Simple + Cloud Native = Infinitely Scalable VDI 2.0

by Amitabh Sinha on Jul 5, 2016 6:00:00 AM

This is Part Two of a three-part series that explains the simplicity of next generation VDI. To learn how Workspot stripped out VDI's extraneous components, read Part One. In Part Three, I'll detail how Workspot simplifies IMA migration. Stay tuned.

Workspot's VDI 2.0 solution is 10x simpler than first generation VDI solutions, like Citrix and VMware. When you are using those types of on-premises solutions, if you want simplicity you have to compromise. And you're going to get a lot less. Less scalablility, less reliablability, less functionality.

In the cloud era, "simple + cloud-native" results in insanely easy, infinitely scalable architecture that is far more reliable than its on-premises predecessors. To understand what I'm talking about, think about how cloud-native solutions have transformed organizations around the world. Think Office 365 vs. Exchange, Salesforce vs. Siebel, Workday vs. Peoplesoft....

The new easy button

cloud_native_makes_vdi_easy.jpgTen years ago, Staples had a memorable ad campaign about an easy button. Remember it? The ad was a huge success.

In the IT world, cloud-native solutions are the easy buttons. It takes only minutes to on-board onto a cloud-native solution. There are no servers to set up, no enterprise architecture teams to involve, and no networking diagrams to draw. Instead, you create a few users accounts in minutes, and you are off and running. As your organization grows, you can add more users as needed. Simple. 

Why simplicity makes scalability so easy

With the right design, cloud-native applications can deliver both simplicity and scalability at the same time. Cloud-native business applications, such as Salesforce and Office 365, are some of the most scalable applications in the world, each handling millions of users. These applications are built differently from the traditional, legacy, on-premises applications. Legacy applications have to worry about scaling to thousands, maybe tens of thousands of users.

A typical cloud-native application is built as a multi-tenant solution, i.e., a single instance is shared by thousands of customer accounts that each have hundreds of users. Cloud-native solutions are designed to be infinitely scalable. They can grow in two dimensions simultaneously -- more tenants and more users per tenant. Becacuse the underlying infrastructure scales up automatically, a cloud-native solution can allow new tenants to sign up without any waiting period. Each tenant can also add more users to their organization and scale up automatically without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

Cloud-native solutions have to use different components to deliver scalability. You cannot use your standard SQL databases. You cannot use your standard application servers. You cannot use your standard three-tier architecture. Instead, cloud-native applications are built on micro-services with a big-data pipeline. Small amounts of data are stored in a SQL database. Most data goes into a NOSQL database or even disk storage. 

Simplicity also translates into reliablilty

A typical Citrix or VMware VDI deployment contains multiple components deployed in highly available pairs -- SQL Servers, Load Balancers, Portals, Brokers, Licensing Servers, Provisioning Servers, etc. Multiple components are involved in every single user request, sometimes multiple times. It takes 33 steps to fulfill a login request, as described by a Citrix engineer. Through the power of compounding, even if each of the steps are 99% reliable, the overall sequence is now only 71.77% reliable (0.99^33 = 0.7177). That's only if everything works. If something does go wrong and a user is unable to login, how do you figure out which one of those 33 steps failed?

Our cloud-native VDI 2.0 architecture is insanely reliable. After all, users login with 1 step. Yes, 1 step. How do we do that? We take advantage of the cloud and a new client architecture, and we push down end user configuration to the end-points in real-time. So when end users need to connect, they already have everything they need. 

Simplicity doesn't mean less

Cloud-native solutions also take advantage of another big benefit of the cloud: almost infinite, low cost data storage. What is possible when the physical and financial limitations of storage are removed? We can collect everything that is happening on the end point. For example, we can know when a user accesses application A, from device D, from location L, and we can know that it took S seconds or it failed. This is real end user data. We can send the data from each device up to the cloud in real-time. The cloud can then analyze the data in real-time to provide instant analysis. I'll talk more about this in a subsequent blog.

As you can see, unlike on-premises solutions, simpler does not mean less. The cloud-native approach we took at Workspot actually opens up more possibilities and benefits for VDI. It is infinitely more scalable and more reliable. And it even offers more real-time visibility into your end users and devices.

Want to see it for yourself?  If you can spare an hour, we can walk you through a demo to show you the simplicity of our solution. Click the button below to schedule time to talk to us.

 

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This post was written by Amitabh Sinha

Amitabh has more than twenty years of experience across enterprise software, end user computing, mobile, and database software. Amitabh co-founded Workspot with Puneet Chawla and Ty Wang in August 2012. Prior to Workspot, Amitabh was the General Manager for Enterprise Desktops and Apps at Citrix Systems. In his five years at Citrix, Amitabh was VP Product Management for XenDesktop and VP Engineering for the Advanced Solutions Group. Amitabh has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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