Efficiency and Virtualization

Everyone wants efficiency, whether they know it or not.  Some are just more aware of it than others and seek to leverage efficiency to gain a competitive edge.  Some just want faster access to the applications they need to do their business or communicate with their friends.  Employees want efficiency in accomplishing the tasks they need to complete in order to do their jobs well.  Managers want efficiency in the delivering of results to executives.  Executives want efficiency so they can do more with less in order to present impressive reports to their board.  So, everyone seeks efficiencies even if they may not call it that:  they are looking for better ways of doing things, for faster access to the information they need, and for less obstacles when manipulating or reporting it.

Well, Virtualization is one way of satisfying that pursuit of efficiency while actually increasing security and productivity.  Relocating compute resources for user workloads in a datacenter provides all kinds of efficiency, and putting those virtualized desktops in the datacenter is called “VDI” by most people.  Virtual Desktop Infrastructure can be unique desktops or shared desktops.  So, you virtualize the compute resources themselves in the datacenter, you virtualize the operating systems and user personalization with various products, like Citrix®, Microsoft®, VMware® and Cisco®.  Each of these vendors are leaders in their market, with reliable support, proven product maturity, industry presence, name recognition and a history of dedicated investment in continually improving their offerings.  These are the products that an executive can depend on.  These are the products that have certification tracks that are highly coveted by tens of thousands of IT professionals.  These are the products that you want to increase efficiency in your organization.

Providing remote access to the applications employees need to do their business from any device while doing it securely is an incredible efficiency of another dimension.  Being able to work from anywhere?!  How could you not love that?  Well, Virtualization is what gets you there.  Over the years, I’ve heard people call them virtual desktops, VDI, cloud-based computing; but whatever you call it, at the end of the day, you don’t have a traditional desktop that has everything the user needs installed on it directly.  Those applications are “virtualized” or the desktop itself is “virtualized”.  I have personally installed these types of solutions for over 50 different customers since January 2009, using Microsoft®, Citrix®, and VMware® hypervisors and their virtualization products like Hyper-V/App-V®, XenApp®/XenDesktop®, and View®/ThinApp®.  I’ll be the first to tell you that these products are all perfectly capable of providing an outstanding experience, but only if they’re designed, installed, and configured properly and scaled appropriately.

A virtualization project represents a significant change for an organization.  Managers should be able to share the vision of virtualization and realize how it helps to accomplish their goals.  Users should to be able to feel comfortable that the virtualization products they’ll be using once I’ve finished is going to be better overall for them and for their organization.  A well-conceived virtualization initiative will help any organization be more competitive due to the increased efficiency in providing resources to the users.  One of the things I encounter a *lot* in my onsite visits is a resistance to change on the part of the users and it doesn’t need to be that way.  Most of the time, management is apprehensive themselves about the unknown and even more about the user reaction to change.  And when I get the opportunity to go to someone’s desk to migrate them over during a proof-of-concept or a pilot, I see that resistance to change first-hand.  I’m pretty good with people, so it’s not a big deal, but I would love to let them know ahead of time that what we’re doing is really going to make things better.  I’ve had customers actually tell me that the performance of their virtual desktop was superior to their physical desktop.  That’s one of the benefits of having an Intel Xeon server-grade processor running your desktops, even though it’s shared with other desktops at the hypervisor layer and it’s three cities or even eight states away in a datacenter.  Plus, that virtual desktop is typically on a 10 Gb switch nowadays, or at the very least, a 1 Gb switch (if you’re still on 100 Mb switch ports, it might be time to upgrade). So, a user’s email client has a super-fast connection to the email server, and their applications have a super-fast connection to all of their databases and file shares.  And everything appears faster, which is awesome for someone like me who gets to look like a hero.  I like that!

One of the words I simply do not hear enough is the word “efficiency” when explaining a virtualization project to users, or managers, or even IT professionals and CIOs.  It is such a perfect word and it just makes sense to employ it when describing the end result of our project.  At Accelera Solutions, we specialize in virtualizing networks, storage, compute resources, server and desktop operating systems, applications, user profiles and the user experience itself.  We specialize in Cloud access with multiple vendors of cloud fabrics.  We focus on “Why” we design, implement, and manage our customer’s solution.  We specialize in efficiency, and I love being a part of that.