Citrix XenDesktop 7 and Sanbolic Melio5

Extending the Benefits of Desktop and Application Virtualization to Today’s Mobile World

A guest blog post by Andy Melmed, VP, Enterprise Architecture Sanbolic, Inc.

Last month, at Citrix Synergy 2013 in Anaheim, CA, Citrix officially announced the upcoming release of XenDesktop 7, formerly known as project Excalibur. With a new, unified management platform designed to streamline and simplify configuration and administration of the desktop and application virtualization infrastructure, XenDesktop 7 enables Windows desktops and applications to be delivered as a (cloud) service easily and securely to any device over any network in order to maximize productivity in today’s mobile world.

Strikingly applicable and timely, Sanbolic, a long-time Citrix-Ready partner and industry leader in software-enabled storage and distributed data management, also recently announced the upcoming release of its latest data management platform, Melio5. Offering a number of new enterprise-class features and capabilities including RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6 and 60, storage live migration, QoS, snapshots, and both synchronous and asynchronous replication (for DR across geographically distributed sites), Melio5 enables server-side scale-out storage architectures capable of providing economics akin to those found in large cloud datacenters such as Google and Facebook.

Using Melio5, enterprise customers can build their own storage infrastructures using commodity server and storage hardware with Melio providing the full system and storage management capabilities typically found in higher-end storage arrays. The notable differences: the use of commodity hardware, which removes vendor lock-in; and the use of server-side storage, which eliminates the high price tag associated with purchasing, managing, operating and maintaining legacy storage arrays. Combined, these differences help organizations reduce storage infrastructure costs dramatically.

With Melio5, customers choose the storage devices that most cost-effectively meet the needs of their business- and mission-critical workloads and combine them with Melio’s unique capabilities to achieve the greatest value from their applications. Whether they decide to use high performance storage devices such as SSD or flash, legacy storage devices such as FC, SAS or SATA, or even an assortment of these devices, Melio5 brings high availability, high performance and dynamic scale to the applications accessing data on these devices. At the same time, data management is greatly simplified through efficient consolidation and data protection is ensured via cohesive snapshots.

For organizations looking to add high performance storage to their new or existing infrastructures to improve application response times as they continue leveraging the investments in their legacy storage, Melio5 offers the flexibility to fuse various types of storage devices together to create a single pool of storage accessible at block-level by multiple application servers concurrently. This mixed or “hybrid” storage architecture applies to both external (SAN) storage as well as local (server-side) storage, providing even more flexibility to customers building their own storage infrastructures.

Melio5 also introduces the concept of “intelligent data placement” through a new feature called “Latency Targeted Allocator,” or “LTA” for short, which places data on particular storage media automatically based on file system access profiles. By placing random access data on fast (low latency) storage to improve application performance and sequential data on high capacity storage, Melio5 optimizes the performance-to-capacity ratio of a customer’s storage infrastructure. Thus, rather than taking a reactive approach (aka “storage tiering”), which involves moving data between storage devices after it has been written to disk, Melio LTA takes a proactive approach to data placement, ensuring the most efficient and appropriate use of one’s valuable storage resources.

So what does all this mean for Citrix XenDesktop 7 customers?

For starters, it means customers can now create storage architectures (using commodity server and storage hardware) that offer high availability and scalability for their desktop and application virtualization projects at a fraction of the cost of external storage arrays. It also means that, as with previous versions of Melio, they can continue to enable and extend the capabilities of Provisioning Services, a core component of XenDesktop, by enabling server and desktop OS image high availability and load-balancing, simplifying image management and maintenance, and significantly reducing storage capacity requirements.

With Melio5’s built-in support for application clustering, it means Citrix administrators have a simple, cost-effective solution for protecting their XenDesktop databases during SQL Server failures without the costs or complexities associated with Windows Failover Clustering, SQL replication or SQL mirroring.

And last, but certainly not least, deploying XenDesktop 7 with Melio5 means customers have the flexibility to mix their legacy storage devices with newer, faster storage devices to maximize virtual desktop performance and ensure their users a rich desktop experience while simultaneously realizing the greatest return on their storage investments.

Together, Citrix XenDesktop 7 and Sanbolic Melio5 have made it easier than ever for organizations to deploy desktop and application virtualization in order to achieve the highest levels of productivity in an increasingly mobile world.