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Evaluating End-User-Computing Solutions

By Anthony Rizzo, Staff End-User-Computing Technologist, VMware

When you need to choose the right mix of VMware End-User-Computing solutions, nothing is more helpful than a properly conducted evaluation.

This blog differentiates evaluations, proofs of concept, and pilot studies, and lists key considerations and practical tips, as well as the most relevant VMware tools.

Types of Exercises

The exercises differ in the level of customization required. Product evaluations are usually straightforward. Solutions, which combine two or more products and are typically more complex, are more likely to require a proof of concept or pilot.

Evaluations are usually conducted in a lab environment, to demonstrate the standard features of a product. They are not customized in any way, and they do not replicate or simulate the configurations or conditions of a specific environment. Evaluations are usually conducted with little vendor or outside assistance.

A proof of concept (PoC) adds simple customization to the evaluation. Production conditions and configurations are simulated in a PoC lab, with varying amounts of vendor or outside assistance, to verify that the proposed modifications work as expected. VMware onsite assistance requires the PoC to be managed with VMware PoC planning tools and methods.

Pilots add more complex customization, and are often integrated with an organization’s production environment on a limited basis. A well-designed pilot should represent the desired production end-state on a small scale. It is conducted to verify user acceptance testing, load testing, customizations, and identification of needed adjustments in the design. Because assessment, planning, design, and implementation are essential to the success of a pilot, it may be necessary to contract highly skilled personnel through vendors or outside consultants. A good pilot requires precise planning, structure, measurement, and execution to ensure a successful production deployment.

Which Evaluation Exercise to Choose

Base your evaluation exercise on at least the following four important factors.

  • Clarity of scope: What are you trying to prove, and how soon do you need to prove it?
  • Context: Are you evaluating a product or a solution?
  • Specialization: Are any customizations or production components needed for the evaluation? Are non-VMware technologies integrated into the exercise?
  • Skill level: Are the skilled resources to conduct the evaluation available without outside help?
Exercise Type Scope Context Specialization Required Skill Level
Evaluation Basic Product None Moderate to high
Proof of Concept Detailed Product or solution Custom High to very high
Pilot Very detailed Product or solution Product or solution Very high

How Do You Conduct These Exercises?

Organizations conduct these exercises to get a closer look at the products and solutions they might depend upon in the future.

Before taking on one of these efforts, use these guidelines:

  • Request evaluation licenses and keys through your My VMware account or from the product pages located at the VMware Collect all required non-VMware licenses, too.
  • Decide whether you are testing a product or a solution. Solutions require more structure and management because they tend to involve multiple vendors and products.
  • Make sure that operational requirements and expectations are clear, measurable, and documented.
  • Keep the list of requirements you are testing short—usually five items or fewer. Remember, this is a cross-section of your requirements, not full-scale production.
  • Avoid combining test environments with production environments, except for certain pilot programs.
  • Document the results of your testing against your expectations and requirements, to demonstrate that the product either does or does not meet your operational criteria.
  • Make sure that you have personnel who can spend the time necessary to conduct the exercise in a timely manner.
  • Define a clear time frame for conducting the testing, and schedule regular checkpoints to evaluate your progress.
  • Get help from VMware or a VMware partner if your engineering team is not skilled in all aspects of the exercise. Experience is critical.
  • Use project managers on staff, if you have them.


Although they overlap, the tools have important differences.

VMware End-User-Computing Evaluation Tools

Reviewer’s Guide for View in Horizon 6

VMware Mirage 5.0 Reviewer’s Guide

VMware ThinApp Reviewer’s Guide

VMware App Volumes Deployment Guide

VMware Horizon FLEX Solution Brief

VMware Workspace Portal Reviewer’s Guide (Workspace Portal is now called VMware Identity Manager)

Maximizing the Use of VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon

Proof of Concept Tools

The evaluation guidelines mentioned earlier are valid for conducting an independent PoC. If your organization defines PoC practices you must follow, these guidelines can be used to complement your practices where appropriate.


Pilot projects are usually conducted as paid engagements either directly with VMware or with a VMware partner. To conduct a pilot, contact your VMware representative or an authorized VMware solutions provider.

A better understanding of evaluations, proofs of concept, and pilot studies should help you to make informed decisions about how to approach your VMware End-User-Computing evaluation.