By adding Fusion ioMemory PCIe cards to ESXi servers, this college created a cost-effective, linearly scalable virtual desktop infrastructure system.
Located on the historic North Shore of New York’s Long Island, the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Old Westbury is a selective public liberal arts college. SUNY has over 4,400 students studying in more than 40 undergraduate programs and 15 graduate programs.
Marc Seybold, Old Westbury’s CIO, had wanted to deploy virtual desktop infrastructure for years to reduce IT maintenance costs, but could not find a solution that met the college’s performance and cost requirements.
Marc said, “I had tried several times before to deploy virtual desktop infrastructure, but the technology always bottlenecked at a certain level of scaling. We needed a system that could scale to support 650 View licenses. I experienced a number of problems with previous virtual desktop infrastructure attempts; spinning drives’ I/O limitations were at the top of the list.”
Marc’s team needed a solution that delivered the following:
Marc’s team had tested storing desktops on local disks, but that “didn’t go too far.” At a trade show, he saw a SanDisk demo of over 100 desktops running dynamic content from a single server.
“At that point, we purchased a unit for testing,” Marc said. “The tests were spectacularly successful and we progressed from there into a full production deployment.”
A Faster, More Efficient Desktop
Marc described his team’s objectives: “Our primary goal is a better user experience. We knew we’d have at least 40 people logging on at the same time at the start of labs, so we couldn’t have boot storms – and we needed to ensure the same or better performance than PCs.”
SanDisk’s Fusion ioMemory solutions delivered. Marc said, “Students can double click the icons and immediately begin typing. This keeps students and faculty productive and focused on learning.”
The charts below show some of the benefits:
Marc also noted a side benefit—better use of physical space in the lab: “With virtual desktop infrastructure, we were able to go with zero footprint clients, which frees up a lot of clutter and allows students to stretch out.”
CIO, SUNY College of Old Westbury
Scalability for the Long Haul
Marc said Old Westbury’s immediate needs were to support around 200 concurrent users, but that scalability had to be built-in. “Our long-term needs required scaling to 650 concurrent users. We didn’t want to have to re-architect down the road or invest in an extremely expensive SAN to backstop the disk I/O, knowing that sooner or later SAN performance would hit a wall.”
Network Operation Staff member Chen Cao described how the Fusion ioMemory ioDrive solution solved the scalability problem: “By storing the desktops on Fusion ioMemory flash in the servers, we reduced latency to a minimum. This allows us to scale desktops linearly with additional servers. Each ESX server has the potential for up to 150 users, but we allocate 60-70 users per server to give end users the best possible experience. We currently have seven ESX servers, which gives us plenty of redundancy for availability and makes it easy to take servers offline for routine maintenance. We know when we need to scale to another 60-70 users, we can simply add another server and Fusion ioMemory.”
Marc noted how a SAN-based system differed from the flashy memory-based one: “There’s a big difference in the labor required to create, install, configure, and maintain the Fusion ioMemory-based ESX servers versus ESX servers and a SAN. There is a really nice blend of value that comes from reducing complexity, increasing performance, and reducing costs.
Network Operations, SUNY College of Old Westbury
A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Enabler
Marc explained how the Fusion ioMemory solution enabled virtual desktop infrastructure for SUNY College of Old Westbury: “Virtual desktop infrastructure would not have been viable if we had to implement it with a SAN. The Fusion ioMemory ioDrive solution gave us all the performance and scalability we needed, without complexity.”
By making a scalable, cost-effective, and high performance virtual desktop infrastructure system possible, Marc’s team was able to realize the benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure, including:
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure System Overview
VMware Horizon View
About Old Westbury
Located on the historic North Shore of New York’s Long Island, the State University of New York College at Old Westbury is a selective public liberal arts college with more than 4,400 students studying in more than 40 undergraduate degree opportunities in its liberal arts and professional programs and 15 graduate programs in business, education and mental health counseling. On the College’s 604-acre campus, students and faculty participate in an environment that demands academic excellence, fosters intercultural understanding, and endeavors to stimulate a passion for learning and a commitment to building a more just and sustainable world.