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VDI: Getting user profiles under control

How to make VDI migration a simpler process

Hands typing on virtual keyboard

Are your customers thinking of VDI? Maybe a physical migration? Perhaps a mix of both?

It’s always an interesting exercise to establish the drivers for the aforementioned projects.

Mostly, it’s about providing users with an enhanced, more flexible experience that also has a measure of future-proofing included. While there’s no doubting that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can provide users with some of the above, true future-proofing might be a bit of a stretch (at least for VDI in its purest form). VDI is also a more complex solution than customers might initially think and can take some time to get from pilot to production, and at a scale that can deliver a tangible ROI.

Regardless of which direction your customers choose: VDI, Physical, Published Apps, or a combination, there is a strong argument for getting user profiles and data under control in the first instance. By adopting a solution that goes beyond standard roaming profiles you will, by definition, be improving the user experience and making their time using their chosen device(s) more flexible.

By going a stage further and adopting a full user experience management solution (UEM) you will provide an even more flexible user experience and give users a true ‘follow me’ profile wherever they choose to work. Moreover, by ‘virtualising’ the user profile and data, you instantly make them portable, so irrespective of whether a customer decides to go VDI now or later, they have the option of moving the user profiles and data into the new environment whenever they choose to.

In so doing they are effectively adding a level of ‘future-proofing’ to the user environment whilst also giving their users an enhanced experience now. The same is true for moving users from physical OS to physical OS, such as a Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration.  A UEM solution offers just this level of flexibility and, combined with user assessment to tell you precisely who is doing what, when and with what, you can start to rationalise their profiles and the applications they utilise.

You and your customers can then start to build and plan the user profiles based on these baseline metrics and using our departmental and user installed applications (DIA and UIA), they can start to deliver streamlined and managed profiles in a very short space of time. The ultimate goal of VDI is to have the smallest gold image, and minimum number of images as possible, and no one wants to virtualise applications that are never used. This process will really help scale down the amount of applications that are installed in the base image, which will also apply equally as well to physical users. So, again, getting the profiles managed properly now can only help further down the line if VDI is adopted.

There are so many factors in a VDI project, all of which could delay it, with no real guarantee of you securing the business. So, there is nothing to stop the VDI consultation going ahead, but by getting the user profiles under control now, this will enhance your customer’s experience in the first instance. This could help build trust with the customer and hopefully secure the VDI project further down the line – and certainly make the whole migration process to VDI a whole lot simpler (or indeed physical to physical should they so choose).

So, by offering a full initial user experience assessment and implementing a full UEM and application layering solution, customers can immediately start to streamline and harmonise user profiles and offer a much-improved experience. And of course, by providing this guidance to your customers, we are confident they will reap the rewards in the short and longer term and will help to reinforce your position as a trusted advisor.

Fraser Norman is UK and Ireland channel director, Liquidware Labs

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