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Another day, another VDI appliance: ScaleIO intros Nytro-driven kit

EMC VDI appliance sans Cisco

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VDI is becoming a vendor obsession. Just days after Fusion-io's ioVDI product we have an another VDI appliance using EMC's ScaleIO technology with LSI flash, Supermicro servers and Mellanox networking which they claim can boot 1,000 virtual desktops in 12 minutes at a price per desktop of an entry-level business PC.

EMC bought ScaleIO in July 2013 for is ECS tech which combines the direct-attached storage in multiple servers into a single virtual storage pool, much like a virtual SAN array such as EMC subsidiary VMware's own VSAN. How curious is that?|

ScaleIO is claimed to across hundreds, even thousands of servers. Now the four suppliers above have collaborated at VPEX to demo what they call a hyper-converged VDI appliance, integrating server, network, and storage, that can scale out by adding appliance after appliance after appliance and so on ad appliance infinitum.

The appliance is a single box and it contains:

  • Supermicro WIO server,
  • LSI Nytro 3.2TB PCIe flash card,
  • EMC ScaleIO software,
  • VMware Horizon View,
  • Mellanox 40GbitE networking, and
  • VMware Horizon View.

It's interesting that the networking is not Cisco and neither are the servers.

LSI claims Login VSI testing showed:

  • Ultrabook-like user experience – support for 1,000 desktops with average user response times of <1 second,
  • 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 – supports up to 167 desktops per server node,
  • affordable flash solution – price per desktop of an entry-level business PC, and
  • reduced TCO – low-cost project implementation and efficient management and maintenance.

Boaz Palgi, EMC Advanced Software Division GM and a VP, talked of "the need for extreme scale and simplified operations. EMC ScaleIO delivers a powerful software-only solution that uses application hosts’ local disks to deliver a solution for virtual SAN that is engineered to scale to hundreds and thousands of nodes."

What with Atlantis ILIO, GreenBytes, Nimble Storage, Pure Storage, Tegile, Tintri, Violin Memory/Atlantis, VMware, XenDesktop and many others you'd think they all have a death wish for business PC hardware.

We shouldn't think that ScaleIO is EMC's only iron in the VDI fire. At a Stifel Technology, Internet, and Media Conference Daniel Cobb, EMC’s CTO of Emerging Storage, said XtremIO does not cannibalise EMC's storage arrays but rather targets workloads that are expanding the company’s TAM such as virtual desktops. XtremIO provides a networked flash SAN while ScaleIO is a server-side virtual SAN that can, as above, use server flash.

Stifel MD Aaron Rakers writes about ScaleIO: "EMC has recently started shipping v1.2 (which was released in early November 2013) which added more storage management functions such as snapshots across thousands of nodes as well as support for Windows (thereby covering the majority of x86 installed base). We will be interested in EMC’s positioning of ScaleIO versus VMware’s VSAN offering."

Won't we all.

You can check out this "hyper-converged VDI appliance" in booth #421 at VMware Partner Exchange 2014 taking place this week at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. The VDI appliance is immediately available from Supermicro and its worldwide network of channel partners, we're told. ®

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