Introducing the Greenbytes IOOE Solution

Greenbytes have been busy improving their solution to Desktop Virtualization performance.  They listened to customers and developed the HA-3000 into a truly amazing product in the Greenbytes IOOE.

The solution consists of what is called an IO Offload Engine which is 2x IO Controllers and an all SSD based Storage unit with 24x 200GB eMLC Solid State Disks giving 4.8TB of SSD Storage capable of 200,000 IOPS!

These units connect together to form the Greenbytes IOOE.


Greenbytes IOOE

The above units can store 1000’s of desktop virtual machines ! What? I hear you gasp!  How is that possible?  Well ok – I’ll explain.  The 2x white coloured processing units do all of the processing of the IO and the black unit at the bottom of the stack stores the data.

You still need Hypervisor Hosts (i.e. Servers running VMWare ESXi, Citrix XenServer or Windows Server 2008 (inc Hyper-V) or Windows Server 2008 R2 (inc Hyper-V)) to actually host the Virtual Machines but these servers connect to the IOOE using either iSCSI or Fibre Channel with MPIO.

The Hypervisor Host servers running one of the host operating systems listed above, will host the amount of VM’s based on the capability of the hardware.  It is generally accepted that you can host 10 to 12 desktops per processor core, therefore on a dual socket hex-core server you can fit up to 120 standard desktops (for more heavy processor hungry users this number would need to reduce).  Therefore for 1000 virtual desktops,  would require around 10 ESXi hosts.

We discussed the problem of high IOPS required for virtualized (or virtualised in English) systems and the problem with spinning disks, just not cutting it back in 2011, in our blog The Virtualisation journey .  Seeing that each desktop OS requires at least 40 IOPS in order to run comfortably (Windows 7) and that a spinning disk can achieve around 200 IOPS – you would need many more disks than is economically viable to achieve the amount of performance we are talking about when we get towards the sort of VM’s we are talking about here (1000+).

In comes the Greenbyes IOOE which can achieve as high as 200,000 IOPS (two hundred thousand)! This gives enough IOPS for 5000 desktop VMs requiring 40 IOPS each.

So how does it work?

Greenbytes IOOE

The Hypervisor Servers are connected to the Greenbytes IOOE as well as the traditional SAN.  In the above diagram you can see that the VM is connected to Greenbytes VIO and it is where the Desktop image files sit.  Any user data as well as the profile c:\users\<username> can be stored on the traditional SAN.

Windows 7 requires 1 to 2GB or RAM with the same size swap file required – this sits on the Greenbytes IOOE.

This allows the Greenbytes IOOE to give incredible performance to the infrastructure and leaves the traditional SAN to store data rather than suffer the tremendous IO storm that a virtualised infrastructure would demand of it.  In fact the limitation of the Greenbytes IOOE system is limited only by the network bandwidth required, with 4 x 10GbE SFP+ or 4 x 8Gb FC (redundant with failover) – 1000’s of VMs running on such hardware reaches the limit of the bandwidth offered by these interfaces.

Therefore this setup works with any existing Server, SAN, Network infrastructure and and is an essential option for datacentres looking to provide true desktop virtualisation to large user communities.

Get in touch if you would like to know more – or for a quote.

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