Managing Virtual Desktop Boot Storms

19 Apr

When designing a Virtual desktop solution IOPS is king. The rate at which data can be written and read from central storage is usually the main component that determines the acceptability of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution. Usually large amounts of fast hard disks are used to provide the necessary IOPS needed to serve data to our virtual machines,  but eventually even the best designed systems struggle when confronted with boot storms.

A boot storm occurs when many users during a short time period, power on their virtual desktops. The IOPS required to load operating system and application files at boot usually surpasses the amount needed to perform daily tasks as such word processing. The entire system may grind to halt due to inadequate Storage performance.

Now how do we solve this issue ? We could throw more spindles (hard disks) at the problem which will result in a lot of wasted storage capacity or we could use solid state drives to store the files required by the Virtual Desktops at Boot. A solid state drive though expensive can be used to assist in dealing with boot storms since they are typically 25-30 time faster than  the fastest hard disk. While wonderful solid state drives are not cheap, so you may also take a look at storage area networks that are able to cache frequently requested blocks of data, these systems can also be used to provide greater boot time performance for your VDI setup and ensure end user acceptance of this solution.


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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Technology


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