Service provider turns RAM into VDI storage with Atlantis

OGL Computer rolls out virtual desktop service to customers using Atlantis software to provide RAM as VDI storage for non-persistent desktops with 200 IOPS of performance each

West Midlands-based IT services provider OGL Computer has deployed Atlantis Computing software to turn RAM into storage to help it roll out a virtual desktop service to customers.

The Atlantis software allowed the company to provision storage at 200 IOPS per desktop without the need to access external SAN storage.

OGL Computer has two offices at Kidderminster and Stourport, with datacentres at Studley and London. It provides IT support, cloud services, disaster recovery and its own enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for wholesalers. It has around 1,700 small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers across the technical and software sides of the business.

OGL started to look around for a way of hosting virtual desktops it could provide as a service to customers. In its datacentres it is mostly a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) shop, with HPE Blade and DL servers with shared storage on an HPE 3PAR SAN.

Mark Slater, systems architect at OGL, said he had talks with HPE and Solidfire about provision of flash storage to support the virtual desktop roll-out. However, he instead opted for the Atlantis Computing software product, which allowed an easy way to support the roll-out while not over-committing financially.

“There would have been a large initial capital outlay with the flash suppliers,” he said. “We liked Atlantis because we could start small and scale in a granular way.”

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OGL deployed Atlantis ILIO – which has since become part of USX – on 24 physical hosts that serve 80 Citrix Xen virtual desktops each. Every host has 284GB of RAM, of which 80GB is reserved for Atlantis, which runs as a VM on the host. The Atlantis-created slice of memory is presented as storage that retains non-persistent desktops, while data created by virtual desktop operations goes to shared storage on the 3PAR SAN.

The key benefits for OGL are low-cost and performance, said Slater.

“Storage per host is encapsulated in a single host and not routed to the external SAN, so we can guarantee performance at the host. It’s also granular so we can scale it with the business and performance is very good with 16,000 IOPS per host and 200 IOPS per desktop.”

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