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Which hyper-converged systems are best for VDI?

Hyper-converged systems provide an opportunity for IT departments to streamline the data center, but VDI shops need to make sure their system meets virtualization-specific parameters.

The best hyper-converged infrastructure systems to use in a VDI shop are those specifically designed to support...

VDI environments.

Several hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) vendors support VDI, including Nutanix and SimpliVity, so it's just matter of finding the right combination of products to meet your organization's needs. Both companies' HCI offerings are compatible with widely used VDI software such as VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop. Both Nutanix and SimpliVity are flexible withscaling VDI deployments and are also designed to maintain performance during potential problem points, such as VDI boot storms.

If you are planning to deploy VDI and your hyper-converged system doesn't include pre-built VDI support, then you should talk to the hardware vendor to make sure your chosen VDI product will work with the hardware. If the vendor tells you that your VDI software will work, then it is important to verify that information with your VDI vendor (unless the hardware vendor can show you some form of certification). There is always a chance that the hardware vendor could give you inaccurate information either out of ignorance or just to make a sale.

Most of the hardware vendors that offer hyper-converged systems have several different models to choose from. It's easy to assume that the vendor offers these varying models as a way to provide its customers with different scalability options. However, there may be more to it than that. Some of the available HCI stacks place a greater emphasis on storage, while others might offer more in the way of compute resources. As a general rule, VDI environments require far less storage capacity than a virtual server environment. Hence, you might opt for a system that has low-capacity, but high-performing storage and plenty of processing power and network resources.

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This was last published in August 2015

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What are you looking for in a hyper-converged system?
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Sounds like, if you're even thinking you might deploy VDI, it's a good idea to keep that in mind if you're shopping for hyper-converged products. It would be a shame to go through all the hassle of implementing hyper-convergence, then decide a year later you want to implement VDI and discover it doesn't play well with the hyper-convergence system you chose.
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