ucs_flashstack_XD79_5k_2I’m very pleased to announce that FlashStack from Cisco and Pure Storage was a CRN “Best of Show” finalist for the recent Citrix Synergy event in Orlando. Our friends at Cisco won the final prize for their ACI+NetScaler solution, but I think I can speak for Cisco when I say we’re all very proud that a young solution like FlashStack has managed to make such an impact on the world of VDI.

The solution that won the finalist position was the Cisco Validated Design (CVD) “FlashStack with Cisco UCS and Pure Storage FlashArray//M for 5000 Citrix Xen Desktop Users” and details how to configure a comprehensive, modern, flexible data center design for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp at scale. This CVD documents FlashStack with VMware ESXi 6.0 running Citrix XenDesktop 7.9 with 5000 Windows 10 users – with both persistent and non-persistent desktops running together under load.

If you want to read more about the testing and results, check it out directly on the Cisco website here: 5000 user Citrix XenDesktop CVD. My colleague Kyle blogged about it when it came out.


There are a bunch of solutions for Citrix XenDesktop out there, but what’s different about this CVD is the scale. Each details the use of VDI for 5000 or more simultaneous users, and discusses how to scale beyond 5000 to even larger VDI deployments. Scale is key, because VDI and virtualized apps are increasingly found in companies of considerable size as they struggle to deal with the costs, compliance concerns, backup and recover, and security issues associated with large numbers of physical devices.

One key feature of FlashStack is its ability to scale granularly, in various independent dimensions, without disruption.v10-RIGHT-01

  • Granular scale: With FlashStack you can scale up two hosts at a time, up to 160 total hosts. You can grow your storage a few TB at time, too, and expand storage performance in small increments.
  • Independent scale: Scale compute power, network bandwidth, storage capacity, or storage performance independently. No need to scale all at once, you can choose where to grow your FlashStack based on your needs and keep everything simple.
  • Non-disruptive scale: When you need more hosts, just plug them into the UCS chassis and UCS-Manager will recognize them. When you need more storage you can just add modules to the Pure Storag FlashArray. There’s no need to take existing desktops offline just to add more!

FlashStack gives you more than just scale, it’s also highly reliable and provides consistent high performance. With FlashStack your VDI infrastructure can easily handle not just boot storms, but also recompose or virus scan “storms” that come hand-in-hand with keeping your desktops updated and compliant. And to do this at scale is a major feat.

If you’d like to learn more, I recommend you check out the CVD or check out this recorded presentation.

Sidenote: I’ve been lucky enough to work on a couple of amusing videos for the Citrix Spotlight video competition… I think they’re worth a watch!