now be viewed at http://www.citrix.com/cms/ready/citrix-vdi-capacity-program/