IBM Virtual Desktop For Smart Business

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Read how next-generation virtual desktops, such as VDSB, alleviate many of the technical and cost hurdles that have prevented companies from using virtual desktops in the past and realise the benefits …

Read how next-generation virtual desktops, such as VDSB, alleviate many of the technical and cost hurdles that have prevented companies from using virtual desktops in the past and realise the benefits in flexibility, security and productivity of desktop virtualisation.

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  • 1. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses Sponsored by IBM Sanjeev Aggarwal, Partner Laurie McCabe, Partner February 20111 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 2. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses THE NEXT-GENERATION VIRTUAL DESKTOP SOLUTION FOR GROWING BUSINESSESToday, businesses need to do more with less. Many IT professionals have becomeinterested in virtual desktops as a way to provide users with secure, anytime, any deviceaccess to applications while simultaneously reining in costs. Since it can cost up to 10times more to manage desktops than to acquire them, it makes sense for IT to examinedesktop virtualization to help reduce desktop management costs, extend the life ofexisting desktops, ease the transition to Windows 7 and improve management andcontrol, and also give users more secure and flexible access.However, traditional virtual desktop offerings have required a considerable investment inexpensive shared storage, data backup capabilities, high-speed interconnects, serversand end-point security—as well as specialized IT expertise. The high upfront costs ofimplementing virtual desktops and the skills required to manage them make itquestionable whether virtual desktops provide an adequate return on investment (ROI)for companies with fewer than several hundred desktops. Shortcomings in the userexperience have also created a significant barrier to adoption.Next-generation virtual desktop solutions, such as IBM’s Virtual Desktop for SmartBusiness (VDSB) with Virtual Bridges VERDE, show tremendous promise to removemany of these barriers, and give growing businesses with limited IT staff the benefits ofdesktop virtualization with a lighter weight, more cost-effective approach.In this paper, we recap the key obstacles that have prevented many mid-marketbusinesses from deploying virtual desktops. Then, we discuss how next-generationvirtual desktops, such as VDSB, alleviate many of the technical and cost hurdles thathave prevented companies from using virtual desktops in the past to benefit from thedesktop virtualization promise.SECTION 1: THE VIRTUAL DESKTOP DILEMMABack in the day, PCs became popular because they put computing power on end-users’desktops. But managing, securing, patching, updating and replacing individual PCs isexpensive and time-consuming, and doesn’t always give users the access, support andflexibility they need (Figure 1). 2 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 3. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing BusinessesFigure 1: Challenges and Shortcomings of the Traditional Desktop EnvironmentIT Professionals Business Decision-Makers End-Users Time-consuming and  Ongoing PC client  Need to access the same complex to deploy, management expense desktop environment manage, support, patch  Operating system upgrade anywhere, anytime from and update individual costs (e.g., Windows 7) any device—online and desktops  Desktop replacement costs offline Difficult to ensure  IT headcount costs for  Requirement for consistent consistent, secure and desktop support application availability, reliable data backup of  Desktop security and updates, support, etc. individual desktops and compliance issues  Need for data availability devices  Security risks of and synchronization Inability to recover confidential data on  Need for automated backup individual desktops in the individual desktops  Low-latency application event of disaster  Data backup risks on performance Provide audit trails, individual desktops  Access and use of USB monitoring, reporting, etc.  Requirement to support a peripheral devices Difficult to provide broader range of desktop consistent, quality and mobile computing experience for devices and operating remote/mobile users systems Requirement to support a broader range of desktop and mobile computing devices and operating systems Issues due to unauthorized use of applications, configuration changes, etc. by end-users Security issues of confidential data on individual desktops Source: SMB Group, 2011 3 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 4. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing BusinessesMany organizations tried using terminal services to manage PC sprawl and provideusers with remote access. But terminal services haven’t been able to provide enoughflexibility for many organizations for several reasons, including:  All users need to share the same server image  User access to local resources is restricted  Lack of offline access to applications  Limited device accessOver the last few years, as more businesses began gaining IT efficiencies and costsavings from server virtualization, vendors have applied similar virtualizationtechnologies to the desktop management dilemma. Theoretically, virtual desktopsshould give businesses the best of both worlds—the flexibility of individual desktops, andthe improved efficiency of virtualization. In contrast to terminal services, in a virtualdesktop environment, each end-user gets his or her own operating system, resourcesand applications, and the model supports a broader range of devices. Consequently,each user can access his or her own desktop computing environment anywhere,anytime and from any device. As important, IT shops can provision, maintain andmanage users’ desktops centrally, cutting desktop administration time, labor and costs.Everyone benefits from improved security.However, early virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) vendors typically retrofitted theirserver virtualization solutions to build their VDI platforms. This created several limitationsthat have stood in the way of broad adoption, including:  Need for higher end servers and storage. Conventional VDI offerings typically support seven to nine users per CPU core and provide 1 to 2 GB of memory per virtual desktop, requiring several servers for even a modest amount of users. In addition, storage capabilities need to support disk I/O burdens and, potentially, failover clusters. Since direct-attached or network-attached storage (NAS) is generally too slow to support VDI, most traditional VDI vendors recommend storage area networks (SANs) with high-speed interconnects and a large cache to ensure optimal disk performance.  Added network infrastructure investments. Network infrastructure often must be upgraded to provide the performance that end-users expect. 4 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 5. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses  Limited choice of desktop operating systems. Many virtual desktop solutions only support Microsoft operating systems, eliminating the potential to provision Linux desktops for some or all of their users to cut down on Microsoft desktop operating system expenses.  Lack of full and flexible support for offline desktops. Traditional VDI offerings lack an integrated client-side hypervisor that can enable local caching on the client machine, making offline desktop access cumbersome.As a result, for most businesses with fewer than several hundred desktops to support,the virtual desktop equation just hasn’t added up.SECTION 2: IBM VIRTUAL DESKTOP FOR SMART BUSINESS—LIGHTWEIGHT,INTEGRATED AND HIGHLY FUNCTIONALIBM Smart Business and Virtual Bridges have teamed up to offer growing businesses anext-generation offering that removes several barriers that have prevented businessesfrom using desktop virtualization. Designed to tackle the specific requirements of thedesktop virtualization environment, IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business (VDSB) withVERDE from Virtual Bridges gives businesses the desktop flexibility they need, simplyand cost-effectively in an integrated, software appliance model.As shown in Figure 2, VDSB is composed of several tightly integrated layers. TheFoundation for Smart Business platform includes the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server(SLES) 11 and kernel-based virtual machine (KVM), along with autonomic management,backup, security, management, file sharing and other core capabilities. The integrationframework pre-integrates and pre-configures various component services, such asLDAP and database, with the Foundation for Smart Business and the VERDEapplication from Virtual Bridges. Customers (or an IBM Business Partner) set upindividual gold master images with their selected desktop operating system andapplications. The software appliance runs on IBM System x or other industry-standardserver hardware. Single-server configurations use attached storage, and multiple-serverdeployments can use network-attached storage. 5 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 6. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses Figure 2: IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business with VERDE from Virtual BridgesSource: IBM With desktop virtualization as the focal point, Virtual Bridges took a clean slate approach to develop a lightweight, better integrated VDI and virtual desktop experience. Coupled with IBM’s Solutions for Smart Business platform (see the SMB Group report, Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work Smarter, for more information), VDSB enables rapid deployment and provides self-management and automated backup and recovery capabilities. Top differentiators for IBM VDSB as compared with traditional, first-generation VDI include:  Simple set up. IT or a partner can implement VDSB in as little as a day instead of the weeks or months it can take to implement conventional VDI solutions. 6 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 7. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses Ability to provision both virtual Windows desktops or a choice of Linux desktops. VDSB provisions Linux (Ubuntu, Red Hat, Novell) desktops in addition to Windows XP and Windows 7 desktops. The customer is responsible for all Microsoft and other application software licenses. Capacity to create multiple gold images and clones for different types of users. For instance, IT can create a base image for power users, and another base image for lightweight users. IT can also clone the base image and append additional images specific to sales, HR and/or other line-of-business users. Supports more users per CPU core. Built-in technology dynamically shares and allocates memory, allowing VDSB to support up to 200 users on a single server, and clustering capabilities can further expand support. Device-independent access from most desktop and mobile devices, including Macs, iPads, smartphones, etc. This significantly reduces the IT requirements to manage mobile devices. Users can personalize their desktop experience, including customizing wallpaper, screen savers, and other desktop settings. Integrated VDI for offline use via VERDE Leaf. Users can install their desktop image on a high-speed USB key or hard drive, or on their desktop, and synchronize automatically between offline and online environments using the VERDE SmartSync technology. Decreased support requirements and costs. Smart Business autonomic management and self-healing capabilities are built in. So once VDSB is deployed, it just runs with minimal care and feeding from specialized IT staff. Unified management and reporting. The VDSB administration console provides a centralized place to set up and manage the VDSB network, users and environment. Built-in notifications provide status updates and issue alerts, and intelligent problem determination helps troubleshoot problems. Reduced storage requirements. VDSB can use direct-attached storage and external networked NAS. It allows connected nodes in a clustered system direct concurrent access to the same shared block storage, dramatically lowering storage requirements and costs. 7 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 8. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses  Less expensive and more predictable costs. Pricing starts at USD $150 per year per concurrent user (significantly less than traditional VDI competitors). VDSB is sold via a Fixed Term License (FTL), in which customers license software products on an annual basis, eliminating the need for upfront capital expenditures, and making budgeting more predictable.SECTION 3: HOW IBM VIRTUAL DESKTOP FOR SMART BUSINESS BENEFITS THE BUSINESSAND ITVDSB helps IT reduce desktop capital and management costs, risks and hassles, whileproviding users with the access, flexibility and performance they need (Figure 3).Important benefits include:  Decreased time and costs to deploy virtual desktops. The integrated VDSB solution takes many of the VDI sourcing, resource and complexity issues out of the equation, so customers can get more business value from their IT dollars more quickly.  Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for desktop management. Midsize companies can lower total cost of ownership for desktop management and often achieve a positive ROI within a year. By pre-configuring all of the solution and self- management components in a single, ready-to-run package on top of the Smart Business platform, there’s also less risk of problems down the road.  Improved organizational productivity. IT staff can reduce time spent deploying, managing and fixing user desktop issues because everything is centrally managed. Users get anytime, anywhere, any device access, enabling them to work when, where and how they want.  Increases security and provides better recovery capabilities. In the event of local system failure, loss or theft, data can be quickly recovered through the VDI. Fully integrated backup and recovery help protect against unplanned outages from minor incidents to catastrophic failures.  Local sales, support and management expertise backed up by IBM. IBM Solutions for Smart Business, including VDSB, are delivered by local, feet-on-the- street IBM Business Partners that supply customers with consulting, networking and software infrastructure skills to ensure a smooth implementation. If desired, partners can also provide ongoing management coupled with IBM’s comprehensive, enterprise-class expertise, management and support capabilities. 8 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 9. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing Businesses Figure 3: How IBM VDSB Solves Problems with Traditional Desktop Virtualization SolutionsProblems with Traditional Desktop How IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business SolvesVirtualization Solutions These Problems Reduces the complexity of desktop management High cost and complexity to through Smart Business and VERDE-enabled unified provision and manage VDI provisioning, monitoring and management of desktops desktops (including mobile) across online, offline and branch environments Poor performance for multimedia Provides better high-definition multimedia support and other bandwidth-intensive using VERDE display protocols: RDP, SPICE, NX applications Supports direct-attached and external shared storage; Concerns over slow application allows use of local-attached storage, eliminating WAN performance and poor end-user latency and network bandwidth requirements to deliver experience native-PC experience Remote managed branch server connects directly to the VERDE cluster and gold master image repository, Need to update network ensuring IT services are up and running for every infrastructure to support VDI desktop at the branch—delivering a native-PC experience, even over choppy, unreliable networks Lack of business continuity if Additional capabilities include disaster recovery and network goes down business continuity Offline VDI mode supported through the use of fully integrated Type 1 client hypervisor on laptop or Inability to work offline portable drive with automatic bi-directional sync for true mobility Lack of USB peripheral support, especially for printing and Provides support for USB peripherals for online, offline scanning support and and branch VDI users configuration Lack of support for multiple Purpose-built solution runs on Windows (XP, Win7), guest operating systems and Linux (all flavors), Macs, Netbooks, iPads and devices smartphones Source: SMB Group, 2011 9 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 10. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing BusinessesSECTION 4: HOW TO GET STARTEDGrowing and midsize businesses with any of the following objectives will find itworthwhile to explore desktop virtualization and IBM’s Virtual Desktop for SmartBusiness offering:  Requirement to re-focus IT on growth initiatives. Many growing and midsize companies’ priorities are shifting as they look for new ways to stimulate growth and improve the customer experience. VDSB can provide midsize companies with a tool to offload non-strategic, block-and-tackle desktop support and maintenance so they can re-focus scarce IT resources on business growth strategic initiatives.  Need to ease Windows 7 migration. Many companies are struggling with the migration to Windows 7 because many applications (current and legacy) have not been fully tested on this operating system. With VDSB, users can access both older Windows operating systems and Windows 7, easing migration and management while accommodating legacy applications.  Desire to slow the PC refresh and upgrade cycle. Companies that want to delay the need to rip-and-replace PC hardware, which typically occurs every three to four years, can use VDSB to extend the life of existing PCs, accelerate desktop OS migrations, and deliver and manage applications and desktops more cost- effectively.  Demand to improve mobile access and device support. In many cases, user demand for smartphone and tablet support is outstripping IT’s capacity to provide it. Since VDSB provides a true desktop experience from any machine, users can login, use applications, create and access files, save documents, send an email or use the internet—without creating additional work for IT.  Requirements for increased desktop security. Virtual desktops can help companies meet mandatory compliance and regulatory requirements to safeguard data. 10 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 11. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing BusinessesBased on the current desktop environment, IBM and its partners use the VDSB TCOCalculator (, user registration required) to calculate theresources needed to support the VDSB implementation. Some of the key assessmentcriteria include:  Number of total users and number of concurrent users  Existing desktop operating systems and configuration  Applications used (collaboration, productivity, business, development, etc.), type of license and operating systems  Number and use of mobile devices  Number of company branch offices, remote users and satellite locations (contractors)  Migration plans for Windows 7In addition, IBM Business Partners can help IT managers factor other key architecturalconsiderations, such as security, usage scenarios and remote managementrequirements, into the planning process.Using this information, partners can calculate resource requirements and costs, anddevelop a complete architectural plan similar to the one shown in Figure 4, including theservers, memory and storage required. 11 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 12. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing BusinessesFigure 4: Architectural View of the IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business (VDSB)Solution SOURCE: IBM 12 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 13. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing BusinessesSUMMARY AND SMB GROUP PERSPECTIVEMany growing and midsize businesses want to get more business value fromtechnology, but without the luxury of more IT dollars or headcount. They need to re-focus limited IT staff and budget on initiatives that support revenue growth and improvethe customer experience. Innovative solutions, such as IBM Virtual Desktop for SmartBusiness, can help both control IT costs and reallocate IT staff to projects that help fuelbusiness growth.By using Virtual Bridges and its desktop-centric VERDE virtualization technology, VDSBavoids many of the problems associated with first-generation solutions, givingbusinesses the simplicity, flexibility and pricing they need to make desktop virtualizationpractical. By building the solution on IBM’s Solutions for Smart Business platform,customers get the added advantages of streamlined sourcing and deployment, self-management and automated backup and recovery, and affordable and predictablepricing.While many companies may have written off VDI solutions in the past due to limitationsof traditional, first-generation offerings, IBM VDSB’s next-generation offering warrants afresh look.For more information about IBM VDSB, visit: 13 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • 14. The Next-Generation Virtual Desktop Solution for Growing BusinessesSMB GROUP, INC.The SMB Group focuses exclusively on researching and analyzing the highlyfragmented “SMB market”—which is comprised of many smaller, more discrete markets.Within the SMB market, SMB Group areas of focus include: Emerging Technologies,Cloud Computing, Managed Services, Business and Marketing Applications,Collaboration and Social Media Solutions, IT Infrastructure Management and Servicesand Green IT. Read our 2011 Top Ten SMB Predictions for our views on game-changers in these and other areas of the SMB market. BAL03004-USEN-01 14 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011