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Reducing Storage Costs with Microsoft VDI

As enterprises are adapting to more personally owned devices, IT is looking for a way to manage these devices and provide the users with access to corporate applications and data while ensuring compliance. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure via Remote Desktop Services enables IT to deliver corporate desktops and applications that employees can access from their personal or corporate devices, regardless of form factor or platform as well as from both internal and external locations. Centralized desktops and apps hosted in the datacenter or cloud can be easily managed, and apps and data can be secured.

A key challenge that IT organizations experience with VDI deployments are the related storage and costs. The required storage investment varies depending on the type of deployment (i.e. personal VM deployments require more storage space) but it has been a common problem across the board. At Microsoft, storage has been a key area of focus during product design as our goals are to unlock these challenges and help our customers to reduce their storage costs and management complexity in the datacenter.

Microsoft has introduced key technologies with Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services which address these challenges and can help IT reduce storage costs.

Disk Deduplication

Personal desktop collections require much more storage space compared to session based desktops or even pooled desktop collections. Disk deduplication is a technology which automatically identifies and removes redundant blocks of data to reduce storage consumed by as much as 90% for each personal desktop collection! Disk deduplication can also provide performance gains for read-intensive operations (e.g. booting a VM) through caching.

Figure 1   On-disk transformation of files during data deduplication

Tiered Storage Spaces

Tiered Storage Spaces provides a simplified management of storage volumes that are a mix of multiple disks of different speeds. The operating system automatically optimizes the location of the data in the volume so that the most frequently accessed data is on the fastest disks.  For example, frequently used data will automatically be moved onto the faster drives. It is possible to liken Tiered Storage Spaces to the implementation of lean production principles in a manufacturing cell. An operator would put the most frequently used tool to a better location to be more efficient and productive.

We are really excited about how these storage enhancements in the core platform are redefining what’s possible with virtual desktop environments.  To learn more, and to begin testing these new capabilities, visit