In this series I am going to be looking at how PCI-E SSDs can be used with VDI, I’ll be covering the hardware in use, the user experience and also why I believe PCI-E SSDs to be the best option to get your virtual desktops running as fast as possible.
First this is the hardware I’ll be using throughout this series-
HP ProLiant DL385 G7 Server
P/N – 470065-367
AMD 6128HE 8 Core 2.0ghz Processor
44GB DDR3 RAM
4x15k 72GB Hard Drives with a p410i 1GB (used for boot only and HDD comparison in RAID5)
OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 240GB PCI-E SSD
One of the great things about these PCI-E SSDs is they have really come down in price over the last 6 months, around December 2011 they were £460 (exVAT) but this one we managed to pick up from Novatech (link) for just £372.
All things being good you should seriously consider getting 2 of the RevoDrives (or any PCI-E SSD) and put them in software RAID1, you may then go wow that’ll be expensive (~£744) but lets consider the current cost of 8x72GB 15k SAS drives and a 1GB flash cache.
If we say £150 per SAS drive and another £250 for the flash cache that would make a grand total of £1,450 just on hard drive storage!
For the software side of things we will be running the Microsoft Hyper-V edition of Citrix VDI-in-a-Box (link) with Windows 7 as the client OS of choice. The reason for using Hyper-V and not XenServer or VMware (as if I need a reason not to use VMware) is that the drivers for the OCZ RevoDrive 3 only work with Windows.
Anywhos that’s all for now you can however see the teaser video below, do enjoy!