But before I get into sizing, it’s important to stress just how important a great user experience is to the success of a VDI project. In my experience, it’s the #1 reason VDI projects fail. I believe that research from Forrester supports this:
We know from our past research,” writes Forrester’s David K. Johnson, principal analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals, in the The Forrester Wave™: Server-Hosted Virtual Desktops (VDI), Q3 2015, “that the success or failure of a VDI initiative hangs almost entirely on end user acceptance and maintaining application speed and performance.”
User experience is a product of many factors. First and foremost, the infrastructure that you choose to host your virtual desktops will make the biggest impact, regardless of which virtualization app you plan to run.
But even the best infrastructure needs to be sized appropriately. The catch is, sizing for virtual desktops is a lot harder than sizing for servers. Here’s what VDI guru and TechTarget contributor Gabe Knuth said about sizing at the 2015 TechTarget Boston Roadshow:
“Where servers are predictable, desktops are random. Sizing a VDI environment with this kind of randomness means people can get stuck in the design phase, but most often they get stuck in the deployment phase. They try a small number of users, think they have it figured out, [and] then realize the limitations of their hosts and storage when they try to scale up.”
A number of factors go into sizing infrastructure for VDI deployments. Chief among these are the number of users supported and the use cases involved. In all cases, the use of VDI assessment tools can ease the process greatly. Using desktop assessment tools, like those provided by Lakeside Software, the current utilization of desktops can be quantified and used to properly size the VDI environment.
Lakeside Software is a leader in workspace analytics for IT and a SimpliVity technology partner. The Lakeside SysTrack Desktop Assessment is a simple discovery tool that provides deep insight and meaningful recommendations. SysTrack applies an automation model to dramatically reduce the complexity and risk involved with VDI, and helps get projects started in the right direction. One of the biggest benefits is that SysTrack can help to identify the resource demands placed on the infrastructure, to reduce infrastructure costs and overhead by properly sizing the backend requirements. The SimpliVity OmniStack VDI Infrastructure Planning report available within SysTrack summarizes the demand in the environment to properly plan for a VDI project.
Proper sizing of VDI workloads will greatly improve the potential of success of any VDI implementation by optimizing both the user experience and costs. Once implementation is completed and users are ready to use the system, tools like SysTrack can also help with continuous monitoring of the desktop experience to make sure users remain happy and IT stays on top of any potential issues.