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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 HalscottLesson 1: How Legacy Solutions Integrate Into Service DeliveryWhen I talk about legacy, I don’t want there to be any confusion as to what I mean. In therealm of desktop virtualization, I’m speaking about technologies that are typically usedeither in the server space exclusively or have not traditionally been a part of a desktopservice discussion.It may seem a little odd that I’m referring to legacy solutions as part of a virtual desktopdiscussion, but the fact is, almost no one is going to be able to rip out all of their existinginfrastructure just to start from scratch with VDI. Honestly, why would any business decidethat it is appropriate to redesign everything just to support an emerging technology? Thattechnology would have to be so revolutionary and give that business such a competitiveedge that there would be no other option than to adopt it completely and suddenly.Desktop virtualization isn’t that type of technology.Chapter 1 established that VDI wasn’t the final destination but merely a part of atransformative journey that improves the end user experience and enables IT to more costeffectivelysupport users’ needs. With that focus, consider the following questions for yourbusiness:• If we are going to have VDI in some form, what do we do about all of the legacydesktops that are still in production?• What about the servers and networking equipment in the data center and corporateoffices?• What about the management platforms and software we use to support it all? Whatdo we do with it? Do we reuse it? Do we repurpose it?You should reuse and repurpose as much of it as possible. This makes natural sense, as weall have to work within limited budgets. Then how do you determine what you can reuseand repurpose?Take InventoryLet’s start by taking an inventory of the current business infrastructure. We need todetermine which components can be reused and which have to be replaced. In addition tohardware, this inventory process will necessarily include software and even supportprocesses too.Hardware is a good place to start with the inventory process. You already know therequirements for virtualization platforms in general. This is one area where the differencesbetween server and desktop virtualization aren’t all that varied. I struggle to think of aserver that has shipped in the past few years that doesn’t fully support the technologiesrequired for virtualization.17

Desktop Virtualization and Evolving Strategies for IT Service DeliveryJaime HalscottFrom a server hardware standpoint, if your servers are capable of supporting a virtualserver infrastructure, they are going to be capable of supporting a VDI. Vendors don’t selldifferent servers for each purpose. These servers are just as good for virtual workloads asthey are for physical ones. It doesn’t matter whether those workloads are virtual server orvirtual desktop in nature.Hardware support for virtualization has been around for several years. Although thishardware support has matured and brought speed and scalability gains, there is one keydifference between now and when server virtualization started to become mainstream.When server virtualization started to come into the forefront of IT strategies, servers didn’talways support hardware‐accelerated virtualization. Virtualization platforms requireddirect hardware support for their hypervisors that many servers could not provide. As aresult, only the most current generation of servers at that time were viable candidates forbecoming virtual hosts.Fast forward 5 years and we see that all servers currently shipping feature some form ofhardware virtualization support. The newer the server, the better the support will be withtechnologies that allow much more efficient direct access to hardware resources.Nonetheless, all servers in the past few generations will have the required support fordesktop virtualization efforts. To move a physical server from a server virtualization role toa desktop virtualization role, not much is required. Certainly, the hardware does not haveto be replaced, creating the first chance to reuse infrastructure components.In the first chapter, I identified the importance of creating an effective pilot to determineperformance needs and ensure that any solution will fit the users’ expectations forusability. Being able to employ servers that still meet the requirements for virtualizationbut might be aging to the point where they are targeted for replacement will be a great wayto test desktop virtualization without adding new servers. To complete this step, take aninventory of all of your servers and indicate which include hardware virtualization support.Analyze Supporting Components and ProcessesLet’s move from the server hardware itself to the other supporting components in the datacenter. In this area, upgrades that were performed to support server virtualization projectswill translate into real‐world use with desktop virtualization. There are no specialrequirements for networking hardware or storage systems to support desktopvirtualization. You can leverage all the switches, routers, power distribution, and such thatyou’ve already put in place without additional cost.With that being said, there is a caveat to reusing all of the supporting components withoutplanning for any upgrades. Implementing VDI can be a massive tax on the existing networkinfrastructure. Being able to reuse a good portion of the networking infrastructure doesn’tmean that networking infrastructure upgrades and optimization won’t need to occur. Anentire industry of specialized networking equipment designed just for desktopvirtualization scenarios has emerged.18

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