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Cisco and Nimble Storage – Proven, Efficient, Scalable VDI

By August 8, 2013June 1st, 2022Blog, Cisco, Nimble Storage

Most customers looking to deploy Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) recognize the need for storage performance upfront. But the infrastructure choices become more challenging when you also take into account needs around storage optimization, scaling, and simplicity.

What makes it even harder is the need for IT organizations to select various infrastructure components such as servers, storage, hypervisors, and VDI software (aka brokers) to construct a complete solution that truly works and adapts to growing needs – all without breaking the bank.

Cisco’s architecture for desktop virtualization leveraging Nimble Storage hybrid arrays.

Validated blueprints such as the Nimble Storage SmartStack, leveraging Nimble Storage hybrid arrays and Cisco UCS with VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop, eliminate the guesswork in creating a comprehensive solution for VDI. Customers across various verticals including financial services, federal, healthcare, education, legal, and retail have deployed VDI solutions based on this validated reference architecture.

The combination of Cisco UCS and Nimble with VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop wins with customers because:

Dramatically Higher Performance and Price/Performance: By far the biggest reason the combination of Nimble and Cisco UCS is selected by customers is excellent performance and leading price/performance. To accommodate VDI’s bursty I/O, many storage vendors leverage flash—but while this works really well to accelerate reads, write performance continues to be constrained. Nimble’s CASL file system delivers the superior write performance that VDI needs without throwing expensive flash or spindles into the mix. This, combined with Cisco’s superior blade architecture with large memory footprint, makes for winning cost economics.

Ease of Scaling: Most VDI deployments, whether they are big or small, inevitably grow due to continued adoption of desktop virtualization and explosion in end clients, including laptops and mobile devices. With both the Cisco UCS and the Nimble Storage solution, it is very simple to scale the solution. With Nimble scale-to-fit, customers can choose to add more flash or upgrade their controllers or add capacity, all non–disruptively. This complements Cisco’s simplified and scalable architectures for desktop virtualization, leveraging the value of UCS to easily add servers to scale to thousands of virtual desktops.

Operational Simplicity: There are many tasks through the lifecycle of a virtual desktop environment, ranging from provisioning, monitoring, and protecting the desktops. Just as important is the ability to keep the underlying infrastructure running at all times. Protection is simplified with Nimble’s instant snapshots. Most of all, Nimble’s proactive support capabilities have allowed customers to keep their systems up and running in perfect condition – one time a power outage occurred, and even though it was unrelated to Nimble, the Nimble array was able to detect the situation right away and alert the customer.

Here are a few joint Nimble Storage and Cisco UCS customers that have benefited from a high performance and efficient VDI solution:

Lindquist and Vennum, a legal firm out of Minneapolis, moved from a Dell environment to Nimble and Cisco UCS. As a result of their move, they saw a dramatic performance improvement for their end users, including application response time. Additionally, capacity requirements dropped from 11.4 TB to 4.4 TB and rack space requirements dropped by 300%, resulting not just in reduced capex (capital expenditures), but also reduced footprint, power and cooling costs.

University of Colorado at Boulder’s Housing and Dining Services have scaled their Cisco UCS, Nimble Storage, and VMware View based VDI implementation to now cover hundreds of their staff (including mobile users), after starting small and adding infrastructure as they grew. This has helped them meet their users’ needs, cut costs and meet their environmental sustainability goals.

Oaks Christian School (OCS) out of Southern California refreshed their VDI infrastructure for their Citrix environment with Cisco UCS and Nimble Storage. Their simplified experience began with the Nimble storage purchase process, where all software features and functionality are included with the base system. OCS leverages compression in their provisioning, saving significantly, and takes advantage of the scalable architecture of UCS and Nimble Storage to support their administrators, teachers and students, including a growing online school presence.

Cisco recently conducted a webcast around their desktop virtualization solutions including the simplified and scalable architectures leveraging Nimble Storage hybrid arrays for storing and serving virtual desktops and end-user data. You can view the Cisco webcast here: “Customer Insights: Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms”

Radhika Krishnan, Head of Solutions and Alliances – Nimble Storage


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