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Why is a VDI Assessment a Good Idea?


I am going to start this off with a bit of a disclaimer.  I really am not trying to sell anything!  Just want to get the information out there, I highly recommend talking to your trusted advisor(s) before starting a PoC/Pilot just my two cents worth.

So you have most likely heard of a “VDI Assessment”, and may have even pondered the thought of having one done.  Well here are a few reasons to take the next step and get that Assessment.

Some of the main things I hear:

1. I want to go VDI but don’t have the resources…

2. I want to go VDI but it’s not “good” or doesn’t work well

3. I want to go VDI but it is to much over head NO ROI

I will just start right in…

1. Most likely you are half right about the resources. You most likely have the infrastrucure to support a VDI Environment, and you may even have the resources you just don’t know it, or you can “Exchange” one type of resource for another… I have seen many cases where we were able to get rid of OLD style VDI (RDP to Desktops) & (RDP one to one Servers) and move to a slimmer Thin Provisioned Style VDI Deployment. For example: Say you have 100 Desktop’s you want to Virtualize.  Windows 7 recommends you go no less then 24GB for a disk I recommend 30-50GB Depending on Application(s) needed. 2GB of RAM, and 2 vCPU’s (avg. config for win7). In theory, you would need 30GB x 100 Desktops in disc space alone!  This is not the case. You will only need 4GB x 100 Desktops as you will only need to account for the delta files (Cache Disk). Note: If you are running ESX you will also need to account for a SWAP file which is the same size as your machines RAM. In this example you would need 2GB x 100 extra disk space.

2. This is a common misconception, which in fact, is what most people see in self-deployed PoC’s and Pilots.  There are a number of tweaks your friendly Partner/VAR should know that will help improve performance and usability.  This is because “this is what we do”. We have ALOT of tricks up our sleeves. I have been involved with several Citrix Projects where “Citrix” was considered such a bad word that the Citrix team could hardly walk down the hall without getting mauled. In less then 6 months we had users asking to be moved to XenDesktop. Talk about a culture shift! Remote workers suddenly jumped by a good 15-20% because they could actually function while working remotely.  Everything roamed with them. (as advertised)  No more working in one environment while at work and a completely different environment while working remotely… Another common issue I see is a lot of people think going VDI also means going with some sort of application streaming, or thin-app.  This is not always the best solution, as it doesn’t necessarily save you all that much disk space in the long run. Using the example in Statement 1, the only thing you really need to be concerned about is your Delta (cache disks). So, in some cases, streamed or thin-apps can cause double the overhead.

3. Well this one is a fine line. Really, you can make VDI as simple or as complicated as you want :).  Most of the time I hear “My users won’t buy off on VDI.” Again, this is a false statement burnt into you from the Beginning of Statement 2.  With the proper configuration there is no reason users would complain and in most cases once the users logon they are hooked.  ROI really should be Return On Individual, if we can make our users (which in fact are our customers) happy and more Productive we have succeeded.  I have seen the cost estimation on the Individual’s time and that was staggering… We are talking 100’s of thousands of dollars a year in regained work and help desk calls.  I saw a customer where their computers would take roughly 10 minutes just to login, this was on top of the 10 minute boot time if you abide corporate policy and shutdown your machine which took 10 minutes… as you can see time was adding up in the NOT working area extremely fast. So for pretty much every HelpDesk call workers and the company where out about a half hour of actual work…  Now for the ROI part if you go with thin clients, and high capacity servers you can really start saving money just in power, then looking at the management of a VDI deployment this again saves money as everything is the Same! No guessing if a patch, update, or user screwed up the machine simply have them reboot and back to the Golden Desktop.

With all this being said, NOT every application, or use case is a “Good Fit” for VDI.  And this is one of the key discussion in having a VDI Assessment done, we can tell you whether or not going VDI is a good fit.

Thanks for reading.

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Posted on May 30, 2012, in Citrix, VDI, VMWare, XenDesktop. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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