Thursday, May 2, 2013

Random Ramblings of Neil - Why VDI?

Hi Friends,

Thought I'd try something new, the random ramblings of me.  If you've stuck with me this far, maybe you'll stick around a little longer.  I figured I'd start babbling about what's on my mind.  So why VDI?  I think a lot of folks are finding out that VDI is tough!  Server virtualization was fairly easy because servers are predictable, and unless they get viruses, they pretty much are content to do their jobs, day in, day out without much variation.

Now people on the other hand!  We're horrible, we don't work 24 hours a day, we don't stay on task, we take breaks, we go to websites that aren't business related, pick up viruses from naughty sites, we drop our computers, leave them in car to cook and potentially get stolen, download software our employers don't want us to, delete files on our computers we're not supposed to.  Wow, we're pretty chaotic!

I get the question a lot, why VDI?  It tends to be expensive, server administrators don't want it because they're afraid they'll be handed desktop support and the desktop administrators don't want it because they're afraid they'll lose their jobs to the server administrators.  With server virtualization it was all about consolidation and saving money and I don't think VDI is trying to solve that same problem.  Unfortunately a lot of folks immediately equate VDI with server virtualization and saving money and consolidating.

Maybe we're trying to solve a whole different problem, one that people forget about all the time.  Intellectual property, also known as YOU!  If you think about it, hardware is throw away, but people are invaluable!  What's trapped in our heads makes business successful.  So we need to architect a solution, not around the predictable server, but the chaotic human.  So how about some solutions!

1.  Let's get that data off a local disk and put it somewhere safe!  But Neil, I'm already running CIFS shares and have a utility that let's user's backup their desktop!  Ah, very good point, but take a poll of your users how many are actually running their backups and/or backing up to their CIFS share?  How many have gone to IT with a dead laptop hard drive and have lost everything?  How many have left their laptops in their car and it walked off?  Remember, once that data is gone it may not be gone.  If stolen, that data might show up in the wrong hands.  What about the damage to your companies reputation?  What if there was customer data on that laptop, like credit card numbers?

2.  Give the user what they need, not what you think they need and they'll love it!  One size does NOT fit all.  If your users can run their desktop on their tablet or ANY computer, they're going to like the solution!  If they accidentally delete OS files they're not supposed to and the OS crashes and a simple reboot will fix the problem automagically, they're going to like the solution!  So how do we know what the user needs?  I've mentioned it before, perform an assessment.  You may think your users only need 20 IOPS, maybe they do, maybe they don't.  What about block size?  What about reads vs. writes?  Remember, you're introducing something new to your users.  If it doesn't perform just as good or better than what they're used to, you'll never hear the end of it!  Do the users need to install applications or is a certain set good enough?  There's lots of great technologies out there.  My suggestion, figure out what your users need before you purchase anything.

I think VDI is cool.  Is it tough?  Yes, but it solves a lot of problems and can make your user's lives easier, IF done right.  In other ramblings I'll talk about what *I* think is right. :-)

Until Next Time!
-Brain

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