In the Guard's case, the capability to access VDI skills motivated its partnering initiative. Retirements and federal budget pressure limit the supply of IT staffers available to government agencies.
Caporale cites the "draw-down of the amount of trained personnel" and the time it would take to train new people or temporary assets. "Every day we get more and more requirements in IT and fewer and fewer resources to field those requirements. We have knowledge gaps and we need to fill those knowledge gaps with people who are partners."
Force 3, based on its previous work with the Guard, was already familiar with organization's infrastructure and could therefore determine the right technology fit, Caporale says. To that end, the integrator designed the Guard's virtualization solution, installed it, and provided training.
The training element looms large. In addition to expertise in virtualization solutions from such vendors as VMware and Citrix Systems, the day-to-day operation of a VDI deployment requires a breadth of technical knowledge. Desktop virtualization takes operating systems, data, and applications from conventional client PCs and laptops and transfers them to the data center. Users' desktop environments exist as virtual machines housed on centralized servers.
Sudhir Verma, vice president of consulting services at Force 3, says organizations should consider early on whether they have the right mix of skills to run a virtual desktop environment.
Verma says VDI requires a thorough understanding of the Microsoft desktop, including operating systems, group policies and Active Directory. IT personnel must also understand server, storage and network virtualization, while having a grasp of server hardware as well. "Cloud and VDI are going to be the solutions that drastically change the skill set environment."
VDI, Thin Clients Make Desktop Rollout Easier
As with the Guard, CredAbility, a nonprofit consumer credit counseling service, saw a need for outside expertise when it embarked on a VDI project.
The Atlanta-based company, facing yet another PC replacement cycle, decided to adopt virtual desktops as an alternative. Since the desktop image becomes a data center function, VDI customers may use thin clients instead of fully loaded desktops. Those devices generally outlast traditional PCs, which eases the chore of desktop replacement.
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