Gumball Desktop Transformation

By Ken Phelan
Posted in Virtualization
On April 17, 2012

One of my favorite lines is from the movie Gumball Rally. One of the drivers, an Italian professional race car driver, gets into the Ferrari he’s going to drive across country, promptly rips the rearview mirror off, and throws it away. “And now, my friend,” he says, “the first rule of Italian driving. What’s behind me, is not my problem.”

Unfortunately for most of my desktop transformation clients, what’s behind them is most definitely their problem.

In most desktop transformation efforts, we’ve got a host of applications dragging behind us like anchors. We don’t know who wrote them. We don’t know what their current requirements are. We don’t know if they’re compatible with Windows or VDI. Often, we can’t even find a business owner who can tell us what they’re good for.

What’s that you say? We should just ignore them?

Oh, if only this were Gumball Desktop Transformation.

As infrastructure providers we’re not in the business of stopping business. We enable applications; we don’t disable them. Not if we want to keep our jobs anyway.

So, what are our choices here? One obvious choice, continuing our metaphor, is to get a bigger motor and simply drag those anchors onto our next platform. In our world, that big motor is going to look like a big consulting engagement that migrates all of your applications.

Here are some of the other ideas Gotham is suggesting:

  • Virtualize your applications. Virtualized apps have less platform dependence.
  • Build platform compatibility into your packaging process. Packaging isn’t about spitting out MSIs. It’s about getting applications ready for insertion into your platform. There are some great new technologies on the market that specialize in testing applications for platform compatibility.
  • Build a more granular system around your chargeback/showback model to charge for application usage. The only way to get your business units to partner in application lifecycle management is to involve them in the lifetime cost of ownership.
  • Get ahead of application governance, at least on a go forward basis. Work with your PMO and procurement organization to make sure that, as applications are purchased or developed today, they’re fed into a system to log and manage them over the lifecycle of the technology.

Our Italian race car driver certainly did get one thing right. Winning the race is about focusing forward. Hopefully, we can find a way to solve these application compatibility problems that’s better than leaving the car in park and complaining about all the issues in our rear view mirror.

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.