Five Obstacles to VDI Success and How You Can Avoid Them

By Ken Phelan
Posted in Virtualization
On February 13, 2012

Virtual Desktops have proven to be a valuable technology. They are providing organizations with the ability to support many end points in many locations with a secure and productive desktop experience. Many large IT organizations are successfully moving from providing computers to providing Desktops as a Service (DaaS). This change helps them align better with business needs and provide a quality experience to their IT consumers.

Gotham is committed to the success of our clients’ desktop virtualization initiatives. Having done as many installs as we have, we understand that success is not guaranteed, and would like to share five common reasons why VDI initiatives sometimes fail, and steps you can take to avoid them.

  1. VDI is too big a change.

Don’t shortcut VDI. A VDI initiative requires organizations to do several things well that they may not have experience doing; you may need to retrain many of your staff, or acquire new staff to handle VDI. Walk through the procurement process and ensure your business processes are in line with this new way of consuming technology.

  1. Application provisioning.

Getting a handle on your applications is a priority for a successful VDI initiative. VDI requires organizations to package, test, and provision all their applications. Although most organizations do this on some scale, many are challenged to do this for every single application in their organization. Start with a complete application inventory and use it to create a role-based view of your application portfolio.

  1. Reliance on the network.

Make sure you understand your network’s capabilities. VDI sessions depend on the network for their performance. If there are even intermittent performance problems on your network, users will complain about VDI performance. Don’t just look at the bandwidth you own; look specifically at what’s available for VDI. Remember that this solution is latency sensitive, and plan for latency SLAs.

  1. Picking the wrong use case.

Pick your first use cases carefully; some users are just not a good fit for this solution. They include users with poor or slow network connections; users who must install their own applications; and users with extreme video requirements. For your first uses cases, look for groups of task workers with similar application, data, and access requirements who are viable candidates and will see the benefits of the solution.

  1. Marketecture.

VDI is the hot new thing and almost every technology manufacturer has statements about how they support or improve this concept. Although many of these products provide significant value, every environment is different, and your mileage may vary. Don’t believe any architecture benefit statement (particularly when it comes to scaling) until it has been proven out in your environment. Get a third party you trust to architect your solution, and be sure to pilot everything.

Engaging a technology solutions partner that fully understands the complexities of VDI and takes a holistic view of your environment will help avoid all of these pitfalls. Gotham understands that there are no one-size-fits-all VDI solutions. Our extensive experience in both the business and technology aspects of VDI initiatives allow us to help customers successfully architect and implement the most effective solutions.

Ken Phelan

Ken Phelan

Ken is one of Gotham’s founders and its Chief Technology Officer, responsible for all internal and external technology and consulting operations for the firm. A recognized authority on technology and operations, Ken has been widely quoted in the technical press, and is a frequent presenter at various technology conferences. Ken is the Chairman of the Wall Street Thin Client Advisory Council.