Home > Uncategorized > Virtual Storage Appliances VS. Desktop Replacement Virtualization

Virtual Storage Appliances VS. Desktop Replacement Virtualization

Lately, I have had customers asking me about VDI architectures that use VSAs (Virtual Storage Appliances). The reason for using VSAs as local storage for virtual desktops is usually to avoid using expensive Storage Area Networks (SANs). In response, first let me define what VSA is, and then I’ll discuss why people should always reconsider a VSA approach, especially when thinking about replacing physical desktops with virtual desktops. 

A VSA is a software product that transforms the internal local storage from several server hosts into a single shared storage volume resource.  Sounds like a dream piece of software right?  The benefit of VSAs is that they allow a virtualized environment to take advantage of local storage, along with a multitude of different applications, without incurring the high cost of shared storage. They assert themselves by taking all the local storage resources and making them appear as if they are a single volume for all the hosts to use. VSAs accomplish this by re-routing all the traffic to utilize the virtual storage.

In the past, VSAs were generally intended for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) that wanted to circumvent the high costs associated with SANs.  VSAs have many limitations, including the number of VSAs that can be reliably managed, so scalability becomes an issue.  The typical guidance has been, if you are small – use VSA, and if you grow – get a SAN.  However, some VSA vendors have now moved past the SMBs for a stab at mid- and enterprise markets.

Unintended Consequences of VSAs

Because of the way that VSAs are implemented, extra overhead is added via software to re-route requests from the virtual desktops to the storage.  One of the very misunderstood unintended consequences of the extra overhead is an increase in context switching. A context switch is the computing process of storing and restoring the state (context) of a CPU so that execution can be resumed from the same point at a later time. 

Unfortunately, the addition of increased context switching via software is like putting ice skates on a track star and asking him to sprint. It’s simply not needed and plagues the performance of the machine.  VSAs do this and therefore cannot work in a world clamoring for true desktop replacement grade virtual desktops, which need to be as fast as or faster than physical desktops.

In this attention-deficit world in which we live, I want on-demand highly responsive computing whenever and wherever, on whatever hardware is accessible. VSAs simply add to the slow inflexible computing world and cannot live in a fast desktop replacement virtual desktop world.

For V3 Systems, VSAs are not an acceptable approach for the high performance demands of virtual desktops. Why not just communicate directly with the storage? If your storage is local, fast enough, and has the needed capacity, why would you ever put another layer of software in front of it? V3 and desktop replacement grade virtualization is no respecter of persons. Every organization can take advantage of the benefits of our V3 Appliances with amazing results. We at V3 have successfully helped many organizations overcome the hurdles of legacy VDI thinking and move forward to true desktop replacement grade virtualizations.  

V3 is in the business of replacing all types of physical desktops with faster virtual desktops. Put simply, our goal is to liberate people from the tyranny of slow inflexible computing and provide virtual desktops for every human on the planet.

This revolution of desktop replacement grade virtualization is the liberation of the physical desktop, and V3 Systems is leading the way.

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