Best practices guide: Making VDI deployment magic
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Catching up on latest VMware View best practices will pay dividends for a virtual desktop admin, no matter which stage of View implementation they're in.
End users connect abstractly with most IT elements, such as servers and network cables. But a user interfaces so intimately with their desktop -- with specific preferences and performance requirements -- that VDI falls under particular scrutiny for any IT shop.
VMware Horizon View is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform based on VMware vSphere virtualization. Ask a group of virtualization engineers where VDI stands today and you'll get a range of responses, but most agree that sectors such as health care and government see the benefits of virtual desktops, and enterprises are adopting VDI in a multitude of configurations.
Step one: Research VMware View features
VMware ThinApp for application virtualization and vShield Endpoint for antivirus integration are poorly understood and underused aspects of VMware View 5, according to Paul O'Doherty, author of VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop. Successful View deployments start with well-informed IT shops that can get their money's worth from the VDI product. Sample a chapter of VMware View 5 and unlock the potential of View 5 features.
Step two: Successful View setup
Like many IT admins, Don Peterson embarked on a brand new infrastructure project without outside consulting help. His View strategy involved setting up trial VDI desktops for end users, researching the network capabilities underlying his deployment and presenting the cost and efficiency benefits to the business. Pick up some View deployment tips from Peterson's experience.
Step three: VDI management
Once your VMware View install is complete, all that's left to do is keep end users happy and desktop access organized, protect VDI desktops from security threats, monitor resource usage, and ensure high performance ... easy, right? Well, no one said your job would be easy.
Most VMware admins are familiar with vCenter Operations Manager. If your View deployment is at version 5 or newer, add vCenter Operations Manager for View to analyze and boost virtual desktop performance. Like vCenter Operations Manager for vSphere, the View tool discovers key performance benchmarks for the VDI environment and then alerts admins to problems and potential future problems.
One of VDI's selling points is how it enables bring your own device (BYOD) within an organization. Employees purchase smartphones and tablets -- and apps that run on these devices -- for their performance and capabilities, not their security chops. VMware offers security features in View 5 and newer versions that help admins deal with BYOD situations and other security considerations.
A major component of VDI success is end-user buy-in. What IT presents to end users must be simple and professional and should always be working. No user should ever encounter a bad security certificate warning when accessing a virtual desktop. Calls to the help desk are guaranteed. You might also want outside users to encounter higher security when they access the infrastructure. Start with a perfect VMware View certificate framework to underpin the desktops.
VMware View news
You may have noticed that VMware updated View from version 5.1 to VMware Horizon View 5.2 in 2013, pulling it into the Horizon Suite alongside physical desktop management tool Mirage and other end-user computing products. While the change should entice VMware admins with better vSphere and View integration, HTML5 browser-based desktops and other capabilities, it could also cost View customers more and change their third-party tool strategy.