March 04, 2013, 9:28 AM — This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.
Although virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is well recognized, up until now, the technology has over-promised and under-delivered. Many IT departments, lured by better resource utilization and cost savings, have had their fingers burnt as a consequence of adopting a 'lock stock and barrel' approach to VDI projects. For many companies, the project has actually negatively affected users' ability to do their jobs, in turn resulting in outright rejection of the implementation.
The error has lied in taking an IT-centric approach to VDI. Evidence suggests that a user-led approach to VDI implementation is more successful. This requires a deeper analysis of how users do their jobs and the impact of the virtualized app on the users' day-to-day activities.
Understanding the user
Compatibility testing can measure which applications can be moved to the virtual environment, and usually IT departments will focus on this. However, as part of this, user compatibility testing is overlooked. In order to truly deliver value from VDI, only those applications that will either perform better or will enhance user experience should be migrated to a virtual environment.
User compatibility testing involves a comprehension of which applications are used most by users, how they use them, from which devices, how often and for what purposes. Some applications (e.g. Microsoft Office) are more suited to VDI as they can be encapsulated easily, they are platform independent and multiple versions can run on the same box without compromising performance.
Other applications that carry a heavier data load (e.g. SAP) lose performance and are more dependent on resources outside of the discreet device accessing the data. Corresponding usage behavior of its users and an understanding of the application are essential to identifying the best candidates for VDI.