The introduction of hyper-converged appliances, enhancements to brokering software and new management solutions have made virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) easier to plan, deploy and run than ever before. The cost per seat has decreased significantly, and there are fewer steps required to get a VDI appliance up and running, making the adoption of desktop virtualization more accessible across a variety of industries. With the threat of security breaches increasing exponentially, and continued BYOD use in several highly regulated industries like health care, VDI continues to grow in relevance and importance as a way to deliver security-by-design. In this slideshow, Jeff McNaught, executive director and chief strategy officer, Dell Cloud Client-Computing, has identified five tips organizations can use to effectively implement a VDI solution.
How to Implement a VDI Solution
Click through for five tips on effectively implementing a desktop virtualization solution, as identified by Jeff McNaught, executive director and chief strategy officer, Dell Cloud Client-Computing.
Understand Users’ Needs
Understand the various technology needs within the organization before designing your VDI solution.
So you think you know what everyone does in the organization. But do you really? Many people within the same organization have vastly different technology needs and different security profiles. In a design firm for example, the designers need a lot more horsepower than the HR department, and those working on confidential prototypes likely need greater security than the marketing department. Architects may work on plans in the office, but review and update them with clients at building sites. Hospitals may have terminals accessed by multiple health care workers to view and update patient records on the ward – and patient information is governed by HIPAA compliance regulations – but doctors and health care professionals continue to demand access to this information using the consumer devices they own or love. In order to design an effective VDI solution, the IT manager first needs to understand the unique needs of the end users and the various ways those users will need to access data so that the solution selected has the right level of flexibility and performance to ensure end user productivity and satisfaction.
Outline Desired Outcomes
Decide on the outcomes from a VDI solution.
Just as end users have a variety of needs and expectations when it comes to the technology they use every day, the IT manager must also determine what they want to get out of deploying VDI. Whether it’s lowering IT costs over time, the need to secure and control data, or reduce maintenance on endpoints (or all the above), knowing the desired outcomes and building a solution to meet those needs is key. Blueprint assessments offered by major vendors can objectively identify gaps and help to customize a solution to fit the organization’s unique needs. An added benefit to this is the ability to clearly communicate the benefits to end users during the transition and deployment phase.
Start with a Pilot Program
Before deploying your VDI solution to the entire group, consider starting with a pilot program for a small group of users, including the potential endpoints (thin clients, PCs, tablets and even smartphones). This will enable you to deploy the solution in a small setting, work out any issues, and get end-user feedback before rolling it out to a wider group. This will minimize end-user downtime and decreased productivity. It will also increase end-user satisfaction as the deployment is done gradually, measured and assessed before being rolled out broadly across the organization. This has become easier than ever with the recent introduction of hyper-converged VDI appliances, which can reduce planning and deployment from months to days.
Consider Long-Term Needs
Make sure the VDI solution can support future scalability needs.
Understandably, many of us tend to focus on immediate needs – there is always something that needs to be fixed now. However, when deploying a VDI solution, fixating on the short term can lead to potentially outgrowing the infrastructure much earlier than planned. To avoid this, it’s important to consider long-term needs and projected company growth up front. Today, many hyper-converged appliances have built-in scalability features so it’s easier to “right-size” the investment. In other words, not just knowing that it can scale, but precisely how high, and in what increments it can scale. This takes the guesswork out of VDI and ensures that you’re not under or over investing for your needs.
Consider deployment and managed services as a means to minimize downtime.
In order to quickly start seeing a return on investment, organizations need to deploy new solutions without losing employee productivity. While deploying virtual desktops no longer requires a VDI specialist in the IT department, some organizations with a limited in-house IT staff may want to consider on or off-premise management services to help deploy and maintain the solution over time. Services may also include IT or end-user training and compliance reporting, in addition to maintenance and support. With the right solutions provider, managed services can ensure that the solution works for you over the long term.