Migrating your VDI environment to Windows 10? Time to reevaluate the rest of your stack!

Change is hard. Particularly change that requires you to rethink your IT processes or that disrupts your employees’ jobs. So, it’s not surprising that many organizations are still blissfully running Windows 7 (because no one deployed Windows 8). But the end of extended support for Windows 7 is looming and, with it, so is your migration to Windows 10.

Thankfully, there’s a bright side! Your Windows 10 migration is the perfect time to modernize the remainder of your desktop infrastructure.

 

Paying too much in maintenance fees for your virtualization stack?

Wondering how to support users who work on the edge?

Not getting the right level of performance for certain applications?

 

If you’re rebuilding anyway, here are some technologies to consider that answer these questions and more.

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Ditch the legacy stack

Many organizations built their hosted desktop environment using the same virtualization stack that was in house already for virtualized servers. You can’t blame them. If you already own the hardware and software, why not leverage it? Over the years, however, the licensing fees to maintain VDI on those stacks have increased. Instead of compounding the problem by putting new Windows 10 virtual machines on those stacks, consider looking elsewhere.

 

One place to look is in the cloud. Public cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform provide virtual machines with a range of CPU, so you can run just about any workload in the cloud. If you want to use AWS or GPC, you need to think outside of the Windows 10 box and use a Windows Server or Linux OS. But, if you use Azure, you can even run Windows 10 in the cloud.

 

Not interested in the public cloud? Leverage one of the many service providers who use OpenStack software to build a managed cloud that can host your desktops, or use OpenStack software to build a personal and private cloud. If your organization is invested heavily in Microsoft, consider taking a hybrid cloud approach by leveraging Azure Stack.

 

Expand your hosting footprint to include high compute and graphics workloads

 

In addition to thinking about new places to host your Windows 10 desktops, think about the new things your employees can do with them. Advances in virtual GPUs make it more economical than ever to host high-performance applications like CAD on a virtual workstation.

 

Support for vGPU is standard in nearly every virtualization platform on the market, including the latest version of Red Hat Virtualization.  And, public cloud vendors offer GPU instances, so you can run your applications both on-premises and in the cloud.

 

Of course, if you move these applications off of a user’s personal workstation and into a cloud or data center, you need a way to connect the user. Thankfully, you have your pick of high-performance display protocols that you can leverage, including Mechdyne TGX, HP Remote Graphics Software, and Teradici PCoIP.

 

Manage everything from one place

 

Of course, moving away from a single-vendor VDI stack does introduce complexity. You have different hosting platforms to manage, new software to purchase, new workflows to define. But, the benefits outweigh the costs. Your users are more productive and mobile, and your environment is future-proofed because it avoids vendor lock-in.

 

The key is finding tools that simplify managing your new environment and onboarding new users. That’s the role of a connection management platform. Choose a platform that allows you to control access to all of your hosted resources, no matter where the resource is located and how you want to connect your users. If you plan to leverage the public cloud, also look for a platform that manages capacity, automatically launching and terminating instances as needed.

 

Your Windows 10 migration may seem daunting, but it poses the perfect opportunity to rethink how you provide workspaces for users. Now’s the time to think beyond your legacy stack. The time and the technology are right to take your hosted desktop environment to the next level.

 

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