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1 WHITE PAPER Permabit Albireo Data Optimization Software Benefits of Albireo for Virtual Desktops January 2012 Permabit Technology Corporation Ten Canal Park Cambridge, MA USA Phone: FAX:

2 Contents Introduction...3 Virtual Desktop Storage Background...3 Permabit Albireo Data Optimization Software...4 Albireo Architecture Albireo Performance...5 Benefits of Albireo...5 Conclusion...5 About Permabit...6 Find Out More...6 The Albireo technology from Permabit will save an OEM months getting to market, if they can do it at all. This stuff is so far ahead in its capabilities and performance I can t see why you would want to do it yourself, unless you already have it baked. Steve Duplessie Founder & Sr. Analyst Enterprise Strategy Group 2

3 Introduction Virtual desktop deployments are gaining popularity both as a means of controlling desktop deployment costs and as a means of supporting highly mobile, flexible workforces. There are many technical challenges that must be addressed when hundreds (or thousands) of desktops are deployed in a centralized virtual infrastructure. Primary storage requirements present a key challenge, considering that one virtual desktop image is required for each user (there could be multiple users per client machine). For example, a 10 GB virtual desktop image requires 1 TB of storage for every 100 users deployed. Data deduplication can be a very effective tool for dramatically reducing the demand for primary storage. This paper reviews best practices for a virtual desktop deployment and shows how Permabit Albireo High Performance Data Optimization software can be utilized by storage manufacturers to dramatically reduce the amount of primary storage necessary to store desktop virtual image files. Virtual Desktop Storage Background The basic principle of a virtual desktop deployment is to create a virtual image for each user s technology environment. The virtual image contains the operating system, settings, data files and applications that typically existed on physical machines. Assuming a typical desktop image of GB per user, it is easy to see that the amount of total storage required can quickly increase with only a few hundred desktops. Considering that large organizations may have thousands of deployed desktops and laptops, it is clear that a more efficient storage strategy is needed to reduce cost and better manage desktop deployments. The first step in addressing virtual desktop image storage growth is cloning. Cloning technology takes advantage of the high amount of redundancy that exists between each virtual machine. Cloning is especially effective when desktops are deployed with the same operating system (e.g. Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP). Cloning technology is available from the leading virtual software vendors (e.g., VMware, Microsoft and Citrix) and from storage array vendors (e.g., NetApp). The way cloning works is to first isolate as many of the personal data settings, data files and applications as possible from the core operating system (Figure 1). This is done using the Windows group setting for the Windows operating system. Figure 1: Typical Virtual Desktop Deployment with Cloning LAN or WAN USER DATA Storage or Network Fabric OS BOOT DISK File Server Clients Desktop Virtual Machines Enterprise Storage Once the personal data for each client is separated from the core operating system (Boot Disk), then cloning technology is applied to the Boot Disk. Each Boot Disk is an identical copy of the master desktop image. Each physical storage volume contains one master image and a number of clones, each of which requires a fraction of the space used by the master image. Clones use a fraction of the space of the full master images. As clones are used in production, changes are written to a common clone image. Virtual system vendor-supplied clones work especially well for scenarios where the bulk of the boot image content remains consistent between boot disks. Depending on the total number of virtual desktops deployed, a portion of the total images is assigned to each volume taking into account disk I/O and concurrent processing demands. A typical volume can typically host a total of desktop images with cloning technology. 3

4 Each cloned virtual desktop image is linked to its own file share that contains the user data and personal settings. Here is where the main benefits of primary storage deduplication can be seen. User data contains the settings, data files, s, images, and other forms of unstructured information that belong to each individual client. In the typical office environment, group sharing applications such as have resulted in an explosion of file copies among workers. In more collaborative desktop environments where repositories of data are checked out by desktop users (e.g., software development or architectural design), the level of redundancy can be even higher. Enabling data deduplication with Permabit Albireo Data Optimization Software on the enterprise storage tier can significantly reduce the storage overhead. If the virtual desktop infrastructure does not follow the cloning practice, then data deduplication can be applied to virtual desktop images without the need for cloning. Boot images are highly redundant and can be dramatically reduced in size when stored on a volume with data deduplication, such as Permabit Albireo. And it is good practice to store old master desktop images also on a volume with data deduplication to reduce storage again. Albireo integrates at any point (inline, parallel, postprocess) at a sub-file level, enabling deduplication to optimize primary storage and downstream replication processes. Permabit Albireo Data Optimization Software Permabit Albireo applied to VMware virtual images reduces storage demands up to 97%. Albireo is embedded within the storage device connected to the virtual server host where it identifies duplicate blocks of data and advises the storage device so it can update its block pointers and avoid writing the same block of data to disk more than once. This saves on disk space and reduces other downstream storage related activities such as replication, snapshots, and backup. Albireo massively improves performance and efficiency of data creation, transmission, and storage. It integrates at any point (parallel, inline, or post-process) at a sub-file level, enabling deduplication to optimize both primary storage and downstream replication processes. Albireo is delivered as a Software Development Kit (SDK) to OEMs. The SDK contains the Albireo software library, full API documentation, code samples, and application notes for integration. Albireo Architecture Albireo s architecture combines the Albireo High Performance Index Engine with the Albireo content segmentation technologies, and is easily implemented via the Albireo SDK. As shown in Figure 4, Albireo operates as an advisory service outside of the storage application software data path. This ensures that data integrity is never at risk and that there is zero performance impact an important requirement for successful virtual desktop deployments. Figure 2: Albireo Architecture iscsi FC DATA SOURCES NFS CIFS 1. OEM software pushes new data and internal placement information (e.g., filename, inode, offset or LUN, block) to Albireo 2. Content-aware segmentation breaks larger objects into variable-sized chunks 3. Unique content fingerprints are computed 4. Patented indexing technologies determine if the chunk has been previously seen 5. Previous placement information is pushed asynchronously to the OEM software for file, block, or extent unification 4

5 Albireo s High Performance Index Engine table can identify duplicate data in a matter of microseconds orders of magnitude faster than other deduplication solutions. Table 1: VMware Images and Office Files Deduplication Results with Albireo In the case of a virtual desktop deployment where the boot disk is partitioned from the client data, incoming client data is managed by the assigned storage volume on any supported source (e.g., FC, iscsi, SCSI, or NFS). In a parallel integration scenario, as data is received, a copy is made and delivered via the Albireo API with its corresponding metadata (e.g., file name, offset, block, LUN). Using a hash algorithm (SHA-256 or MurmurHash3), unique content fingerprints are computed and compared to existing hash keys using patented high-speed indexing technologies. Information on whether or not a data chunk is a duplicate is asynchronously pushed to the storage application software via the Albireo API for file, block, or extent unification. If the data chunk is unique, then no action is required. If the data chunk is a duplicate, then the storage application software takes steps to modify its storage tables (e.g., inode block data structure for UNIX systems). The advantage of the Albireo architecture is that it operates outside of the storage data flow and avoids any performance penalty. There is no risk to data integrity because Albireo itself does not write the data to disk and data can always be read even if Albireo were to become disabled. Further, when reading data, Albireo s design eliminates having to perform data rehydration, a performance penalty and ease-of-use issue common with other data optimization technologies. Albireo Performance Albireo performance tests with VMware virtual server images and Microsoft Office files were performed by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) in August 2011 to simulate the space savings that can be expected for a file share containing the user data for a large virtual desktop deployment (Table 1). ESG obtained outstanding results for both sets of data. The VMware images performed the best due to their highly redundant content. Here a volume of identical server images was reduced to 3% of its original capacity. Although the tests were performed using identical server images, the same results could be expected with desktop images. The set of shared Office files were reduced by 33% with data deduplication. Data deduplication rates of over 50% are common for shared Office files depending on the data set. Data Type Before (GB) After (GB) Deduplication Rate Deduplication Ratio Office Files % 1.5 VMware Images % 36.2 Benefits of Albireo As shown in the ESG lab results, Albireo can reduce the total disk capacity necessary to store virtual images by over 97%. This is a huge storage savings that comes without compromising disk I/O performance or data integrity. Permabit Albireo is the only primary storage data optimization software that operates out of the data read path and therefore does not impact disk read performance. Even if Albireo were disabled or removed for any reason, the data will remain accessible. Albireo is an advisory service to the storage system and never modifies the data written to disk. The storage device always retains full control of data being written. This protects data integrity and eliminates the need to decompress data during read, a process that is expensive and necessary with compression data optimization technologies. Permabit is working closely with primary storage vendors to integrate Albireo into existing and planned storage devices to benefit virtual environments. Conclusion The broader adoption of virtual desktops is hindered by huge amounts of disk storage consumed by hundreds to thousands of virtual desktop machines. With each client requiring its own virtual image, even a reasonably sized virtual desktop deployment can require a considerable amount of disk space. Permabit Albireo Data Optimization Software has been shown in independent tests to reduce virtual image requirements by over 97% and Office files by 30-50%. Deploying Albireo substantially reduces direct storage costs and, equally important, reduces associated energy, space and cooling costs. Albireo operates completely out of the data read path so virtual server/storage performance is maintained and data integrity are never compromised. Permabit s Albireo is truly a breakthrough for the full utilization of virtual desktops. 5

6 About Permabit Permabit is a recognized leader in data efficiency technology. We enable OEMs to leverage their R&D investment, increase margin, accelerate time to market, and achieve competitive advantage. Permabit Albireo software massively improves performance and efficiency of data creation, transmission and storage. Solutions built with Albireo are being delivered by leading hardware, software and service providers. Find Out More To learn more about the Permabit Albireo technology, or to license our products, visit our website at or call us directly at Albireo (al-beer-ee-oh) appears to the naked eye to be a single star but can be resolved with a telescope into a double star, consisting of a brighter yellow star and a fainter blue star Permabit Technology Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Permabit is a registered trademark and the Permabit logo, Albireo logo, Permabit Enterprise Archive, and Scalable Data Reduction are trademarks of the Permabit Technology Corporation. All other products or services mentioned may be covered by registered trademarks, trademarks, service marks, or product names as designated by the companies who market those products. 6 Ten Canal Park Cambridge, MA Phone: FAX:

WHITE PAPER. Permabit Albireo Data Optimization Software. Benefits of Albireo for Virtual Servers. January 2012. Permabit Technology Corporation

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