WCL307: How to Develop a Succesful Desktop Strategty

This session was also very good, but a higher level session that didn’t discuss any particular technical solutions. In fact the speaker said he’s solution agnostic, as any given company has many scenarios and there’s no one size fits all solution. The speaker is a Microsoft strategist, who talks to 6-8 different customers a week all over the world and also does extensive market research and reading. So the information he presented was not his personal view, but a view shaped by decades of customer interaction and industry analysts.

The basics of the session were:

  1. The desktop is evolving from the concept of a physical PC located in a single office, to anywhere, anytime, any device access. This increases exposure of your data, for better or for worse.
  2. User complaints are historically have been solved by throwing new device solutions at them (faster hardware, newer hardware, etc.). Complaints include slowness, app failure, complicated to manage, complicated to maintain, hard to update, etc. Performance, IT control and user satisfaction all deteriorate as time goes by.
  3. The road map to nirvana which once was pretty clear, is now not so clear. VDI, tablets, mobile devices, green, thin computing, cloud computing, compliance, etc. These requirements compete and some are mutually exclusive.
  4. For 20 years people immediately jump to a hardware solution to fix user problems. Throw new gadgets at users hoping they are happy. But what really needs to happen is an analysis of roles/functions, how will you enable that use case, combined with where.
  5. We need to move from a desktop strategy to a flexible work strategy.
  6. In 10 years (1999-2010), thin clients have only increased market share from 0.6% to 1%. VDI only has 1.5%. Clearly, this solution has not yet taken off like wild fire.
  7. According to Gartner thin clients have almost no TCO advantage over a well managed fat client.
  8. Virtualized applications can reduce desktop TCO by 5% to 7%, and reduce testing, packaging and app support by 60%.
  9. Each architecture (VDI, thin client, fat client, phone, etc.) requires different expertise and has unique infrastructure requirements. Some like VDI are very demanding on storage performance, while others may require increased network bandwidth, or perimeter security.
  10. Cloud based computing has a major impact on the datacenter. HA, storage, networking, configuration management and application lifecycle become critical to properly manage. Processes need to be rethought.
  11. Any particular architecture will NOT cure your problems, it will make it harder. The biggest factor to reduce TCO is based on how managed are your profiles as unlocked users can cost up to 36% more.
  12. VDI/thin clients are not appropriate for everyone. You must select the right tool for the right job.
  13. The level of trust for a particular asset (phones, slates, tablets, netbooks, laptops, etc.) determines the access level. The more trusted, the wider access it has to corporate data.
  14. To build a well managed desktop environment you need Control + Management + Security.
  15. Application virtualization & streaming + data compliance and user personalization + image certification + user environment isolation + recovery and disaster readiness = more efficiency, lower desktop support costs.
  16. Organization segmentation, silos of roles, processes and responsibilities are the biggest reasons stopping people from achieving this end.
  17. The speaker then presented some very detailed slides on basic, standardized, rationalized and dynamic IT core infrastructure models. With this slides you could go down through a number of categories and determine your current state (.e.g. manual app deployment is basic, while self-service role based app install is dynamic) and pick your target end state. Very enlightening slides.
  18. Step 1 of this entire process is to baseline your current capabilities. You have to know where you are at today, so you can develop a roadmap. Step 2 is to define an end point. Put users into different buckets (office workers, task workers, etc.). Step 3 is build a plan and execute with all joint virtual teams…across organizations and with full buy-in.
  19. Foundation elements for a well managed desktop include compatibility analysis and migration, imaging and deployment strategy, deployment implementation and migration.

The speaker sited numerous sources for his data points, which were all included in the slides. I thought the session was pretty thought provoking, and makes you realize that must get out of the mind set of just throwing new hardware widgets at the problem. You need to fundamentally think about desktops in a different way today.

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May 18, 2011 3:37 pm

Thanks for all the great details. Very appreciated.