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VDI Deployment Lessons Learned and Best Practices from Unidesk Customer

Posted by Andrew Nadeau on Aug 18, 2011

Last week, Unidesk and VMware View customer State of Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities returned to the spotlight to provide a status update on their virtual desktop deployment - 1,500 users across all use cases. This is the fifth time we've had a customer share their story, and each time we've made small tweaks to the presentation format based on feedback we've received from attendees.

For this webinar, we focused exclusively on what registrants told us that they wanted to hear. During the webinar registration process, we asked two questions:

1.) What issues or concerns do you have around VDI?
2.) Anything that you would like to see the presenters address specifically during the webinar?

Many of the 550 people who registered for the webinar answered these questions, so we grouped the similar ones and posed them directly to Kipp Bertke, the IT manager who led the VDI project at Ohio DODD. In total we had 9 categories and 34 questions around VDI cost, end-user acceptance, persona persistence, application delivery, image management, VDI storage and IO performance, and VDI architecture.

Below you will find the full webinar broken into 11 segments as well as the questions covered in each segment. Click the webinar thumbnails to watch each segment.

Introductory Presentation by Kipp Bertke, Ohio DODD (12 min 23 secs)

Kipp Bertke, IT Manager at Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, provides an overview of why his agency chose to go forward with VDI, details on their project, and an update on how their deployment of 1,500 virtual desktops (98% of the agencies desktops) has been progressing.

Q&A: VDI Landscape (1 min 24 secs)

Questions answered:

  • Did you also evaluate XenDesktop? Why did you go with VMware View?
  • I'm a little confused on where Unidesk fits. Can you use Unidesk as a stand-alone solution or does it require VMware View?

Q&A: DODD's Project (4 mins 56 secs)

Questions answered:

  • Did you run into any serious issues during your deployment? How quickly are you deploying your desktops?
  • How did you set expectations with stakeholders (management, staff, end-users)?
  • What percentage of your desktop fleet is virtualized/will be virtualized?
  • Did you run into a lot of resistance from leadership that was against VDI? How did you overcome it?

Q&A: Cost of Project (3 mins 47 secs)

Questions answered:

  • Do you feel that the cost-to-value proposition is at a point where VDI is now viable?
  • Did you run into any hidden costs that you were unaware of before starting your project?
  • How does VDI total cost of ownership compare to computer refresh?
  • Have you seen or do you expect to see a big OPEX savings due to ease of management?

Q&A: End-User Acceptance (3 mins 33 secs)

Questions answered:

  • How do end-users like their virtual desktops? How did you get buy-in from your end-users? Have you measured user satisfaction?
  • Do you have "power users"? Are they happy on their virtual desktops?

Q&A: Need for Persistence (2 mins 13 secs)

Questions answered:

  • What percentage of your desktops are persistent vs non-persistent use cases?
  • Why did you need persistence? User-installed applications?
  • Were there any use cases that you had to jettison because VDI wasn't a right fit?
  • How do you manage user profiles? Did you need a profile management tool?

Q&A: Applications (3 mins 43 secs)

Questions answered:

  • Did you deploy application virtualization?
  • Are you streaming or packaging applications? Did you consider streamed applications versus virtualized desktops?
  • How many applications do you have in your environment? Were you able to package and deliver all applications with Unidesk?
  • Did you virtualize specialized workstations (workstations with unique set of software that differed from the golden image)?

Q&A: Desktop Management (5 mins 18 secs)

Questions answered:

  • How do you manage a large number of virtual desktops?
  • How do you optimize and manage image builds for different users?
  • How would managing regular OS software updates be faster/easier in a virtualized environment than on a desktop? Do you still need to use MSI scripts and PC management tools?
  • How much training is involved to get your staff up to speed? How did you go about training your staff?

Q&A: Performance (7 mins 41 secs)

Questions answered:

  • How is performance in and out of LAN?
  • Can you explain more around WAN network sizing for PCoIP?
  • Has bandwidth been an issue for remote users? What are the bandwidth requirements?
  • How do you handle boot storms/log-in storms?
  • How did you handle the IOPS requirements?
  • Do you have any high end video applications? CAD moving shaded models?

Q&A: DODD's Architecture (5 mins 51 secs)

Questions answered:

  • Does VDI scale? Have you run into any scaling issues?
  • What kind of decisions went into your storage architecture?
  • Is iSCSI based storage acceptable for VDI performance? Can you use SATA based storage or do you need SAS or SSD?
  • Are you using thin clients or repurposing old PCs?

Live Q&A (9 mins 15 secs)

In this final segment, we answered questions directly from the audience. Even though we built the whole webinar around a Q&A style format, 75 more questions were asked live by the 300 people who attended! This shows how interested organizations are in VDI, and how hungry the market is for examples of virtual desktop implementation success that go beyond the typical call center and lab use cases.

It seems like we're on the right track with this Q&A style format, but we'll keep an open mind, and continue to revise our customer webinar series based on market feedback.

Posted by Andrew Nadeau on Aug 18, 2011

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