E-Guide: Expert considerations for deploying VDI


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VDI has the potential to significantly increase desktop data security, reduce desktop service calls and costs associated with tech refreshes and desktop and application management. But there are certain considerations to keep in mind before implementing VDI. In this expert e-guide from SearchVirtualDesktop.com, learn why it is essential to look into current network bandwidth/stability, desktop storage requirements and application management procedures. Plus, find out how to choose the right VDI management tools to enhance performance.

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E-Guide: Expert considerations for deploying VDI

  1. 1. E-GuideExpert considerations fordeploying VDIVDI has the potential to significantly increase desktop data security,reduce desktop service calls and costs associated with tech refreshesand desktop and application management. But there are certainconsiderations to keep in mind before implementing VDI. In this experte-guide from SearchVirtualDesktop.com, learn why it is essential tolook into current network bandwidth/stability, desktop storagerequirements and application management procedures. Plus, find outhow to choose the right VDI management tools to enhanceperformance. Sponsored By:
  2. 2. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDI E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDI Table of Contents What your infrastructure needs before implementing VDI How to choose the right VDI performance, management tools Resources from Dell VMwareSponsored By: Page 2 of 9
  3. 3. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDIWhat your infrastructure needs beforeimplementing VDIBy Anne Skamarock, Director of Research, FOCUSI am a big fan of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which is the name often used whentalking about recentralizing desktop computing back in the data center using servervirtualization technologies as the underpinnings. VDI has the potential to significantlyincrease desktop data security, reduce desktop service calls and costs associated with techrefreshes and desktop and application management as well as power and coolingthroughout the company. However, they dont call it Virtual Desktop Infrastructure fornothing!Sure, you gain all those things, but its important to understand that moving desktops intothe data center has the likelihood of taxing every aspect of the IT infrastructure if youbypass appropriate up-front planning. There are three areas I recommend companiesconsider or inspect before launching a VDI deployment: current networkbandwidth/stability, desktop storage requirements and application management procedures.These three considerations often require creating a cross-functional team, especially inlarger companies, to discuss, plan and validate readiness to proceed.The network and VDIVDI, regardless of whose technology is used, relies heavily on the network. The desktopsrunning in virtual machines on a server collect graphical information and send it across thenetwork using a protocol such as RDP, ICA or one of the other protocols/methods forremoting graphical content on the users display (which protocol to use is a whole otherdiscussion). If the network is already reaching bandwidth limitations, then adding moretraffic (especially traffic over the WAN) is likely to bring the network to its knees -- evenwith using very efficient protocols.Another network aspect to think about is network design. Consider this: If there is a failure,how well does the traffic route around the failure? The last thing any call center wants is toSponsored By: Page 3 of 9
  4. 4. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDIhave hundreds of angry users calling because they cant gain access to their work. The goodnews is that tools to model network bandwidth and routing have been available for years.Storage and VDIWhen IT organizations decide to move to VDI, they begin by building out the associatedstorage infrastructure. There are two aspects of storage that surprise them at this point:costs and right sizing.Lets address costs first. Today, most desktops come with an inexpensive 80 GB hard drive,standard. Now you are going to take the data off the inexpensive hard drive and store it onan expensive SAN or NAS device in the data center. Of course, SAN or NAS storage isnt"required" to implement VDI -- only if you want to also have all the advanced managementcapabilities that rely on live migration of virtual machines such as dynamic resourcemanagement. Companies have reduced some of the costs by implementing an iSCSI SANstorage infrastructure for the VDI.The second storage surprise is having to decide how much storage is required per desktop.Often IT will over-provision storage for each user. With 80 GB provisioned per user for 100users, IT must now support 8 TB of SAN or NAS storage in the data center. Fortunately,there are a few ways around the storage provisioning conundrum. One of them is to usethin provisioning technology, such as Dells EqualLogic or 3PARs Thin Provisioning. Thistechnology allows IT to over-allocate physical SAN capacity, which provides better storageutilization and lowers storage costs. Another solution is to reclaim storage that was over-allocated. Vizioncore Inc.s vOptimizer Pro is an example of a software solution that providesautomated storage reclamation.Applications and VDIVDI eases desktop management, but a desktop is not simply a compute engine and anoperating system. Each desktop requires a suite of applications that a user needs to performhis or her job. Unless IT designs an application management process for the VDIimplementation from the start, much of the promised value of VDI will be lost. IT will spendSponsored By: Page 4 of 9
  5. 5. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDIhours spinning their wheels on updating and managing application images for each virtualdesktop deployed.My recommendation is to strip the OS image of all but essential applications (often tied tothe OS), such as Internet browsers, and deploy all other applications using applicationvirtualization. Application virtualization allows IT to create, update and manage one imageof the app. Each virtual desktop would access the single image of the app without actuallyinstalling it within the desktop space. This has the added benefit of reducing the storagefootprint for each desktop. Some examples of application virtualization include CitrixXenApp, Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp, and Symantec Altiris and AppStream.Implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure cannot be performed in a vacuum, especiallyin companies where different organizations have "ownership" of the components within theIT infrastructure -- such as networking, storage, and application support. Even for medium-sized companies that have three people to support hundreds of desktops, its essential tounderstand how VDI can and will affect the existing infrastructure and processes.Sponsored By: Page 5 of 9
  6. 6. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDIHow to choose the right VDI performance,management toolsBy Frank OhlhorstA surprisingly high percentage of VDI implementations never make it beyond the prototypeor proof-of-concept phase, thanks to high costs, poor performance and end-usercomplaints. Combating these and other problems can make desktop virtualization anunbearable project for IT admins.However, third-party tools can take some of the pain out of managing a virtual desktopinfrastructure (VDI) and reduce the number of problems that normally accompany complexIT systems. Those tools come in many flavors and forms and usually offer a subset ofabilities that, when combined, can cure many of the ills of VDI.For example, one of the biggest challenges associated with VDI is delivering a level ofperformance that is acceptable to end users, so performance monitoring and managementtools are critical. There are several performance tools on the market, with varying levels ofmonitoring. The segment leaders include EG Innovations, SolarWinds, Ipswitch, Zenoss,Login Consultants and ManageEngine, all of which offer tools for monitoring end-to-end VDIsessions.Choosing the right toolsAfter youve chosen a VDI platform to standardize on, you can begin researching third-partytools, many of which work only with a particular VDI product or ecosystem.Finding a tool that offers all of the functionality needed to monitor end-to-end connectivitytakes some research. However, some best practices should make the vetting process a littleeasier.Here are some important features to look for in a virtualization performance andmanagement tool:Sponsored By: Page 6 of 9
  7. 7. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDI Independence: A third-party management tool should eschew vendor bias in every virtualized application tier, including virtual servers, virtual hard drives, virtual desktops and connection brokers. The tool should be neutral with respect to problem diagnosis. Usability: The product should offer real-time, actionable information via a customizable dashboard that is easy to understand and use. Data: The tool should collect and use relevant data and offer analytics, recommendations, research capabilities and reporting. Database: The collected information should be configurable, support access from multiple tools, offer import and export capabilities, and support multiple concurrent users. History: The virtualization management tool should store activities and trends and provide the information needed to build historical analysis reports or provide the basis for auditing. Depth: The tool should gather detailed metrics across a range of technologies for monitoring VDI at all levels, ranging from throughput and latency to applications in use. Real-time management capabilities: The tool should offer the ability to monitor events in real time, as well as the ability to filter, reorganize and sort data using real-time updated charts and alerts. Extensible: The management tool should integrate across multiple virtualization domains and be able to combine data into comprehensive reports. It should also enable you to drill down to individual domains, segments, users and endpoints. Low impact: The product should have out-of-band capabilities, use passive monitoring and support updates without disrupting network links. Installation of modules, data collectors and endpoint agents should not disrupt network usability.Sponsored By: Page 7 of 9
  8. 8. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDI Integration: The product should offer additional modules for other monitoring capabilities, such as storage consumption and application performance. Interoperability: The tool should provide integration with existing management tools or use application programming interfaces offered by virtualization vendors. Monitoring proactively: The product should be able to identify performance dependencies, bottlenecks and relationships among various VDI components. Ease of deployment: The tool should support deployment options that allow customers to incrementally add features, data-collection modules and updates as needed without disrupting operations. Ability to scale: The product should be scalable enough to support the widest range of target networks, from small multisite concerns to the largest enterprise, which may have thousands of servers and petabytes of storage.While the above list highlights critical capabilities, it is also important to remember thebasics, especially how things are measured. In other words, the metrics recorded shouldinclude more than just latency and bandwidth. Comprehensive tools will measure everythingabout the physical and virtual machines, including CPU performance and load, as well as theperformance of other components that can affect end-user experience.The product should also track elements such as virtual machine refresh rates, endpointresponse times and what is accessing endpoint devices. Simply put, finding a product orsuite that enables performance management, monitoring and analysis while meetingcorporate needs is no longer impossible.Sponsored By: Page 8 of 9
  9. 9. SearchVirtualDesktop.com E-Guide Expert considerations for deploying VDIResources from Dell VMware7 Secrets to Desktop Virtualization Project SuccessIntegrating Desktop Virtualization into Your Cloud StrategyPresentation Transcript: Designing of Desktop Virtualization ArchitectureSponsored By: Page 9 of 9