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Mergers & Acquisitions Authors: Pat Romanski, Bob Gourley, Jim Kaskade, David Skok, Liz McMillan

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Forget What You've Heard... VDI Really Can Be Simple

Let Sanbolic help you get started with VDI quickly and easily

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI for short... everybody's talking about it these days. Vendors, VARs, IT industry pundits, IT media sources, you name it. It's only natural. VDI is still a relatively new technology, so it makes sense to draw as much attention to it as possible in order to entice organizations to give it a try. And as usual, the hype seems to be working. Or at least to a large extent, as many organizations tinkering with the idea of implementing VDI in their environments are doing so primarily because of the overwhelming attention VDI has been receiving. And like everyone else, these organizations don’t want to be the only ones on their block missing out on all the great benefits VDI promises to offer. That’s just human nature.

But let’s be frank. One of, it not the primary reason vendors make such a fuss about new technology is because they’ve got so much invested in it that at some point, preferably sooner rather than later, they need to start seeing the ROI, if nothing more than to validate their decision to put so much time, money and effort into developing and promoting the new technology. But with VDI, the fact is that even though the current “compartmentalized” way of doing things (i.e., installing the same or similar workloads on individual office devices such as desktops, laptops, PDAs, etc. over and over again and then maintaining them individually) is time-consuming, redundant, costly, and far from efficient, most companies are just used to it. After all, this is how they’ve been managing desktops for the last 20 years. And perhaps even more significant, most companies are just plain comfortable with it. And as we all know very well, it’s hard to persuade someone to stray from their comfort zone and try something new, particularly if its new technology that seems extremely complicated and costly.

In order for organizations to venture into (what they perceive to be) the “unknown,” a new technology has to offer them a really solid value proposition with tangible benefits that can be easily quantified and achievable. And for IT Administrators (who are already flat-out with their daily administrative tasks) to be willing to spend what little time and energy they have trying new technology to see whether it can actually make their lives at the office easier, that technology must be simple to install, use and manage, offer a fairly rapid and sizeable ROI, and most of all, require little in terms of time, effort and upfront costs.

Unfortunately, along with all the hype about VDI comes an abundance of technical terms, moving parts, methods of implementation and necessary resources (think storage), which does little more than make companies anxious and apprehensive, and ultimately hesitant about giving it a try. So although I understand all the fuss about VDI, the reality is it’s not the fuss that's going to motivate organizations to adopt VDI, but rather their ability to evaluate, deploy and build out VDI as quickly and as easily as possible so they can realize its benefits without exhausting their resources.

A large number of the organizations we’ve been working with that have either deployed VDI or are in the planning and testing phases of implementing VDI don’t understand all the terms, methods and options associated with VDI and honestly, I don’t think they really care. VDI is either going to make their lives at the office better (i.e., make desktop management easier, less time-consuming and less costly) or not. Vendors touting all the wonderful things about VDI to their customers while simultaneously inundating them with numerous technical terms and desktop options such as Streamed, Pooled, Dedicated, Physical, Client Local Mode, etc., is not helping their goal of accelerating VDI adoption. On the contrary, it’s slowing it down.

In my daily discussions with IT administrators (from companies of all sizes) who are considering venturing into the VDI arena to see what it truly has to offer them, they tell me over and over again how difficult it is for them to see clearly through all the muddle. I hear things like “there are so many ways to implement virtual desktops, how do we know which way is right for us?” or “it sounds like there are a lot of different components to VDI, are we going to have to rebuild our infrastructure from scratch?” or one of the most popular questions: “we’ve been told we should use a certain type of storage in order to support VDI, but we don’t have any in-house expertise in storage and don't know if we're going to be able to obtain the storage we need while staying within our budget.”

Let's face it, VDI is still the new kid on the block, so if vendors want organizations to truly embrace this new technology, they have to start listening to what these companies are saying. And their message is coming through loud and clear… “Stop making VDI seem so complicated and so complex!

In other words, the simpler VDI is to understand and implement, the more inclined organizations will be to give it a try.

For example, the majority of our customers that have deployed Citrix’s® XenDesktop® VDI solution over the past year or so figured out that, at least for their initial purposes, a simple implementation comprised of virtual desktops streamed via Citrix Provisioning Services™ (a core component of XenDesktop) allowed them to get started with VDI quickly and with relative ease. Using this method, they discovered how much simpler desktop management became while still being able to provide their users with a rich desktop experience.

It was the ability to setup a simple VDI implementation that motivated these organizations to evaluate the technology. And it’s the ongoing benefits they’ve realized from the simple implementation that has encouraged them to not only stay with VDI, but in many cases scale it out to achieve the benefits on an even greater scale. What’s more, each one of these companies deployed their VDI solutions with ease and within a short period of time with the help of flexible, scalable, highly available and easy-to-manage shared storage platforms provided by Sanbolic® Melio USP™ (a software-based unified storage platform with an advanced, 64-bit symmetrical cluster file system at its core that extends the benefits of virtualization to the storage layer to allow organizations to achieve far greater returns on the investments in their application, server and storage infrastructures). Using Melio USP, they were able to build their virtual desktop infrastructures faster and easier than they ever thought possible and without the high upfront storage costs that mainstream thinking had led them to believe.

You see, Sanbolic gets it. We understand that customers actually want to get their hands on new technology and if it works, reap all its rewards. But more importantly, we also understand that those same hands are already full and have very little room to spare. Customers choose Sanbolic Melio USP because it allows them to evaluate and realize the benefits of new technologies such as VDI in less time, with less effort, and with lower upfront costs, all of which normally serve as obstacles to adopting new technologies.

So to all the organizations out there interested in VDI, but apprehensive about giving it a try because it sounds too complicated, complex, time-consuming and costly, Sanbolic (and its hundreds of customers around the world) is here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ll help you simplify your storage so you can get started with VDI faster and easier than you ever imagined. And once you do, you’ll be glad you kept it simple!

Cheers,

Andy

More Stories By Andy Melmed

Andy Melmed is Director of Enterprise Solutions and Product Training at Sanbolic, a leading developer of software for shared storage and enhanced management of virtual and cloud-based solutions. He is an Enterprise Storage Solutions Architect responsible for devising, testing and promoting cost-effective shared storage solutions that enhance the performance, scalability, availability and manageability of applications deployed in today's SMB, enterprise and cloud environments. In his previous endeavors, Andy worked with Bay Networks, Lucent Technologies, Celox Networks, Funk Software and Citrix Systems, where he was responsible for testing various shared storage solutions to provide high availability for Citix Provisioning Services (a core component of Citrix XenDesktop that is also used to provision Citrix XenApp Servers on demand).