Variety In Desktop Virtualization

2017-07-27T00:01:12+00:00 October 26th, 2009|Uncategorized|

dell_ultra_small_desktopWill one single type of desktop accommodate the needs of this complex workforce? Simply put, it can’t. These workers require a multitude of desktop experiences. That means either a plethora of desktop products, or a single framework that can be configured and extended to support a variety of workplace scenarios.

A powerful technology that affords flexibility and manageability, and can enable these new workforce scenarios to come to life, is virtualization. Most IT managers are aware of the power of virtualization technology, specifically as it applies to servers and consolidation. However, many may not be aware of how virtualization can be applied to the desktop.

There are four areas of virtualization that enable flexibility at the desktop level:

1. User-state virtualization separates an end user’s data and settings from a specific desktop machine. This enables IT to store those user elements centrally and at the same time make them accessible to other PCs in the organization. It enables a user to employ a variety of PCs (or mobile devices) as if each were that person’s unique PC.

2. Microsoft® Application Virtualization (App-V) turns an application into a self-functioning entity. It allows IT administrators to store an application centrally and stream it to a desktop based on user access privileges. It isolates applications from each other, allowing them to run in concert even if they require the same resources from the OS.

3. Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) decouples the location of the user interface from where the application is executing. This allows the execution of a desktop environment at one place (a server) and presentation of that environment or user interface at a different location (a desktop or mobile computer).

4. Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) centralizes virtual PCs inside the datacenter while allowing users to remotely access their desktops. Being server-based, it requires hardware and storage that can be costly. Before you start evaluating VDI, rationalize your VDI deployment, outline your VDI scenarios and explore the licensing implications.

Microsoft has incorporated powerful virtualization technology as a key element in its strategic blueprint, the Windows Optimized Desktop.


Reduce Costs By Streamlining PC Management

2017-07-27T00:01:12+00:00 October 25th, 2009|Uncategorized|

Microsoft PC ManagementThe cost and administrative challenges in managing a modern desktop infrastructure are daunting. Envisioning the desktop infrastructure as a strategic asset rather than a cost center can benefit both users and the organization as a whole. Microsoft, in collaboration with IDC and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has created a strategic roadmap for desktop infrastructure optimization that characterizes an organization’s desktop management practices along a curve that moves from simple and reactive to mature and optimized:

Basic Desktop Infrastructure

Characterized by manual, localized processes with minimal central control, the basic desktop infrastructure is fundamentally reactive—both in terms of process and security—and  a highly dependent cost center.

Standardized Desktop Infrastructure

Standardization of desktop technology— hardware and software— results in an increasing degree of coordination between management and end users, making administration of the standardized desktop infrastructure more efficient.

Rationalized Desktop Infrastructure

Consolidation and coordination of desktop and server assets, combined with a significant degree of automation, make the rationalized infrastructure highly effective and a business enabler.

Dynamic Desktop Infrastructure

Dynamic resource usage combined with fully automated functions and processes, which allow for business-linked service-level agreements, make the dynamic desktop infrastructure a strategic business asset.

An optimized desktop infrastructure can lead to greater business continuity, enhanced compliance, and better, more secure access to network resources. Organizations can increase agility and achieve notable improvements in the ability to provide faster, more responsive it service.

Higher levels of optimization can result in savings of up to 80 percent in it labor costs, according to a 2009 idc study. Standardization alone pays dividends. According to idc, companies that maintained a standardized desktop strategy for three years or longer decreased

Pc labor costs by an additional 34 percent over the initial short-term gains.

The Windows optimized desktop is intended to support an organization’s effort to optimize its overall desktop infrastructure. it does this first by facilitating standardization and consolidation through the use of a single, stable, familiar and well-integrated client-server architecture. But it also offers technology managers capabilities and tools that facilitate coordination, automation and dynamic resource allocation, including:

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) this reduces the application deployment effort because technology managers no longer need to test how different groups of applications work together every time one is upgraded. it removes an application from the desktop footprint, which allows it to deploy a smaller master Pc image across a variety of business groups.

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) this resolves application-compatibility problems by letting legacy applications run in a virtual environment.

Windows 7 Advanced Image Management and Deployment Tools these enable it to ease os deployments and reduce the cost and complexity of managing PCs and virtual machines.

The DirectAccess network access technology so effective in supporting mobile workers works both ways: it not only allows users to access corporate resources directly, it enables administrators to configure and manage Pcs remotely across the internet, especially when used in conjunction with these tools:

  • Group Policy Management Console, which allows it administrators to centrally manage Pc and application settings.
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0, which enables technology managers to automate repetitive tasks.
  • Internet Explorer Administration Kit, which can be used to configure an initial internet explorer setup or manage user settings after internet explorer has been deployed

Return on investment can be measured two ways: Lower costs and more effective use of resources. the Windows optimized desktop helps lower the cost of desktop administration and increase dynamic resource usage by providing tools that help both users and administrators resolve problems faster—and therefore return to productive work quicker:

Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset this tool helps technology managers and administrators identify and repair Pcs that have become unusable by offering tools that analyze and solve the problem.

System Center Desktop Error Monitoring through agentless crash-monitoring technology, this tool identifies the impact, probable cause, and resolution of application and operating system failures, which helps to make desktop Pcs more stable and reliable.

Windows Troubleshooting Platform the Windows troubleshooting Platform can reduce calls to the help desk by diagnosing and resolving common Pc issues, and by providing built-in troubleshooting help, including audio, video, and networking, for several different types of problems.

Virtualization may be intimidating to it managers unfamiliar with the technology. the Windows optimized desktop provides tools to manage both physical and virtual assets.

System Center Configuration Manager

System center configuration manager 2007 assesses, deploys and updates software on servers, clients and mobile devices across physical, virtual and distributed environments. Organizations leveraging Microsoft system center configuration manager will benefit from internal end-to-end hardware and software inventory and metering capabilities. The solution’s asset intelligence component translates the inventory data into information, providing rich reports that it administrators can use to optimize hardware and software usage.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager

System center Virtual machine manager enables dynamic and responsive management of a virtual infrastructure, rapid provisioning of new virtual machines, and unified management of physical and virtual machines. These days, lowering cost is imperative, and most organizations are looking for short-term return on any investments they make, including technology. The

Windows optimized desktop provides a cost-effective way for it administrators to begin the upgrade and optimization of desktop infrastructure by serving both short-term goals—for instance, by providing a platform to test the efficacy of desktop virtualization technology—

and long-term needs, by being able to implement new desktop technology quickly and recycle used equipment efficiently.


Leveraging Open Source to Solve the Windows 2000 End-of-Life Dilemma

2017-07-27T00:01:12+00:00 October 1st, 2009|Uncategorized|

Many companies are facing the challenge of how to transition from Windows 2000.  While the default reaction to this challenge is to move to a newer Windows release this approach can lead to other concerns:

  • Am I licensed for the new OS (especially when using the OEM supplied license)?
  • Do your applications and peripherals work with the newer Windows OS versions?

Despite these challenges, in most scenarios, with proper planning, the transition can be managed effectively.  However, in some cases IT departments should take the time to evaluate the progress that Open Source platforms have made in being a viable alternative.

If you are still using Windows 2000 it is likely that these systems are being used in a limited capacity.  When the systems needing to be replaced are ‘task oriented’ terminals and a thin client is a good alternative but the cost of replacing hardware may be prohibitive, there are a variety of Linux Distributions and Open Source applications that can prove to be a valuable alternative.  Take, for example, a scenario where a Windows 2000 system is used for a limited set of applications with specific hardware and peripheral requirements.  Even better, let’s assume the Windows 2000 system is being used as an RDP terminal.  A Linux desktop may be the perfect solution waiting to be discovered.

With the recent Linux distributions it’s easier than ever to develop a custom Linux image that can meet the challenge.  Take, for example, Puppy Linux 4.3.  This small yet powerful distribPuppyLogoution is packed full of hardware device support, tons of the most typical applications, a streamlined installation experience, and flexible deployment options.  All with a 110 MB footprint! 

Check out the goals of the Puppy Linux distribution here:

As with any IT project, don’t assume or accept marketing slicks in place of due diligence.  Do your homework, test and validate potential solutions, and plan for the full life cycle management of an approach.  If done properly your organization will be successful whether the answer is Windows  7, Puppy Linux, or something off the ‘beaten path’ altogether.  With the technology advancements of today’s operating systems, taking the time to re-evaluate the options may surprise you!

Source: Coretek Services –  Sr. Systems Architect

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