Virtual desktops: preparing the enterprise for growth.

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1 Virtual desktops White Paper Virtual desktops: preparing the enterprise for growth

2 Introduction The ability to grow and quickly adapt to a changing marketplace is critical to any business. Whether your business is rapidly expanding through mergers and acquisitions or simply trying to attract and retain top talent core to your growth strategy, every business executive knows that it must grow or risk dying. The IT department plays an important role in any growth strategy. Yet without the right tools, IT can also become a bottleneck. The ability to get new employees, branches, partners, outsourcers or acquired companies up and running with secure access to critical applications and data can be a daunting task. To address this challenge, forward-thinking IT organizations are building out desktop virtualization environments, that can not only meet these tactical needs but also bring a strategic advantage. Citrix XenDesktop has become the product of choice for organizations looking for more than a tactical solution for managing their complex and growing desktop environments. XenDesktop is a powerful and flexible platform that you can use to virtualize applications and desktops for every user in your organization. Instead of restricting users to working on one physical desktop device, this agile computing approach enables them to log on to any client device and have desktops and applications delivered on demand. With the scalable service capacity of XenDesktop, your IT department can effectively support any growth initiative. This paper describes how XenDesktop application and desktop deployment models can support common types of growth initiatives. While this paper outlines specific use cases to highlight XenDesktop capabilities, most IT departments deploying XenDesktop will use a combination of desktop delivery models and application virtualization technology as part of a strategic desktop transformation program. Distributed desktop management vs. Citrix desktop virtualization technology Managing distributed desktops is challenging because even with the best distributed management practices in place, every conventional PC is a unique and complex system that creates a burden on IT from the day it is deployed. When you purchase a PC, you must install an operating system (OS), which will need specific drivers and patches as time goes on. The PC also needs you to assign it an Active Directory identity before it can be deployed in the enterprise network. Then it s time to add applications. Some may come as part of the base OS image, but you ll probably need to add others, manually or by using software distribution tools after OS installation. Even when using the most advanced software distribution and management systems, administrators must run regression tests on each application and OS combination to ensure there are no conflicts with software libraries or registry settings. That s just the setup process. Next, you issue a PC to a user who adds data, establishes preferences and personalizes settings. At this point, the PC and the user are intimately tied together, and any PC downtime is likely to impact user productivity. 2

3 Virtual desktops White Paper Managing virtual desktops is an entirely different experience. Desktop virtualization doesn t require extensive client device setup and releases users from dependence on one physical device by breaking the relationships between hardware, OS, applications, data and user profiles. With virtualization, you can set up each of these elements to be set up just once, independent from the all the others. These elements can then be mixed and matched according to various desktop and application delivery models through Citrix FlexCast technology. Each delivery model can be optimized for particular deployment scenarios. The result is a simpler yet more powerful approach to desktop and application delivery. Citrix created FlexCast technology to make it easier for IT to deliver any type of virtual desktop, each specifically tailored to meet the individual performance, security and flexibility requirements of each individual user. FlexCast includes the following desktop and application delivery models. Leveraging desktop virtualization to support organic growth Businesses grow organically when they add capacity and productivity to their existing capabilities of the organization or dynamically reorganizing resources to align better with the corporate objectives. For example, a manufacturing company might increase the floor space of a factory or add entirely new facilities. An insurance company might hire new customer service employees at an existing office or a new location. A hospital might add new beds, build a new wing, or expand individual clinics. In all of these cases employees must continue to have secure access to the applications and data they need in order to do their jobs. Attracting and retaining employees Forward-thinking organizations understand that attracting and retaining top employees is not only critical for growth, it is a competitive weapon. By providing a flexible work environment where employees can work just as easily from the office, home or neighborhood coffee shop companies gain an advantage in hiring. Employees are also more satisfied with their jobs since they end up with more flexibility in their personal lives. As a result, they tend to work longer hours, extending their workdays and working throughout the weekend. This idea of doing productive work outside regular work hours is part of a concept called workshifting. 3

4 Distributed computing challenges for flexible work environments As a company grows, it may become increasingly difficult to find exceptional or even qualified candidates near established company locations. The solution to this problem once required physical expansion by opening new locations in other towns or regions in an effort to access a larger labor pool. However, the cost of building new facilities and IT infrastructure for this type of expansion is enormous. The alternative is to hire employees wherever they already live and enable them to work remotely. Remote work locations are yet another example of workshifting. While IT departments can apply traditional distributed IT management techniques and policies to workshifting, there are some significant new challenges: Repairing or replacing off-premise PCS means shipping equipment or sending technicians on house calls. Employees in this situation may experience significant downtime waiting for issues to be resolved. There is also an increased risk of data theft since off-premise employees can access, store and then transport large amounts of data over the network without the physical and network protections available in the office. Every laptop in circulation is a potential target both intentionally and unintentionally. This risk must be mitigated. Virtual desktops make workshifting easier Virtual desktops offer better support for workshifting than PCs do. Organizations that want to move to workshifting can virtualize applications to resolve application management issues, but will gain more from virtualizing the entire desktop. Virtual desktops offer full desktop capabilities, complete with access to file management. As each virtual desktop model addresses different requirements, it is important to understand your workers needs and map them to the appropriate desktop delivery option: Hosted-shared desktops are a great option for task workers who have consistent yet relatively light computing demands. This approach can be extremely cost-effective since users share a single OS instance and also share the CPU and memory resources of the server. Hosted VDI desktops are a good choice for knowledge workers and task workers with higher computing demands. Each employee uses a separate virtual machine that has dedicated resources for consistent performance regardless of the workload. You can choose not to assign hosted VDI desktops, allowing users to personalize them only for the duration of a session. Alternatively, you may assign a desktop to a user, just like a traditional PC, for persistent storage and configuration, even enabling a user to have administrative rights to install software. 4

5 Virtual desktops White Paper Streamed-VHD desktops are useful for creating free-seating arrangements for flexible offices. Diskless PCs are simply installed on the network and each time a user logs in, the OS and access to installed and virtual applications is streamed down for local operation. Boot time is short, since the PC is only streamed the elements of the OS needed at the time. Since the OS then runs on the local PC, a single server could serve up as many as a few thousand desktops. For extreme mobility, Local VM desktops allow employees to take their laptops to go. Even when disconnected from the network a local VM desktop can still operate, but IT policies can set how long it can remain operational before checking back in to help prevent lost or stolen data. A number of benefits come from using desktop virtualization to enable workshifting. The culture of an organization that enables workshifting attracts the best available employees, enables those employees to work more hours, and encourages them to become more productive and responsive. Workshifting enabled by desktop virtualization also supports labor force growth by expanding the labor pool beyond existing office locations. This means the expenses associated with new facilities and individual relocations may be avoided. For IT departments, workshifting is an excellent opportunity to cut the tie to the physical PC. It also avoids the management, maintenance and depreciation costs of owning the device. Better still, most employees that desire workshifting already have laptops and/or desktops of their own and prefer the option of using their own devices based on personal preference. Example: Bringing the new branch office up in minutes Businesses ranging from banks and insurance companies, to retailers and distributors depend on opening well-located offices, branches and storefronts to drive growth. To optimize profit, businesses may also change locations based on real estate trends or changes in customer demand. Virtual desktops are a key tool for simplifying remotely deployed PC infrastructure in order to streamline both rapid expansion and changes in location. In the typical distributed PC environment, equipment is centrally purchased, staged and imaged before shipment to a remote site. Once at the destination, machines are installed and put into service. Over time, the machines become more and more personalized, making remote management more difficult. Further, when these machines are on remote networks, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to use the same management tools that are used in the central location. Some retail branches introduce even more challenges. Virtual Desktops may need to handle a wide range of specialty peripheral devices such as cash handling systems, check scanners, printers and pin pad signature devices. Hosted VDI desktops are well equipped to handle a wide variety of peripherals. They work well since the device drivers can be maintained in the virtual machine with the USB connection merely passed through to the datacenter using the native drivers. Hosted-shared (Remote Desktop Services / session virtualization) desktops can also handle a wide range of peripherals. They often use local device drivers which interface to the datacenter through bulk data transfer, or passing text strings from devices such as bar code scanners. 5

6 Both hosted VDI and hosted-shared desktops can be effective solutions. In fact, each branch or separate location within the company may utilize a mixture of desktop delivery models. These groups may use a hosted-shared model for fixed function teller or cashier stations with limited personalization, and a hosted VDI desktop model for financial specialists and branch managers who may have a wider range of applications. Virtual desktops can simplify remote office and branch management in several ways: Local lockdown Since you keep all applications, data and user profiles in the datacenter, you can lock down local devices, which may be simple and inexpensive thin or zero clients. Rapid setup You can set up or move an office more quickly and easily because it doesn t matter which employee ends up with which device. Employees can access their virtual desktops and applications through any client device. High availability You can use two different network service providers for high availability. This is a recommended practice even in a distributed PC deployment since employees can t do much without a network connection. Example: enabling smart growth for government organizations Good government often requires renewal and restructuring. This creates a need for launching new services and shutting down obsolete ones. It also demands dynamic management of personnel and resources. Desktop virtualization supports new agility for IT and the larger organization, enabling government organizations to react quickly to changes, reduce budgets and improve end-user satisfaction. Many government employees process transactions through client server applications that have predictable workloads. For these users, a hosted-shared desktop offers an excellent value. However, hosted VDI desktops may be a better choice for knowledge workers, who may periodically use more processerintensive applications, or need their desktop to persist from day to day. Government organizations also need to support mobile workers: employees in organizations from public safety to code enforcement may need mobile access to their desktops from tablets or other specialized devices. A hosted VDI desktop may work where there is good mobile broadband availability. However, a local VM desktop is also a great option as it can operate off-network and still leverage centralized management and synchronization. Like any business, government IT organizations can utilize desktop virtualization to enable the move from managing devices to providing services for users. The agility afforded through virtualization enables IT to react quickly to changes, reduce budgets and improve end-user satisfaction. 6

7 Virtual desktops White Paper Example: supporting virtual contact centers Many businesses and organizations have contact centers. For a small business it may be an office with 20 or 30 customer service representatives, but for an enterprise, the contact center could include thousands of employees. These positions often see high rates of turnover with employees coming and going on a daily basis. This adds up to significant IT spending on moves, adds and changes. Through desktop virtualization, you can eliminate these costs completely by separating the desktop device from the OS, applications, user preferences and data. This enables you to provision and de-provision desktops simply by adding or removing employees from Active Directory. One popular delivery model for contact centers is streamed virtual hard disk (VHD). In this model, a contact center is outfitted with diskless PCs which require absolutely no imaging, configuration or management and are easier to set up than a telephone. A single provisioning server can stream well over a thousand desktops over the local network. This requires little central infrastructure since all of the processing occurs locally. Streamed VHD doesn t stop at provisioning a desktop the first time it is used. Every time a user logs out, the system destroys the VHD, leaving the PC completely stateless. The next time a user logs in, the server streams a new VHD to the desktop from a pristine master image. You can also opt to use streamed VHD desktops in conjunction with a local virtual client. If you install XenClient on the disk of a PC, it can abstract the hardware of the PC, and default to a single streamed image on a variety of client hardware. With desktop virtualization, contact centers no longer need to be large buildings set up with rows of cubicles for employees. Instead, you can maintain a virtual call center with thousands of employees handling phone calls or Internet chats from their own homes, or from distributed micro call centers in small towns since there are very few infrastructure requirements. These virtual call centers may use thin-client devices issued by the company, or they may simply require the employee to have a PC and a broadband Internet connection. Either way, the IT department can concentrate on providing applications and desktops from the datacenter without worrying about remote equipment or infrastructure. Enabling desktop virtualization to support inorganic growth While organic growth usually follows a predictable and slow path, inorganic growth can be sudden. You might wake one day to find your company has acquired a firm with a few thousand new employees, all with their existing desktops, applications and data. A conventional IT strategy might not be able to handle this, but you can do it with desktop virtualization. Desktop virtualization can be an incredibly useful tool for scaling up IT fast enough to meet the demands of aggressive inorganic growth. 7

8 Example: planning and supporting aggressive growth through acquisitions Some businesses succeed by following a strategy of buying smaller specialty companies, regardless of where they are located, in order to expand capacity or increase service coverage. Desktop virtualization is an effective tool for planning and supporting this type of aggressive growth strategy on three levels: Datacenter Preparing for new growth simply becomes an exercise in building out scalable data center resources. IT can plan for a set amount of excess capacity and then continue to purchase storage and server capacity as needed. User devices You ll no longer need to devote time or IT resources for purchasing, storing or reimaging the incoming PC assets. As long as employees of the acquired company have client hardware, all they ll need is a URL to access their new desktop. Desktops You can deliver each new employee a virtual desktop from day one, giving them access to critical HR and line-of-business applications and ensuring that. You can enable employees to continue to access old applications or data from the previous company until the integration process is complete. Example: maximizing the value of outsourcing Some companies increase capacity through outsourcing, which ranges in complexity from using temporary staffing from a third-party company for a particular project to contracting with a third-party company to hire, train and manage personnel on the company s behalf. In either case, desktop virtualization can help you maximize the productivity of your outsourcing strategy while maintaining the security of company data and other intellectual property. Summary The common theme across all of these growth strategies is that IT plays a critical role in providing an agile infrastructure that can be used to quickly respond to meet your business demands of organic growth and dynamic reorganization. Whether a small or medium-sized business is preparing to add a hundred new employees over a year, or a growing enterprise is planning to make a dozen new acquisitions, the key to productivity is to enable new employees to begin working quickly. Desktop transformation for an enterprise will not be completed in a single project. Begin with smaller projects that have clear requirements and that can be delivered quickly. Then move forward by building on that experience. With each successful project completion, your IT department will build its skill, making subsequent desktop transformation projects much easier. Each time a new business need arises, you ll be able to draw on a flexible desktop virtualization platform with virtualized applications, data and user profiles you can manage separately and centrally to select the optimal desktop delivery methods for each particular situation. 8

9 Worldwide Headquarters Citrix Systems, Inc. 851 West Cypress Creek Road Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, USA T T Americas Citrix Silicon Valley 4988 Great America Parkway Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA T Europe Citrix Systems International GmbH Rheinweg Schaffhausen, Switzerland T Asia Pacific Citrix Systems Hong Kong Ltd. Suite , 63rd Floor One Island East 18 Westland Road Island East, Hong Kong, China T Citrix Online Division 6500 Hollister Avenue Goleta, CA 93117, USA T About Citrix Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leading provider of virtual computing solutions that help companies deliver IT as an on-demand service. Founded in 1989, Citrix combines virtualization, networking, and cloud computing technologies into a full portfolio of products that enable virtual workstyles for users and virtual datacenters for IT. More than 230,000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to help them build simpler and more cost-effective IT environments. Citrix partners with over 10,000 companies in more than 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2010 was $1.87 billion Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Citrix, XenDesktop, FlexCast and XenClient are registered trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one or more of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners. 0511/PDF

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