The real challenges of Image Management
Imaging technologies date back to the nineties. Software called Ghost was used to create bit-by-bit copies of hard disk content from one computer to the next in a process called cloning. Cloning allowed for rapid enrolment of new computers in an organization. It worked beautifully and saved lots of time as long as source and target computers were identical.
“As long as source and target computers were identical”... There’s the catch! Having the exact same hardware everywhere in your organization is challenging, if not impossible. So, we ended up having at least one image per hardware type.
Note: Not taking different software configuration into account here.
Keeping up with changes in your VDI environment
Fast forward to 2016. Hardware virtualization has more or less solved the problem of identical hardware in the datacentre. Virtual machines are identical which paved the way for image based deployments systems.
In VDI, new virtual machines are created by cloning images one way or another. No matter whether you’re cloning your images in-memory, adding new layers of applications on the fly or even if you are streaming the operating system, it’s all image based.
OS deployment in VDI is no longer a problem! Or is it?
Actually, VDI is not about deploying virtual hardware to end users. It’s about providing a workspace, it’s about applications and it’s about delivering a great end user experience wherever they may be.
During the past 20 years we’ve seen a tremendous growth in the number of users, applications, and changes. Simply keeping track of your images and keeping up with their updates is becoming more and more challenging. And with the arrival of Windows as a Service (Windows 10), things are only going to accelerate. And with that, the challenges of managing images remain more or less the same.
Image Management with Login AM
So, what challenges are we talking about?
- Simply keeping your images up-to-date with the latest Microsoft updates can be very time consuming.
- Reliably rebuilding images in case of failure or as part of a disaster recovery is almost impossible.
- Just-in-time configuration after the image was booted for the first time.
- Supporting IT management tools like virus scanners and monitoring agents.
- Detailed documentation of all configuration settings is outdated before the virtual ink is dry.
- Adding, removing, updating applications or completely recomposing your images.
- Sheer number of configuration, performance tuning and best practices settings to keep track of.
- Windows policy settings that need to be ‘in’ the image.
- What application is used in which image? And what applications does this image contain?
In another post, my colleague Sonny Puijk will take you through some of the things we do with our Image Management solution to take the sting out of regular image maintenance.
Finally, I’d like to reference this excellent article by Aaron Parker where he provides some insights into how often images are being updated and the pain that goes with it.