The Microsoft-Citrix desktop virtualization combo is a popular one for the data center. But is it the right one for you?
Sometimes there are so many options, picking the proverbial horse can feel a bit like a gamble. Today we are checking out a few best practices to make this process easy and to increase your odds of success.
KNOW YOUR TURF:
When picking horses it’s essential to get familiar with the home track first: is it full of mud, or more grassy? All these come in to play when choosing the right racer. It’s no different with virtualization at the desktop level.
So how do you find out if you fit the profile for a virtualized desktop environment with Microsoft and Citrix? According to Softchoice’s own Enterprise Architect Mark Wall much of it comes down to what kind of shop you have already.
There are several benefits to keeping it in the family and not exploring a new environment. Not least of which are the savings on training costs and the ease of adopting an already familiar technology.
“Microsoft Hyper-V gives you a common platform your Windows admins will be used to and find easy to manage,” says Wall. “If I already have people who know Windows environments inside out, I don’t want to go spend a boatload on training to get this done.”
BET ON RESULTS, NOT ON REPUTATION
Odds are controlled by the bookies and – since no one trusts a bookie – you can’t always trust the most popular bets. It’s safer to place your chips with the horse you know can deliver the best show.
In the Virtual Desktop world, you’ve got to figure out which platform will deliver you the results you want – not what the trend is. This might mean Microsoft is right for you – it might not, too. It’s important to work through this with a third-party expert or conduct your own thorough research to determine the best path.
As an aside, Wall points out shops running Hyper-V as a server consolidation tool will find it simpler to scale out a desktop solution with Citrix XenDesktop than if they went with something else. The main reason is these technologies are designed to work hand in hand, allowing customers to manage their virtualization infrastructure (from desktops, apps and servers) all in a single environment.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Just like in comedy and in life, horse bets are all about timing. Things can change in a moment and leave you out to pastor, with empty pockets. Same goes for your IT and your virtualization strategy: if your timing is off, so will be its expected benefits.
With MS-Citrix – timing is definitely effecting how customers are adopting, says Wall. There are a few big changes customers are waiting for before proceeding with the combo. Positive changes to licensing with Microsoft from summer 2010 will make executing a VDI strategy significantly easier. And Office 2010 should open up a major floodgate of VDI adopters.
“Waiting on Office 2010 may be the best strategy for some, if they are planning on VDI,” said Kevin O’Neal, Softchoice Solutions Architect.
O’Neal also points out that customers with low bandwidth Wide Area Networks or VPN connectivity make good candidates for a Citrix solution. Simply put, Citrix’s ICA protocol is a very thin and efficient protocol – making a perfect fit for these customers.
TRUST THE PROS
When in doubt – bet with the pros.
As a customer with unique needs and challenges, it always pays to consult an expert when making these key decisions.
Customers should look for consultation delivered at a vendor-agnostic level, and always assess which VDI strategy fits their personal situation best.
Not only will you have the confidence you’re investing in the right technology, for the right job, you’ll find useful, expert services to get it done efficiently.