Varrow and ILIO: The Eureka Moment, Part 2

3 05 2009

In the last post which introduced ILIO I used the context of VDI to explain the many benefits this technology brings to the world of virtualization and computing.  The video located below, from our good friends at Atlantis Computing, demonstrates firsthand how ILIO can assist in driving down the management overhead associated with maintaining multiple images and allow for streamlined patching in a VMware View deployment.  Along with these benefits also comes the ability for user settings and changes to persist, i.e. User State Virtualization, without the need for and overhead of profile management.  In general the video also serves as a good introduction to the ILIO interface and integration with VMware View.

Some of you may be wondering how this differs from View Composer and the Linked Clone functionality native to View.  Without ILIO the clones associated with a base image must be refreshed, or essentially wiped clean after applying updates.  Therefore all user customization not captured in the profile is lost.  As demonstrated in the video, ILIO is smart enough to read both file level and block level I/O, referenced as a FLOCK, and keep track of this data in a relational format, i.e. database.   All settings are separated at a deep level facilitating the introduction of major OS level changes, such as a service pack, without impacting user specific data.  Before integrating the 2 distinct areas back together ILIO again can analyze all changes in the base image, file and registry, and determine what potential conflicts may arise allowing for the administrator to choose the best course of mitigation, or to simply allow the software to make the best decision in resolving any collisions.  Once the strategy is chosen ILIO even allows for simulating the outcome before introducing any changes into production by applying the captured changes to a live virtual machine used for testing.  Once the patch layer is confirmed it can be merged back in with the user FLOCK’s and therefore seamlessly integrated into production based on the selected collision strategy.  If any problems are identified there is even a rollback function to provide a “safety net” when performing major upgrades.  In my opinion this is the ultimate solution for providing flexibility and ease of use on both the administrator and user ends of a VDI implementation.

Stay tuned as I continue to dig deeper into ILIO and it’s many capabilities as well as benefits.  We are currently working to get a fully functioning implementation in our lab along with VMware View so more hands on information and demos to follow soon as well.

Click Here to watch the Video

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