By Sachin Sharma, Product Marketing Manager, End-User Computing, VMware
and Kevin Cooke, Director of Product Marketing and Management, Stratusphere Solutions, Liquidware Labs
In my last few posts I spoke about Horizon Mirage layering and making a fast and easy desktop migration to Windows 7. There’s no doubting the operational efficiencies that a well-managed desktop strategy will bring to your organization. Related, April 8th (and end of Support for Windows XP) is approaching faster than you may think; application, security and the Microsoft support gap will leave your organization vulnerable and exposed.
So what are you waiting for? As I’ve said, avoid the panic button, and make the move with Horizon Mirage. To help you make that move with conviction and to ensure you’re optimizing the investment and meeting end-user expectations, it’s critical to measure and validate along the way. I’d like to highlight one of VMware’s Elite Technology Alliance Partners, Liquidware Labs. I recently spoke on a webinar with Liquidware Labs where we examined, “Making a Seamless Move to Windows® 7 with VMware and Liquidware Labs.” I’ll summarize some of the key points here, but please take the time and watch the video—it will provide you with a tested approach to make the move with confidence.
Successfully implementing any IT transformation comes with some risk, as well as minor bumps and bruises. In the case of a migration away from Windows XP, you have little choice but to leap. That said, you should look at this process as an opportunity to get your user workloads under continuous, centralized management thereafter.
Visibility, Validation and the User Experience
To minimize those bumps and bruises we offer a three-phased migration approach. Think of this as your safety net to make the Horizon Mirage migration fast and easy—a migration that will meet user expectations and incur minimal disruption. As detailed in the webinar, the following phases comprise a thoughtful transformational process:
- Benchmark – Gather detailed information about your users, define the metrics for success and create a design plan
- Image Deployment – Creation of master image and layers, deploy to field, and restore personalizations
- Validate and Measure Success – Identify and address performance issues, quantify success and provide disaster recover; repairing images as needed
In the benchmark phase, Stratusphere would be employed to gather details and gain visibility into information such as where users are spending their compute time, what applications and resources they are consuming, and to define a baseline for a “normal” experience. With these details and metrics, you will be well-equipped to create, deploy and support local and remote desktop images and layering managed by Horizon Mirage.
I’ve covered the Horizon Mirage image deployment steps in previous posts, but in summary, the optimized process begins with leveraging the visibility provided by Stratusphere to create the appropriate and optimal base image. From there, layering and image deployment steps are followed, culminating in the centralized migration operation.
From a post-migration standpoint, the opportunity at this step in the process is to measure success based on user experience, not simply based on the functional success of the image deployment. With Stratusphere baseline information gathered at the onset of this process, you can compare the pre-migration “normal” performance with post-migration to quantify success as it relates to user experience.
As noted earlier, the largest win is the opportunity to now have ongoing and proactive monitoring of your Horizon Mirage environment. Should users complain about their new managed desktop, Stratusphere can provide the visibility to determine exactly what is causing that constraint. And if appropriate, you can leverage Horizon Mirage to roll-back changes or re-image the affected machines or user groups. In this case, Stratusphere becomes your visibility and diagnostics solution, to better understand machine, user and application workloads, and what constraints may be limiting user experience. Best of all, this information can be fed directly into VMware vCenter Operations Manager for a consolidated view of all users across the infrastructure.
The one-two punch of VMware Horizon Mirage paired with Liquidware Labs Stratusphere will help you to save money, save time, centralize your visibility and proactively monitor your end users’ desktops. In the end, this makes for an optimized environment that will meet end user expectations and keep them productive.