Implementing VDI in Your Organization

A month ago I wrote about the benefits of virtual desktop technology to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for desktop management, while providing an equivalent or better end-user experience than what is available with a physical PC.   But you don’t want to virtualize without a clear understanding of your current state, encompassing many aspects of technology, processes and organization.   Just as you would get ready for a vacation, a job interview, the weather, or a test, getting ready for your virtual desktop program is essential.

I have received several inquiries on how to get prepared for your deployment, so I thought I’d share a few best practices:

Segmentation – “Segment” your client population; not all are good candidates for virtual desktop.  Develop detailed profiles of your users – how they work, what applications they use, when they require them, from where do they need access.  For example, claims processors vs. general office workers vs. warehouse workers…

High Availability – Once your organization starts to rely solely on the remote desktop infrastructure, high availability will become critical (hardware, load balancers, failover)

Networking – The network infrastructure needs special attention to support the required Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)   and an advanced network will be in order for even a moderate-sized enterprise, plus additional traffic optimization technology, to ensure desktop images and related data can get where it’s needed in a reasonable amount of time – which leads into the next point.

Storage Area Network – Storage Input/Output (IO) becomes especially critical in large deployments. Storage problems are most easily identified by high device latency. When storage takes a long time to service IOs (over 20ms by my definition), application owners will soon start complaining.

Disaster Recovery (DR) & Business Continuity – This very well may be the most neglected component in VDI designs due to the costs associated with replicating the infrastructure in a DR site

Software licensing – List all licensing needs for the environment and work with Microsoft and your other software vendors to obtain licenses for both the applications and operating systems that you will require for your virtual desktops

Security – Most VDI solutions on the market provide some type of proxy or gateway to allow external connections to the desktops. Think carefully about how this will be implemented in your network.

Monitoring – There is not a VDI holistic monitoring solution at the moment, so utilize the same concepts applied to all your other current monitoring in your data center.

Operational Considerations – Think about the structure in your desktop support organization as it might have to change to accommodate the new environment

About the author

Jim has in-depth experience in assessing and managing complex IT Infrastructure engagements focused on helping corporations achieve their business objectives. He offers expertise in strategy assessment and development, statement of work, service level agreements, business-driven RfP development, transactions, contract negotiations and transition planning across IT Infrastructure areas and expertise in IT service management integration. Jim has worked with global enterprises in the automotive manufacturing, banking and financial services, healthcare, utilities, aerospace and retail industries, focusing on collaborative techniques with clients and service providers to achieve the desired business outcomes. He recently led the negotiation of a large infrastructure contract with a utilities company and a cloud computing transition. Included in this successful project was the development and execution of the sourcing strategy, assessment and transaction process and project management, negotiation strategy development and financial proposals and executive leadership communication. Jim is ITIL V3 Foundation certified and a thought leader on the topic of the digital workplace.