Do You Have a Virtual Desktop Operations Team?

I got asked an interesting question the other day, “What is going to be the biggest challenge for desktop virtualization in 2011?” A lot of thoughts went through my head, many of them technical. But one that kept coming back wasn’t… Operations.

Think about what we are doing with desktop virtualization. We are creating an enterprise solution that relies on almost every technology silo within an organization:

  • Storage
  • Networking
  • Servers
  • Desktops
  • Applications
  • Security
  • Databases

Like any technical solution, it will change over time to include more users, more resources and more functionality. Who will be making these new design decisions? What if you run into an issue with the environment that requires a change to the design? Who is going to make that decision? You might say whichever silo it belongs to will make the decision, but I think that is wrong. If the networking team makes infrastructure changes, couldn’t that impact the speed of delivery of other components required for a successful desktop implementation (application data servers, storage servers, even virtual desktop VLANs)?

What I think is required is a virtual team consisting of architects from the different discipline areas. This team must meet regularly to go over escalated issues requiring a change to the underlying infrastructure. The team should also be responsible for the future direction and growth of the desktop virtualization solution. Transforming the desktop isn’t all about implementing virtual desktops; desktop virtualization is about changing the way desktops are managed and maintained. Even if you virtualize the desktop and do nothing else, you will still run into new issues that make desktops the bane of IT.

As you are doing your virtual desktop design, don’t forget that you must design more than the technology.

Daniel – Lead Architect
XenDesktop Design Handbook

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