Guest Blog by David Marshall, Sr. Marketing Manager and Social Media Strategist at Virtual Bridges

Virtual Bridges and SolarWinds have jointly put together a four part blog series intended to provide guidance in implementing and managing a VDI environment.  These will be posted alternately on the SolarWinds Whiteboard blog at and the Virtual Bridges blog . 

This is part one in the series, the other parts are:


  • Part 1: Achieving Success with VDI, the First Time (Whiteboard Blog)
  • Part 2: Successful Performance and Capacity Management for VDI (Virtual Bridges Blog)
  • Part 3: Considering VDI? 10 tips to ensure your VDI investment delivers real returns (Whiteboard Blog)
  • Part 4: Key Considerations for Storage Optimization for VDI (Virtual Bridges Blog)


We hope this is useful to you and we look forward to your feedback.


One of the questions we frequently hear from customers is how to get started with VDI. Over the next two weeks, Virtual Bridges and SolarWinds will be taking a deeper look at the subject, partnering to help educate the community with a multi-part blog series. As our first post, we’ll walk through key steps to achieving VDI success – the first time.

Windows migration, Bring Your Own Device (BYoD), cost reduction, mobility, security, compliance – and these are just a few of the many business reasons driving VDI adoption. Whatever your rationale, there are a number of keys to achieving success with your VDI project, but it all starts with careful planning of the infrastructure.

Before committing to any VDI initiative, make sure you know the answers to the following:

  • What are the key elements of my VDI infrastructure?
  • What are some of the key factors that impact the size, capacity, performance of this infrastructure?
  • How do I monitor, manage this infrastructure to ensure reliability and performance?
  • How do I measure success?


Now that you have the questions in mind, let’s get started on the answers.

VDI Basics

When you think about VDI, you have three key consistent components – Servers, Storage and Networks. It’s how you work with your VDI vendor to design, size and manage the infrastructure that can be the difference between success and ongoing headaches.

  • Servers – The servers required for VDI are industry standard x86-architecture servers. Local disk storage is recommended for the servers, however you can use any physical form factor including blade servers. VDI works best when multiple servers are clustered together to meet the capacity needs of thousands of desktops. In addition, clustering buys you load balancing and high availability. You want the servers to be stateless so there is no loss of critical data if the server goes down. In addition, it is ideal if the servers themselves scale horizontally much like a web server farm. As your capacity needs grow, you simply add more servers to the cluster since the same software component runs on every server. The local storage can be attached via standard IDE or iSCSI interfaces. Dual 1 Gig-E network cards are recommended on the servers. These network ports are treated individually for different types of traffic or can be teamed or bonded together.


  • Storage – in a VDI implementation, the cluster of servers is connected to shared storage which is the persistent repository of all data. The storage is NAS-based and the servers rely on file-based access to the shared storage. Additionally, both NFS and CIFS file protocols are supported.


A key warning, storage can be a significant capacity and performance bottleneck with VDI and can lead to significant frustrations. Shared storage using a Storage Optimizer technology can alleviate this and reduce the performance requirements. The key to this technology is the ability to leverage the local disks on the servers for almost all real-time operations. The IOPS on the shared storage is reduced 4-5 per VDI session even for persistent desktops.


  • Network – The network is another critical aspect of the VDI infrastructure. This is primarily the network that connects the access or client devices to the VDI sessions running on the servers. Typically, this part of the network is a WAN. Most VDI implementations worry about optimizing for WAN bandwidth and latency. Make sure to consider the reliability of the network and remember that VDI requires a persistent network connection.


Stay tuned for our next post which will highlight the infrastructure requirements to keep in mind as you get started with VDI.

For more on VDI, check out Virtual Bridges.