I Choo, Choo Choose You

From the words of Ralph Wiggum, I Choo, Choo, Choose You [to be my FlexCast model].

Choosing the correct FlexCast model always leaves people wondering if they made the right decision.  The answer to this question requires us to look closer into the user requirements.  For example, the ABC School District Reference Design was recently published, and as can be expected from the title, it is based on a large school district (70,000 total users, 20,000 concurrent).  How did we decide which FlexCast model was most appropriate?

It came down to simply meeting the needs of the school and the students.  This particular example used three FlexCast models:

  1. Hosted Virtualized Applications: The elementary school children typically required a single application for their current class. When that particular class ended for the day, there was no need for the children to get back into the application from a different location.  Providing a single hosted virtualized application provided the easiest user experience for the elementary schools.
  2. Hosted VM-Based VDI Desktops: Middle and High School students utilized many more applications, many of which were launched simultaneously. The students were familiar with a desktop interface and it was determine providing them with this experience would provide the best environment from which to work. The decision between hosted shared and hosted VM-based came down to a question of security. The school district felt it would be safer to create VMs for each desktop as opposed to the shared model.  The shared model could allow a student to cause mischief on the server, thus impacting other students. Many of the students are extremely smart and computer experts, so it was a matter of time before they breached the system.
  3. Hosted Blade PCs: A small group of high school students took part in the CAD classes.  The CAD application used, and the projects students had to complete, required specialized hardware.  The school district decided it was easier to centralize a group of Blade PCs and allow students to connect as needed. This allowed for centralization and helped reduce the over number of powerful desktops required as they Blade PCs could be shared between schools.

As we know, there are more than three FlexCast models, but the School District did not have a need for them all.  In fact, as other organizations start to assess and design their virtual desktop environments, they too will see that certain FlexCast models do not fit in with the overall goals.

How does one determine the best approach? By understanding the user requirements, the limitations of each model and selecting the most appropriate model that gets the job done at the lowest cost.

Which models have you seen the most of so far?

Daniel – Lead Architect

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