At the start of this month, Atlantis Computing gave me a preview of their new ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0. As the title of this post suggests, Atlantis have a very nice new feature in this release. Last year, I blogged about their ILIO Diskless VDI for non-persistent desktops which ran purely in memory. That was quite a novel concept, and found affinity with a lot of customers (and won a number of awards too). However, many of their customers asked them to provide an in-memory solution for persistent desktops as well as non-persistent ones. With this release, Atlantis have responded to their customers request and have announced that this ILIO 4.0 release will support persistent desktops in-memory too. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first in-memory storage solution for persistent VDI. The benefits of running your desktop completely in memory are obvious from a performance perspective, but just how do Atlantis do persistent desktops using RAM as the primary storage? Read on to find out – it’s kind of cool.
My first introduction to Atlantis ILIO was at a User Group meeting in the UK last year. I had a chat with Jim Moyle who explained the Atlantis ILIO product to me. Their primary focus is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) storage and performance optimization solutions. In a nutshell, the ILIO software appliance sits in the I/O path between your hypervisor and storage and does what is essentially I/O acceleration. Since the appliance sits in the I/O path, it presents an iSCSI or NFS datastore at the front-end to the hypervisor, and at the back-end, it is presented with NFS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel storage from the storage array. The appliance does a number of things such as inline deduplication, and also does Windows I/O optimization through Atlantis’ patented technologies. They can identify the different types of windows I/O, and intelligently process and characterize it. This allows them to determine which I/Os are latency sensitive & which are not, and prioritize accordingly. Atlantis claims that this technology massively reduces virtual desktop I/O to the back-end storage. They also claim that their technology reduces storage consumption, and makes VDI cost-effective from a storage perspective without sacrificing desktop performance (which has always been the Achilles heel of VDI).