login vsi company logo login vsi company logo 250x40
  • Home
  • Blog
  • A Practical Guide to VDI Change Management

A Practical Guide to VDI Change Management

Part 4: IT Change Accelerates in General

In the previous chapters we stated that “the more complex infrastructures become, the bigger the chance for something to fail”. We can easily expand this into a logically related conclusion when we state that “the more complex infrastructures become, the bigger the chance for something to change”.

Did you miss any of the previous articles or want to read them again? Simply use the links at the bottom of this article to review our Practical Guide to VDI Change Management in full.

Updates, They Are A-Changin'

An average VDI environment is subject to many changes, upgrades, updates, and patches, such as:

  • New / updated Operating System / Patch releases (accelerated with the introduction of Windows 10, see previous chapter)
  • VDI related software infrastructure changes (EU layer and hypervisor)
  • Core business application updates and upgrades
  • Security patches such as for Meltdown, Spectre, and L1TF
  • Hardware changes / Configuration changes / Firmware revisions
  • Memory upgrades / Storage upgrades / GPU’s

The flow of changes that can affect a smooth running VDI environment is already significant due to its complexity and many parts. In addition, this flow of changes is growing and accelerating as vendors are more and more moving towards Software as a Service models, where maintenance is a constant fact of life. On average in 2010 a typical core business application would receive 4 updates per year. In the new models it is expected for that number to grow to 120 by 2020: a 30-fold increase.

Looking at a few large corporations we found some impressive numbers in this respect:

  • A major US retailer went from 1 update per month to 80 per week
  • A major US online retailer pushes 300 changes per day

Like Microsoft, most other major software vendors are switching to a release schedule based on Software as a Service. Sending out many small updates with a short interval e.g. two to four weeks. While this eases troubleshooting as the changes are smaller, it does force IT departments to push a lot more changes to production, to keep up to date and to stay within support.

Microsoft - Changes in Updates

We mentioned the Windows 10 update cycles but there are two other Microsoft products that also must be maintained in nearly every enterprise environment: Microsoft SCCM and Microsoft Office.

Many organizations rely on Microsoft SCCM to orchestrate Windows desktop deployments, application installs and even mobile devices. To be able to deliver two feature updates per year for Windows 10, three SCCM feature updates must be done per year, to make sure the systems are compatible.

Tests executed by the EUC initiative, VDI Like a Pro, show that every Microsoft Office update has a tangible impact on the End User Experience (in some cases decreasing application performance and/or server density with more than 20%!). The Microsoft Office suite is also notorious when it comes to macros and other in-house or third-party built plugins, as updated security features often block applications that contain these additions.

Citrix - Changes in Updates

This infrastructure company now offers three service plans to keep XenApp/XenDesktop environments up to date ranging from their Citrix Cloud offering that’s automatically brought to the latest version, a Current Release (CR) version every 3-9 months and (since January 2018) a Long-Term Service Release (LTSR) version being released every 12-24 months with cumulative updates every half year.

Login VSI Change Management - Blog 4 - Citrix Changes Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop – Virtual Apps and Desktops LTSR update cycles

VMware - Changes in Updates

Current Release (CR) regularly and an Extended Service Branch (ESB) every 3 to 6 months.

Login VSI Change Management - Blog 4 - Citrix Changes VMware Horizon View ESB update cycles

Core Business Applications

Core business application upgrades can have big impacts. Starting early 2018 one of the leading US based EHR-vendors plans to roll-out one major release per year, complemented by one Special Update (SU) per quarter. Rumors are that a performance loss (read extra hardware) should be budgeted for, with additional resource needs of approximately 20% for the major releases and 9% for the Special Updates (results may vary), when a SBC platform is used to deliver the application. This adds up to about 50% (when quarterly compounded) in incremental hardware capacity being required each year.

Whatever the real numbers will be, it is clear that new releases and updates of your core applications need to be taken very seriously. As every environment will react differently, testing with a full user load in your organizations’ own specific production environment is the only way to predict the exact impact, and the only way to be able to react pro-actively in the most appropriate way possible.

An IT manager at a large American healthcare enterprise using Epic as EHR, mentioned that Login VSI will save them millions of dollars each year, and ensures they stay ahead of performance problems.

Security Patches

Meltdown & Spectre

Recent malware releases and security flaws (sometimes even in hardware) force IT departments to be very careful. At the beginning of 2018, when news about Meltdown and Spectre became public, more than 100 affected vendors started pushing mitigations, followed by more permanent workarounds and fixes. The hasty job of putting together these patches resulted in many outages and application failures as well as degraded performance in many enterprises.

L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF)

Security patches for the latest Intel focused danger, L1TF, are predicted to damage scalability and performance in VMware environments with 20 to 30%! Even though the L1TF security problems are not as prominent in the news as Meltdown & Spectre this is not a patch to be taken lightly.

And this is not the end

Following these vulnerabilities emerging in the first months of 2018, we can be quite sure the chances are high that more new vulnerabilities will follow. Making preparing for the impact of security patches, something that needs to be embedded in any well-structured change management program.

Hardware Renewal in Datacenters

Major hardware vendors recommend a hardware refresh every 3 to 5 years depending on warranty and workload. Newer generations of hardware are significantly faster (e.g. Intel promised a 17x better performance in hardware from 2007 to 2013) and more efficient when it comes to power usage and space requirements. Less hardware can also considerably lower licensing costs, but centralizing more services also means more single points of failure that can bring down the whole environment.

In addition to complete servers, smaller portions of the infrastructure may be upgraded due to the availability of new technologies in storage or GPUs.

Conclusion: The more complex environments are, the more (often) changes will occur.

 

Did you miss the previous article or want to read them again? Simply click the below links to review our Practical Guide to VDI Change Management in full:

Read Part 1: IT Change Management in General

Read Part 2: Why VDI is Very Sensitive to Change

Read Part 3: Change Accelerates with Windows 10

Read Part 5: Building Resilient VDI Infrastructures

Read Part 6: Handling Change in VDI Production

Read Part 7: Change Impact Management for VDI

Read Part 8: Login VSI, the complete solution for VDI change management

 

 


 

Start using Login VSI today

Our industry-standard software is built to help you avoid problems, lower costs and improve performance. Request a Quote or get your (free!) Trial below, and benefit from our award-winning services.

Request a Quote  Request a Trial

 


About the company Login VSI

The company Login VSI provides end-user performance insights for virtualized desktop and server based computing environments. Enterprise IT departments use flagship product Login VSI (for load testing) and new addition Login PI (for continuity testing) in all phases of their virtual desktop deployment—from planning to deployment to change management—to build and safeguard a good performance, a high availability, and (as a result) a good and consistent end-user experience. For more information about Login VSI or for a free test license contact us.

About the author

Mark Plettenberg (@markplettenberg) is a product manager of Login VSI and has played a critical role in the development and growth of Login VSI. Ask Mark about motorcycle mechanics and breaking/repairing anything and everything that has a power plug.


Tags: News, VDIenvironments, Blog, Change Management


Popular Blogs

login-vsi-vdi-performance-summit

The VDI Performance Summit - Virtual Conference and Expo

Visit the VDI Performance Summit to gain knowledge and experience about performance and tuning VDI, improving End-User Experience and IT service. Join us at the ONLY virtual event 100% dedicated to VDI performance and tuning | May 2, 2019 This 1-day event offers key-notes presented by the best VDI performance experts in the world, technical and business oriented breakout sessions, the possibility to chat with experts directly to discuss your own situation, and a virtual exhibit hall featuring… Continue Reading

Scalability testing Parallels Remote Application Server with Login VSI

Recently I went to VMworld in Barcelona where Login VSI had a booth on the expo... While I can’t remember exactly how many conversations I had - there had been so many that I lost my voice on day one. What was new this year is that quite a few people asked if our software is compatible with the solutions from Parallels specifically their Remote Application Server (RAS) (Datasheet). Continue Reading
Login VSI Blog Article - Microsoft Windows 10 Default FTA Associations - Teaser Image

Windows 10 Default File Type Associations and Login VSI

When Login VSI 4.1 was released, the majority of desktops were running Windows 7 and life was easy. We’d set the default filetype for an application and it would simply work. The default and industry standard workloads in Login VSI include launching and using Adobe Reader as part of the virtual user simulation. Because Login VSI doesn’t always know which version of Adobe Reader is installed, or where it’s installed, the workload relies on the file type association (FTA) for .pdf documents to be… Continue Reading
Login VSI - Press Release - IGEL - Login VSI Partner to Optimize End User Computing Experience Image

[Press Release] IGEL Partners with Login VSI to Optimize the End User Computing Experience

Login PI enables organizations to better protect the performance and availability of their IGEL OS-powered virtual desktop environments San Francisco, USA, Feb. 6, 2019: IGEL, a world leader in software-defined endpoint optimization and control solutions for the secure enterprise, today announced that it is partnering with Login VSI, provider of software solutions to test and actively monitor the performance and availability of virtual desktop environments, including VDI and… Continue Reading
Login VSI - Blog - Login PI Blog Teaser Image - Windows Virtual Desktop: How To Monitor User Experience With Login PI

Windows Virtual Desktop – How to Monitor User Experience?

Microsoft has just announced the public preview of their new Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) offering at Microsoft Ignite on Tour in Amsterdam today. For those of you who’ve not followed the rumors or the private beta, here’s the outline... Continue Reading
Investigating Online Application Performance with Login PI

Investigating Online Application Performance with Login PI

As many companies do, we use a CRM system. Recently, I have been getting complaints about our cloud CRM system, Microsoft Dynamics, being slow. I tried to investigate this by shadowing one of our users to see what was wrong. As expected, everything was fast. 15 minutes later, the same user reported slowness again. How could I investigate this without bothering the users? Continue Reading
Cookie Settings