Lenovo & Stoneware: Innovative Alternative to Standard VDI

Lenovo’s Virtual Desktop Client Ecosystem

According to research by TechNavio, the forecast for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in the US is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 8.47 percent over the 2014-2018 period. Likewise, according to The 451 Group, the US desktop virtualization ecosystem market is estimated at $5.6 billion by 2016. (This includes server, client and cloud-based hosting; session-based computing; application virtualization; management). The rapid growth of VDI has been spurred by recent software and hardware technologies that have elevated the virtual desktop experience through significant performance gains. Technologies such as NVIDIA’s Grid GPUs, Fusion-io accelerators, improved hypervisor software and greater server compute power have opened up the viability of VDI from task-oriented users to power users and designers. These technologies have allowed companies to increase the total available market for VDI by extending the model across larger portions of their corporations.

There are many benefits to a virtual desktop infrastructure deployment:

  1. Facilitated Management - Centralized management of all your desktops and improved control over what is installed on/used on the desktops.
  2. Improved Security – IT administrators can lock down the image from external devices and prevent data from being copied to a local device. VDI also provides remote users or ultra-mobile employees with peace of mind, as sensitive data is stored on servers in a data center vs. directly on the mobile device.
  3. Ease of Deployment – VDI ecosystems allow IT administrators to orchestrate and provision desktop images, applications and updates at a more accelerated rate.
  4. Increased Productivity and Reduced Cost – A high-performing VDI ecosystem can empower remote employees to access critical data and applications on any mobile device. This increases productivity levels, while also reducing operating costs (power consumption via light-running client devices). VDI also helps reduce capital expenditures by enabling a true bring-your-own device (BYOD) environment.

Lenovo is in a unique position to be able to provide customers looking to deploy VDI architectures with a more holistic solution, offering more elements of the stack to help reduce vendor count and increase operational efficiency. For a 250-user architecture, using third-party VDI software such as Xen or View, Lenovo offers the compute layer, which can consist of Thinkserver RD540 or RD640 systems featuring up to 16-cores per server for high-performing virtual desktops. For the storage layer, Lenovo recommends the LenovoEMC px12-450r for a NAS solution or the ThinkServer SA120 for a DAS usage model. 

As IOPS can be the biggest bottleneck for virtual desktops, Fusion-io accelerators can be used to create a high-performance solution. IT administrators should direct the hypervisor to store virtual desktop “golden” images on a Fusion-io ioMemory device as they would a local hard drive. Fusion-io’s hardware and software will provide support for a greater number of virtual desktops per virtual server — with guaranteed performance even during peak loads — and lower latency for faster end-user desktop experiences. 

Lenovo has invested in the VDI space through the 2011 acquisition of Stoneware Software. If you are interested in an innovative alternative to standard VDI, Stoneware allows for the creation of a unified cloud, which delivers private data center, public cloud and local-device resources — and allows users access to their files, applications and reports — from a universal web desktop.

Stoneware's Unified Cloud

Stoneware software is actually more of a workspace aggregator, which provides remote access to these files, applications and reports without a VPN, even on a personal device. Lenovo’s workspace aggregator ecosystem delivers superb security capabilities, including functions such as ”device” separation, and a much lighter backend than standard VDI to deliver a more effective use of server hardware. For this reason, the configuration shown below could support well into the thousands of remote users for a far more efficient use of server resources and a lower total cost of ownership. Lastly, Stoneware software also supports a multitude of IT service delivery methods, including hosted, private and public web applications, access to internal file systems, as wells as potential VDI delivery applications from any device, anywhere, based on internal IT policies.

Stoneware’s software solutions are very popular and have been deployed across many verticals including education, commercial enterprises, manufacturing and health care. 

Lenovo’s Virtual Desktop Architecture

I hope you found this blog informative, and that you consider Lenovo solutions for your future VDI deployments. For further information on Lenovo servers and solutions for please contact Edgar Haren at eharen@lenovo.com.

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