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Virtualization

So You Want to Go to VDI: Planning a Successful Proof of Concept

By December 2, 2014December 3rd, 2014No Comments

VDI POCSince adopting VDI will effectively uproot how your organization does basic computing, it’s important to look at it from all angles and test it thoroughly first.

Read the earlier posts in our series:

Proof of Concept (POC)

When we start working out the plans to switch a client to VDI, we always do a comprehensive POC first. Basically, we demo VDI in the organization with several different test groups. While the IT help desk should have a fairly good idea of each worker type’s functions, putting VDI into practice reveals any possible sticking points or challenges.

Designing Your VDI POC

First off, your POC should be rather detailed. It should reach farther than just one test group. Like I said previously, VDI is best used in organizations where there are large groups of users who do the same activities. You’ll quickly realize if this isn’t the case when strategizing your POC if you’re getting too many fragmented groups.

Typical groups could be: management, knowledge workers, IT, customer service. Keep in mind that, like your reasons for going to VDI and how it will work, these groups will be completely unique to your organization.

A method we often use is to start small with the POC and scale it up. You can start with about 10 or less users per test group and run it for a specific amount of time (it’s important to include any peak or busy times, like if you have heavy workloads during the holidays, in your POC time), and then incrementally scale it up.

It’s important to also identify what we call “edge” cases – users that are unlike others. For example, your organization might have a few kiosks or you might have a training lab. Bear those in mind.

Important Scenarios to Consider

Auxiliary functions like printing can often be forgotten and cause trouble when you get too far down the pike. Another area to remember, depending on your organization, is VoIP. You must ensure it’ll fit in well with your VDI. Sometimes mobility and recording present additional configuration challenges.

Don’t forget to look at any line-of-business apps in your organization and assess how they’ll work in VDI.

What Your VDI POC Should Reveal

When the proof of concept is performed, there must be some ability to isolate the performance of the POC away from the rest of the systems. You might use a separate datastore from everything else and isolate using extra network ports.

Gathering realistic numbers from the POC allows you to scale those to actual production numbers. When an organization is running a POC with a fraction of the total number of users, if there aren’t good metrics gathered during POC then it will be difficult to properly plan the infrastructure for deployment and there could be unanticipated bottlenecks.

The biggest question that your VDI POC should answer is whether or not VDI is going to suit your organization’s needs. There are a lot of smaller questions that fit into ascertaining that:

Is your storage performance able to keep up now? Will it be able to withstand your projected growth in the next three to five years?

Is your network bandwidth adequate for the increased traffic?

Do you have enough host resources?

Are your users getting the same or better experience?

 Need help designing your VDI? Email us or give us a call at 502-240-0404 to get started with our virtualization experts.