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New FalconStor SAN Targets VDI To Boost Storage And Performance

FalconStor, a provider of disk-based storage, has introduced a new Network Storage Server SAN Accelerator for VMware View. Designed for VMware's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments, the company says the product speeds VDI performance and improves data protection and recovery. FalconStor's technology, unveiled Monday, helps tackle VDI "I/O storms," in which the number of input-output instructions per second increases dramatically when virtual desktop users are all trying to access storage at around the same time.

I/O storms can brew when a number of workers are, for example, logging in or logging out on their virtual desktops simultaneously. The slowdown can diminish quality of service and could put a company in violation of service level agreements. Another challenge unique to VDI is the inability to do periodic data backups as users would do routinely in a non-virtualized network, says Fadi Albatal, vice president of product marketing for FalconStor. "Within a VDI environment, that is impossible because you cannot possibly run a thousand backup agents at the same time on one server. It will bring the infrastructure to its knees."

The SAN Accelerator For VMware View stores frequently-accessed data in a flash storage cache where it can be delivered to the virtual desktops quickly. In the flash cache, data read from the cache is separated from data that is written to the cache. The cache is basically a way station for data between storage and the desktop. "You can hold a lot more of those reads in the cache so you are much more likely to get your data from the cache," says David Floyer, founder and chief technology officer of "And then your writes ... you have those secured and then you can write those [to storage] at your leisure." He says that increasing the cache size makes it easier for IT to deal with high I/O rates.

The SAN Accelerator also improves data protection through the use of snapshots, thin clones, replication and file-level protection. With that, the product offers continuous data protection that lets IT managers recover the entire VMware View environment locally or at a disaster recovery site in the event of a failure. It also enables creation of data repositories on a separate NAS appliance. Finally, it allows end users to recover files on their own without having to involve IT staff.

Although this product is only available for VDI systems running VMware View, FalconStor plans to support rival Citrix's VDI environment in the near future. Pricing for the FalconStor Network Storage Server SAN Accelerator is set at $35 per virtual desktop for up to 5,000 users.