Following from my previous post I wanted to cover some of the areas / themes that should be included or at least considered when creating your virtual desktop (VDI or vDesktop) strategy.
There are currently a variety of drivers for virtual desktops ensuring that this topic remains one of the key discussion points when ICT departments and C-levels talk about IT strategy. These drivers range from data security and centralised management to the increasing prevalence of BYOD (Bring your own Device), and are aided by the increasing flexibility and maturity of the technical VDI solutions. As such, even if you don’t yet plan to implement this technology you should be very aware of it and be formulating your strategy. If you are already have implemented, or are planning to implement, a VDI solution then you should already have a firm strategy, and vision, in place. Either way I hope this proves to be a useful reference.
The below list is likely not exhaustive, and includes both very high level strategic considerations, along with some more technical concerns.
1. What are you trying to achieve?
– Ensure the goals are clearly articulated, such as cost reduction, business enabler, improved security, and centralisation.
2. Clearly define use cases
– Is VDI critical to achieve these or just one option?
– Is this a tactical or overall strategic solution?
3. How does this align with other plans / strategies
– Plans to roll out or upgrade to Windows 7 and 8
– Plans to enable remote / mobile working
– Support of BYOD initiatives
4. What is the wider business case / benefit of the strategy?
– User satisfaction
– ROI (Return On Investment)
5. What is the endpoint strategy
– Thick clients
– Thin Clients
– Mobile Clients
– Do the proposed solutions have clients for all supported endpoints? Can access be provided via a browser?
– What are the plans for managing the endpoints?
6. Do the users require the ability to be able to work offline?
7. How will images be managed?
– Single or multiple images?
– Maintaining ‘gold’ images?
8. How will profiles be manages?
– Do users require individual and persistent profiles / workspaces?
– Can static / mandatory profiles be used in some / all instances?
9. How do currently deployed technologies match up with those required to deploy and manage the VDI solution?
– Propose transition plans
10. How do current skill sets match up to those required to support and manage the VDI solution?
– Propose training plans
11. What are the impacts to;
– Network – LAN / WAN
– Do these impact cost and business case?
12. Are the vendors being considered suitable partners?
– Do they design for and target businesses of your size and in your segment
– Are they healthy financially?
– Do they have strategic, long term plans?
– Is there a healthy ‘eco system’ of applications and other vendors around the solution?
13. How available and resilient will the solution be?
– Resilient infrastructure?
– Backed up?
14. Scalability and flexibility
– How does the solution scale?
– What operating systems do you require it to support?
– Are 64 as well as 32-bit operating systems supported?
15. What are the licensing implications of virtualising your current operating system and application estate?
16. What are the user and business expectations around areas such as;
– Multi media
– Unified communications
– Video conferencing
17. Will supporting technologies such as application virtualisation be part of the strategy?
18. How compatibility issues such as requirement for local licensing dongles will be dealt with.
As a final note, it is a common issue in VDI plans and deployments for organisations to focus on the technology, features, and products in the market without first having a clear vision and defined strategy.
Remember – vision and strategy first for any large programs of work!