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10 steps to switch to a virtual desktop infrastructure

Today the workplace is changing rapidly. More and more mobile way employees work, more than half (52%) of employees use three or more devices to work according Cisco- and many bring their own devices to the workplace (BYOD). This dynamic force has created challenges for IT related to data security and regulatory compliance, cost containment and management of images and terminals.

“There are solutions that help IT meet these challenges directly through virtualization end users’ desktops.Through them, organizations can move active desktop (OS, applications and data) to the data center, where IT staff can manage more safely and deliver it to end users across multiple devices and locations. This strategy can reduce operational costs, improve security and support mobile access and diversity of devices in the workplace, “said Norberto Ávila, senior systems engineer at VMware.

If you are thinking of implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), the specialist recommended to consider the following tips:

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1. Analyze the roles and user requirements. For successful implementation, you need to create groups of users with models and similar requirements for desktop use. Among the considerations to be taken into account may include: Types of users (such as employees with specific tasks or intellectual employees), mobility requirements (no access, with mobile access and offline) and user requirements (desktop dedicated applications customized and installed by the user). This allows to determine the type of deposit desktop – that means dedicated or flotante-, how many deposits of virtual machines can create and if users connect to a virtual desktop, centralized alternative physical desktop or physical terminal that administered by these solutions. Do not forget to consider what to do to keep data users when they are not connected.

2. Evaluate application requirements. To optimize the desktop experience of end users, a full evaluation of all applications that run virtual desktops be performed. It is necessary to verify the number of licenses, when to renew and compatibility. If you are upgrading versions of operating systems, verify application compatibility or package them . It is also important to evaluate a strategy application virtualization , which can be the model of centralized management of applications (remote presentation, packaging, layers) as to manage any physical or virtual terminal as a generic device, simplifying management and operating system upgrade .

3. Evaluate the topology data . It should be understood clearly where files, folders, general configuration and customized users are in addition to append the geographical location of the origins of application data and plan how toallocate these items to the new environment. You may need to allow users toaccess files from remote locations, but these files should be centralized in one location. If the mobile access terminal services is used, it must decide whether it will continue to use in the virtual desktop environment.

4. Confirm that directory services are configured correctly and running. It should ensure that all domain controllers Active Directory replication are performing properly and to check whether the DNS and DHCP protocols are correctly configured, if they work and if they can be incorporated newly created desktops. In addition, you must have domain controllers in locations where employees log. For example, if your firewall software blocks Global Catalog and LDAP ports, administrators will have problems to configure user rights assignments. It must ensure that all necessary ports are open to work properly.

Having a VDI is a strategy that can reduce operational costs, improve security and support mobile access and diversity of devices in the workplace.

5. Evaluate the current infrastructure. It is necessary toreview the current configuration to determine which existing infrastructure can be leveraged and what may need to add to their new environment. We must also review and optimize the topology of the wide area network (WAN), the quality and class of service, display protocols, the geographical location of sites and remote access methods. It determines if a solution has virtual private network (VPN) and if multifactor authentication security hybrid is used.

6. Check security needs and compliance . Determine what policy requirements for authentication, data protection, compliance, archiving and retention are. For example, you have to find out if you are using a multifactor authentication such as smart cards or tokens to authenticate user access.Also, you can install and configure a server in the DMZ to allow external users to connect to desktops sheltered behind the corporate firewall.

7 . Set expectations with users . The successful implementation of VDI depends on employee satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to set user expectations in its implementation plan. You must be made key questions such as: What devices employees use? Will they need to print? Do users need to listen to or record audio files? You need to run a pilot virtualizationdesktop to gather information about performance requirements and employee satisfaction. This stage is extremely important to identify potential problems or bottlenecks that were not foreseen during the design and thus they can be overcome in a controlled environment, minimizing business impact. In this sense, some organizations have designed programs and internal marketing communication to help convey to the end user the benefits of these technologies and thus promote less resistance to change and contribute to a more transparent adoption.

8. Pay close attention to measuring the size of storage . Many projects fail VDI, perform poorly or are more expensive due to poor storage design. To measure the size of the storage, use the most accurate data that can be obtained about the requirements of current and future desktop , and compare them with the capabilities of their storage systems. By measuring the size of storage, consider both average working loads, such as peak loads. Measurement for average work load resulting in inadequate resources during peak times and this decreases the end – user performance.Manufacturers generally have service offerings that analyze in detail the consumption of hardware resources on physical desktops (CPU, memory and disk operations) and use the data collected to estimate more accurately the requirements infrastructure will the project. It is advisable to consider such offers to ensure project success.

9. Establish support requirements . Train all support personnel desks about changes in the pattern of it, to make clear the requirements that have virtual desktops. If done at the beginning of the implementation, can significantly increase the chances of success.

10. Evaluate the TCO and ROI . Desktop virtualization does not offer the same total cost of ownership (TCO) or the same return on investment (ROI)that virtualization server . You should be sure to set the right expectations and assess TCO and ROI correctly to reflect the advantages that this ability can offer your organization. For example, desktop virtualization can: Reduce support costs by 50% to centralize administration; allow the admission of up to 40% more than end users with the same IT staff; reducing network requirements through a more efficient use of bandwidth and extending refresh cycles pcs about 5 or 7 years.