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With the release of VMware Horizon View 6, VMware is delivering a unified platform for desktop and application virtualization that leverages the power and flexibility of the software-defined data center. By using VSAN and Atlantis ILIO software-defined storage solutions, Horizon 6 drives down the cost per desktop, while delivering an amazing user experience.

A joint solution with VMware Horizon View 6, VSAN and Atlantis ILIO makes it possible to deliver:

  • Applications and desktops through a single platform – including VDI, XenApp and RDS
  • Hyper-converged architecture that leverages off-the-shelf servers and local storage
  • Optimization with Atlantis ILIO In-Memory Storage technology with content-aware IO processing,  inline deduplication and compression that deliver:
    • A better-than-PC user experience
    • Reduced storage capacity requirements to further decrease infrastructure costs
    • The ability to use of blade servers with VSAN
    • The flexibility to pool and share any SAN or NAS with VSAN

A Brief History of VSAN and Atlantis ILIOVSAN Solution Brief

At VMware Partner Exchange 2014 in February, Atlantis Computing and VMware announced a joint solution with the blog “VMware VSAN and Atlantis ILIO USX Join Forces on Software-Defined Storage” and solution brief. The joint solution leverages VSAN’s ability to pool local solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disks (HDDs) with Atlantis ILIO to extend and optimize VSAN. Using Atlantis ILIO, IT organizations can pool VSANs with existing shared SAN, NAS and All-Flash storage, while optimizing  it with Atlantis ILIO In-Memory Storage technology to boost performance, reduce storage capacity and provide storage services such as high availability, fast cloning and unified management across all datacenter storage hardware.




Joint Solution Testing

Why is the VDI workload is different?

Before we get into the test results of the joint solution on VDI, let’s first talk a little about how and why desktop virtualization workloads including VDI, XenApp and RDS are very different than server workloads. Desktop virtualization workloads are very unpredictable and interactive in nature with high peaks and low averages. They are also write-intensive (80% write/ 20% read) and mostly random and small block sizes (4K). As a result, traditional storage technologies find desktop virtualization very difficult to handle and read caching technologies don’t provide the same benefits in terms of performance as in other workloads.

Test Environment

Three Node VSAN with:Atlantis ILIO and VSAN

  • vSphere ESXi 5.5
  • SuperMicro with 2x E5-2687 + 384GB RAM
  • 1TB Samsung SSD
  • 1 x 1TB SAS disks
  • 10 GB networking
  • 1vCPU per host reserved and one allocated (shared with the virtual desktops)
  • 100GB RAM across 3 nodes
  • Atlantis ILIO running on each host



Note: While this test was conducted on a rack server. The ability to use 1 SSD and 1 SAS disk makes it possible to use Atlantis ILIO and VSAN with a blade server.

Test Overview

The benchmarking of the joint solution consisted of a series of benchmark tests including ioMeter, PassMark, and a boot storm test of 375 desktops. The ioMeter benchmark test configuration was designed to simulate the storage performance of a steady state desktop workload with 80% write, 20% read, 4k and 80% random block IO. Then, we ran PassMark, which runs a series of disk tests that simulate a physical PC disk performance and rates the system using an index score (Disk Mark) that can be compared to physical PC hard drives. At the end of the all the tests, we measured the consumed storage capacity and calculated the reduction compared to the full clone size.


Iometer IOPSiometeriops1.png

VMware VSAN was able to deliver a very good 25,678 IOPS in the ioMeter test. When combined with Atlantis ILIO, the joint solution boosted the storage performance to 117,090 IOPS with an average latency of 3.4 milliseconds.

Iometer Latency

For more information on how to user ioMeter to benchmark VDI environments, read the blog by Jim Moyle “How to use Iometer to Simulate a Desktop Workload


In the first bar above, we have run the PassMark Disk Mark with vSphere Resource Allocation limiting the IOPS of the virtual desktop to 50 IOPS. Because the desktop can’t burst to the hundreds or thousands of IOPS it needs during activities such as launching applications, the Disk Mark score indicates a poor desktop user experience with a score of 17. With the 3-Node VMware VSAN, the Disk Mark score is faster than a typical physical PC SATA drive at 1190. However, when you add Atlantis ILIO In-Memory Storage optimization, the score increases to 6,795 which is faster than a MacBook Air with an Apple SSD and many PCIe flash card used on a single physical PC, ranking Atlantis ILIO and VSAN as the 10th fastest hard disk to ever be tested.

Passmark VDI 50 IOPS

PassMark Performance Test 8.0 Disk Mark Score with a virtual desktop with vSphere IO control limiting IOPS to 50 IOPS maximum

PassMark with VSAN
PassMark Performance Test 8.0 Disk Mark Score with 3 node VSAN cluster

PassMark with VSAN and Atlantis ILIO

PassMark Performance Test 8.0 Disk Mark Score with 3 node VSAN cluster with Atlantis ILIO optimization

Boot Storm

A boot storm of 375 virtual desktops acrBoot Storm Timeoss a 3 node VSAN cluster with Atlantis ILIO completed in just six minutes and ten seconds (measured until the VMware tools reported were running), which averages to a boot time of less than a full second per VM.   A single desktop booted in 12 seconds with all other desktops running.

Storage Capacity Reduction

 reduced Atlantis ILIO Capacity Reductionby 99% during the testing with Atlantis ILIO. In production environments with persistent virtual desktops, we would expect approximately 85-90% storage capacity reduction.

As you can see, Atlantis ILIO provides tremendous value when used in combination with VSAN to provide the storage for VMware Horizon View 6. The joint solution delivers high-performance virtual desktops that outperform physical PCs with SSDs/Flash, the


ability to use local storage and blade servers reduces the total cost per desktop and the simplicity of both VSAN (built into vSphere) and Atlantis ILIO, which deploys automatically as a VM, providing a compelling solution across VDI, XenApp and RDS desktop virtualization deployments.

To learn more about the joint solution with VSAN, watch the on-demand webinar:  “Get More out of VMware VSAN: Boost Capacity and Performance

Read more »

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