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Desktop Virtualization and Evolving Strategies for IT ... - Eddie Jackson

Desktop Virtualization and Evolving Strategies for IT ... - Eddie Jackson

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Desktop Virtualization and Evolving Strategies for IT Service DeliveryJaime HalscottSupporting Offline UsersOffline users present a slightly different set of challenges than remote users do. An offlineuser is one that spends a lot of time with little or no connectivity. A good example is thefield sales users that spend a vast majority of their time in airports and hotels. The offlineuser may be remote most of the time and have connection back to the data center foraccess to the VDI.Traditionally, offline or remote users have made use of a solution to address connectivityinterruptions and allow for productivity while disconnected. Technologies a decade oldallow for offline files. Users have also had traditional hardware at their location that wouldkeep resident copies of needed applications, associated settings, and preferences.In the world of the virtual desktop, the desktop session or published application has beenpresented remotely to the end user. The challenges to accomplishing this with limited to noconnectivity back to the data center are well known. Quite simply, if you can’t reach yourdata center, you can’t get your “desktop” or applications. In order to address this limited orno connectivity problem, vendors have created several unique solutions.Supporting offline users can take the form of an offline desktop, essentially a local virtualcopy of all the OS and application needs of the user. However, we still have to manage thatdesktop and the computer on which it runs. The technologies for delivering an offlinedesktop vary, but for the most part involve some sort of checkout and version controlmechanism for the virtual desktop. This setup allows the user to work with a local copy ofthe desktop and synchronize the changes back to the data center as connectivity permits.The problem is that in order to have a seamless user workspace, the user must understandthe processes associated with check‐ins, checkouts, version control, and synchronization.Each vendor will have slightly different process sets.ReferenceChapter 2 will examine the different types of access hardware that willgreatly affect the user workspace presentation. New types of devices may notsupport offline desktop function and might be a clunky fit for VDI.VDI’s technologies are challenged to meet end user service delivery goals when it comes tooffline and remote users. The limitations imposed by required connectivity are too much toovercome for many businesses. Vendors have made measured strides to achieving successhere; however, preserving a satisfactory user experience remains a challenge with VDI andthis user class.7

Desktop Virtualization and Evolving Strategies for IT Service DeliveryJaime HalscottLesson 3: How to Support Heavy UsersHeavy users represent a unique class of users. The heavy user typically is more tied tospecialized hardware than the average knowledge worker. For example, an architect thatrelies on high‐resolution graphics and larger or multiple monitors will not be easilysupported in a desktop virtualization scenario. I typically refer to this type of user as apower user, but because Windows has a built‐in user group also called “Power Users,” I’vestarted referring to these users as heavy users. Really, the terms are interchangeable.Technical solutions have evolved to help meet the increased demands that the power userplaces on a VDI system, but again you must focus on the reason for desktop virtualization inthe first place and, more importantly, the service delivery aspect. Is the heavy user classone that should be a part of a desktop virtualization scenario or is this simply not the wayto meet the goal of end user service delivery?Let’s start this analysis by looking at the way the typical heavy user interacts withtechnology. Using this information, you can determine what or how much of that work fitswith VDI and other virtualization efforts.What does an example architectural or engineering heavy user employ in a traditional nonvirtualizeddesktop environment for service delivery? This user will have a CAD softwarepackage that has processor and memory demands that are greater than typical businessproductivity software packages. This software is needed in addition to other more commonbusiness applications such as office productivity, time tracking and billing, and variousother supporting point solutions.The second consideration is hardware. At the core, the processor, memory, and storagedemands are higher for the heavy user than for the general business knowledge workerclass of users. These demands are placed by the requirements of the specialized softwarepackages themselves. These extra resources are expensive.The costs per user that must be supported on the desktop virtualization platform will behigher for the heavy user than for the knowledge worker. Desktop virtualization solutionsare starting to help with the specialized hardware and even now provide support for USBdevice redirection.What are the criteria for when a heavy user can and cannot be supported in a virtualdesktop? Here are some of the factors to consider:• Directly connected peripherals• Specialized input devices• Multiple monitor support• Complex applications8

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