It is no secret that recent market trends have forced the traditional desktop to go through a dramatic transformation. It’s also easy to predict that sooner, rather than later, the traditional way of seating and working in front of a desktop will disappear. Why is this happening? Desktops that led the digital revolution and ruled the digital world for more than 30 years are going to experience a sudden death. This reminds me of the way the dinosaurs disappeared. What is the “asteroid” that will destroy such a large and well established infrastructure? Can it be stopped?
In my opinion, smart mobile devices are to be blamed. Today, consumers and businesses want to run any application and any businesses processes at any time and from any place. This is just a natural evolution of the mobile phone (that practically “killed” the wired phone) which forced the world to develop technologies that enable mobile virtual machines (VM) over the world. Mobile users can use their smart tablet of choice to run any job from any place any time without the need to be in front of their desktop.
However, the phenomenal success of the mobile device has to be supported by a highly efficient infrastructure. This infrastructure must deliver the same or actually better experience than users are used to get when working in the office. Providing only a similar “look and feel” would limit the growth. This is why new technologies and advanced data centers architectures have been developed which includes Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) that enables running all Desktop applications in a virtualized data center over a dedicated VM. The premise is that by using VDI mobile users will be able to access their (virtual) Desktop from any place and any time, enjoying real-time response over highly secure and lower cost infrastructure.
In order to measure the VDI efficiency, benchmarks have been developed. Those benchmarks mostly measure the number of virtual Desktops that can run over a server within a given response time (and this parameter directly affect the TCO per Virtual-Desktop). This is where higher performance servers that are connected to scale-out SSD based storage systems can shine. Higher performance server have more CPUs with more cores and can run more VMs an scale-out SSD based storage systems replace the highly expressive SAN solution and deliver the real-time response that mobile users are expecting.
To meet the challenges of implementing a VDI solution, EMC, VMware, SUPERMICRO, LSI and Mellanox have partnered to offer a VDI appliance using VMware Horizon View. The appliance includes 6 Supermicro servers each has LSI Nytro™ 3.2TB PCIe flash accelerator cards and Mellanox’s ConnectX-3 40GE NIC all connected by Mellanox SX1036 40GE switch.
The results are:
- Ultrabook-like user experience – support for 1,000 desktops with average user response times of <1 seconds
- Rapid desktop provisioning – deployment of 1,000 virtual desktops in 1 hour, 28 minutes
- High-performance – simultaneously boots 1,000 virtual desktops in 12 minutes
- Linear scalability and easy sizing – support up to 167 desktops per server node
- Affordable flash solution – price per desktop of an entry-level business PC
- Reduced TCO – low-cost project implementation and efficient management and maintenance
So, with such impressive results, there is no doubt why the life of the desktops is coming to an end. More details can be found at: http://www.mellanox.com/related-docs/solutions/scaleio-solutions-brief.pdf
Author: Motti Beck is Director of Marketing, EDC market segment at Mellanox Technologies inc. Before joining Mellanox Motti was a founder of several setup companies including BindKey Technologies that was acquired by DuPont Photomask (today Toppan Printing Company LTD) and Butterfly Communications that was acquired by Texas Instrument. Prior to that he was a Business Unit Director at National Semiconductors. Motti hold B.Sc in computer engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Follow him on Twitter:@MottiBeck.