Migrating applications in virtual environments

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mirgrating applications

Accurate density calculations are based on changes in the software and what users actually do with it. Credit: Benny Artist

Deploying a new virtual desktop can have the same dramatic effects on end users as rolling out a new operating system — do it wrong and users get frustrated, lose trust in IT and see future IT projects as obstacles rather than welcomed improvements.

There are four simple steps that IT managers can take to keep these projects from going awry, however. According to a recent blog post from Dell, organizations should ensure:

  • Careful design of the storage infrastructure.
  • Thorough consideration of use cases, in terms of users and applications.
  • Desktop operating systems that are optimal for virtualization.
  • Knowing the impact of accessing critical applications in a virtual environment.

Office sets the tone

Microsoft Office applications are almost always part of the “golden images” for virtual desktop implementations as the software suite — with Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc. — constitutes the core productivity tool set in many organizations.

But what happens when the organization upgrades these critical programs in a virtual desktop environment? Are there special issues or considerations to watch out for? To find out, Dell’s team in charge of engineering desktop virtualization solutions tested the implications of upgrading to Office 2013 in virtualized environments.

Revealing test results

The tests revealed definite implication in terms of user density and scaling — that is, how many users can share a specific desktop virtualization host. But it’s not enough to just look at the changes in the software itself. Coming up with an accurate density calculation also requires taking into account what users actually do with the software.

The updates included in Office 2013 means significantly lower density capacity compared to earlier versions — under both light and medium workloads. Just as important, unlike with earlier versions of Office, light users of Office 2013 require similar density allowances as medium users. The statistics quantify this point:

Density comparison for VMware Horizon View environment

Login VSI Workload

Microsoft Office Version

Per-Host Density

Light

Office 2007

145

Light

Office 2013

95

Medium

Office 2007

116

Medium

Office 2013

95

These results make it clear that virtual-desktop rollouts should account for the implications of application migrations. Upgrading applications may also require provisioning additional server capacity to maintain acceptable performance.

Dell’s goal in all of this is to streamline IT deployments in VMware environments with practical knowledge and best practices. Additional testing, qualification and verification resources from Dell include the following:

Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul is an award-winning writer, editor and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at InformationWeek, CNET and PC World. He lives in San Francisco.
Fredric Paul
Tags: Technology,Virtualization