Virtualizing desktops in your enterprise

Summary:perspective Citrix Systems executive offers a step-by-step guide for enterprises to successfully prepare for, and implement, desktop virtualization.

perspective Desktop virtualization is an economically viable way of delivering Windows desktops and applications to mainstream office workers anywhere without compromising security.

It results in greater productivity, higher availability, improved performance, better manageability and extreme workforce mobility.

Enterprises around the world are waking up to this and many are early adopters of such technology are causing the industry to currently grow at 28 percent per annum.

But how do you prepare an enterprise for such a change? This final instalment in a three-part series on virtualization explains how businesses can deploy desktop virtualization.

Essentially, there are three key phases to implementing desktop virtualization: building a business case, planning and implementing small-scale "tests" and finally rolling out the adoption of the product on a larger scale across the enterprise.

Everyone's approach to implementing desktop virtualization will differ depending on the type and scale of the business, as well as on users needs. The approaches that usually demonstrate the best results are where the execution has been phased in gradually across departments--creating a strong foundation by building skills and support through smaller implementations, before rolling out the solution to the wider enterprise.

Step One: Building a business case
Before deploying such a wide-ranging technological change, it is important to first develop a comprehensive plan, including the education of employees and testing of the chosen solution in order to build an effective business case.

The first step is to analyze and quantify the strategic value that desktop virtualization will bring to IT. By essentially removing the traditional PC from the equation, IT can radically improve desktop security and manageability which can reduce overall desktop total cost of ownership--by as much as 40 percent.

The Gartner Group estimates that it costs as much as US$5,867 per year to maintain a PC, resulting in over US$12,000 to procure, maintain and retire a desktop over its limited lifetime spanning about two to three years. This implies as much as US$2,300 per year of savings per user per year over traditional PCs.

This information can be used to build a business case and generate support for the adoption of desktop virtualization.

Step Two: Comprehensive planning and targeted trials
In order to prove your case, it is a good idea to set up some smaller trials to demonstrate returns on investment (ROI), grow IT skills and gain support from different areas of the enterprise.

Work with key business managers to find areas that will gain specific, fast and significant benefits from a production pilot. Identify key users such as remote or contract workers, departments or users working with particularly sensitive data or areas where the highest possible desktop availability is vital to business performance.

The following key areas should be assessed for the opportunity for significant productivity improvements and cost savings using desktop virtualization:

  • User administration and authentication
  • Client device management
  • Desktop build process
  • Upgrade cycle
  • Patch management
  • Desktop refresh cycle
  • Application delivery
  • Desktop security process
  • Systems monitoring and management
  • Systems testing processes
  • Desktop support
    • Service commitments
    • Support tiers
    • Incident tracking
    • Escalation process
    • Troubleshooting process
  • Disaster recovery
    • Business impact
    • Data centers
    • Disaster recovery site
    • Business continuity planning

After this evaluation, install desktop virtualization for a limited number of identified departments or key users within those departments to establish support and build a proven case for ROI. This will also serve to strengthen the case for large-scale implementation.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Data Centers, Hardware, Storage, Virtualization, Developer

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