The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood
Andrew WoodAndrew is a Director of Gilwood CS Ltd, based in the North East of England, which specialises in delivering and optimising server and application virtualisation solutions. With 12 years of experience in developing architectures that deliver server based computing implementations from small-medium size business to global enterprise solutions, his role involves examining emerging technology trends, vendor strategies, development and integration issues, and management best practices.

Does an evaluation for a virtualisation project need to be only an exercise in understanding if X hosts will on Y servers? Will you be able to to virtualize every service you deliver? Are new applications required? What are your existing service-levels and requirements across your application portfolio? In most enterprises today, IT is a cost centre not a profit centre. Business units often want detailed involvement in implementation plans, asset purchases and ownership: it is not unusual that requests for applications come in terms of functionality – not in terms of service levels. With their release of Workspace iQ, Centrix Software appear to be unique in endeavouring to aggregate information that can be used to deliver data that can help provide IT with improved costing information without relying on specific vendors solutions to be in place.

Citrix have invested an unspecified amount of money in Kaviza whose grid architecture eliminates the expensive infrastructure that VDI solutions. With Kaviza’s solution all the functionality needed to provision and manage virtual desktops is consolidated into a single virtual appliance that scales on commodity servers. Will this announcement herald a major take-up of VDI? Indeed, can you really offer a turnkey solution to support your desktop centralisation strategy?

Citrix has released XenApp 6 which finally provides support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 – what is available in this new release for your business. Besides R2 support, what does XenApp 6 offer your business, what WOW factors are provided to help justify the cost of using XenApp6 to springboard your x64 Presentation Virtualization implementation – be that a new implementation, or a migration from your existing environment.

On March 18, Microsoft embarked on a major offensive to focus the desktop virtualisation market away from VMware View. Microsoft announced updates for their desktop virtualization technologies and solutions, including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). The question is, are these announcements marketing hype or do they actually help deliver an improved VDI experience? Indeed, are you a VMware View in peril? The announcements from Microsoft and Citrix to little to impact on this marketing statement especially when we consider that, licensing changes aside, this announcement is an announcement of things to come, not an announcement of things available now.Perhaps an effective rescue for VMWare’s VDI will be to for VMware to deliver their client side hypervisor first and offer a single management environment for a business desktop delivery, regardless of device.

Both Presentation Virtualisation and Desktop Virtualization can be used to provide a Windows desktop experience and to deliver applications, such as Microsoft Office, not only to desktop hardware that might be older but to non-Windows desktops (e.g. Linux PCs. Apple Macs or Thin Client devices). Both virtualization technologies can help your business centrally manage and support applications allowing you to make savings in improved productivity. Moreover, such centralization technologies can extend applications beyond your network – to home workers, to contract staff, to roaming users – and to an ever growing set of devices – be it a netbook, a Windows Mobile device or an iPhone.

Project Virtual Reality Check have released their Phase 2 white paper on Terminal Server/RDS workloads running on the latest generation Intel processor: the Xeon 5500 series (Nehalem). Besides providing some great figures to support the adoption of Intel’s Nehalem to drive high demand virtualized workloads, this is an interesting and important comparison document for those considering centralised desktop virtualisation.

Can your businesses increase productivity and save money by implementing a Bring your own Computer (BYOC) program? Are there benefits in giving staff a free choice of PC technology (be that a Windows, Mac, Linux, or other devices – perhaps even an iPad) if you give them a cash allowance to purchase and use their own PC for company and personal use? Are there pitfalls?

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