Desktop Virtualization for the Banking Industry. Resilient Desktop Virtualization for Bank Branches. A Briefing Paper

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1 Desktop Virtualization for the Banking Industry Resilient Desktop Virtualization for Bank Branches A Briefing Paper September

2 Contents Introduction VERDE Cloud Branch for Branch Office Management VERDE and Linux in the Data Center Summary 2

3 Introduction Remote sites such as bank branches present unique challenges for IT organizations. Management complexity, inadequate infrastructure and lack of administrative resources can make it difficult for companies to deliver consistent and scalable IT services to their branch offices in a timely manner. Serving the needs of users VDI Business Drivers in branch offices is one of Windows 7 Migration the most challenging aspects of Desktop Virtualization. Centralized Management and Control With first generation VDI Security - Data Loss Prevention technology, delivering a highquality desktop experience Mobility and Thin Clients Operational Cost Reductions to branch office users, while still retaining control of applications and data, has proved virtually impossible. However, new, purposebuilt and highly resilient desktop virtualization solutions deliver a LAN-like experience for the branch office user, while retaining central control for IT. Additional benefits include: Extended end point lifecycle to months versus traditional PC environment of 36 to 60 months Reduced CAPEX to procure the desktop virtualization infrastructure Substantially reduced OPEX (software, labor, power, e-waste) Simplified one-touch store upgrades A flexible and modular future-proof architecture 3

4 This paper outlines a unique approach for banks and branch stores compute infrastructure. Virtual Bridges Cloud Branch solution creates an end user environment that is more standardized, considerably more secure and resilient, yet cheaper to procure and operate than traditional PC for VDI based approaches. Virtual Bridges Cloud Branch solution addresses the most common issues that branch offices face, including how to: Simplify IT management and accelerate provisioning of remote desktops Ensure always-on availability and recover quickly from disasters Provide consistent high performance desktop experience across the LAN and the WAN Reduce desktop operating costs and travel across sites and locations 4

5 VERDE Cloud Branch for Branch Office Management Virtual Bridges Cloud Branch solution offers the best of both worlds a centralized management model that also addresses the issues introduced by a decentralized model. When there are many remote locations, the challenges of the centralized model become even more difficult. User expectations are high because users expect the performance they are used to from running local applications on desktop computers. IT needs to provide virtual desktop infrastructure in remote locations, but the challenge of providing a true desktop experience is heightened by often-inadequate performance over a wide area network. Most solutions available today to solve the branch user problem require intensive IT management during the installation and configuration processes, along with ongoing management and operations work. Available solutions for remote users are typically very network-centric -- usually requiring either WAN accelerators or compression engines. Essentially, these approaches take inadequate existing solutions and attempt to make them work to deliver an adequate desktop experience for the branch user. Figures 1 and 2 show the overall Virtual Bridges VERDE solution architecture, which includes a VERDE cluster and VERDE console the infrastructure installed in the datacenter central location. The cluster attaches itself to the main controller, or directory or authentication service, which holds all user data and policies. The cluster also attaches to shared storage, which is where the VERDE Gold Images are stored a set of master images of user desktops in Windows XP, Windows 7 or Linux. 5

6 Figure 1: Extend VDI to the Branch office with VDI Gen2 technology from Virtual Bridges, called VERDE. As shown, both gold master desktops and persistent user data are stored on the remote server. A branch office server, however, provides users with an immediate connection to the local area network, resulting in a LAN-like experience during dynamic desktop sessions. Desktops and user data are updated periodically over the WAN; users can be running Windows or Linux operating systems. A key difference between the VERDE branch solution and other technologies is that the desktop image is split into two pieces. One piece is a standard operating system image, which might be shared across many users including those in the datacenter, a central location, and the branch office. The same image can be shared across multiple users because user data is separated from the desktop image. What Virtual Bridges refers to as persistent user data, which is personalized for each individual user, is also stored in the shared data store, which is connected to the VERDE Cluster. 6

7 Setting up a user in a branch office is very simple the administrator sets up a branch server as shown in Figure 2, ensuring the branch server is connected to all endpoints in the branch office. If there are 24 users in a branch office, there will be 24 endpoints, all connected to the branch server. Figure 2: In this illustration, the VERDE Core consists of building-block components of Linux-based servers that are scaled out horizontally. The branch server is installed, configured, and connected to the VERDE central server. VERDE Cloud Branch does the rest, downloading the users desktop images and persistent user data. Users simply connect to the branch office server for their desktops. Because they are in fact connected to a branch of the server over a local area network, they receive a true LAN experience. 7

8 If the wide area network is down, users aren t affected, since they can continue to run their desktops from the branch server. Once network service returns, Cloud Branch makes updates to the branch in order to re-sync desktops to the gold masters in the remote data center. As Figures 1 and 2 show, VERDE VDI Gen2 and cloud computing can completely eliminate the need for a high-performance wide area network to serve remote users. The connection between the branch office and the data center do not need to be high performance or high availability, because the connection is used only to synchronize the desktop Gold Images with user data. IT can thus address reliability and availability issues on the wide area network, while still preserving a good user experience. User data and user identity are still managed as images in the data center, keeping both application and data management within the datacenter envelope. Purpose Built for the Desktop, VERDE Cloud Branch offers: Maximum Value VERDE is half the cost of competitive offerings, features all-in-one licensing and requires half the resources to deploy and manage. Reduced Storage Costs VERDE s Storage Optimizer significantly reduces IOPS and related hardware requirements, and in turn, the overall cost of storage. Optimal Performance Integrated offline capability (LEAF) and branch support delivers fast access and optimal performance regardless of user location. Independence Multiple protocols and agnostic operating system support means end users have access from any connection, location or endpoint. Streamlined Deployment Built for a successful deployment across a highly scalable environment, and can grow from one to hundreds of thousands of desktops. 8

9 VERDE and Linux in the Data Center Virtual Bridges has developed its Desktop Transformation Methodology so that any business using VERDE is set up for success. By including all necessary components and driving down total cost of ownership, Virtual Bridges has created a long list of satisfied and successful clients. Virtual Bridges also offers a broad range of additional services that increase VERDE s effectiveness throughout the lifecycle of a deployment. They include: VDI Assessment Workshop This Virtual Bridges offering helps clients understand the business drivers, and ultimately determine the business value proposition of moving to the virtual desktop. In this workshop, you ll identify your own key requirements and assess whether they are a good fit for desktop virtualization. You ll also identify risk areas for moving to the virtual desktop, which can be invaluable as you embark on such a transition. VDI Solution Design and Pilot In this Quickstart program, Virtual Bridges will develop a solution for you based on results of an assessment. The solution will include a full roll-out plan with an initial pilot phase. Virtual Bridges will define the scope, project plan and success criteria for the pilot based on critical success factors and risk areas identified during the assessment. It is important to understand that Desktop Transformation is a phased undertaking in which organizations need to segment their users and their use cases and sequence them in such a way to deliver high impact and low complexity in the initial phases, building confidence within the organization as they embark on a path of change. 9

10 VERDE Deployment Service Sometimes it simply makes sense to have your solution provider bring desktop virtualization into your business. With this service, Virtual Bridges will assist with a detailed Bill of Materials, install and configure the products, and even train personnel on management if desired. We ll also troubleshoot and resolve issues during the burn-in period, and assist with developing standard operating procedures. Finance Industry Virtual Desktop Implementation Example VERDE Managed Service For those clients who would prefer a more hands-on experience, Virtual Bridges is happy to manage the entire VERDE installation. This work can be done on-site, or can be completed remotely if required access is granted. It covers VERDE software, image management and provisioning, but does not include end-user help desk support or application, peripherals or hardware support. 10

11 Summary In short, VERDE Cloud Branch was designed from the ground up to eliminate the challenges branch offices face. It truly provides the best of both worlds by pushing processing power back out to remote location, while keeping management of the branch server within the data center and with those administrators. The branch office needs no administrators, so the management burden is removed from remote locations. At the same time, this solution provides visibility into branch usage from the central location. From the VERDE console in the central location, IT can track utilization in the branch office. And the user experience is preserved, because users are on a local area network. VERDE offers a powerful hypervisor for virtualization in a fully-integrated platform that includes connection brokering, desktop image management, automated provisioning, and management. Its architecture was built to scale and automatically load balance. VERDE serves virtual desktop images to authorized users from the least loaded node via a fully distributed, policy based connection broker. There are no single points of failure, and the process of scaling up or scaling out is as simple as adding additional nodes to the cluster. Whereas competitive solutions require expensive thirdparty tools and/or complex configurations to store and create large numbers of personalized desktops, VERDE builds a fully personalized desktop for each Linux or Windows user, on demand and as requested without increasing storage capacity requirements. 11

12 Most solutions also require a heavy investment in expensive shared storage. VERDE keeps capacity requirements in check, and with patent pending technology dramatically reduces the IOPS driven to the storage platform as well, whether DAS, NAS, or SAN. For those looking to simplify virtual desktop management, VERDE offers a single-pane window into all provisioning and maintenance activities. One console, built on the open-source Linux-based KVM hypervisor, VERDE provides flexibility for both Linux and Windows desktops, as well as visibility across online, offline and branch. Copyright 2012 Virtual Bridges, Inc. All rights reserved. Virtual Bridges 6300 Bridge Point Parkway Building 1, Suite 350 Austin, TX

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