IT staff was confident the VDI/SSD combination could support high-end applications, based on results they’d seen in other classrooms using Pure Storage Forever Flash arrays. But their confidence came only after an initial stumble with VDI that arose, in large part, because of problems in the previous spinning-disk storage environment.
“We used to struggle with uptime and performance,” says Infrastructure Manager Joey Houck. “After people used the virtual desktops for a few months, they told us it was just too slow. But once we moved to the Pure Storage array, those complaints went away.”
SSDs’ Fast Processing Reduces Management Overhead
To achieve the same IOPS rates that the 20-terabyte SSD arrays deliver, Houck estimates the university would have had to purchase and manage about seven times that capacity with spinning disks. As many IT pros have found, that difference negates the cost premium that exists between SSDs and traditional disks, as does the reduction in overhead.
“We’ve traditionally had two desktop technicians working full-time to service desktop problems,” Houck says. But with VDI supported by a reliable storage foundation, the equivalent of one-and-a-half technicians can do the same work in three days or fewer. “That means they have time to do other IT activities, which is a huge win for us,” says Houck.
For some users, he admits, it took time to get past their first experience with VDI, which was less than ideal. “But people are now enjoying the VDI experience and sticking with it,” he says. “That’s thanks to the SSDs.”
IT officials at Davenport University in Michigan were so pleased with the performance and simplicity of SSD arrays, they decided to go all-in. “We’re all solid-state at this point,” says CIO Ben Williams.