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Feeling lucky, punk? Storage biz crams virty PCs into RAM

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Software house Atlantis has updated its ILIO product, which juggles the storage of virtual desktops in data centres, so that virtualised machines run entirely in a server's memory - sans a SAN or local drives.

Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0 lets Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View customers run persistent virtual desktops in-memory using RAM as primary storage, making the virty desktops cheaper and faster than physical PCs, or so we're told. The company claimed it delivers a better-than-PC user experience at an infrastructure cost of less than $300 per desktop, and deployment is fully automated.

But its technology is not totally disk-free: it benefits from the performance of local server RAM, but at the same time it "maintains a real-time optimised backup using a small amount of shared SAN/NAS storage to ensure data protection and availability".

Atlantis Computing is a privately-held company founded by Chetan Venkatesh in 2004. He ran the biz until December 2009 when Bernard Harguindeguy was bought in as CEO. Harguindeguy is also chairman and president. Venkatesh became CTO. There was a $10m C-round of funding in August 2010, with Cisco taking part, plus El Dorado Ventures and Partech International; the seed funding, A- and B-rounds were of undisclosed amounts and took place at undisclosed times.

We're told ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0 has these features:

  • In-memory storage provides 12-second boot time, near-instant application launches and desktop search results. Because all desktops run on RAM, the amount of storage traffic sent on the network is drastically reduced.
  • Push-button automated installation, configuration, sizing and datastore creation for thousands of virtual desktops across multiple racks of servers. Virtual machines are automatically created and registered as NFS data stores that are ready to use by Citrix XenDesktop or VMware View provisioning tools, or by ILIO Fast Clone, to complete the desktop provisioning process.
  • ILIO Fast Clone can create new full clones of persistent virtual desktops in as little as 5 seconds per desktop and with no storage traffic.

The technology involves:

  • Context-aware processing of IO operations in real-time at the NTFS file system and block levels to reduce the amount of traffic sent to storage.
  • “On the wire” inline deduplication in real-time, eliminating up to 95 per cent of the blocks before reaching storage.
  • Compressing the optimized blocks before writing them to memory.
  • Conversion of all small random blocks generated by the Windows operating systems and hypervisor - the IO blender effect - into larger sequential blocks to improve efficiency.

Atlantis is bragging about customer growth, claiming it has more than 200 clients who have bought a quarter of a million licenses, more than 100,000 in 2012 alone. It said it tripled the number of customers in 2012 and quadrupled its bookings over two years. Deployments range from 25 users to 100,000 users across all verticals, particularly hospitals, government agencies and investment banking. Customers include JP Morgan Chase & Co., Colt in Europe, CBRE, Mid Coast Hospital, Washington Trust Bank, Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA), AIG and Qualcomm.

What about Hyper-V support we wonder? It must surely be coming. Get a demo of ILIO Persistent VDI here. ®

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