EMC, Citrix in Deal to Run XenDesktop on VNX Storage Systems

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-05-27

Virtual-desktop specialist Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS) is making the rounds for lining up new intellectual property and partnership deals.

On May 25 at its annual Synergy conference, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company revealed a new agreement with storage giant EMC to optimize its XenDesktop for EMC's new VNX unified storage systems.

The VNX packages were part of EMC's big 41-product launch last January.

Several weeks ago, Citrix and longtime partners Dell and VMware unveiled a group of new enterprise desktop-virtualization packages. These VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) systems can be either cloud-based or locally based and are comprised of prepackaged services with pretested hardware and software.

Earlier this week, Citrix revealed that it has acquired Cupertino, Calif.-based virtual-desktop software maker Kaviza for its popular VDI-in-a-Box product.

The latest partnership with EMC enables users of VNX storage systems to scale out their XenDesktop deployments to as many as 1,000 virtual desktops per server/storage array. Most VDI deployments cannot serve up more than 200 to 300 desktops from one server/storage array.

"This is a new reference architecture that showcases the tangible benefits associated with implementing EMC's advanced unified storage systems in a virtual-desktop implementation," Eric Herzog, EMC's vice president of product marketing and management for the Unified Storage Division, told eWEEK. 

"This [XenDesktop] is a great way to take advantage of our FAST Cache and NAND flash capabilities in the VNX. There's little or no latency in this system. And there's no cost for the software for VNX users."

The VDI software can be downloaded here.

EMC Fast Suite enables 1,000 virtual desktops to power on, achieve a steady state and register with the XenDesktop controllers within about eight minutes, Herzog said.

At peak load and with high IOPS being generated by a boot storm, the EMC VNX system requires only 20 SAS drives and two flash drives in comparison to the 90 to 100 (nearly five times more) SAS drives required by an equivalent competitive configuration without flash drives to match this performance, Herzog said.


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