There are a lot of steps involved in a VDI migration project, including planning the migration, developing a business case, and monitoring performance and user experience post-migration. There are also technical and engineering steps that you need to progress through to ensure your VDI migration project is successful.

In this blog, we’ve focused on five critical VDI migration project engineering considerations.

1. Stateless Should Be the End Goal

Stateless VDI architecture should be the norm across the organisation. Stateless is sometimes referred to as non-persistent VDI, but both terms mean the same thing, i.e., where there is a golden image of the desktop that users access when they log in. In other words, all stateless users get the same desktop without personalisation.

The alternative is a persistent VDI where users have a personalised virtual desktop. The problem with this approach is that it often leads to virtual desktops packed with apps and data. This can put a significant strain on VDI resources.

There is also a middle ground that can be beneficial. It is a stateless virtual desktop with a persistent user experience where there is an element of app, data, and settings personalisation.

In summary, the best approach in most situations is as follows:

  • Stateless – should be the end goal where it applies to the vast majority of users
  • Stateless with a persistent user experience – applies to a small number of users with more specific requirements
  • Persistent or dedicated machine – rarely applied, so is limited to a very small group of users, usually those that require the highest levels of compute, storage, memory, and network bandwidth

It can take time to get to the above ideal situation, but it should be part of your overall strategy. Crucial to achieving this goal is to fully understand end-user requirements.

2. Create a Minimum Number of Images and Keep them Lean

You should engineer the golden image of your stateless VDI, so it is as lean as possible, while also limiting the number of golden images you create. There are two crucial elements to achieve a minimum number of lean images.

First, you should carefully consider the requirements of users. For example, the features used in one app might be available in another app that is used for a different task, enabling you to reduce the apps you need to add to the image.

Secondly, you need to optimise application and delivery. More on this in the next point.

3. Application Packaging and Delivery

One of the main objectives of application packaging and delivery in a VDI migration project is to prepare apps for the cloud’s OS. However, it is also important to consider modern application formats and delivery methods, especially in relation to keeping virtual desktop images as lean as possible. Compatibility and licensing considerations also come into play when planning your application packaging and delivery strategy.

Using a tool like Access Capture will automate the vast majority of application packaging and delivery processes, as well as providing you with the tools you need to optimise virtual desktop images. Access Capture works with all modern application formats, including MSIX, app attach, App Volumes, App-V, and Numecent Cloudpaging.

4. Optimise VDI Storage, Compute, Memory, and Network Performance

End-user experience will depend on the performance of individual virtual desktops. That performance will depend largely on the design and sizing of storage and network capacity in your VDI.

In terms of network performance, it is essential to consider all ways that users will access their virtual desktops and not just high-speed LAN connections.

As for storage, compute, and memory, you need sufficient levels of performance to ensure good user experience, as well as scalability. It is also important to consider events that put the performance of your VDI under stress, such as thousands of users booting up and logging into their virtual desktops at the same time. You might have enough compute, storage, and memory for the general operation of the VDI, but is there enough performance to handle heavy load events?

5. Technical Communication

Technical communication to end users is a crucial engineering consideration to ensure the success of your VDI migration project. It might not be as technical as the other points in this blog, but major problems can arise when you don’t effectively communicate, even when all other aspects are planned and implemented perfectly.

Therefore, you should communicate about the plans and ask for feedback in a conversation that should go both ways. It is also important to provide training and reference materials.

A substantial part of technical communication can be automated and streamlined with a tool like Access Symphony. For example, with Access Symphony, you can provide users with self-service support and practical tools, including desktop notifications which are a more efficient and effective method of communication compared to emails.

The Common Threads – Planning and Automation

There are two common threads in each of the five points highlighted above – planning and automation. Careful planning is crucial for any successful VDI migration project. From our experience, careful planning involves considering the user at the beginning, at every point along the way, and at the end.

Automation is also essential. Automation significantly cuts the timelines involved in VDI migration projects, optimises resources, improves data access and insights, and minimises errors.

So, to summarise, VDI migration success can be achieved by following the five best practices on this list while also optimising planning and maximising automation.

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