Today I would like to express my excitement around the new features and capabilities that EMC announced for their XtremIO platform.  And at the same time, I would like to direct your attention to a very compelling offer already in market that is based around VCE, Citrix and the EMC XtremIO array.

First however, I need to set a bit of background.  Most of you already know that VDI solutions can be a challenge for storage architects to plan for, as the IOPS demands of virtual desktops can spike to high levels, and the storage footprint of the desktop images can (in some use cases) expand rather rapidly.  Traditionally, storage architects have to address the two issues separately.  They solve the IOPS needs with one set of technologies, and they address the storage space needs with another.

With the XtremIO platform storage admins can address both concerns at once, by providing truly amazing all-flash based I/O performance, while at the same time also providing “always on” inline data reduction services that are unique and industry leading in many ways.

In partnership with our friends at VCE, Citrix and EMC have a validated XenDesktop 7 solution that is based on EMC’s XtremIO platform, and it is already in market today.  The supporting paper and testing crafted to support that solution (available here) highlight the advantages and performance of the XtremIO system.  From that testing, let me call your attention to two key data points:

  • 2500 desktops booted in 14 min from one XtremIO array.
  • Even when under heavy load, the storage latency remained below 0.5ms during all testing.

Trust me when I tell you, both of those numbers are impressive.

To dive just a little deeper here, let me explain what makes the XtremIO platform so unique and innovative.  Flash-based storage itself is not new to VDI based offers, but the IO speed of those solutions have been limited by the per terabyte cost of the storage.  Flash drives are generally fast, small and expensive.  Likewise, data reduction (such as deduplication) is not unique in VDI based offers either.  However, many arrays can have trouble keeping data reduction services “always on.”  Which means that when some storage arrays become very busy, they will shut down their data reduction (inline deduplication, and in XtremIO’s case inline compression as well) efforts until the workload settles down.

XtremIO’s ability to combine both speed and data reduction, within the same platform make Citrix solutions based on XtremIO very compelling.  The ability of the XtremIO’s array’s data reduction software to remain “always on,” regardless of how busy the IO workload gets, is the secret sauce that makes me excited to see more Citrix solutions and offers built around XtremIO arrays.

I would encourage you to look at the announcements that EMC has made today.  And I would also encourage anyone looking for an enterprise based VDI solution to review the Citrix / EMC based VCE solution in market.  Especially as EMC also announced that all of the cool new features available in the  XtremIO operating system release will be provided as free software upgrades to all of the existing XtremIO arrays.  So today, that VCE offer referenced above, just got even better.