My Guide to a Successful VDI Implementation, Part 2

In part one of this three part series, I covered the first five items I have found to help make VDI deployments successful.  Now let’s cover the final four items:

  1. Plan for future growth.  Don’t spend all the money up front.  Design the infrastructure for growth and budget for cyclical upgrades.  Perhaps you skimp on the storage during the pilot, but set aside money in subsequent quarters for additional drives/shelves.  Leave room for additional RAM in the hosts and set aside money to purchase that RAM later.  You will never know for sure where all the bottlenecks are during the design phase, so having a quarterly upgrade budget will allow for easier resolution of unexpected bottlenecks.
  2. Don’t expect the solution to be perfect on day one.  Of course we will all strive for it, but prepare for a rocky road to start out with.  Hope for the best, but expect the worst.  How will you handle grumpy accountants?  What is the best approach for the doctors who don’t feel like they need to comply?  Do you plan to teach the customer service representatives all about their new environment before you even turn it over to them?  Secondarily, budget or prepay for your consultant to come back on site during or after the launch.  This way you can have your (hopefully trusted) consultant available to help with any odd issues that may pop up.  My sales team will often pitch a block of hours to our customers during the presales phase for this specific purpose.  If all goes well, our customers can use this prepaid time to do a six month review of the implementation, help design the next phase, clean up group policy, or help with something else totally unrelated to the VDI environment.
  3. Manage your users as closely as you manage your infrastructure.  Train them ahead of time on any changes they’ll need to endure.  Be ready to have technical feet on the floors when they go live on the new system and make sure those feet carry a smile along with them.  Try and utilize superusers in each department to augment the technical staff.  These people will best understand the intersection of business process and technical infrastructure and will be more trusted by the end users.
  4. Ask your consultant ahead of time what you can do to prepare your current environment to make the implementation go smoothly.  If you can predefine all the IPs you need before hand, you’ll save valuable time that will greatly benefit everyone later.  I have a document I have developed over the last couple of years that details out exactly what will need to be done to their existing environment so I don’t have to deal with it when I get on site.  I simply make sure the document gets into their hands a week before the project starts and we can start right away with installing the VDI components.

In the final post of this series, I’ll cover a few things I’ve found that can severely harm a VDI project.