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By Simon Long, EUC Service Architect, and Aresh Sarkari, EUC Service Architect, VMware

The adoption of a private cloud has opened up many opportunities for VMware IT, including the flexibility to ‘fail fast’ or try out new ideas to improve the efficiency of our operations.

Our idea was to create a pre-production environment where we could test early builds of end-user computing (EUC) products such as VMware Horizon, VMware App Volumes, and User Environment Manager (UEM) before they were deployed into production. We also wanted to give feedback to R&D on issues we encountered so they could be addressed before the product was made generally available. IT has had success in deploying early releases of VMware vSphere, VMware vRealize, and VMware NSX in our private cloud and we wanted to apply the same process to the EUC portfolio.

Architecting the OneDesk Environment

The first step was to design this environment, which we called OneDesk. The environment follows the reference architecture we recommend to customers and is fully integrated with VMware’s Active Directory, core infrastructure (DNS, NTP, etc.), and Workspace ONE.

 

Horizon Reference Architecture for OneDesk

 

VMware vRealize Operations is used for internal troubleshooting; VMware NSX for micro-segmentation; and VMware vSAN for storage. OneDesk also serves as the next-generation environment for VMware’s internal production Horizon desktop environments in the US, EMEA, and India.

How it Works

OneDesk complements our existing production environment by enabling us to host and exercise stable pre-release versions. We can play with pre-production EUC software and test the cool new features before they are implemented into production. This helps avoid service outages that can occur in production when new services are introduced, or configuration changes are made. Previously, these changes threatened daily business operations. Once stable, the products running in OneDesk are considered for the next software update window into production.

A Surprising Benefit

Because OneDesk is fully integrated into our IT production environment and we are using the full stack, it provides a complete, single sign-on login experience that uses the TrueSSO login through Workspace ONE to the Horizon desktop. It provides a window into how our products work seamlessly together in a production environment.

To our surprise, a growing number of VMware field staff are now accessing OneDesk to see how early versions of EUC software are performing on their own desktops and devices. They also demo the environment with customers who want to see how VMware deploys and manages its own EUC software. The internal number of users continues to grow even though the environment has no application stack, no file shares, and no SLA. Users are required to store all their critical data in the cloud

Another important benefit of having more than 700 internal users is the constant stream of comments from the field. They provide another layer of feedback by reporting issues they see and sharing them with us on VMware’s internal social networking site.

OneDesk has grown to be an integral part of our VMware IT environment and provides valuable insights that improve product stability. Having a pre-production environment to validate product changes and upgrades prior to deployment to production is a good IT best practice.

OneDesk was recently awarded the CIO Innovation Award, bestowed on IT teams that create and develop new products and/or services. As OneDesk nears its one-year milestone, we are working on further improvements that we will share in future blogs.

For additional details on VMware IT and Horizon, watch our VMworld 2017 presentation, The Secret Sauce Behind VMware’s Internal Horizon Desktop Deployments.

VMware on VMware blogs are written by IT subject matter experts sharing stories about IT’s transformation journey using VMware products and services in a global production environment. Visit our portal to learn more.