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Enabling Your Remote Workforce

Given recent global events, a majority of my users may need to work remotely.

Many of our customers have been asking us if we can help them test the user-experience for their remote workforce, as well as the infrastructure that delivers it. We have seen requests range from the quality of the remote user-experience to the ability of their VPN to handle the throughput of a large volume of concurrent connections.

Traditionally, Login VSI has been known for its sizing capabilities; designed to test how many users a centralized desktop environment such as Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops or VMware Horizon can take. However, our products have evolved significantly, now offering possibilities for capacity, load and continuous testing, and application compatibility testing. Recently we’ve been getting a lot of requests where companies need to rapidly scale their environment because their workforce can no longer come into the office.

In this blog, we would like to highlight some of the latest questions we’ve received regarding how to quickly enable a majority of your workforce to be remote:

  • What solutions are available?
  • How can I validate what the limitations of this environment will be?
  • What will be the impact of this change?
  • How can I optimize costs?

Login VSI - Validating Your Remote Infrastructure at Scale - Man at Desk

What's available?

Let’s start with the most likely scenario: You are already running a (small-scale) VDI or SBC environment in your own datacenter (private cloud). Since ordering hardware may not be your favorite option it must be mentioned as a viable way to quickly scale your environment. The downsides are obvious: it's quite an investment and it's uncertain how long you’ll need the gear. An alternative to this might be renting server or networking gear. If your on-premises capacity is already maxed out, solutions like VMware’s OSOT or the Citrix Optimizer might work in your favor to create additional headroom for growth by lowering the resource needs for the virtual desktops.

Another, slightly more drastic, option is to switch from a single to a multi-user operating system. In some cases, this can lead to an increase in the number of users that can work on a system before it slows down. A more controversial way (please consult your security advisor first) might be to explore if Intel security mitigations that were put in place last year can be disabled.

Login VSI’s testing has proven that up to 40% reduction in scalability is possible when these mitigations are enabled.

Login VSI - Validating Your Remote Infrastructure at Scale - Empty Office

Go hybrid?

When thinking about renting server gear you have two options: Running it from your own datacenter or in the cloud. To me the latter sounds more appealing but there might be laws and legislation that prevents you from doing so. If you are thinking hybrid, there are plenty options in the market today.

There are a few important things to consider when moving to the cloud, its not just about the workers (e.g. the machines the users and applications live on) but also the control and access layers, for example your gateways and brokers, as these components need to be scaled accordingly. Broadly speaking, there are 3 scenarios here:

  1. Move only your control plane to the cloud (e.g. Broker, License server) to prepare for a hybrid scenario if need be.
  2. Move your control plane + access layer to the cloud (e.g. Gateway, Workspace portal) while keeping your on-premises datacenter as the entry point
  3. Move your control plane + access layer to the cloud (e.g. Gateway, Workspace portal) and make this the default entry point for your network

Citrix has written an article on how to achieve this with CVAD here, or as an alternative here is information on VMware Cloud on AWS.

Login VSI - Validating Your Remote Infrastructure at Scale - Image 4

Jump into the Desktop as a Service cloud and don’t look back

By far the “easiest” option would be to abandon your on-premises datacenter and start something fresh. There are plenty of options out there that allow you to quickly deploy and build a new environment from scratch. I’m sure this environment won’t be pretty, or maybe even hard to maintain in the future but it can get you away from that spot between a rock and a hard place where you are today. Buying you time to reconsider your strategy for the long-term while you deliver your most critical line of business applications from a remote datacenter. Here’s a list of options you have, some of them are quite interesting as you can get short time contracts with them:

  • Amazon Workspaces via Amazon
  • Citrix Managed Desktop via Citrix Cloud
  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops via Citrix Cloud
  • Citrix Cloud Virtual Apps and Desktop with Windows Virtual Desktop
  • Nutanix Frame via Nutanix
  • VMware Horizon Cloud
  • Windows Virtual Desktop via Microsoft
  • Windows Virtual Desktop via Nerdio
  • Windows Virtual Desktop via Cloudjumper
  • VMware Horizon Cloud extending Windows Virtual Desktop
  • Workspot
Are you already on one of these platforms? Participate in the annual VDI Like a Pro State of EUC Survey and let me know: https://www.vdilikeapro.com/survey

I can’t predict your next move, however if you are planning to scale significantly or make impressive changes to the size of your EUC environment - or even when the only change is allowing more users into your existing infrastructure - testing is always a good idea.

If deployed properly, change does not have to result in poor end-user experience. Each change may have the potential to break functionality or decrease performance, which in turn could result in a poor end-user experience.

Login VSI can help you test and validate the impact of change during these hectic times, helping you safeguard the performance of your EUC environment, maximizing the true end-user experience while reducing cost and increasing efficiency.

Our proprietary synthetic users run 24x7x365, consistently mimicking real user actions and alerting you if predefined thresholds are met. Login VSI tests the end result, not individual components. It is the only solution to load test Virtual Desktop environments and the desktop as a whole, ensuring great performance throughout the entire technology stack. If you are interested in these topics I can recommend a couple of things:

  1. Reach out to us for tips specific to your situation
  2. Request a free 2-week trial for our products
  3. Register for the virtual VDI Performance Summit

If you are interested in understanding the user experience of your remote users, please get in touch, or click here to learn more!

Have you recently been able to quickly scale your environment to improve remote user-experience quality? Tell us how you did it in the comments section below.

 


 

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About the author
Paul Campaniello is the Vice President of Global Marketing at Login VSI. He is responsible for global marketing and communications, including GTM strategy, sales enablement, brand management, product marketing, demand generation, and analyst & public relations. Paul has held senior marketing roles at a variety of technology companies and he holds both a BS and a MBA from Bentley University.