Hybrid flash/disk array startup Nimble Storage has effectively joined Cisco's server partner channel with a VDI reference architecture promising low-cost VDI serving off its arrays.
The architecture supports 1,000 VDI users, takes up a trivial 3U of rack space, and costs $43,000 – $43 per desktop. That contrasts with a Tintri cost of less than $200/per virtual desktop in a 1,000-user system. I dare say this is not an apples-for-apples comparison with that $/desktop cost disparity though.
The ref architecture is composed of:
- Cisco UCS B-Series Blade server platform including six UCS B230 M2 blades, each with dual-socketed 10-core Intel CPU and 256GB RAM
- One Nimble CS220G-X2 array with twelve 1TB hard disk drives and four 160GB flash SSDs
- Dual, redundant 10GbitE connections between the Nimble array and UCS Fabric Interconnect
- Windows 7 Enterprise virtual desktops with 1.5GB RAM and one CPU per desktop
- VMware View 5.1 with VMware vSphere.
Nimble says it is a "fully validated and tested Nimble Storage, Cisco and VMware reference architecture that eliminates the complexities of configuring compute, networking and storage." Nimble conducted load stress tests, including tests for boot storms and software patches, and says the system configuration is optimised and tested with a moderate profile steady-state workload. The reference architecture's modular product architecture provides "easy scalability and support."
Nimble's CEO, Suresh Vasudevan, said: “There’s a common denominator in every scenario for VDI: the need for speed. Users simply won’t wait for their data. Built from the ground up for virtualised environments, Nimble arrays reduce latencies, effectively enabling end users to gain the responsiveness of a physical desktop with the convenience and security of VDI.”
The number of VDI-focused storage products increases by the day. We already have Tintri and Greenbytes and Whiptail. Now here's Nimble joining the VDI party. Avere is in there, HP, Oracle, NetApp, Tegile and lots of others.