SimpliVity OmniCube Targets VDI Implementations

Converged infrastructure solution developer SimpliVity has prepped its OmniCube platform specifically for use in virtual desktop infrastructure solutions.

The SimpliVity OmniCube, which packages the company's OmniStack software with commodity server, storage and networking hardware as a single managed solution, now includes support for Nvidia and Teradici technology for high-performance virtual desktop implementations.

The SimpliVity OmniCube also allows VMware- and Citrix-based virtual desktop infrastructures running on the platform to be managed by a VMware administrator using VMware vCenter, said Doron Kempel, chairman and CEO of the Westborough, Mass.-based company.

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It is important for SimpliVity and its channel partners to focus in virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, implementations, Kempel said.

"The initial goal of VDI was not to cut costs, but to increase customer control and security while still being cost-conscious," he said.

Virtual desktops have traditionally been a second-rate citizen of IT, Kempel said. "VDI has been stuck in the basement," he said. "It's been an island in the data center. At the request of OmniCube customers, we're making VDI a first-class citizen. Not only are we helping VDI run efficiently, but we're bringing all our services to the IT department."

VDI pilot implementations are typically successful in showing customers what can be done with the technology but run into trouble as the deployment grows, said Marvin Taylor, principal at Lynbrook Solutions, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider and SimpliVity partner.

"Customers usually have successful VDI pilots but then see them fall apart as they add desktops," Taylor said. "It's important to put the right parts together and then make it economical for the user. SimpliVity provides us a differentiator when bringing in VDI."

Kempel said the SimpliVity OmniCube eases VDI deployment with its built-in deduplication, compression and data optimization technologies to increase virtual desktop efficiency.

For instance, he said, with the OmniCube, customers do not need to use VMware's Linked Clone technology for connecting cloned virtual machines to common storage, which he said does not have deduplication.

Furthermore, Kempel said, customers can manage VDI with the rest of IT via vCenter, and they can make as many copies of the virtual desktops as needed to get full control of backup and replication.

The OmniCube also allows customers to attach multiple external servers to extend its data protection technology to virtual machines outside the platform, he said.

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The SimpliVity OmniCube can be a good platform on which to run VDI implementations, said Aaron Cardenas, CEO and founder of P1 Technologies, a Hermosa Beach, Calif.-based solution that recently signed on with the vendor.

However, Cardenas said, it is still often difficult to convert customers with existing IT infrastructures to the idea of converged infrastructures.

"Customers tend to like to buy their parts individually if they have been doing so," he said. "If it's a greenfield opportunity, or a remote location, and customers are looking for a new IT infrastructure, converged infrastructure is a good alternative. But for core IT operations, someone there fought pretty hard to get Dell in, or to get Hewlett-Packard in. And, the buying cycles of servers, storage and networking are hard to mesh."

Lynbrook Solutions' Taylor said the value his company brings to customers is actually in the introduction of viable disruptive technologies like SimpliVity and virtual desk infrastructures.

"We keep an eye on emerging technologies and look for enterprise-grade technologies to provide alternatives to the status quo for our customer base," he said.