Reductions in support problems: While desktop virtualization may reduce true support inquiries, many support calls are actually “how-to” inquiries. These how-to inquiries will likely increase immediately following the deployment of virtualized desktops. Organizations should analyze and understand their support ticket mix prior to making assumptions about how many of these problems will be solved with virtualization, and also allow for an initial increase in support calls during the rollout and adoption of the new virtualized systems. Implementation While most virtualization TCO calculators take into account hardware, energy, and real estate costs, few take into account the investment of IT and third-party resources needed to implement the virtual desktop environment. Three aspects of implementation should be considered. Initial setup: These are the basic tasks of setting up servers, creating users’ virtual environments, managing the different software applications’ permissions profiles, and porting user data, applications, and documents. These efforts can be very significant and, given that most IT and project departments manage a lean staff, outside contractors or consultants may be needed; these costs should be accounted for in a cost analysis. Legacy applications: Older software applications may not run in a virtualized environment. Organizations need to consider the cost of updating or replacing these legacy applications as part of (or prior to) a move to a virtualized environment. Depending on the size and complexity of these application upgrades and replacements, these costs can actually overshadow the TCO for desktop virtualization. Several virtualization projects have been derailed as a result of not fully understanding the impact of virtualization on the legacy application stack, and therefore on business productivity. Change management: Moving to virtual desktops is a significant change for most organizations, which makes enduser training and change management programs essential for a successful implementation. If users will be losing autonomy (such as losing the ability to add personal communication, music, or other programs), a comprehensive change management and communication strategy is essential to help reduce resistance and encourage adoption. An organization’s TCO model should account for these costs. Usability Four major components of usability should be considered when analyzing virtualization. Mobility: The cost of mobile thin client devices and, possibly, wireless broadband Internet connectivity services for mobile workers must be built into the cost model. Questions that organizations should answer include the following: – How mobile is the workforce and how available is broadband connectivity where they are? – Is there a need to work at home, while traveling on planes or trains, or in hotel rooms? – Will they ever need to work offline? Or will mobile users only ever travel to other offices or locations where access to connectivity and thin clients is provided? – In addition, will IT support help users who use a personal device at home or while traveling to access their virtual desktop? If so, what are the implications for support needs? Cultural impacts: Each organization has its own unique culture. Going virtual can challenge many corporate cultures. If the organization is already accustomed to a highly managed intelligent desktop environment, the shift may not be a significant one. However, more than one virtual desktop implementation has failed because users were not prepared to lose the autonomy and freedom their intelligent desktops provided. 15 Intel IT Center Planning Guide | Desktop Virtualization
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