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February 09, 2016

Hyperconverged in the VDI and Virtual Workspace space

Ruben Spruijt - Atlantis

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“Make VDI faster and cheaper than a PC” was THE headline in 2012. This claim won’t happen until customers, partners and IT-professionals transform and step out of their comfort zone. Outside the traditional thinking is where the magic happens and this applies to Desktop Virtualization as well. The key is to understand the breakthrough and impact of Flash, Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) appliances to make VDI faster, deliver an awesome user experience, make life for the Administrator much simpler and finally make VDI cheaper. Let me explain the challenges of VDI, how to solve them and future developments.

“The biggest competitor to VDI isn't Citrix vs VMware, it's the physical PC.
Make the Virtual Workspace better, cheaper, faster than a PC”

What We Have and What We Need

What we need for today’s modern Virtual Workspace is easy and straightforward: Make VDI cheaper, simpler and faster with a better User Experience than a physical PC. Done. How do we make this happen as an industry?  How is Atlantis a key vendor to help solve these problems in the Workspace and software-defined data center? Let’s address the key challenges and explain briefly how to solve these problems.

User Experience

You, me and our customers - we - are KING in the modern virtual workspace. Today’s baseline for the enterprise workspace is the physical PC we have at home. Our home PC is equipped with a Solid State (flash) Drive and it contains a Graphical Processor Unit (GPU) as well as a modern Operating System. It is fast. Now imagine going to work and your enterprise workspace that brings you back to the golden-age or even worse to the stone-age. Slow, unstable, legacy, tough to manage, old-school, it doesn’t meet today’s business consumer’s expectations. What is the impact in productivity, passion and pleasure to Get Stuff Done (GSD) with this old stuff?! Business consumers — we — expect an awesome user experience and won’t settle for less. With today’s state of the art technologies, we are able to bring fast in-memory and flash technologies, very low storage latency, consistent and fast storage performance to the business consumer. With the latest GPU developments from NVIDIA, AMD and Intel, every application and business consumer benefits from a GPU in their Virtual Workspace. That workspace is always available from anywhere given the latest Remoting Technologies from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware providing us the ability to work from when and where we want without compromising GSD. Life is great!

Cost

The Virtual Desktop needs to be really cost efficient and, when possible, cheaper than a PC as a whole. An additional price tag for the Virtual Desktop isn’t a problem if additional benefits can be explained and achieved. Currently, the Virtual Workspace is way more expensive than a well-managed PC and this is one of the reasons why the adoption of the Virtual Workspace as a whole is less than 10% of the total 1.5B+ enterprise PCs. The traditional approach of the big 3-tier Integrated Systems, which includes vendors such as Cisco, EMC, Dell, NetApp and HP, promotes ‘Build Your Own’ data center with servers, storage, networking, virtual infrastructure. The old mentality of minor incremental improvements is too small to move the Virtual Desktop “needle.” That mind-set and technology approach will never realize the year of VDI, which isn’t a goal in itself but a great point on the modern Workspace horizon. Something truly disruptive is needed - and is available today.  Atlantis has disruptively driven down costs by using applying innovative software to commodity hardware and added smart data services such as in-line, in-memory de-duplication technology.  Our customers have shown that the overall price is going down fast and User Experience is going up. We have cracked the code to lower than physical PC cost VDI.

Simplicity

The Virtual Desktop needs to be less complex to design, deliver, support and maintain. It needs to be as simple as it can be. While there are a lot of parts in the whole Virtual Desktop stack, the foundation itself — servers, storage, networking and virtual infrastructure can be simplified dramatically by using Hyperconverged Infrastructure appliances and Software-Defined Storage. Hyperconverged Infrastructure can be both an appliance and also a function in the SDS solution. Bringing compute, storage and networking together, make it simple to buy, setup, deploy, use and maintain. These are the Lego building block for the Modern Workspace and Data Center. Grow the environment by adding a node or appliance. One of the key benefits of the Hyperconverged Infrastructure is a single support model, easy to procure, own and operate — Simplicity. One of the other benefits is predictability with linear scale: Do you want more capacity or performance without to worry about sizing? Just start small and add more small or large blocks to the data center.

Flexibility

There’s never a dull moment in IT. It’s serious awesome to be part of this industry as a CTO, community leader and all-round technology geek. It’s great to see the sheer amount of new developments that impact all of us in the modern workspace. One of the pillars of a successful organization is the agility to adopt new developments and leverage these on a small or large scale. One of the key differentiators between Atlantis and others in the SDS/HCI space is the ability to deliver both physical appliances and a software only solution. With a range of Hyperconverged Infrastructure appliances and intelligent software, we can address scenarios in both brown and greenfield environments. No rip and replace solution, no custom ASICs but instead use all server hardware architecture including rackmount, blades and cartridges, leverage (just released) GPU’s or APU’s from NVIDIA, AMD, Intel and revitalize your current SAN/NAS with awesome performance and increase storage capacity with patented software. Agility is always defined by software. In this case, it is simple, cost effective and provides an awesome user experience. Welcome to the real world of Hyperconverged and Software-Defined.

Teamwork

Welcome to the world of All-Flash, Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Hyperconverged (HCI) solutions — welcome to Atlantis Computing. I would love to understand your Virtual Workspace story, share the insights and vision I have and support you and your business consumers to move forward with the Modern Workspace. If you want insights in the Modern Workspace or Workspace 2020, if you want to read or listen to customer and partner success stories or read great technology reference designs for instance with Citrix and VMware please let me know!

Ruben Spruijt — CTO — Atlantis Computing

@rspruijt | ruben@AtlantisComputing.com

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