By combining high performance computing technologies, including Fusion-io NAND Flash storage, in its Stratosphere desktop virtualization appliances, V3 Systems can deliver virtualized desktops to populations of 50-400 devices at two-to-six times the performance levels of stand-alone desktops or laptops, says V3 CEO Peter Bookman. This, he told Wikibon Co-Founder David Vellante and SiliconAngle Founder John Furrier in a live interview from Citrix Synergy 2011 on SiliconAngle.tv, is the key to successful desktop virtualization.
“Everybody [in desktop virtualization] always focuses on getting the cost down,” he said. “But without the speed, you get a lot of failed pilots.
“But when the users see that you can save them money up front, you can deliver a much higher level of performance than their present stand-alone systems, and save them money down the road, they get excited.”
High performance levels also open the door to virtualizing desktop populations that have been off-limits until now – not just the low-level systems with the least demanding applications such as support and call-center environments, the normal place for desktop virtualization today, but high-performance areas such as engineering as well. “The question becomes how much performance do you actually need. If you need less, then you can allocate fewer resource; if more, allocate more resources.”
While V3 is a big believer in NAND Flash storage, it also can work with existing SANs and other technologies. And hardware isn't everything, he said. Even with Flash memory, the wrong software implementation can introduce latency in a virtual environment supporting large numbers of desktops. The key to eliminating that latency was simplifying the architecture while finding ways in software to get the most out of the hardware performance. Solving that puzzle was one of the major challenges in developing the software that is the heart of the V3 system.
V3 was founded in September 2010, just in time to attend the VMware Conference, and the Stratosphere appliance initially came with the VMware stack. It is known for running VMware View without need of a SAN. Now V3 is rolling out an upgraded appliance that incorporates both VMware and Citrix, allowing users to choose between them, depending on which meets their needs, Bookman says. Citrix has support from most desktop application providers, on both the open source and Windows sides, and is more flexible concerning how an organization does VDI. That makes it better for users who mostly use desktop applications, he says. VMware basically supports one approach to VDI and is better for those who use networked applications on the LAN.
The best answer to security in either environment, and particularly when working in public or hybrid cloud environments, he says, is the Trusted Computing Group approach, which starts with an acknowledgment that bad things happen sometimes and that the important thing to know is when some device on the network is working in a way it shouldn't.
Despite having founded a VDI start-up as his latest venture in a 20-year career as a computing entrepreneur, Bookman doesn't see virtualization as the answer to everything. “At home I have a high-powered desktop because I want to play high-end games and do other things that don't necessarily work well in a virtualized environment. But when I travel I carry just my iPad and a bluetooth keyboard, and I can be productive wherever I am.”