Aug 28, 2009 2:59 AM
EMC like many other companies that provide solutions to the IT infrastructures within companies is noticing a growing interest around the concept of virtualizing an organisation's desktop infrastrucutre.
This has lead, within the market, to terms such as VDI (or Virtual Desktop Infrastrucutre) being coined to try and encapsulate and in many ways productise this trend towards pulling the deployment, mangment and securitisation of desktop images back into the data center.
The challenge most vendors and solution providers are encountering when discussing virtual desktops as a concept within individual organisations is that many in the IT community profess a view that VDI is a relatively mature and well understood technology and as such can be purchased off the shelf and subsequently configured to offer almost endless customisation irrespective of the desktop demands of a specific organisation.
VDI in simple terms as it exists today is not a panacea or quick win solution for removing the capital and operational costs of a physical desktop infrastructure. Organisation by organisation in carefully planned and undestood scenarios, VDI can offer some specific capital and operational savings - but these will not be achieved without a commitment to in mancy cases to radically transforming an orgnaisation's approach to how it manges, deploys, updates and secures a desktop infrastructure. Much of that transformation is not about technology but about people and processes
The approach that believes VDI is a mature univesal technology is usually rapidly transformed once the organisation in question begins to deploy some form of VDI solution in earnest. At this stage it is often too late. Unlike choosing the wrong hardware platfrom for an application where you have one application administrator and his henchpeople unhappy with you, if a VDI deployment fails it could lead the IT department to receiving hate mail from the entire desktop community - which usually includes the mamagment tier, not always the best of career choices
Where EMC and I suspect many other solution provioders and vendors have seen success with VDI deployments is where the deployment begins as collaborative Proof of Concept exercises. The solutions provider in conjunction with the customer carefully profile the different desktop use cases that exist within the business, eliminating those that do not fit within the still realtively confined 'sweet spot' of VDI use cases.
Once the Proportion of the desktop universe that is realistically eligible for VDI as it exists today has been identified, then further decsions need to be made around image, creation, deployment, mangment, securitisation and updating. The customer alos needs to decide how user data is stored, manged, protected and in these times of space savings deduplicated and archived.
The customer also needs to consider access to applications and whether users need to access the same desktop image on every occassion and what sort of performance profile is required for a happy user.
On many occasions when talking to customers, particularly those in large organisations with established Anti-Virus and patching regimes, the existing processes for deploying AV scans and patches in the VDI universe can lead to massive spikes in the backend storage requirements and in many cases to serious consideration being given of technologies such as Enterprise Flash Drives to alleviate the performance overhead
Included below are a series of EMC White Papers, Reference Architectures and Solutions Guides that look at deploying VMware View technology on a number of platforms (fibre channel and iSCSI), protecting that VMware View environment with deduplication technology and deploying a VMware View infrastructure at scale in collaboration with VMware and Cisco - VCE