Use Case Analysis Critical To Desktop Virtualisation Success

Desktop virtualisation is emerging as a growing trend and enterprises have begun to see the benefits of adopting it. Parag Arora, Director, Enterprise & Public Sector, Citrix Systems, in conversation with, unravels different aspects of desktop virtualisation and clears the air around some myths. He also lists down some issues to consider before embarking on the desktop virtualisation journey.

Do you think desktop virtualisation is still in its infancy in India?

This was possibly true around 18 months back. And, that’s because the whole concept of desktop virtualisation is about moving the desktops from the user to the datacentre, and this needs change. Users in the past have been accustomed to a certain way of working and they need to move out of that. The CIO also needs to prepare the enterprise environment accordingly. At the same time security was also an issue with many solutions. All these issues were resisting enterprises to adopt desktop virtualisation in a big way.
But, this is not true today. The pace of adoption is so fast that two years down the line pretty much all large enterprises will be deploying this solution in their environment.
Can you elaborate on the security and other challenges enterprises faced with desktop virtualisation?
One of the biggest requirements in desktop virtualisation is how to deliver a desktop to the user. Enterprises would like to deliver the desktop in different ways depending on who the user is, as the application requirements of an executive would be different from that of a task worker or a back office worker. The solutions available in the past were probably catering to everybody the same way, and that could have opened up to breach of information.
The other issue is around cost. For the not very heavy users of many applications, moving them to desktop virtualisation was impacting the cost of ownership for enterprises. Now with innovation happening within the industry, the cost of the devices which are eventually used to access the information is gradually coming down. We are also working with partners to reduce the cost of that device. The price of these devices will be a huge game changer and will change the whole game in the market.
From the Indian market perspective, which segments are leading the adoption and why?
The banking segment is clearly at the forefront of adoption. Banks are using desktop virtualisation for compliance, data security, to reduce cost in the back office and for financial inclusion.
The second big vertical is IT services, where several large companies have deployed desktop virtualisation in a big way. For them the imperative is cost and productivity.
The most interesting part of desktop virtualisation is that enterprises don’t adopt this like a normal desktop adoption. Different verticals adopt it for different requirements, and that is very important conversation that we have to understand from each customer how they intend to use this solution in their environment.
With enterprises required to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7/8 over the next 2-3 years, how will this impact uptake of desktop virtualisation in the Indian market?
Windows upgrade has always been a huge benefit. For large enterprises to deploy an upgrade is a huge task. But, if you are virtualising the desktop you are essentially moving the desktop out from the user to one central location. Hence, any change that has to be made to be made on the windows operating system will have to be made only on one instance. This works as a huge benefit for enterprises, operationally.
On the other hand, if any enterprise, after an upgrade, wants to maintain their older version of the windows operating system as well owing to some applications, they can maintain two Windows environments. In the old scheme of things the CIO may have to give them one more desktop on the side. However, virtualising the whole desktop, the CIO can provide them with two instances of desktop, giving them the flexibility to toggle between different versions of operating systems. This means clear reduction in costs.
So, the whole Windows migration will give a spurt to desktop virtualisation adoption as CIOs gain to benefit in terms of scalability, flexibility and cost.
When moving to VDI, often end-users experience an unfamiliar desktop. How big a challenge is user acceptability, and can this be a point of failure of the project?
On the contrary, if you ask me, I believe that one of the main reasons for the success of desktop virtualisation is the end-user. One of the biggest drivers for the adoption of desktop virtualisation is that users now want to use various applications on their own devices. At the same time, I would like to emphasis on the fact that even if you are running your desktop virtually nothing will change. You can have the same screen, customise it, put up images, wall papers, whatever you have been doing in the past. As a user the experience will not change. In fact it will be faster. The user will be able to access the information much faster, at the same time they will be able to customise their environment as per their need.
Not many are aware of this and need to be educated about it. A key aspect in transitioning to desktop virtualisation is change management. That is where the CIOs need to create the right tool internally to communicate and train their employees on how this works and the benefits it offers.
What are the myths that surround desktop virtualisation?
One of the biggest myths is that a lot of users find it tough to adjust to this change. The truth however is that, though a little change is required in the interim, but eventually in the long term the Total Value Ownership (TVO) for the enterprise starts becoming evident.
What are the key aspects that a CIO should take into consideration before embarking on a desktop virtualisation project?
The first very important imperative is handling the right ‘use cases’ within the enterprise. Every enterprise and every vertical will have a different need. A key criteria is to find the best ‘use case’. The CIO should pick out the user group within the enterprise that should be the first to adopt desktop virtualisation. This analysis is very critical to the success of the project.
The second imperative is getting business sponsorship for a desktop virtualisation project. There needs to be a clear-cut CFO or CXO sponsorship in the enterprise, which runs on the belief that the change will benefit the enterprise.
The third very important aspect is building the right architecture. We found that when enterprises start building a desktop virtualisation environment at the back-end, they are not able to think how to scale from where they are right now. And, these things scale very fast. You have first time users and suddenly you will have demand from lot of users all around. So, how does the CIO build an architecture at the back-end which is both scalable and modular so that they can grow very quick as they want to grow is critical.

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Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 23:37:53 IST