By John Kramer
It’s hard to believe it has been just four years since I joined VMware as an End-User Computing (EUC) Consultant. During my time as a consultant―and now as a Technical Account Manager (TAM) and /Technical Account Specialist (TAS) ―I have been fortunate enough to have helped various customers with VMware Horizon EUC deployments across the U.S. and Canada.
Four years ago, VMware Horizon was relatively new, but customers were deploying large-scale VDI solutions that I would now classify as “first-generation.” These early VDI deployments typically used full clones or VMware View Composer linked clones with blade infrastructures and expensive storage arrays that still had a hard time keeping up with the demand VDI workloads could throw at them. This type of infrastructure was typically very rigid and inflexible, but it conformed to the hardware-defined data center norms of the time.
As with most early-stage disruptive technology, VDI had promise to help provide a better management experience. But this often led to image sprawl. I have seen customers with 70-plus images in production and recomposing on a regular basis. This tended to increase administrator workload with long image recompose and patch/maintenance processes. If done correctly and in a tightly controlled environment, this was still more efficient and secure than physical desktops for call centers, healthcare environments, and other secure mass deployment use cases that were largely not required to provide a persistent desktop experience to the end users.
Figure 1: Legacy VDI Infrastructure
Since those early days, VMware has recognized the need to simplify all this by evolving VMware Horizon—both through organic internal feature development and by focusing on how the apps are delivered to the desktop or mobile device. This has provided a better and more persistent user experience, as well as greatly simplified administration with tools like UEM, VMware AppVolumes, and Instant Clones combined to provide more of an on-demand Just-in-Time desktop experience. What is nice about these tools is that they complement and enhance both VMware Horizon and Citrix environments. UEM can even be used on physical PCs.
Today, modern VDI solutions must offer all these capabilities and more to meet end-user demand. We need:
- Windows 7 and Windows 10 operating systems that can be patched quickly and discarded when a user logs off
- The ability to layer in apps and user personalization at logon
Figure 2: Deconstructing the Desktop, with Instant Clones, AppVolumes, and UEM
If you have a legacy VDI that needs to be refreshed or optimized into something more efficient, or you’re deploying a new virtual desktop infrastructure, you should know that VMware has recently introduced a new service offered by the VMware Professional Services. The Horizon Technical Account Specialist can help you figure out the best path forward to a modernized desktop and mobility infrastructure.
Cut from the same cloth as the traditional TAM, the VMware Horizon TAS is laser focused on helping your organization get the most value out of your VMware Horizon implementation. A VMware Horizon TAS is a technology specialist who complements your existing VMware TAM. This specialist is the customer’s single point of contact for managing VMware Horizon and End-User Computing inquiries, finding information quickly, and connecting with other VMware experts as needed.
The VMware Horizon TAS is an expert in all things related to VMware Horizon and End-User Computing technologies. Our objective is to give you direct access to a VMware Horizon and End-User Computing expert who will provide you with best practices and strategic guidance. The TAS will help guide your organization in the implementation and operation of VMware Horizon, and enhance your deployment of all of VMware’s End-User Computing products based on knowledge the TAS gains about your organization over the course of the engagement.
Figure 3: Horizon TAS Delivery Methodology
Specific deliverables provide strategic guidance and planning to help your organization throughout the engagement. These deliverables include:
- VMware Horizon Readiness Assessment
- Analysis of VMware Horizon readiness at all levels
- Report of findings and recommendations submitted
- VMware Horizon Client Dashboard
- Report of VMware Horizon meeting summaries, news, training and events, special access program announcements, self-help educational resources, client project information
- VMware Horizon Client Profile
- Report of VMware Horizon environment
- Recommendations based on findings
- Trending of VMware Horizon component quantities, versions, and features
- VMware Horizon Enablement
- VMware Horizon advanced troubleshooting
- VMware Horizon product enablement
- VMware Horizon triage enablement (troubleshooting process, methods, and capabilities)
- VMware Horizon Health Check
- Analysis of VMware Horizon environment health
- Report of findings and recommendations
VMware offers three levels of TAS service. The size and complexity of your infrastructure determines which level is right for you.
The three levels are:
- Dedicated Enterprise Technical Account Specialist (5 days per week)
- Enterprise Technical Account Specialist (2.5 days per week)
- Technical Account Specialist (1 day per week)
If you are in the middle of a PSO engagement to deploy VMware Horizon or have an existing VMware Horizon deployment you are trying to modernize, working with a VMware Horizon TAS is a great way to keep your deployment on track and ensure that it provides value to your internal customers and meets your organization’s business goals.
John Kramer is a VMware Technical Account Manager providing product knowledge and proven skills to help companies streamline VMware product deployments and improve operations of VMware platforms. Backed by the resources of the entire VMware organization and armed with best practices, John works with various companies throughout the St. Louis area to minimize operational risks and evangelize VMware products and services.