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Desktop Virtualization – Analysis and Selection

Posted by Amber Vogel on Dec 9, 2015 9:30:00 AM

The trend in providing mobile access to apps and information is shifting to providing the ability to work anywhere. There are no limitations to location, time, or device. Employees want the flexibility to work anywhere and have the same experience they do while they are at their desk in the office. This trend is bringing desktop virtualization to the forefront of IT strategy and there is homework involved to make it successful.

Key questions to answer for considering desktop virtualization: 

  1. Is the organization a good candidate for desktop virtualization?
  2. What does the market look like and who are the vendors?
  3. How does an organization choose a vendor?
  4. What are the implementation considerations?

Desktop Virtualizations Assessment

Prior to moving forward with the other stages of desktop virtualization it is important to perform an assessment of the environment to determine the following:

  • How many systems are good candidates for virtualization?
  • Is the user currently receiving an acceptable experience?
  • Are there any latency challenges within the environment?
  • How many applications does the organization have and out of them which ones would should/can be virtualized?
  • How do the users and applications group together in pools?
  • How many images would the organization need?
  • How would my infrastructure environment change? (Servers, storage, etc.…)

Market Analysis

Following the determination of whether to move forward with desktop virtualization, the next step is taking a look at the market. This will provide insights into trends, vendor options, and features.

The following should be included on the market analysis report:

  • Infrastructure
  • Connectivity
  • Features
  • Support
  • Company Performance/Strategy
  • Cost Estimate

Selection Considerations

The market currently has a limited number of players however the depth and breadth of these vendors is changing. As the demand for desktop virtualization grows, so does the competition. Vendors are continuing to focus on the user experience and mobility. Desktop Virtualization vendors are typically adding these features through acquisition. Citrix and VMware continue to be the leaders but other vendors are creeping up on them. Some questions to answer prior to selecting a vendor may include:

  • Does your organization have a brand preference?
  • What does the current infrastructure environment look like and does one vendor fit in better than others?
  • How much does the organization want to spend?
  • Does one vendor have features that another does not offer yet?
  • Does the vendor have a solid road map and how is the company doing?

Implementation Considerations

Something that is often overlooked in implementing desktop virtualization is the collaboration and shared ownership it requires. It takes the server team, desktop support, security team, etc. to roll out and maintain this environment. In the past, desktop deployment tended to operate in silos. In order for desktop virtualization to be successful, these teams need to continuously collaborate.

Also, be prepared for user impact. If users are used to installing their own apps or streaming music their world could quickly change. Change management is a critical component of a Desktop Virtualization project and should be planned for.

Conclusion

Obviously there is a lot of detail that goes into the analysis above. The purpose of this article is to give you the framework for moving through the process. Desktop virtualization is not always the answer but when an organization decides it is, the work does not end there, it only begins!

The table below is also a good reference for keeping your desktop virtualization on track.What-it-offers-and-success-criteria.png

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Forrester, Server Hosted Virtual Desktops, 2015

Network Center, Inc. can help you plan for virtualization by analyzing your environment and aligning your requirements with the appropriate vendor. Contact us today to learn more.

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Topics: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, VDI

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