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Virtual SAN Boosts Virtual Desktops at Oregon State U College of Business

Oregon State University's College of Business has improved the performance of its virtual desktop infrastructure with the deployment of VMware Virtual SAN as a new storage tier for the institution's VMware Horizon 6 environment — at one-third the cost of a new storage area network.

"We were facing a few challenges with our VDI environment including high IOPS workloads and we did not have budget for a new traditional SAN," said Alan Sprague, senior system administrator, College of Business at Oregon State University, in a prepared statement. "VMware Virtual SAN ... enabled us to take advantage of the server infrastructure we had already purchased and turn into a platform to increase the performance and stability of the VDI environment without spending more money on a new SAN."

The College of Business has two open-use computer labs running VMware Horizon 6, with a 170-user capacity. Students use the virtual desktop environment to access high IOPS intensive applications such as Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk AutoCAD and Microsoft Visual Studio. Prior to the implementation of VMware Virtual SAN, the VDI environment suffered from latency issues and occasional loss in service during peak usage.

IT staffers turned to VMware Virtual SAN last year to address the strained VDI setup as well as eliminate manual workarounds, according to a press release. After testing and refining the system in the summer, they completed the implementation of the new storage platform in time for fall class sessions to begin. Now, students and faculty have uninterrupted access to virtual desktops with high performance even during peak load periods. IT reports that login times for classrooms have dropped to a minute or less.

Additional benefits include:

  • Increased IT staff productivity as a result of automatic load balancing and simplified storage management;
  • Predictable, lower cost per desktop; and
  • Easy scalability for VDI and storage environments.

The college is now planning to provide 24/7 student access to the network so that users can access virtual desktops offsite.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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