Data protection and availability considerations for virtual desktop infrastructure are different than for physical desktops. You need the right storage choices for your environment.
Organizations of all types and sizes are turning to virtual desktop infrastructure—or VDI—to replace physical desktop systems and deliver greater mobility, flexibility, and security. Three-quarters of today’s businesses have deployed or are deploying virtual desktop infrastructure to address the needs and expectations of today’s working professionals.
In our first post in this series, we looked at the advantages of all-flash storage and performance isolation for virtual desktop infrastructure. This time we look at the increased importance of data protection and disaster recovery (DP / DR) to protect desktop availability.
Storage systems once played a more-or-less passive role in DP / DR. Today, they are frequently the star players. Choosing the right storage maximizes the availability of your virtual desktop environment.
The important thing to realize is that a virtual desktop environment is dramatically different than the physical desktops it replaces. Where a failure used to mean one user sitting idle, a failure in your virtual desktop environment could leave thousands of users unable to do their jobs.
When companies move to virtual desktop infrastructure, they tend to provide the same data protection as they did for physical desktops. However, methods that made sense for physical machines will need to be adapted or replaced to support the virtual desktop environment. In addition to any user data, it’s important to ensure that important databases, master images, and other files are backed up regularly.
Backup is only the first step in protecting virtual desktop availability. You also need to take steps to ensure that your virtual desktop infrastructure—especially all-flash storage—is resilient to failure.
Some companies deploy virtual desktop infrastructure environments in two separate data centers in an active/active configuration. If systems in one data center go down, affected desktops can be restarted in the other data center quickly, allowing work to resume.
As I mentioned last time, all-flash storage is strongly preferred for performance in virtual desktop environments. But performance isn’t the only thing that matters. You also want to look for all-flash storage that provides a high level of resiliency and features that will aid in data protection tasks.
Tintri all-flash storage meets or exceeds all the requirements I just described.
Tintri all-flash arrays feature a proprietary RAID implementation that delivers complete data integrity and protection against two simultaneous drive failures. Our hardware combines a dual-controller design with federated scale out.
Even the smallest VDI deployments benefit from Tintri’s hardware resiliency. As your deployment grows, your storage infrastructure scales out. Tintri VM Scale-out:
Tintri gives you everything you need to protect and manage virtual desktops:
You’ve probably seen other all-flash storage that advertises similar capabilities. The Tintri difference is that we are able to perform all operations at the VM or vDisk level. Other storage operates on volumes or LUNs that can contain tens or hundreds of VMs. The result is that you can’t protect each VM the way you want and you can’t restore an individual VM quickly.
Suppose you need to restore a desktop VM urgently. You’d like to restore from the latest snapshot, but with LUN-based storage you can only snapshot (and thus only restore) the entire LUN. Restoring the snapshot would overwrite all the other VMs. Not very desirable. The best alternative is to find enough scratch space, restore the entire LUN, and then copy the VM you need. With Tintri, you just restore the VM snapshot you need and you’re done.
Another complication is that most snapshot backups limit you to restoring to a specific point in time. Essentially, you have a one-way ticket to the specified backup point. Once you use it, you lose the ability to restore snapshots taken after that. Tintri SyncVM allows you to move back and forth between recovery points to find the exact point in time you need. Tintri customer Clouditalia talked about the benefits of SyncVM in a recent Q&A discussion.
As you can see, Tintri delivers a multitude of data protection and availability advantages for virtual desktop infrastructure including built-in resiliency, scale-out, and backups and replication at the VM level. Given all the recent ransomware attacks, these are capabilities you can’t afford to overlook.
Tintri really shows its metal when it’s time to do a restore. The ease and flexibility of SyncVM lets you accomplish restores in moments.
The next post in this series will examine another important consideration for virtual desktops: data efficiency.
Unique control with VM-level actions for infrastructure functions including snapshots, replication and QoS make protection and performance certain in production, and accelerate test and development cycles.