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Virtual Applications and Virtual Desktops
Decision criteria helping to identify the most appropriate solution for each user

................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 2 Assess the Device Inventory .......................................... 8 Application-Desktop Integration .. 8 Application Characteristics ..... 5 BYOC ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Revision History ........................................................................................................................................................ 1 Overview................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1 Assess the User Base................................................... 2 Unstructured Users ......................................... 13 .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 9 Conclusion ............... 2 Structured Users ...... 4 Repurposed .........................................Table of contents Decision Criteria between VDI and TS ........................................................................................................................ 4 Reused ..................................................................................................................................... 4 Replaced ........................................................................... 8 Delivery Options ....... 6 Assess the Application Portfolio .............

like Microsoft Terminal Services or Citrix XenApp. etc. There are essentially five potential desktop environments for each user:   Traditional PC: A traditional PC is what “typically” constituted a desktop environment: physical device with a locally installed operating system. desktops. Hosted. Hyper-V or ESX) or on bare metal hardware. it is not an either-or discussion. like Microsoft Terminal Services or Citrix XenApp. mobile devices. Streamed Desktop: A streamed desktop is a desktop running entirely on the user’s local client device. Each user receives a desktop "session" and works in an isolated memory space. is a better option. The “desktop” could be any number of devices including laptops. such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008. Virtualized Applications: Used to deliver the applications to the user’s desktop operating environment. Hosted Virtual Desktop: A hosted virtual desktop is a virtual desktop running either on virtualization layer (XenServer. but instead the user interacts through a delivery protocol. is shared by multiple users simultaneously. server-based desktop: A hosted. or a server-hosted solution.Overview As more organizations investigate the benefits of virtual desktops the question always arises as to whether a virtual desktop solution. With hosted. this document will explain how to look at an environment and identify the best solution for each user. Local Virtual Desktop: A local virtual desktop is a desktop running entirely on the user’s local device and continues to operate when disconnected from the network    The best solution comes down to providing the right computing environment for the users that is cost effective and maintainable. Creating the optimal solution requires an analysis of the environment focusing on three primary aspects:    Users Devices Applications 1 . Even users who only require a single application still require a “desktop” that is capable of presenting the application to the user. The user does not work with and sit in front of the desktop. For example. server-based desktops. like Citrix XenDesktop. a user’s operating environment must contain an operating system and applications. a single installed instance of a server operating system. every “desktop” is broken down into the following layers:     Device Operating System Applications Personalization Regardless of the device. Virtualized desktops and virtualized applications are responsible for the delivery of these two disparate layers of a user’s desktop. The user interacts with the desktop directly but is only available while they are connected to the network.   Virtualized Desktops: Used to deliver the desktop operating environment to the user across a wide array of end point devices. server-based desktop is a desktop where the user interacts through a delivery protocol. Changes made by one user could impact the other users. thin clients. Based on the core understanding that all users require a desktop operating environment of some fashion. Unfortunately.

scheduling data or support tickets. resulting in the local virtual desktop being irrelevant. Structured users achieve greater success by entering data into the system faster. the following are the potential desktops solutions for a structured user: Traditional Desktop Structured Users Although any type of desktop is viable for structured users. it does not solve the underlying challenge of desktop management. Without a network connection. the local virtual desktop is not recommended as it assumes the user is still productive when disconnected from the network. Based on weighing benefits and costs. diagrams or programs. graphics. Also. videos. which is focused squarely on the applications. These two categories of users helps identify what type of an operating environment the user needs in order to perform their job. Any type of desktop is viable as long as it allows them to use an application efficiently. Delivering an optimized environment for data entry provides the users with the tools needed to achieve success. Shared Desktop Hosted Desktop Streamed Desktop Local Virtual Desktop Unstructured Users Unstructured users require an environment that can be personalized and customized for a particular project. Structured Users Structured users require a tightly controlled environment that is optimized for the task at hand. However. presentations. structured users commonly are expected to focus on data entry. The data entered can be anything from sales data. the core focus is around which users are structured users or unstructured users. even though the traditional desktop is valid. The unstructured user community is typically responsible for generating knowledge or creating content taking the form of documents.Assess the User Base When assessing users. patient information. thus increasing their productivity. the structured user’s productivity is based on the speed of entering data into the system. In the simplest terms. however certain options are cost adverse and are not recommended for the structured user. the structured user is not able to complete their task. Common examples of unstructured users are as follows:     Developers Consultants Executives Marketing 2 . Because of the workflows a structured user follows. they only require a desktop device that allows them to gain access to their application(s). following a repetitive “script” for working with the system. Common examples of structured users are as follows:      Call center agent Order entry Bank clerk Nurse Receptionist Each one of the aforementioned users typically works with a small number of applications.

personalization while simplifying support. Because users are customizing the desktop. potentially causing issues. When an unstructured user encounters issues with the traditional desktop. If a user believes a certain configuration will help them achieve success.  3 . troubleshoot and fix the faulting device. In order to be successful. often changing based on the currently engaged project. this model does not solve the underlying desktop challenges of supportability. The potential desktop options for an unstructured user are as follows: Traditional Desktop Structured Users Unstructured Users Shared Desktop Hosted Desktop Streamed Desktop Local Virtual Desktop The unstructured user is slightly limited in the type of desktop that is optimal for their needs. requiring unstructured users to have the ability to modify the system as needed without impacting others. which can include enhanced audio/graphics processing peripherals.      Lawyers Teachers Scientists Sales Doctors Supervisors Each unstructured user can work with any number of applications. unstructured users are oftentimes evaluated on the quality of the materials created. Granting unstructured users the ability to personalize and customize their operating environment allows them to have a multitude of options in order to be successful. Traditional and shared desktops are not likely candidates for the unstructured users because of the following reasons:  Shared Desktop: The unstructured user requires a desktop operating environment that can be customized to fit their needs. Depending on the user. extensive time is required to assess. The optimal desktop for an unstructured user must be capable of delivering performance. these customizations can have a profound impact to the operations of the desktop. Traditional Desktop: Even though the unstructured user would be able to have a productive computing experience on a traditional desktop. there are also special circumstances where they require specialized hardware in order to perform their job. Using a shared desktop runs the risk of a single user’s configuration impacting other users’ environment. they need to have the ability to make those changes. applications. One user’s environment is oftentimes not optimal for anther user.

they are left with the choice of four different device types:     Replaced Repurposed Reused BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) Replaced For many organizations. The selection of desktop appliances provides an interface into a virtualized environment hosted within the data center. 4 . This process boots the device in a read-only format. In most instances. The recommended desktop environment for replaced desktops is: Device Type User: Structured Device: Replaced Installed Device Delivery Streamed Embedded Shared Desktop Delivery Hosted Streamed Local Virtual User: Unstructured Device: Replaced Taking into account the needs of the user. In addition. In most cases. when organizations look at a VDI solution. the user can only make a connection to a hosted or shared desktop. but instead allows the user to make a connection to a virtualized desktop. Devices falling into this category can be replaced with desktop appliances. For example. The device’s capability plays a significant role in where and how the application or desktop is delivered.Assess the Device Inventory Once the different types of users have been identified. the move to a VDI-based solution stems from the fact that many of the current desktop devices are outdated and unable to maintain acceptable levels of performance. The desktop appliances are embedded devices from which the structured user will be able to launch applications from the shared environment. It is critical to remember that users receiving only virtualized applications still require a device/desktop in order to view the applications. a repurposed device can simply be booted from a USB stick or a CD-ROM. the selection of a desktop appliance results in the user either receiving a hosted desktop or a shared desktop. the second biggest impact on the type of resource (application or desktop) they will receive is based on their hardware device. an organization should typically opt for the following:  Structured users with a replaced desktop should use a desktop appliance to help control costs. in that the underlying operating system of the appliance is incorporated directly into the appliance.  Repurposed Although many desktop devices within an organization are not capable of running the latest operating system or applications. the desktop device can still be utilized as a repurposed device. which could take the form of a single published application. Unstructured users with desktop appliances as replaced devices will need to utilize a hosted desktop because the desktop appliance does not provide the user with a local desktop. the use of a desktop appliance constitutes an embedded device delivery approach. In essence. older devices incur greater operating expenses due to frequent hardware failures and lack of power saving features.

the device could receive the configuration as a Provisioning services stream. but user simply utilizes the repurposed device in the same manner as a desktop appliance. or are in the midst of completing. Reused devices are capable of benefiting from the centralization provided by VDI while still utilizing the new hardware devices. the new devices still require a distributed support and maintenance model for the locally installed components. This method helps overcome the challenges of maintaining endpoints. Data Center Hardware: Additional hardware must be allocated within the data center to run the hosted desktop. For example.Repurposing older devices allows an organization to extend the life of certain workstations. Although the repurposed model allows endpoint hardware cost savings. Unstructured User: The unstructured user requires a desktop operating environment. There are alternatives for the repurposed operating system to overcome the initial license charge. This approach provides simplicity. 5 .  Adding repurposed devices to the desktop type table would provide the following options: Device Type User: Structured Device: Replaced Device: Repurposed Installed Device Delivery Streamed Embedded Shared Desktop Delivery Hosted Streamed Local Virtual User: Unstructured Device: Replaced Device: Repurposed Desktop delivery for repurposed devices is as follows:   Structured User: The repurposed device is installed for the structured user. Although the repurposed device is a desktop. However. Reused Many organizations have already completed. instead of locally installing and configuring the operating system and required add-ons. helping to reduce the cost of a VDI solution. Unstructured users working on a repurposed device require a hosted desktop in order to perform their job. a desktop refresh cycle. it is a locked down desktop resembling a desktop appliance. Streamed: The repurposed device could receive a pre-configured system as a stream from Provisioning services.  Delivering the repurposed device can be accomplished with either of the following methods:  Installed: The repurposed device can be configured with a locally installed/configured operating system. Utilizing a streamed device delivery allows the reused device to be managed and maintained centrally. additional costs must be taken into account:  Licenses: The repurposed desktop might consume a license and the hosted desktop consumes another license. but at the expense of great infrastructure costs and in the fact that the repurposed devices might not have the computing resources to execute from a Provisioning services stream. but the end point still must be configured and maintained in a distributed manner. resulting in many devices performing optimally for the users.

Instead. the following is observed. Additionally. Although this is the most preferred method for structured users on reused devices. helping to offset the resources required within the data center. Unstructured Users: The unstructured user receives the desktop as a streamed desktop and utilizes the local hardware for application execution. This model allows the user to work on their personal workstation instead of a corporate owned device. it still wastes the resources of the desktop device as structured users typically do not stress the underlying hardware.  BYOC The final category of devices is BYOC (Bring Your Own PC). The challenge with the BYOC model is to protect and segregate the corporate environment from the personal environment. users experience the following:  Structured Users: Structured users utilizing new hardware receive the desktop image as a streamed desktop. Device Device Delivery Desktop Delivery Type Installed Streamed Embedded Shared Hosted Streamed User: Structured Device: Replaced Device: Repurposed Device: Reused Local Virtual User: Unstructured Device: Replaced Device: Repurposed Device: Reused In a reused device model. unstructured users also have the option to work on the reused device in an offline fashion. with the proper delivery of an local virtual desktop and offline applications.By expanding the model to include reused devices. a better option would be to reallocate the reused desktop for an unstructured user and replace the desktop with an appliance or repurposed desktop. depending on the device being reused. The most appropriate environment for the user with a BYOC is as follows: Device Device Delivery Desktop Delivery Type Installed Streamed Embedded Shared Hosted Streamed Local Virtual User: Structured Device: Replaced Device: Repurposed Device: Reused Device: BYOC Device: Replaced Not Applicable – Managed by User User: Unstructured 6 .

in order to successfully achieve this level of delivery.Device: Repurposed Device: Reused Device: BYOC Not Applicable – Managed by User Based on the protection required between the personal and corporate entities. the following are the recommendations for BYOC devices:  Structured Users: Because structured users only utilize a few applications with minimal resource impact. The two approaches for BYOC users are o Hosted Desktop: The hosted desktop simply uses the BYOC as a connection device to the user’s desktop. All processing occurs on the local device. This secure solution has one drawback in that it requires the user to have a network connection. processes must be put into place that allows the corporate environment from being completely separated from the personal environment. However. they can simply utilize their own BYOC install as their desktop. Unstructured Users: Although the BYOC is a desktop itself.  o 7 . Local Virtual Desktop: The local virtual desktop model allows users to utilize their own workstation and be able to continue working in an offline mode. they do not require a personalized desktop operating environment. which helps offset the hardware requirements for a VDI solution. the unstructured user needs to work on a desktop that allows them to work with the entire application set and work with their required data. Instead. which does not work for all users. All execution occurs on the hosted desktop within the data center.

Utilization is higher than installed applications due to the application virtualization process. regardless of device. resulting in server resources being consumed instead of desktop resources. In order to select the most appropriate solution. Installed on Server Application is located and installed on a XenApp server. 8 . Maintenance Changes made to the application must happen on every server. If streamed to the server. The following table explains the four common categories of applications. Installed applications allow users to work disconnected from the network. Performance The application executes remotely on a XenApp server. Virtualized on Desktop Application located on the desktop. Users can connect to any desktop and only see the applications they have been specifically granted access. Utilization is higher than installed applications due to the application virtualization processes. resulting in desktop resources being consumed. Changes made to the application must happen on every desktop (if physical) or to the base desktop image (if virtual/streamed). Allow users to work disconnected from the network as long as the desktop itself is capable of running disconnected. the resulting solution will be based on a mix of the three. while providing guidelines for application delivery. Application Characteristics Determining the most appropriate method for delivery is based on the application. Certain applications perform better as a XenApp-hosted application while other applications perform better running locally on a desktop as a XenApp-streamed application or a locally installed application. the following must be understood:    Delivery Options Application Characteristics Application-Desktop Integration Delivery Options The following table explains the different approaches for delivering applications to a user: Installed on Desktop Description Application is located and installed onto the base operating system. Virtualized on Server Application is located and executes on a remote XenApp server. Changes made to the application happen once.Assess the Application Portfolio The final area of analysis in order to determine the best type of desktop operating environment for the user is focused on the applications. Desktop only receives screen updates. resulting in server resources being consumed instead of desktop resources. Changes are then automatically distributed to all users of the application. As the application executes locally on the desktop. maintenance and performance reasons. the desktop’s resources (CPU/Memory) are consumed. The application executes remotely on a XenApp server. but delivered via XenApp Application streaming. changes made to the application happen once and delivered everywhere. User Access Any user connecting to the desktop with an installed application will see and be able to launch the application. The application still executes on the desktop. Based on user access.

it is possible to determine the most appropriate desktop device users require. complex applications Many specific dependencies Frequent updates Example Microsoft Office Adobe Acrobat Internet Explorer Instant Messenger CAD/CAM Graphical manipulation Video manipulation Virtualized on Server   Provides user access control Overcomes multiuser capabilities Virtualized on Desktop  Control resource usage based on VM allocation SAP Epic Cerner Virtualized on Server  Common for structured workflow applications Optimized and controlled environment Primary Delivery Method Installed on Desktop  Provides speed of execution  Secondary Delivery Method Virtualized on Desktop  Provides local access and centralized management Installed on Server   Provides centralized control Does not require Application streaming Virtualized on Server  Potentially save resources with shared executing environment Application-Desktop Integration By understanding the application delivery options and application characteristics. proprietary applications Uncertified Terminal Services support Resource Intensive Heavy system usage requirements Technically Challenging Large. Installed and Streamed Device: Replaced Device: Repurposed Device: Reused Device: BYOC 9 . as shown in the following figure: Device Device Delivery Desktop Delivery Type Installed Streamed Embedded Shared Hosted Streamed Local Virtual User: Structured Applications: Hosted Device: Replaced Device: Repurposed Device: Reused Device: BYOC Not Applicable – Managed by User User: Unstructured Applications: Hosted. custom built.Base Description Common applications all users require Typically accessed daily Anomalous Unique.

Take the following as examples:    An unstructured user who has the device replaced with a desktop appliance uses a hosted desktop that integrates streamed and hosted applications. An unstructured user who uses a reused device receives a streamed desktop and has applications integrated as streamed and hosted from XenApp. 10 . A structured user with a repurposed device uses a locally installed desktop operating system and connects to a hosted application.

like XenDesktop. In many environments. Taking all of the options and nuances into account. 11 . the most preferred solution for an environment is as follows:  Structured Users: o o  Desktop Delivery: Repurposed desktop or replaced desktops (desktop appliance) as they are the lowest cost solution for providing a few applications to the user Application Delivery: Hosted applications as they provide application consistency and application performance. and a server-hosted solution. if done correctly. Application Delivery: Mix of hosted. cohesive desktop virtualization model. streamed and installed applications based on the application characteristics and user needs. organizations will quickly realize that the decision is not one way or the other. Desktop virtualization requires a desktop delivery and application delivery component as each focuses on aspects of a complete user environment.   Desktop Delivery (XenDesktop): Used to deliver the desktop operating environment to the user across a wide array of end point devices. Application Delivery (XenApp): Used to deliver the applications to the user’s desktop operating environment. Unstructured Users: o o Desktop Delivery: Reused desktops as they offset the hardware costs of desktop delivery but still overcomes desktop management challenges. organizations can start assessing their environment to determine where and how to implement and integrate the two solutions into a single.Conclusion The debate between desktop virtualization. Once this core understanding is accepted. but instead an integrated solution is the best. like Terminal Services (TS) or XenApp is not as important as the decision about selecting the most appropriate solution for the users.

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2009 13 .0 Change Description Document released Updated By Daniel Feller – Lead Architect Date August 25.Revision History Revision 1.

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