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SysTrack Desktop Assessment, Part 1: Moving to VDI? Details You Should Know

Peter Schraml

Author: Peter Schraml

Peter is the senior solution architect for VMware EMEA EUC Cloud Service. He serves as a trusted adviser across EMEA, leading a specialist team that helps customers transform business processes and deliver a more user and application-centric experience.

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To successfully move to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)/Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution, assessment is key to properly plan your detailed rollout and also to determine whether VDI/DaaS is the right solution in the first place.

With VMware Horizon Cloud, VMware’s DaaS offering, you don’t need a deep understanding of the hardware, hypervisor, network and storage. These are managed entirely by VMware, so you can concentrate on creating and managing the perfect desktop for the end user.

Management Responsibility

Desktop management services the customer is responsible for fall above the waterline in the image above. With Horizon Cloud, VMware provides everything else.

However, to create the perfect desktop, you do need to understand the user requirements—in terms of applications the user consumes—and provide a powerful enough desktop configuration so the user experience exceeds the current one on a laptop or desktop. After all, improving performance is one of the primary motivations for moving to VDI.

VMware teamed up with Lakeside Software to provide a desktop assessment tool free for 90 days: SysTrack Desktop Assessment. The assessment provides a real-world view of the activity taking place across your organization’s desktop computing environment.

SysTrack Desktop Assessment

Click the image to get started on your free SysTrack Desktop Assessment.

SysTrack provides accurate assessment information to plan and implement a successful virtual desktop platform, and delivers it in a packaged report format that provides easy-to-understand answers to stakeholders involved in the process.

  • Early Stages: This assessment provides essential information in the early phases of virtualization projects, helping you identify the best candidates based on real usage patterns and conditions.
  • Late Stages: In later phases of the project, SysTrack helps you decide which desktop models you require for different use cases and helps you create the correct desktop pools.
  • Approval Stages: In project approval phases, you can combine the SysTrack Desktop Assessment report with the Horizon Cloud Calculator to help predict costs and justify the case for virtual desktops.

Agent Install Prerequisites

To get started with the assessment, first install the Lakeside agent, which is already preconfigured for your particular environment to collect data. You must meet the following prerequisites before installing SysTrackCloudEdition.msi.

  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Service Pack 1 (x86) Redistributable
    • For 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems
    • File name: vcredist_x86_VC2010_SP1.exe
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Service Pack 1 (x64) Redistributable
    • For 64-bit operating systems only
    • File name: vcredist_x64_VC2010_SP1.exe

Supported Operating Systems

Lakeside supports the following Client operating systems (OS) to run the SysTrack agent:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10

Data Points & User Behavior

The virtual desktop assessment provides you with the following data points and user behavior information of your existing environment and user estate:

  • Users and user groups used for application assignments
  • Applications and application versions
    • Application latency
    • Application chattiness to backend systems
      • Average data send to backend systems
      • Retention connection to backend systems
    • Used versus installed applications
    • Operating systems
    • Hardware specifications
    • Resources including CPU, RAM, Disk and graphics (GPU)
    • Storage input/output per second (IOPs)
    • Network bandwidth consumed per desktop

This information is essential to determine and select the user groups you want to move to VDI desktops and to calculate your business case so you can defend the cost savings you get by moving your desktops to the cloud.

Environmental Summary

This report provides you with details to understand your target user groups for VDI and understand if users are highly mobile or stationed and which device types they are using.

Enterprise Systems Summary

Enterprise Systems Summary

With detailed information on the platforms and the average age of your systems, you get a clear picture of which systems are good candidates for a refresh or migration to VDI.

Enterprise Age

Enterprise Age

It is also important to look at information like the concurrency level of your estate to calculate the right amount of VDI desktops you need at peak times. This is important to get your VDI desktop figures right and to maximize your ROI.

Concurrency Summary

Environmental Compliance

Understand user behavior and compliance in your environment with reports such as Patch Distribution, Cloud Storage Applications and User File Size distribution.

Last Patch Distribution

User File Size Distribution

Cloud Storage Applications in Use

In addition to the above data sets, you are provided with a list of the top:

  • 25 websites,
  • 25 applications,
  • 25 software packages and
  • Application port usage in your environment.

Top Websites and Applications

This gives you a greater understanding of your environment and user behavior.

Solution Summary

The solution summary provides you with a generic overview of whether your users are more suitable for an on-premises VDI solution based on Horizon 7/Horizon Cloud. It also details how to manage your existing desktop systems or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) platforms with VMware AirWatch, VMware Mirage or VMware Horizon FLEX.

The first determination divides it into Horizon family versus physically managed devices, and then further distinguishes between mobile, BYOD and corporate assets to be managed. Within the Horizon family, it is then separated further between candidates for on-premises versus cloud-hosted.

This distinction is made on a high level with the below data points collected:

  1. If a device is observed to have high mobility and times of limited connectivity (e.g. offline usage) or to have extremely unique resource needs (very high) or some rare requirements, it is advised to keep it as a managed physical system.
  2. Any machine that doesn’t fall into the first bucket is considered a possible fit for virtualization, either on-premises or cloud-
  3. These are then broken into cloud-based Horizon Cloud or on-premises based Horizon 7 depending on:
    1. Higher resource load
    2. Large numbers of network dependencies (e.g. application latency)

Solution Summary

This helps drive your decision on what should or shouldn’t be virtualised, but that is not the final word. You can drill down into more details on the data collected to help you decide whether to move into a cloud or on-premises deployment.

(In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll cover more on the data points provided through the various reports and dashboards in the SysTrack Desktop Assessment tool.)

Get Your Free Virtual Desktop Assessment

The free 90-day desktop assessment VMware offers in cooperation with Lakeside Software is a mandatory tool if you move to VDI. You need these details to make decisions on user selection, grouping and applications (otherwise, you’re basically putting a finger in the wind and taking a guess).

It also better positions you to assess security risks in your environment and clean up your Active Directory objects. With the results, you’ll also understand the login process and the delays caused by applying a large number of Group Policy’s or DNS issue or latency issues in your infrastructure.

Click here to get started, and watch out for Part 2 to get more details on the SysTrack Visualizer.

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