Category Archives: End-User Computing

Top Ten Considerations When Investing in BYOD

By Chris Reily, Director of Solutions Architecture

Every year has its own special IT acronym and 2013 has been no different. During client meetings, in the pages of IT trade publications and on the minds of vendor partners – the term BYOD pops up more frequently than Psy’s “Gangham Style” does on pop radio. For the record, Psy is the smartly dressed Korean pop music sensation sporting Risky Business-style Ray Bans as opposed to the (also trending) bearded Uncle Si of Duck Dynasty (reality-TV) fame. If this is all meaningless to you, you’ve been working too hard. Ask your family, they miss you.

Consumerization of IT is finding its way into the enterprise rapidly. Choice, personalization and mobility are no longer simply appreciated but are ultimately demanded. BYOD in theory sounds like a terrific plan and if executed properly can be an outstanding component of an end user computing (EUC) solution in many environments. Success however goes far beyond an employee stipend and flexibility in choice. BYOD is not for every organization and even in those organizations where it makes sense, it’s not for every employee. Here is a list of the top ten considerations when investigating a BYOD solution for your organization:

  1. What are the core applications you need to deliver to end users? Are these applications supported by recommended or allowed devices? What are the corporate use cases?
  2. Will your infrastructure support connectivity and desktop/application delivery to new devices on your network? Storage, compute and network – it all matters.
  3. Do you have the budget to support this initiative? Hint: it will be more than you expect. Hint #2: don’t expect to “save money” (at least in the first year). The ROI (return on investment) may come but expectations inside 36 months are unrealistic.
  4. Who needs what? Organizations are diverse and dynamic. Not every employee will need to be part of a BYOD initiative. Different categories of associates will have varying device needs. The road warrior sales guy, administrative assistant and mechanical engineer will all have different needs.
  5. A well-executed plan will drive employee job satisfaction. Figure out how your team will deal with happy IT-using employees; it may be a new experience for all involved.
  6. Are you ready to set policy and stick to it? There will be challenges that make you question what you were thinking in the first place. Get managerial support and be confident.
  7. Be flexible. Sure, this may seem somewhat contrary to comment #6. Of course you’ll encounter situations where the intelligent response is to modify and improve.
  8. Get “buy in” from the board room and the corner office(s). The support of senior management and investors is critical; don’t even go there without serious majority support.
  9. Seek advice and approval from legal, accounting and human resources. Ask the art department and maintenance team too if you think it can help.
  10. Talk to others. I know this is hard for many of us who have spent careers in IT, but give it a shot and see what happens. Speak to partners who have delivered BYOD solutions. Reach out to similar organizations who have implemented their strategy. Heck, speak with companies who tried it and failed. Arm yourself with information, do your research.

This is a lot to digest. A poorly executed implementation has the surety of employees abandoning the program. Small steps and a detailed approach work best – don’t be afraid of running test groups and proof of concept (POC) trials. The risk of not exploring your options may leave your IT environment seeming as outdated as last decade’s pop dance craze. Is your organization considering BYOD? Have you already implemented a policy? If so, how has your experience been?


Top 10 Ways to Kill Your VDI Project

By Francis Czekalski, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne

Earlier this month I presented at GreenPages’ annual Summit Event. My breakout presentation this year was an End User Computing Super Session. In this video, I summarize the ‘top 10 ways to kill your VDI project.’

If you’re interested in learning more, download this free on-demand webinar where I share some real world VDI battlefield stories.



Rapid Fire Summary of Carl Eschenbach’s General Session at VMworld 2013

By Chris Ward, CTO, LogicsOne

I wrote a blog on Monday summarizing the opening keynote at VMworld 2013. Checking in again quickly to summarize Tuesday’s General Session. VMware’s COO Carl Eschenbach took the stage and informed the audience that there are 22,500 people in attendance, which is a new record for VMware. This makes it the single largest IT infrastructure event of the year. 33 of these attendees have been to all 10 VMworlds, and Carl is one of them.

Carl started the session by providing a recap of Monday’s announcements around vSphere/vCloud Suite 5.5, NSX, vSAN, vCHS, Cloud Foundry, and vCHS. The overall mantra of the session revolved around IT as a Service. The following points were key:

  • Virtualization extends to ALL of IT
  • IT management gives way to automation
  • Compatible hybrid cloud will be ubiquitous
  • Foundation is SDDC

After this, came a plethora of product demos. If you would like to watch the presentation to be able to check out the demos you can watch them here:

vCAC Demo

  • Started with showing the service catalogue & showing options to deploy an app to a private or public cloud. Also showed costs of each option as well
    • I’m assuming this is showing integration between vCAC & ITBM, although that was not directly mentioned
    • Next they displayed the database options as part of the app – assuming this is vFabric Data Director (DB as a Service)
    • Showed the auto-scale option
    • Showed the health of the application after deployment…this appears to be integration with vCOPS (again, not mentioned)
    • The demo showed how the product provided self-service, transparent pricing, governance, and automation

NSX Demo

  • Started with a networking conversation around why there are challenges with networking being the ball and chain of the VM. After that, Carl discussed the features and functions that NSX can provide. Some key ones were:
    • Route, switch, load balance, VPN, firewall, etc.
  • Displayed the vSphere web client & looked at the automated actions that happened via vCAC and NSX  during the app provisioning
  • What was needed to deploy this demo you may ask? L2 switch, L3 router, firewall, & load balancer. All of this was automated and deployed with no human intervention
  • Carl then went through the difference in physical provisioning vs. logical provisioning with NSX & abstracting the network off the physical devices.
  • West Jet has deployed NSX, got to hear a little about their experiences
  • There was also a demo to show you how you can take an existing VMware infrastructure and convert/migrate to an NSX virtual network. In addition, it showed how vMotion can make the network switch with zero downtime

The conversation then turned to storage. They covered the following:

  • Requirements of SLAs, policies, management, etc. for mission critical apps in the storage realm
  • vSAN discussion and demo
  • Storage policy can be attached at the VM layer so it is mobile with the VM
  • Showcased adding another host to the cluster and the local storage is auto-added to the vSAN instance
  • Resiliency – can choose how many copies of the data are required

IT Operations:

  • Traditional management silos have to change
  • Workloads are going to scale to massive numbers and be spread across numerous environments (public and private)
  • Conventional approach is scripting and rules which tend to be rigid and complex –> Answer is policy based automation via vCAC
  • Showed example in vCOPS of a performance issue and drilled into the problem…then showed performance improve automatically due to automated proactive response to detected issues.  (autoscaling in this case)
  • Discussing hybrid and seamless movement of workloads to/from private/public cloud
  • Displayed vCHS plugin to the vSphere web client
  • Showed template synchronization between private on prem vSphere environment up to vCHS
  • Provisioned an app from vCAC to public cloud (vCHS)  (it shows up inside of vSphere Web client)


Let me know if there are questions on any of these demos.

Rapid Fire Summary of Opening Keynote at VMworld 2013

By Chris Ward, CTO, LogicsOne

For those of you who aren’t out in San Francisco at the 10th annual VMworld event, here is a quick overview of what was covered in the opening keynote delivered by CEO Pat Gelsinger’s opening:

  • Social, Mobile, Cloud & Big Data are the 4 largest forces shaping IT today
  • Transitioned from Mainframe –>Client Server –>Mobile Cloud
  • Pat sets the stage that the theme of this year’s event is networking – basically setting the stage for a ton of Nicira/NSX information. I think VMware sees the core of the software defined datacenter as networking-based, and they are in a very fast race to beat out the competition in that space
  • Pat also mentioned that his passion is to get every x86 application/workload 100% virtualized. He drew parallels to Bill Gates saying his dream was a PC on every desk in every home that runs Microsoft software.
  • Next came announcements around vSphere 5.5 & vCloud Suite 5.5…here are some of the highlights:
    • 2x CPU and Memory limits and 32x storage capacity per volume to support mission critical and big applications
    • Application Aware high availability
    • Big Data Extensions – multi-tenant Hadoop capability via Serengeti
    • vSAN officially announced as public beta and will be GA by 1st half of 2014
    • vVOL is now in tech preview
    • vSphere Flash Read Cache included in vSphere 5.5

Next, we heard from Martin Casado. Martin is the CTO – Networking at VMware and came over from the Nicira acquisition and was speaking about VMware NSX. NSX is a combination of vCloud Network and Security (vCNS) and Nicira. Essentially, NSX is a network hypervisor that abstracts the underlying networking hardware just like ESX abstracts underlying server hardware.

Other topics to note:

  • IDC names VMware #1 in Cloud Management
  • VMware hypervisor fully supported as part of OpenStack
  • Growing focus on hybrid cloud. VMware will have 4 datacenters soon (Las Vegas, Santa Clara, Sterling, & Dallas). Also announcing partnerships with Savvis in NYC & Chicago to provide vCHS services out of Savvis datacenters.
  • End User Computing
    • Desktop as a Service on vCHS is being announced (I have an EUC Summit Dinner later on tonight so I will be able to go into more detail afterward that).

So, all-in-all a good start to the event. Network virtualization/NSX is clearly the focus of this conference and vCHS is a not too distant 2nd. Something that was omitted from the keynote was the rewritten SSO engine for vCenter 5.5. The piece was weak for 5.1 and has been vastly improved with 5.5…this could be addressed tomorrow as most of the tech staff is in Tuesday’s general session.

If you’re at the event…I’ll actually be speaking on a panel tomorrow at 2:30 about balancing agility with service standardization. I’ll be joining Khalid Hakim and Kurt Milne of VMware, along with Dave Bartoletti of Forrester Research and Ian Clayton of Service Management 101. I will also be co-presenting on Wednesday with my colleague John Dixon at 2:30-3:30 in the Moscone West Room 2011 about deploying a private cloud service catalogue. Hopefully you can swing by.

More to come soon!


What’s the Buzz? Recap of VMware Partner Exchange

I am just returning from the VMware Partner Exchange conference (PEX) that was held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  While this was a partner vs. customer focused event, there were a few tidbits I felt made sense to share you so here we go….


GreenPages was given the Virtualization of Business Critical Applications (VBCA) award for the Americas this year, which was a great achievement.  For those of you not aware, the VBCA program inside of VMware is focused on virtualizing the ‘big boy’ mission critical applications such as Oracle, SQL, SAP, Exchange, etc. that have historically been both technically and politically difficult to virtualize.  In addition, GreenPages was given the same award on a Global scale which was very exciting as it marks the first time that GreenPages has won a global award from any vendor partner!  This also marks the 4th consecutive year that GreenPages has won an award from VMware (2010 – Desktop Virtualization, 2011 – Rainmaker, 2012 – Partner of the Year, and 2013 – Global VBCA). The primary reason we won the VBCA this year was due to several projects which included the virtualization of large applications including a 5500 seat Exchange environment and production databases at a major professional sporting league.

End User Computing Updates:

Horizon Suite v1 will be GA by end of Q1 and will include Workspace, Mirage, and VIEW.

The Workspace product is a combination of what was formally Horizon App Manager and Horizon Data (code name Octopus).  For those that do not know, the App Manager side is meant to be an Enterprise App Store which includes SAML integration to various SaaS applications in addition to being able to launch ThinApp apps and VIEW desktops.  Support for launching XenApp published apps will come shortly after the GA date, figure April/May timeframe.  If you are familiar with Citrix Storefront, this is a very similar concept.  The Data (Octopus) side is one of the ‘dropbox for the enterprise’ apps.

Mirage will be updated to version 4.0 at GA time.  The key feature in this release is individual application layering.  For this, think Unidesk as the concept is very similar but this solution is really meant for physical devices vs. virtual or VDI, at least for now.  There is no real VIEW integration with Mirage yet, but that is coming.  The hold-up is mainly due to performance issues with running Mirage based workloads in a shared VDI environment.  One more interesting tidbit on Mirage is that the license now also includes Fusion Pro.  The purpose behind this is to lay down a Mirage based image to a Mac for corporate use and being able to maintain control/management of that image in a BYOD environment.

VIEW will be upgraded to v5.2 and key features here are 3D graphics enhancements including compatibility with some of the new Nvidia server based cards to offload hefty graphics and improve performance.  Additionally, HTML5 rendering of the desktops will come with this release.  This is the AppBlast piece that was shown at VMWorld back in 2011.  Keep in mind that HTML5 has some pretty major limitations so in most cases you’ll still want to deploy the full VIEW client, but in a pinch if you are on some kiosk type machine where installing a client is not possible, then you’ll still be able to get to your desktop and perform basic tasks.  Lastly, scalability is enhanced and will continue to expand with future releases.

VMware also announced official Radware and Riverbed Stingray support and reference architectures for load balancing within a Horizon/VIEW environment.  F5 support has been around for some time already.

vCloud Suite Updates:

This one, I was very disappointed in as I had expected to hear some pretty significant changes to the way the suite is packaged, however this didn’t happen and seems to have been tabled for some reason so nothing to announce here :( .

Cloud Credits:

Some of you may have heard of these already, but they are basically ‘chips’ that a customer purchases through GreenPages which can then be redeemed at any one of VMware’s vCloud VSPP service provider partners for public cloud IaaS services.

Virsto Acquisition:

Not much was said about this at the event other than the initial focus and use case will be on VDI acceleration.  Stay tuned for more detail here as I find it.


Big topic here was vSphere Data Protection Advanced Edition (VDP-A).  Like regular VDP, this is based on the EMC Avamar engine but is more scalable to support larger environments.  It is missing some key features currently such as replication, but VMware is diligently working to add these features throughout this calendar year.

Integration Engineering Meeting:

I had the pleasure of meeting with some folks from this internal VMware team.  I will simply say this single meeting made the entire trip worthwhile.  I learned quite a bit about the team and how it works so I’ll give you an overview.  First off, in order to be a member of this team you must have a minimum of 10yrs employment by VMware.  Given that VMware has only been around since the late 90s, that requirement greatly shrinks the potential team members, but trust me when I say the guys on this team know their s**t.  Their primary charter is take the point of view of an external customer along with going out and meeting with actual customers and providing very candid feedback to the various product management teams inside VMW.  I love this team because they are a no bull$hit group of people.  If something sucks, they will say it, likewise if something is stellar they will say that as well.  Unfortunately I cannot share details of what we discussed as the majority of it was future/NDA type material but I think it is awesome that this team exists inside of VMware because they really do help make the products better.  As an example, some of you may be aware of the tool recently made available to make the process of applying SSL Certificates to the various VMware architecture components much easier and it was this team that pushed for the tool and helped get it green lighted.

Ok, that’s it for now… Back to work!


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