The prospect of moving hundreds, or even thousands, of users to a virtual environment can be daunting. And complicated. And expensive.
But with the right data, it’s possible to eliminate a lot of uncertainty and chart a clear path to success.
Knowing what organizations have, need, and want to achieve makes all the difference in a smooth transition to Microsoft's Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure. And being able to monitor progress and track results helps prevent headaches and inflating costs later on.
"Cost-Effective WVD Planning, Migration, and Monitoring" — a recent webinar presented by Lakeside Software's Ben Murphy, senior director of product management — explored a few of the challenges in starting, deploying, or running a WVD project, as well as data-driven strategies and solutions that can support enterprises and their users along the way.
A majority of webinar poll respondents were in the assessment and evaluation phase of their Windows Virtual Desktop project.
"Windows Virtual Desktop has ushered in an era where desktop as a service (DaaS) has finally come into its own," Murphy said during the webinar. But to fully reap the benefits of virtualized desktops and apps, IT teams need to gather and analyze data to carefully assess needs, find the right fit for users, streamline the transition, and cut unnecessary expenses throughout the WVD journey.
So where does this data come from? How can it be analyzed? Why is it necessary? And how does it fit into normal day-to-day operations?
Here are a few webinar highlights to help answer those questions.
Assess Your Environment and User Needs
You're probably wondering, "Why bother with data? Why not just move everything? Sounds a lot easier."
Except it probably wouldn't be. With good planning, organizations can efficiently migrate to Windows Virtual Desktop without all the guesswork, compatibility issues, technical problems, bad user experiences, and needless costs.
The best way to start is to assess the digital environment — including core applications and data, critical workspace features, and technology and business alignment — as well as evaluate users' many needs.
"Before you can ... figure out what it is that you want to send into an Azure-hosted platform," Murphy said, "we first have to understand what do people use, how do they use it, where do they use it, what kind of performance characteristics do they get, and all of these kind of complex pieces that fit together to make the digital environment that their users exist in."
What should you consider when planning a WVD migration? This webinar slide from "Cost-Effective WVD Planning, Migration, and Monitoring" shows the different areas to include in your assessment.
What user groups are ready to migrate? What are their usage behaviors? What devices do they have? What resources and configurations do they require?
All of that needed data can be acquired directly from the endpoint using an agent-based solution on any Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or Chrome OS device.
"The endpoint to us is a ... variety of things that someone might choose to use to consume resources that they’re given," Murphy explained in the webinar. "But, regardless of what (device) it is, it's important to understand how does it work, how does the user use it — and all of those details are best gotten from the device itself."
And while all that data might seem like just minute pieces of information about how users go about their daily tasks, it's actually key to a successful Windows Virtual Desktop migration. It creates a larger, more complex picture of any given digital environment that can help organizations chart a better, more cost-effective migration plan that a simple lift-and-shift approach can't guarantee.
Taking the Mystery out of WVD Migration
It's not enough to just collect data. Sifting through that information and understanding what it means for your Windows Virtual Desktop migration process is also just as important — and also challenging.
Making sense of metrics allows organizations to ask vital questions and set goals:
- What do we have, what do we really need, and what do we want to continue using?
- How can we right-size, publish applications, plan resources, and estimate costs for a move to WVD on Azure?
- How will we know it works and continues to meet our expectations?
"All this stuff kind of helps you crystallize how you can deliver a better IT experience to the individuals in your work environment," Murphy noted.
Common questions to address while preparing for a Windows Virtual Desktop migration are shown in this webinar slide from "Cost-Effective WVD Planning, Migration, and Monitoring."
Measuring success and maintaining a high-performing virtual environment are especially crucial in a WVD migration, yet often overlooked.
It's through digital experience monitoring (DEM) that IT teams are able to understand end-user experience based on quantitative metrics — such as observed performance problems and diagnostics — and discover qualitative measurements of user interactions that impact productivity.
"What we're interested in is using that practice to understand 'Have we given our users a good quality experience, and really have we gone through and done what we set out to do initially?'" Murphy said.
That's when a comprehensive digital experience monitoring solution that expands visibility across an enterprise's IT environment can come in handy.
All-in-One Tool for WVD Assessment and Monitoring
Data-driven solutions are all well and good, but how do you collect all those granular metrics and make sense of it all?
Well, Windows Virtual Desktop has a Lakeside integration for that.
SysTrack, Lakeside's flagship digital experience monitoring solution, uses a lightweight agent to gather more than 10,000 metrics directly from the endpoint every 15 seconds to provide vital system and user data within your workspace.
Through dashboards and reports, IT admins can analyze real-time data and historical trends to gain better insights into resource usage, app and hardware performance, user behaviors, connectivity, and other valuable information at every stage of the WVD journey.
For those in the process of migrating or have already deployed WVD, SysTrack presents a customizable, in-depth view of their digital infrastructure for ongoing monitoring and support. IT professionals will be able to see at a glance the overall health of the environment, an end-user experience score, recent performance trends, tripped sensors and faults, and other useful data.
The digital experience monitoring solution also allows service desk technicians to drill down and observe what's causing issues for specific users or groups, which helps with root cause analysis (RCA), resource provisioning, and can even proactively addressed concerns before they become costly problems.
Of course, another big advantage of using SysTrack is being able to quantify and measure the success of a WVD migration.
Lakeside Software's digital experience monitoring solution can help maintain your Windows Virtual Desktop environment, as shown in this slide from "Cost-Effective WVD Planning, Migration, and Monitoring."
"Obviously it's complicated to define what that really means because success has a business definition," Murphy said during the demo portion of the webinar. But an ideal outcome often means that "you have successfully moved your users over, they're doing whatever it is they're supposed to be doing, the dollars all work, and you're not losing money."
Digital experience monitoring, however, can do far more than just measure the results of a WVD project. It also reaches beyond your virtual infrastructure and tracks end-user experience across the environment, allowing organizations to streamline IT operations, establish goals and KPIs, strategize solutions, and perhaps achieve a return on investment (ROI).
"It doesn't just apply to Windows Virtual Desktop," Murphy said, "it applies to everything."
Learn More with On-Demand WVD Webinars
Still have questions after watching our on-demand webinar, "Cost-Effective WVD Planning, Migration, and Monitoring"? Well, you're in luck.
Lakeside Software's Ben Murphy and Microsoft WVD Global Black Belt Christiaan Brinkhoff recently co-presented another in-depth webinar, "How to Provide a Great User Experience with Windows Virtual Desktop."
The webinar explores some best practices for delivering high-performing virtual desktops, as well as:
- WVD updates and what's new
- Troubleshooting common problems
- How to measure end-user experience
- Automated fixes
And for even more WVD assessment fundamentals, watch Murphy’s “The ABCs of Windows Virtual Desktop Migration,” which was presented at 2019’s Microsoft Ignite.
So no matter where you are in your Windows Virtual Desktop journey, you can find the strategies and solutions needed to make your project a success.