Assessing Your Desktop for Virtualization by Todd Rutherford

Virtual desktop assessments and design analysis models are the crux of the desktop virtualization evaluation process. In DeMystifying the Virtual Desktop, Michael Fox simplifies the concept of desktop assessment by examining one’s applications, desktops, and users in conjunction with the technologies offered by the particular vendor. Assessment options are two-fold: 1) using a consultancy for overall desktop assessment; 2) going in-house and staffing your organization with experienced virtual desktop employees. Overall, the purpose of desktop assessments is to determine the “accuracy, methods, and ultimate trustworthiness of the vendor’s offerings and design the best plan of action for implementing desktop virtualization technologies.”

Three basic types of assessments are used: the physical assessment of the desktop, application assessment and the user assessment. A full assessment combines all of these elements, beginning with a physical assessment of the desktop. Essentially, this is a “hardware inventory and analysis covering components such as memory, CPU, power consumption, storage and network connectivity.” Information is gathered using two basic measuring concepts: total capacity-the total computing capability of the group of users being assessed-and used capacity, which is the total capacity being utilized. The physical aspect of the desktop assessment examines actual PC operations like the processor (CPU), memory (Ram), and storage (hard drive).

The remaining two assessments, application and user assessments are a bit trickier. Regardless of whether these assessments are completed through an outside organization, or within the organization, it’s absolutely essential that input comes from company people that know and have the most experience with the applications. The application assessment involves cataloging a company’s entire list of applications, an operation that is best done using automated tools, and combining this information with application support costs and licensing costs in order to better understand the impact that desktop virtualization technologies will have on a company’s application set.

The user assessment is an understanding of the types of users that exist within an organization, such as highly mobile executives, task-based call center workers or engineers. User assessment allows the group implementing desktop virtualization technologies to understand the types of end users so that desktop virtualization technologies are applied in the right way.

These assessments will ultimately allow you to examine the potential risk/benefit and a quality assessment will “better your ability to compare different solutions, understand key areas of risk, and progress towards a state in which you “know” the right solution from the wrong one.”

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