Although hyperconverged infrastructure has become increasingly popular across a wide range of use cases, virtual desktop infrastructure has remained one of the technology’s most popular and prevalent workloads. As VDI continues to advance and evolve, organizations should keep a fresh mindset when it comes to the best way to deploy and use HCI for greater efficiency in modern IT environments.
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) changed that. HCI dramatically reduced the complexity and cost of deploying VDI and pared down the time and effort required to bring VDI online and see it reach its potential in terms of economic benefits and agility. As a result, global adoption of VDI has surged and continues to rise. Research projects global sales of VDI solutions to exceed $25 billion by 2025, representing a seven-year compound annual growth rate of more than 16%.
There are many reasons why VDI is poised for continued growth, including the move toward a cloud-centric IT delivery model and a more distributed, off-site and off-payroll virtual workforce. And while a range of technology approaches are transforming end-user computing, VDI remains a reliable and proven way to go, with new use cases emerging every day. According to VDI expert site Brianmadden.com, “There are still plenty of use cases where VDI has unique benefits—for example, keeping data off the endpoint, putting apps right next to data or servers, or renting a cloud workstation by the month instead of shelling out the capex for one that sits under a desk.”
HOW VDI IS CHANGING
If your organization was an early adopter of VDI, you’ve undoubtedly seen how the many changes in the IT landscape have also reshaped what VDI can and should do, and what users expect from their virtual desktops. And if your organization is just now getting around to adopting VDI on an enterprise-wide basis, your implementation is likely to be vastly different from that of the early VDI pioneers.
Take one of the most basic aspects of end-user computing: where computing is being done. Users no longer are tethered to their physical desktops, whether in a headquarters facility or a remote office. Just as pervasive mobility has changed how and where computing is done, it also has reshaped the core functionality of VDI.
Think about the many trans formative technologies that have freed users from fixed location computing:
- Bring your own device (and its follow-on, bring your own application).
- Edge computing, turbocharged not only by powerful, high-speed connectivity but especially by the widespread use of smart devices on the network’s edge, or the internet of things.
- Virtual workforce, such as pay-rolled employees operating from a remote office location, a home office or anywhere in transit between locations. Virtual workforces also include contractors, freelancers and tightly aligned third parties that act as virtual extensions of the traditional workforce.
- And, of course, cloud computing—the ultimate trans-formative technology that gives every user the opportunity to access applications, services and data from virtual desktops anywhere and at any time.
- Graphics-intensive applications for various vertical use cases, including those in healthcare, automotive, media and entertainment sectors.
HOW YOUR HCI SOLUTION SHOULD EVOLVE TO FULLY LEVERAGE VDI
As VDI has evolved, so has HCI. Specifically, new HCI versions have come onto the market as a re-engineered platform specifically designed to address the challenges detailed above. When considering a modern HCI platform to support re-architected VDI workloads, buyers should look for several features and capabilities. These include:
- Anytime, anywhere access to corporate apps with minimal wait time.
- Upgraded storage, supplementing or even replacing legacy hard disk drives with low-latency solid-state drives, particularly those based on NVMe for higher performance
- Upgraded graphics for a better user experience and a richer desktop visual appeal
- Improved security, especially for cloud-based deployments
- A modern hypervisor built for the cloud
Simply put, if you are updating or upgrading your VDI workload, you definitely should modernise your infrastructure by adopting the latest version of HCI. And, if this is your first VDI deployment, there really is no other option than HCI.
MODERN HCI FUNCTIONALITY: HITACHI UNIFIED COMPUTE PLATFORM HC SOLUTIONS
There are a number of HCI options available for VDI workloads. However, not all are designed to deliver the performance, scalability, security and management simplicity essential for increasingly demanding VDI implementations. Some earliergeneration VDI deployments are running on first-generation HCI systems with loosely coupled storage and compute components and older hypervisors, while some of the longest deployed VDI solutions are actually running on “semi- HCI” systems built on older reference architectures.
Because VDI is changing in significant ways— and because modern HCI systems demand tight integration among hardware and software components—buyers should look for new HCI systems optimized for tight convergence among compute, storage, networking, hypervisor and management plane. One smart way to do that is to look for HCI solutions built by multivendor partnerships where integration, collaboration and HCI experience are the core principles.
Hitachi UCP HC is an integrated appliance delivering the simplicity and agility of a modern HCI solution. It linearly scales up to 64 nodes to deliver compute and storage resources in line with business requirements. Its software-defined components are natively integrated with cloud management and automation software, and it comes with automated life cycle management functionality across the entire cloud infrastructure. Its tight integration of hardware, software and hyper-visor ensures it operates smoothly without performance spikes in peak workload demands, especially for high-availability requirements. As is increasingly demanding in cloud-first or cloud-native VDI deployments, the Hitachi HCI solution is designed with substantial automation features based on flexible policies and deep analytics that relieve IT staffs’ burden of manually tuning performance and handling tactical tasks such as configuration change management and security patches.
Hitachi’s close partnership with Intel and VMware is another core benefit for buyers looking to ensure that their HCI platform not only works seamlessly for VDI workloads but can also be tasked to handle a wider variety of workloads that may be migrated to and from the cloud. Intel Select-certified Hitachi HCI solutions deliver scalable performance to run more desktops with fewer appliances.
Intel’s Optane technology is an essential part of Hitachi UCP HC, providing performance improvement in persistent memory and solidstate disks, as well as substantial improvements in IOPS and latency. In addition, the functionality and impact of industry-leading VMware’s vSphere hypervisor is extended with VMware Horizon Air Hybrid-Mode, a virtual desktop platform designed and optimized for cloud-managed subscription based desktops.