With the use of virtual desktops projected to rise by nearly 52% over the next four years, Edison assessed the cost and performance of two prominent offerings in the arena: FlexPod with NetApp Storage and VCE’s Vblock series. Both being low-risk desktop deployment options, Edison decided to determine the value of the two offerings by measuring the total cost of acquisition (TCA) and total cost of ownership (TCO).

In this report, the FlexPod solution with NetApp All-Flash FAS Storage and Citrix XenDesktop desktop virtualization solution is compared to VCE Vblock Specialized System for Extreme Applications with Citrix XenDesktop, also for desktop virtualization. These solutions are analyzed in value via total cost of acquisition (TCA) and total cost of ownership (TCO) studies. In the studies, the workload used to make the comparison apples-to-apples is a goal of 2,000 virtual desktops with 15 to 17 steady state Input/Output Operations per second (IOPS) for each desktop and 15 GB useable capacity per desktop. This steady state IOPS and capacity profile meets the requirements of the majority of knowledge and task workers.

Through two analyses, Edison Group has found the following: a data center equipped with NetApp’s all-flash FAS based storage, in a FlexPod configuration used for Desktop Virtualization, is 11.7 percent in TCA and 14.5 percent less expensive in TCO than a comparable VCE Vblock solution. The significant advantage exists primarily because the cost of storage acquired through NetApp is less expensive than the EMC storage solutions used by VCE. The TCO for NetApp All-Flash FAS from a storage and system management perspective is 51.5% lower than for VCE Vblock with XtremIO.

This report also compares and contrasts integrated infrastructure and platforms from two of the larger players who are responsible for hardware that supports desktop virtualization: NetApp and VCE. While these integrated solutions rely on multiple vendors to provide a complete system, each differ in flexibility, scalability, architectural approach, and support for hardware and software.

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