Desktop Transformation Lessons Learned – Planning, Part 1

By Greg LaVigne

Now that I’ve covered a few key business case
considerations, I’m going to move on to aspects of planning the implementation
and subsequent migration of your desktop transformation program.

In my discussions with a number of organizations and from my
own experience, I have learned that there are three broad categories of
activities that can be undertaken somewhat simultaneously: Infrastructure Build Out, Application
Preparation and User Migration.

Infrastructure Build
This activity involves the
design and build out of the core solution sets that will comprise your desktop
transformation offering(s). Areas of focus will include:

  • The core desktop virtualization solution:
    RDS/XenApp, Horizon View, or XenDesktop, for example. This is the
    transformation workspace(s). There are a number of components and
    considerations that will need to be considered.
  • From the virtualization perspective, this list
    at a minimum includes: Hypervisor for hosting, Storage Solutions, Networking,
    Solution configuration (XenApp, Xendesktop, View, etc.), VM configuration
    (Windows server and/or Windows Client), User Profile Management and User Data
    Storage, Client Device Offerings (Thin Clients, re-provisioned PC’s, tablets,
    etc.) and Application Virtualization Solution infrastructure (App-V, ThinApp,

When you consider the number of teams, people and the processes
required to be followed and defined, the amount of activity and complexity will
require one or more project managers for this grouping as it can be a program
in and of itself. 

You’ll get to know your packaging team members very well as
you go through this activity. Application packaging is a key focus here, but by
no means is it the sole focus. Internal Product SME identification and testing
coordination, application compatibility testing (both by OS and/or
virtualization solutions), as well as application licensing considerations will
all be key activities in this grouping.

User Migration: Here
the focus is on the formal use case analysis and mapping, application mapping
to users, building of user migration solutions and processes, and finally the
coordination and scheduling of the user migrations themselves. The complexity
with this grouping is in the sheer number of data points to be considered and
the number of users involved. This area tends to be more process and
coordination focused, though there are recommended tools, such as use case
analysis as well as user data migration products, that should be considered to

Time will need to be spent determining which users are the correct
ones to target, what applications they have and when they are going to be able
to migrate, as well as understanding when their required applications will be
available on the new platform(s). 

While it is a relatively “easy” activity to broadly group
areas of focus, the reality is there is a huge amount of coordination and
communication that will be occurring within and across each of these
disciplines in order to achieve your end desktop transformation goals.  As such, a strong program and project management
team should be engaged or built out in order to allow your technical SME’s to
focus on the technology and process design and implementations.

Next time, I’ll continue to discuss various planning
aspects. In the meantime, how did your planning efforts differ in terms of
organization of activities?  What worked
well for you and what are your strongest suggestions?


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