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This blog has been created to share technical information, interesting innovations that I notice on daily basis and Architectural/Consulting overview of various technologies. My areas of interest, on which I would be blogging, are VMware, Microsoft and Citrix Technologies. I hope you will enjoy this blog and share your experience with me.

DaaS/WaaS Service Providers: Time to Drink Your Own Champagne!!

Every Service Provider in the market today wants a piece of the DaaS/WaaS pie. Desktop-as-a-Service or DaaS and Workspace-as-a-Service or WaaS (fka VDI) are the newest buzzwords. I honestly feel it is high time we started drinking our own champagne. I believe all service providers should consume their DaaS/WaaS internally within their organizations first before proposing any such solution directly to customers. The Service Provider can analyze the perfect use case of using VDI within their own Contact Center and BPO divisions, where they can provide employees with Non-Persistent desktops and their managers with Persistent Desktops. They should also identify an engineering division with the requirement of a power user. Here, we can deploy dedicated 1x1 desktops. This will help Service Providers in understanding the VDI behavior, lessons learnt, best practices and cost effectiveness that can be shared with customers who would be consuming these services.

With DaaS/WaaS a new dimension of Desktop Management Services comes into play. In the traditional desktop management services, Image, Patch, Software Distribution (SD), and End-Point Security Protection were carried out on desktops/laptops within the enterprise. With DaaS/WaaS, all the desktop management pieces become central and are carried out within the Datacenter. I have been often asked what is the difference between traditional vs. DaaS/WaaS desktop management. Let me try and throw some light on these changes at a higher level.

Traditional Desktop Management

DaaS/WaaS

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Image Management is typically done using Microsoft Deployment Tool (MDT). The image updating is carried out approx. 2-4 times in a year. Depending upon the customer, the number of Gold images ranges from 4-6 for each customer.

Image Management can be done using two options: MDT and New Virtual Machine Creation process. However, the image updating is the most critical process in VDI as any changes done to the image does not stick onto the desktop. The administrator has to update the image every now and then. The Service Provider and Customer need to decide how updated their image should be.

Mostly, there would be more than 20 + image updating tasks in a year per image*Number of Gold Images. They key is to minimize the number of Gold images.

Patch Management is typically carried out using WSUS/SCCM and pushed to end-points (Desktop/Laptop) on a weekly basis.

All operating system and application patches have to be updated using Image management process either via WSUS/SCCM. Again, Service Provider and Customer need to decide the acceptable number of days or weeks without the critical and important patches.

It is advisable to install all the critical patches bi-weekly.

Software Distribution is typically done using SCCM/Altiris where application packages are deployed to end-points (Desktop/Laptop) on individual work flow basis or organization wide.

All the applications either have to be baked into the Master Image or the app packages should be streamed to the virtual end-point in the datacenter using application virtualization techniques such as App-V, XenApp or ThinApp.

 

Endpoint Security Protection is done using an enterprise server from Symantec, MacAfee, etc. which distributes the updated signatures and using policies organization wide can performs a full scan of the end-point on a monthly basis.

Endpoint security protection is done using vShield or System Center Endpoint protection Manager and the latest signature updates are stored locally on individual ESX/Hyper-V host and the virus scanning processing is offloaded on the hypervisor level.

A full scan on the entire image has to be scheduled during bi-weekly or monthly downtime cycles.

 

For dedicated 1x1 desktops, the complete desktop management need to be done using the traditional tool set and the only difference is they would be virtualized and residing within the datacenter.

 

A lot of costing models on the Internet may hint at low-cost centralized management. However, one needs to remember that the entire process of desktop management is doubled in case of VDI. The advantage is all the tasks (distribution, scanning, etc.) have to be done within the Datacenter using server computing power against individual end-point compute or low network bandwidths. But by no means will it be cheaper than traditional Desktop management.

I would like to summarize that by using DaaS/WaaS internally, Service Provider will get answers to many unknown questions that one may face today.

How frequently should we update our Master Images?
How many times within a month do we need to execute the Full Scans?
How effectively are end-users able to use applications using app virtualization?
How frequently do we need to clean-up data on the storage array for the Non-persistent and Persistent desktops?
How frequently the end-users run out of personal disk space?
How long does a maintenance activity on the VDI infrastructure take for 1000/2000 desktops? How to plan maintenance activities in big deployments?
Is the solution working out cost effective for them compared to traditional desktop?

All these and more can be answered by just one simple exercise: Drinking our own DaaS/WaaS offerings (oops! Champagne!)

I hope this blog post is informative. Feel free to leave your comments in the section below.

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

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