Desktop Virtualization… The Right Way (Politics and Puppy Chow)


Politics and dog food… some might say they go hand-in-hand (especially if you watched any coverage about the healthcare debate). But politics and dog food are also relevant in most organizations, especially when undertaking a massive restructuring in the way you deliver desktops to users.

Desktop virtualization is not something you can just turn on one day. It takes planning. Although some organizations made the decision to only implement a small-scale, limited virtual desktop environment, the anticipated improvements with such an environment are lost. Instead of having a centrally managed desktop environment, capable of supporting users in all geographies, the small-scale implementation ends up creating more complexity as two different types of desktop environments must now be supported: traditional and virtual.

If the desktop virtualization solution will be a success in the long run, it requires collaboration between multiple IT groups: network engineers, desktop administrators, server specialists, application experts, and the support team. In many organizations, these teams each have their own objectives and responsibilities. Taking on a desktop virtualization project requires time, resources and commitment; something that is unlikely to happen organically.

If done correctly, a desktop virtualization initiative must have executive level buy-in. Only when the executives are on board with the new initiative will all of the pieces fall into place, which includes:

  • IT Collaboration: Once the executives make desktop virtualization a corporate imperative, the IT groups must forgo the day-to-day politics of their own silos and work together to try and come up with a solution that meets the objectives of the business. This will be difficult and involve breaking down the typical barriers between groups, but with a mandate from the highest levels within the organization, the groups will have no alternative but to work together on a common goal.
  • Funding: Desktop virtualization requires the purchase of additional data center hardware, the levels of which are based on the scale, configuration and virtual desktop types delivered. Most departments do not have the financial resources to create a best-of-breed solution for the users, which results in a fragmented solution not meeting the organization’s expectations. However, with the executive buy-in, funding must be made available to upgrade the infrastructure to support the new environment. This funding must include new server hardware, storage infrastructure, management tools, and networking optimizations.
  • Users and Change: Most users hate change, especially when it comes to their desktop.  Change often means downtime, broken applications or lost files. However, this change can be mitigated by hearing first hand from the executives about why the initiative is being undertaken, what the expectations are, and how the users can help make the project a success. In fact, executives should be the first ones embracing the new environments configured in the same way that users will be expected to work.  By watching the leaders eat the puppy chow, users are more inclined to believe that the new solution is the right thing for them.

With all of the talk about dog food, I think I’ll buy some stock in Purina Puppy Chow.

This is Part 7 in the Desktop Virtualization… The Right Way series:

Daniel Feller
Lead Architect – Worldwide Consulting Solutions
Citrix Systems, Inc.
Blog: Virtualize My Desktop

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