Desktop Virtualisation to Digital Workspace

Introduction

It all starts with the end users and these days they have very high expectations. These expectations have been set by the cloud services they use in their private time. They have a plethora of devices to choose from, a multitude of sharing services and collaboration platforms they can use free of charge. They bring that expectation to the enterprise. The key is to have productive end users by giving them access to all these tools in a transparent, but secure way. Consumer simple, Enterprise secure.

Desktop virtualisation is a solution for legacy environments, but vital in helping organisations migrate to a digital workspace. Legacy applications, such as Win32 and browser-specific Web applications, will slow such initiatives to digital workspace, but transition-enabling technologies are there to help. To that end on-premises deployment of desktop virtualisation technologies is will increase in the next 5 years and probably decrease afterwards as applications evolve with built-in security and endpoint platform independence. Another observation is that organisations are shifting the burden of maintaining significant desktop virtualisation infrastructure from on-premises deployments to the cloud.

Recommendations

  • Use existing desktop virtualisation technologies as a solution to more flexible delivery of applications.
  • Use the six types of desktop virtualisation (VDI, SBC, Application Virtualisation, User Environment Managent, Client side Virtual Desktop, Workspace Management) to sustain manageability and reduce endpoint or platform dependence.
  • Plan for an initial increase in cost for the adoption of on-premises desktop virtualisation technologies to provide application access to a wider variety of endpoints.
  • Complement on-premises desktop virtualisation with new sourcing strategies and architectures that support flexible, endpoint-neutral and highly available business user services.
  • Accommodate new operating-expenditure-centric service models, such as hybrid and cloud based desktop-as-a-service models, as viable use cases expand.

Desktop Virtualisation Technologies

Desktop virtualisation is essentially the abstraction of the fundamental layers of desktop computing — the hardware, OS, applications, data and user environment (settings and configurations specific to a user) to create new ways of delivering and managing the user workspace. Different technologies address different layers — for example, application virtualisation separates applications and the OS. The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can address all layers above the hardware-OS border. You can consider six technology categories to be part of desktop virtualisation:

  1. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
  2. Server Based Computing (SBC)
  3. Application Virtualisation
  4. User Environment Management (UEM)
  5. Client side Virtual Desktop
  6. Workspace & Identity Management

VMware’s offering

Respectively:

  1. VMware Horizon 7
  2. VMware Horizon 7 with Remote Desktop Services
  3. VMware AppVolumes
  4. VMware User Environment Manager
  5. VMware Horizon FLEX
  6. VMware Workspace & Identity Manager

VMware Horizon 7

VMware Horizon 7 allows IT to deliver virtual or RDSH hosted desktops and applications through a single platform. They are run either in on premise datacenters or hosted as a cloud services.

VMware AppVolumes

VMware App Volumes supports real-time application delivery to virtualized desktop environments. With Horizon 7 and App Volumes, IT can build a real-time application delivery system that ensures all applications are centrally managed. Applications are delivered to virtual desktops through VMDK virtual disks, without modifying the VM or applications themselves and can be scaled out to virtual desktops with superior performance, at lower costs and without compromising end-user experience.

VMware User Environment Manager

VMware User Environment Manager offers personalization and dynamic policy configuration across any virtual, physical and cloud-based environment. User Environment Manager can simplify end-user profile management by providing organizations with a single and scalable solution that leverages existing infrastructure. IT can simply map infrastructure (including networks and printer mappings) and dynamically set policies for end users to securely support more use cases. With this solution, end users can also enjoy quick access to their Windows workspace and applications, with a personalized and consistent experience across devices and locations.

VMware Horizon FLEX

VMware Horizon FLEX is a complimentary solution to the Horizon portfolio with the key feature being that the data is stored locally allowing end-users to work offline or on the road. It is a bundled offering that includes a FLEX policy server, FLEX clients (Fusion Pro for Macs and Player Pro for PCs) and image management capabilities. Common use cases for Horizon FLEX include bring your own (BYO) PCs, disconnected workers where VDI is not a viable option, temporary workers or contractors, development and training environments and regional offices.

VMware Workspace & Identity Manager

VMware Identity Manager is an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) offering, providing application provisioning, self-service catalog, conditional access controls and Single Sign-On (SSO) for SaaS, web, cloud and native mobile applications. It supports access to applications and desktops running Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services, XenApp 5.0 and later, ThinApp, SaaS, and virtual desktops with Horizon View. The unified workspace also provides IT with a central point of control on the back end to manage reporting, policy access, and delivery.

Comparison of Technologies

Solution Primary location Primary Use Offline accessibility – ease of use – performance security – data protection
VMware Horizon 7 Datacenter or cloud hosted VM’s, accessed remotely Windows desktop delivery No Accessed remotely, very good performance on LAN Very secure, centrally hosted individual desktops, no data on end point
VMware Horizon 7 with Remote Desktop Services Datacenter or cloud hosted VM’s, accessed remotely Hosted enterprise application delivery No Accessed remotely, very good performance on LAN, but Shared OS environment
VMware AppVolumes Run on top of OS, centrally managed Application management and optimisation Yes Can be used locally or remotely
VMware User Environment Manager Run on top of OS, centrally managed Management of user settings for OS, applications and data Yes Focuses on optimizing a user- centric experience across platforms
VMware Horizon FLEX Locally run, centrally managed Bring your own PC (BYOPC), offline temporary workspace Yes Requires powerful endpoint device (PC or Mac) Very secure corporate managed & encrypted end point hosted VM
VMware Workspace ONE & Identity Manager Datacenter or cloud hosted service, accessed remotely Management of a secure, hybrid workspace No Online portal to access all above technologies/solutions

Future of Desktop Virtualisation

Desktop virtualisation is primarily focused on enabling the delivery of legacy, Microsoft dependent applications and workspaces, so the evolution of Microsoft will have a great impact on the evolution of desktop virtualisation technology. We have seen how declining Win32 applications create short-term opportunities for some of the technologies; however, in the long term, the journey of Microsoft to the cloud and its unified app approach will create new opportunities and management challenges.

NSX as essential part of your Automated Datacenter

In 2011 Nubera set out to enable native cloud for Enterprise IT. With a mission to architect the software defined datacenter, the virtual workspace and to automate hybrid cloud. Our vision is to be the leading cloud integrator in Belgium and Luxembourg.
If Enterprise IT wants to be(come) the partner of their business, they need to transform not only their technology, but also their organization’s culture and structure. Have they broken down the silos? Do they empower people to take risks and do things that have never been done before? Are they willing to flatten their organization chart?
As more and more Enterprise IT organisations need to provide self service to the business, they see the value of virtualizing and automating the datacenter. To do that they need to be able to offer all of the datacenter functions as services that can be tied to a single unit of management. Typically in an Enterprise IT environment this single unit of management is a virtual machine as it’s the most common denominator between server-centric and webscale applications. Virtualizing functions paves the way to transform them into flexible services and automate the datacenter. There are several ways to virtualize the compute and storage functions, but up to now little attention has been given to the network function. If you want a VM to be the single unit of management you also need to be able to define not only compute and storage, but also network up to the VM level, agnostic of the hardware that it runs on.
NSX is a network hypervisor and has the same – if not more – transformational power for networking than ESX for computing over the past decade. There are several implementations of software defined networking and it’s a big buzz, but for Nubera it’s an essential piece in the transformation from a traditional datacenter to a fully automated datacenter. By using NSX we can transform the economics of network and security operations. It lets you treat your physical network as a pool of transport capacity, with network and security policies attached to VMs. The beauty of the full software defined networking approach is that you lay the foundation of an automated hybrid cloud.
As Nubera it’s a natural choice to obtain VMware’s Network Virtualization competency and we’re proud to be the first in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my blog. My name is Dirk De Meirsman and my goal is to share my thoughts on enabling native cloud. If you’re looking into how your organisation can benefit from cloud computing you will find some useful info here.

I plan to post on a regular basis. I don’t intend this to be a one way street and I’m curious to get feedback and enter into a dialogue. If there is a topic you’d like me to address, please leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to connecting with you.