In recent weeks, your organization may have been tasked with building out a remote work infrastructure quickly and effectively. You may still be in the middle of this type of initiative or you may have completed a “phase 1” project that was a temporary implementation of some type of remote access and now you are looking to move into a more permanent, fully-featured, and resilient solution.
Many organizations have chosen to implement or expand virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments to accommodate the huge shift to a remote work situation necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows employees to access their virtual desktop online. There are many aspects of VDI that can present certain challenges. Backend storage is certainly numbered among those.
You may be looking for a turnkey, resilient, and cost-effective storage solution to back your remote work initiatives and allow your employees to access their virtual desktop online. Combining StarWind solutions with VDI provides a great way to quickly empower a remote workforce and does so in a way that allows you to build on a permanent solution that is resilient, scalable, and provides various extended options. In this post, we will take a look at how StarWind solutions can propel your VDI initiatives forward.
Current Remote Access Phases and Challenges
With the COVID-19 pandemic quickly accelerating across the world along with “shelter in place” mandates, many organizations face the emergency task of shifting large percentages of their workforce to a remote work layout. For many organizations this is happening in phases:
- Phase 1 – Quickly shift employees to remote work using any means possible
- Phase 2 – Develop a longer-term strategy to support the remote workforce using more stable, resilient, and secure technologies
- Phase 3 – Continue to support the remote workforce using existing technologies and/or transition back to working on-premises
As we all know, during the COVID-19 outbreak, it was necessary for the phase 1 implementation to happen virtually “overnight.” Businesses were required to move as quickly as possible to support various mandates and recommendations. However, this may have left many in a position of supporting technologies and solutions that were inadequate.
Many organizations, including your own, may be transitioning from a phase 1 mode to a phase 2 mode. In this phase, technologies, solutions, and processes are being reevaluated to see how to shift to better platforms to support a longer-term deployment.
When it comes to infrastructure, there are not many turnkey solutions that can quickly accelerate you to a position of having a supported remote access solution, including VDI and virtual desktops online. StarWind provides a solution that is turnkey, resilient, and provides the scalability and flexibility to not just provide a temporary solution for VDI, but one you can build on and utilize moving forward.
Virtual desktop online with StarWind VDI and Home Office solution
Standing up a full-blown VDI environment can be challenging, to say the least. The backend infrastructure, especially including the storage backend, can be tedious to provision, configure, and manage in a way that supports quickly and easily standing up infrastructure that will support your remote end-users.
However, using StarWind VDI solutions, StarWind enables your organization to create VDI infrastructure quickly and easily, which is not normally possible with traditional VDI-backing technologies.
There are two key components to the StarWind VDI and Home Office solution. These include the following:
- StarWind Virtual SAN
- StarWind HCA
What are these two key components to the StarWind VDI solution? Let’s talk about each of these solutions from StarWind and how they are geared to accelerate your VDI initiatives.
StarWind Virtual SAN (VSAN)
StarWind VSAN is a truly software-defined storage solution that allows you to eliminate the need for any physical shared storage . Instead, StarWind VSAN allows effectively mirroring internal storage between two servers in a way that makes the storage resilient, scalable, and perfect for backing VDI.
StarWind VSAN is one of the only software-defined storage solutions out on the market that is a true two-node configuration. What does that mean? Most of the two-1node software-defined storage solutions that are on the market today require that you have a witness component that exists somewhere outside of your HCI infrastructure to provide quorum, or node majority for your data which prevents a split-brain scenario.
However, StarWind has achieved this with a truly two-node scenario that does not require this special third component and the dependencies as such. StarWind has a proprietary mechanism for syncing data between the two nodes so that if one node goes down, the data still exists in the other node. This means that you can completely lose an entire node and still have all your data.
What’s more, StarWind can be used with the hypervisor of your choice. This can be Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere/ ESXi, Linux KVM, or Xen. Additionally, what is impressive is that it does not have a Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). You can use StarWind with commercial off-the-shelf hardware (COTS).
StarWind VSAN can scale up and out as much as customers need it to. This allows you to start the configuration for your VDI environment small and grow the solution as needed for your VDI environment. As you onboard VDI users or as your organization grows, the StarWind solution can be scaled to the needs of your environment, so it is extremely flexible from an infrastructure and cost standpoint.
To go along with the StarWind VSAN solution, StarWind HCA is perfect for VDI. Let’s see how.
StarWind All-Flash HCA
The StarWind all-flash HCA is a single 2-U physical hyper-converged appliance that is built on top of TIER 1 server hardware that allows having a completely turnkey solution for building out your software-defined VDI storage solution.
The StarWind HCA appliance is a truly hyper-converged solution in that it incorporates compute, storage, software, and network into a single device capable of providing a simplified approach for backing your VDI solution.
One of the great features as well with the StarWind HCA solution is that it is an all-flash solution. When it comes to VDI, IOPS are king. Not only is the StarWind HCA a great way to provide turnkey, simplified, resilient storage to back your VDI environment, with the all-flash configuration, you will not have to worry about virtual desktop online performance problems.
StarWind is no stranger to creating performance-driven solutions. In fact, they set an HCI performance record with over 26,000,000 IOPS. So, pushing the envelope of speed and user-experience for your remote workers will be in the realm of what you can achieve with StarWind solutions.
Another feature that I really like with the StarWind HCA appliance is the ProActive Premium Support that is included with the solution. With ProActive Premium Support, StarWind provides their top-tier support that features proactive monitoring of your environment. This means you have aStarWind engineer 24/7/365 monitoring your environment looking for any issues that may be lurking in the environment.
Deploying the StarWind VDI and Home Office Solution
When weeks and days count as they have during the recent pandemic, StarWind helps organizations to get up and running quickly with their solution backing VDI initiatives and virtual desktop online, allowing employees to access their virtual desktop online. When it comes to the StarWind VDI and Home Office configuration, StarWind engineers pre-configure, test, and deploy the solution, as well as help with your migration.
According to StarWind, the StarWind VDI and Home Office solution allows the following:
“For businesses looking to create a virtual desktop infrastructure quickly and effectively, StarWind offers a unique chance to build a home office or design a convenient VDI environment with 99.9999% uptime! While based on StarWind HCA, our out-of-the-box solution will have a Microsoft RDS or Citrix XenApp layer on top. In a matter of hours, get a truly fault-tolerant VDI/RDS that won’t flinch even if your entire server goes down.”
The solution comes pre-baked with either Microsoft RDS or Citrix XenApp as the hypervisor layer. As a customer, you choose the VDI technology you want to use and then StarWind takes care of the configuration for you.
The Value-Add of StarWind for VDI
In times of disaster or unexpected infrastructure changes as we have seen recently with COVID-19, organizations must be able to move quickly and in an agile way. Provisioning, configuring, and managing infrastructure can get in the way of business-critical needs that may literally happen overnight.
Organizations need solutions like StarWind that allow quickly provisioning infrastructure that you know is going to work from day one. The all-flash StarWind HCA appliance helps you to quickly stand up new infrastructure or augment existing infrastructure for VDI initiatives. It allows you to have a turnkey solution that provides the performance and resiliency that are needed in today’s business-critical environments.
In addition to the performance aspect and the resiliency of the solution, StarWind provides great support for their HCA appliance, providing ProActive Premium Support that means you get someone actively monitoring your environment 24/7/365. This peace of mind adds to the value provided, especially during business-critical infrastructure changes and restructuring as we have seen recently.
Backing your VDI initiatives with StarWind storage solutions allows you to know the solution will be rock solid from day one. You won’t have to quickly revisit the solution in the short-term as it provides a permanent solution you can build on. With StarWind storage solutions, you can provision the environment from the beginning in such a way that you can easily scale as needed.
Be sure to check out more information regarding the StarWind VDI and Home Office solutions here.