Q&A with Lee Caswell of Pivot3
VSM: What is happening to the Era of PCs?
LC: We’re witnessing a radical transformation not seen since the early days of PCs of “where” computing happens, what a compute device looks like and what an operating system should provide. IT organizations that are highly efficient in managing infrastructures for shared applications can find themselves unprepared and under-staffed for a worker environment that is no longer made up of two or three corporate-approved beige PCs.
VSM: What impact does this transformation bring to the infrastructure?
LC: The explosion in supported device types combined with mobile users who run a similarly broad range of operating systems and applications threatens to overwhelm IT. Centralizing and virtualizing desktop infrastructure is a natural response as IT organizations jump to regain control, establish secure access and realize the efficiencies inherent in central management.
VSM: What is the key challenge in today’s centralized virtual desktop infrastructure?
LC: By far, the most challenging resource to share among multiple users is storage. Disk drives are decidedly the slowest resource in a desktop and most Windows applications are written with the assumption of dedicated capacity and performance from a local disk. Sharing storage capacity and performance across hundreds or thousands of desktops requires a new approach to shared storage. High availability also becomes a critical factor. The disk drive in a PC is a single point of failure as too many unfortunate users find out. Centralized desktop infrastructure requires a high availability architecture and enterprise-quality components which can drive up the cost and complexity of the solution with conventional SAN or NAS products.
VSM: How do converged appliances help justify VDI projects?
LC: Converged appliances offer the compute, network and the storage resources required for a certain number of centralized desktops. Most appliance companies scale out all of these resources as you add appliances to simplify the configuration of a system, provide a flexible path for solving performance needs, and introduce a pay as you grow model that matches the typical deployment pattern of centralized desktops. These converged appliances are less costly from an acquisition standpoint than separate physical servers and physical storage and also minimize operational costs by minimizing power, cooling, rack space and ideally training and maintenance.
VSM: How is Pivot3 uniquely addressing this PC evolution?
LC: Pivot3 implements the best of the appliance solution and then adds a patented feature called StormCatcher™ that aggregates, protects and load-balances storage capacity, storage performance and storage network bandwidth across all appliances. While other appliances stop short of delivering a SAN, Pivot3 delivers the SAN performance and availability combined with the cost-effective and easy to manage appliance model. It’s a combination that is irresistible to IT managers who realize that VDI requires predictable performance and high availability at all times once hundreds or thousands of users depend on it.