Finance house deploys Tintri hybrid flash array for VMware View VDI

Fund investment advisor MVision has deployed a VM-centric Tintri hybrid flash array to speed consultant remote access to its VMware View 5.1 virtual desktop infrastructure

Financial services firm MVision has deployed a Tintri hybrid flash array as it migrates from Microsoft Terminal Services remote desktops to a VMware View virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in a move that has seen staff login times slashed from 10 minutes to a few seconds.

MVision is an assets advisory business that has around 60 consultants serving 3,500 investors internationally from sites in London, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney. The consultants often access office, email and CRM systems while on the road worldwide visiting clients.

The company previously ran a Microsoft Windows 2008 Terminal Services infrastructure with EqualLogic iSCSI SAN storage but this proved inadequate to delivering IT services to staff on the road, said IT director George Kyriazis.

He said: “With Terminal Services everyone’s desktops were served from one machine and if that went down so did everyone’s access. Also Terminal Services RDP protocol was not optimised for the type of remote working scenarios we face and was very laggy. PCoIP works much better.”

In 2012 MVision decided to move from Terminal Services to a virtual desktop infrastructure and got a Tintri hybrid flash array on proof-of-concept at the same time as it implemented VMware View VDI software.

The company installed a Tintri T540 with a total of 13TB of capacity in a mix of multi-level cell (MLC) flash drives and SATA disk, all running via NFS shares on 10Gbps Ethernet.

Tintri says each 3U box can handle more than 200 virtual machines, with I/O optimised to hit predominantly the flash portion of storage media by use of storage tiering software that moves data from HDDs to flash as required.

Data deduplication is used to minimise the space occupied by data on the SATA bulk storage and the array’s controller is designed to be optimised for flash storage media.

The Tintri device is one of a new class of VM-centric storage hardware. It is tightly integrated with VMware via APIs and instead of using volumes/LUNs and RAID groups it maps I/O requests directly to virtual disk.

Kyriazis said the Tintri implementation cost around £50,000 and cut staff login times from up to 10 minutes to a few seconds with much faster application launch and handling of large files than the previous Terminal Services/EqualLogic setup.

He said: “For us it’s all about IOPS and latency and with EqualLogic we had no issues with I/O but the latency was too much. We needed Rolls Royce performance for VDI and EqualLogic at the time didn’t support deduplication or tiered storage and had an old controller architecture.”

He added: “The contrast is like between day and night in terms of performance. Applications open instantly, as do reports of 50MB or 100MB and it has cut the time of some CRM queries in half.”

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