3 Tips for Planning a Desktop Virtualisation Project

By Lauren Fritsky

When it comes to desktop virtualisation, you can’t just pick a product or delivery method at random and hope it sticks. Like taking on any major IT transformation, you should first see how desktopvirtualisation fits in with your current information and communications technology environment. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure you have the network infrastructure to support whichever virtualisation delivery model you choose. And finally, you’ll need to take a look at the different kinds of users at your organisation to determine the best method of virtualising.

1. Determine how desktop virtualisation fits with other IT plans

A 2011 Forrester survey reported 38 per cent of IT managers planned desktop and application virtualisation with Windows 7 migration. If you have a similar project in the works, it might make sense to execute desktop virtualisation at the same time. But there’s more to consider in the realm of mobility, collaboration or remote work plans. For instance, are you envisioning a Bring Your Own Device program? Then virtualising through an application-level streaming approach is probably your best bet because these users will only need certain applications to run on their personal device, not an entire operating system image.

2. Assess network requirements

Any type of desktop virtualisation affects your network. For server-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and terminal services, the end user’s experience is affected by network latency and the bandwidth availability. To determine bandwidth needs, your organisation will need to categorize its workforce – task or power users, for instance – and determine which types of functions they will need to perform and how often they will perform them. If you’re choosing VDI, you might need to consider a WAN optimization solution to decrease latency. Datacom can work with your organisation to design and implement a VDI solution that takes your network needs into consideration.

3. Plan for profile management  

How will you let your workforce enjoy a consistent end-user experience with their virtualised desktop? If you don’t properly plan profile management, users could wind up with lost desktop settings and an inconsistent look and feel when accessing the corporate desktop from different devices. Depending on the method of IT virtualisation and the product you use, there are several potential ways to execute a profile strategy.

For example, products from Citrix and Cisco, with which Datacom has experience implementing and integrating virtualisation solutions, optimise the desktop so settings and applications are carried over to whichever device the user accesses. Having a profile management tool in place can also prevent “logon storms” when every member of your workforce is attempting to access the desktop at the same time each morning.

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