This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

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!

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8 Responses to Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD – Intro

  • Ryan Niblett says:

    We are just in the process of upgrading our HP 380 G8 to have 4 of these in raid 0 as the main storage for Vdi-in-a-box. Along with dual 8 core processors and 384Gb Ram, things should fly. I got the idea from your site so thank you for trying it.

  • Ryan Niblett says:

    I’ll try and get a vid taken to show the performance although I have a feeling that windows might stunt it a little but we will see.

    Have you had any issues with your revo overheating? I am having to purchase 30mm fans and new heatsinks due to bsod on the server, down to the gen8 hp boxes not cooling the pci-e slots that well.

    • James Preston says:

      No problem with overheating but this was in a G7 server – what kind of temps were you seeing?

  • Ryan Niblett says:

    The revo is running around 45-50 degrees on average with spikes to 60+ when under high load. I think it is down to the G8’s air flow and it being pushed down to cool the CPU’s. Still awaiting for the fans to pass through customs but it is going to be interesting to see how the cooling works with 4 revos close together.

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