New Deployment Roadmaps

Virtual Desktop

New Deployment Roadmaps

By Barbara DePompa


Industry observers and suppliers are working to help reduce both the confusion and complexity involved in migrating to virtual desktop environments.

While the primary benefits of client virtualization, including a reduction in the total cost of ownership for end user computing, better security and improved desktop management are certainly appealing to public sector organizations, for now the transition from traditional distributed desktop environments to desktop virtualization remains complex. And as IDC reports, no two organizations’ requirements are going to be the same.

During a recent 1105 Government Information Group webinar on desktop virtualization, Miguel Sian, a Senior Enterprise Solutions Consultant at GTSI outlined a detailed plan of action that any organization can use to help implement desktop virtualization. Listed below are the primary steps public sector organizations should consider when deploying desktop virtualization in their organizations.

Step 1: Assess the Environment – This requires fully investigating and understanding all of the hardware, software and end user workloads already in place on desktop computing platforms.

Step 2: Plan the Environment – Agencies must map out the operating system, application and desktop virtualization migration strategies, including selecting the tools and services the organization intends to use.

Step 3: Prepare Applications and Users – Each organization must test and validate the applications chosen for compatibility and delivery in a virtual environment. And the strategy must also be clearly communicated to users early on.

Step 4: Design Infrastructure – This step involves sizing the servers, storage and network infrastructure to support desktop virtualization. Organizations should also begin work on setting global group policies for access to virtual applications as well.

Step 5: Pilot to User Group – Testing the solution on a smaller group of pre-selected users can help an organization to validate assumptions regarding the operating system, applications and user configuration settings.

Step 6: Implement the Migration – Using milestones, goals and available resources, organizations can manage the migration to the new environment and be sure to maintain constant communications with users and other stakeholders during the transition.

Step 7: Optimize the Desktop Environment – Consolidate and centralize applications where possible, and leverage the investment in desktop virtualization to address other important issues, such as continuity of operations and energy reduction initiatives.

For more information on the details of deployment, public sector organizations can turn to GTSI at www.gtsi.com/windows7.

IDC Guidance
Meanwhile, Ian Song, Research Analyst for IDC in Framingham, Mass., offered his own advice for organizations considering a desktop virtualization migration.

In many situations, organizations will be forced to build their own client virtualization solutions by selecting elements from multiple vendors, leveraging multiple technologies, he said. Song agreed with GTSI officials that organizations must first carefully analyze their organizational needs and develop a specific client virtualization strategy, “and then adopt the most appropriate types of client virtualization technologies that fit their needs.”

It’s important to note organizations should be careful not to limit choices to a single specific client virtualization technology, as more often than not, better results can be realized through combining one or more solutions, he said.

Finally, Song explained, client virtualization should be considered fundamentally different and separate from server virtualization, and organizations should not expect an immediate return on their investment. Cost savings are most likely to be realized through desktop management improvements, which may require changes in management’s mindset, he said, as well as increased collaboration among IT departments. “A successful client virtualization implementation is a journey of continuous optimization and process improvements. Any expectation of quick and dirty cost reduction through client virtualization may not be realistic,” Song added.