Think You’ve Hit The Utopia Of Virtualized Healthcare? 5 Reasons Why You Haven’t

Posted by TJ Racherla on Aug 13, 2015

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What is a desktop without the apps? More healthcare organizations are turning to VDI, application publishing, and application virtualization in order to reduce costs and centralize management. Unlike physical desktops where users are lucky to have remote access to a few published applications, virtual desktops enable medical staff to access any application from any device at any time. This is a highly crucial requirement in the healthcare industry.

With this drastic shift from physical PCs to VDI, healthcare organizations often overlook critical success criteria while implementing their virtualization strategy primarily because of the overwhelming number of moving parts involved in the process. If you are executing any of these five virtualization strategies, it’s probably time to revise your plan, align it with the next generation of application and image management technology and equip your medical staff with the operational efficiency they need.

1. You’re managing large XenApp farms with multiple images.

When Citrix XenApp is used to publish Windows applications in healthcare, you often end up with a different Windows image to patch and update for every XenApp silo. When apps need to be updated, you have to update the image in one silo, save the image, redeploy it, and repeat for the next silo. This is where image management becomes cumbersome. Solutions like Citrix PVS and MCS can help with image deployment, but they are not image management solutions.

With next generation image management solutions like Unidesk, you can eliminate the management of multiple Windows images. A single gold OS "layer" (virtual disk) can be used for all XenApp servers, and apps can be assigned in any combination to any number of servers without ever having to be installed.

2. You’re using non-persistent desktops to save the organization money on storage.

LayersDiagram_02_1200x910-1It used to be that non-persistent desktops - desktops that erase all user customizations after each use - were the only way to deploy VDI without blowing your budget on storage. But non-persistent desktops are not what clinicians and staff need. They want a follow-me desktop that remembers all of their customizations.

You could be providing customizable, persistent desktops and STILL save the company money on storage with desktop layering technology. The old debate of persistent vs. non-persistent desktops becomes obsolete because layered desktops can be persistent or non-persistent. Yet, both types of desktops are as storage-efficient as non-persistent desktops provisioned with block-based image sharing technology. Layered desktops are assigned to specific users or roles at first login. Desktops share a single instance of the Windows OS layer and all Application layers, so patches and updates are applied only once and storage utilization is greatly reduced.

3. You underestimated the time and expertise needed to virtualize your apps.

Even if your apps can be virtualized using first-generation app virtualization technology, most organizations find that the sequencing and packaging process requires far more time and expertise than anticipated. By the time you’ve finished the desktop setup, pre-scans, post-scans, scripting workarounds, Windows registry changes, and deployment, you’ll find a full day has passed. Furthermore, this approach "isolates" apps in their own bubbles, preventing interoperability - a showstopper for Epic, McKesson, AllScripts, Dragon, and other apps that need to cross-communicate.

You could be using application layering, which Gartner now says is the better way to deliver apps in VDI. For example, Unidesk layering typically takes less than 30 minutes – even for complex EMR apps – and requires no special packaging or sequencing skills. Even better, layered apps appear locally installed - not isolated - for full interoperability.

4. You bundle your apps in your Windows image.

Because of the issues with traditional app virtualization described above, you may decide to just throw your apps into your Windows image. If your users have diverse application requirements, this will result in multiple images, and very quickly you'll have image sprawl. The more images that are required, the more time and effort it takes to update the images every Patch Tuesday.

With Unidesk layering software, any organization - even those with lean IT teams - can virtualize all apps as separate layers. As a result, you can use a single gold OS layer. Patching Windows, staying in compliance with the latest Microsoft hot fixes, auditing changes, and undoing patching mistakes doesn’t get any easier. And you won’t have to have waste entire days applying patches.

5. Virtual desktop deployments are being managed by the same Tier 2 or 3 IT staff members who designed and implemented VDI.

Keeping day-to-day management in the hands of server and network administrators or outside consultants is not scalable. Not only will you be paying more to manage virtual desktops than physical PCs (tossing ROI out the window in the process), but you will also lose valuable IT resources from forward-facing, strategic IT projects. With Unidesk, all‐inclusive virtual desktop management capabilities are delivered in a single, easy-to-use interface that can be quickly mastered by Tier 1 desktop administrators. If you transition VDI to the same Tier 1 staff who managed your PCs, you'll be able to scale your VDI deployment at a lower cost.

Let us know which stage of VDI deployment you're in by commenting below and we can share some insights with you!

Topics: Healthcare, Application Virtualization, VDI, Image Management

Posted by TJ Racherla on Aug 13, 2015

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