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Learn how to best deploy VDI on HCI

IT pros considering using HCI to power their VDI deployments should listen to this advice from three IT pros on how to get buy-in throughout the organization and more.

IT shops looking to deploy VDI might want to consider hyper-converged infrastructure to power their desktops.

HCI, which brings storage, compute and networking into one software-defined package, can work well for VDI because it provides IT with one piece of hardware and one interface to manage the entire deployment. It is also easy to scale up or down to handle a changing number of virtual desktops by simply adding or removing a node.

Even so, planning to deploy VDI on HCI is not as simple as plugging the hardware in. Here, three IT professionals who use HCI to deliver virtual desktops and apps share advice on how to prepare a deployment.

Mike Conroy

Mike ConroyMike Conroy

Senior director of technical operations at Rent-A-Center

Inside your IT organization, talk to the network team, talk to the storage team, talk to the people that run [the virtualization technology]. In most organizations, these are different groups that report up through different structures. In a hyper-converged environment, these are the same group. Get all those people in the same room and say, 'Here's what we're going to do, and here's how we're going to do it.' Get their buy-in.

The next conversation is with the finance team and saying, 'Here's how we're used to buying stuff. We're going to buy it this way now, and when I ask you for this, I'm going to ask you for $100,000 at a time instead of saying I need $50,000 for storage, $60,000 for the servers, $10,000 for network ports.'

If you're going with hyper-converged, which I would encourage almost everyone to do at this point, pick something, and stick with it. If you're a Nutanix shop, buy Nutanix; if you're [Dell EMC] VxRail, buy VxRail. Mixing and matching [products] is not the greatest idea, because the management structures and the terminology are different.

Bryan Bond

Don't dip your toes; jump in waist-deep.
Bryan BondDirector of IT infrastructure, eMeter Corp.

Director of IT infrastructure at eMeter Corp.

If you're going to [deploy VDI on HCI], do it. Don't cheat yourself and say, 'We'll try to do it for 10% of the environment.' Take a large chunk of what you plan to [run on HCI] over time, and do it right away. Don't dip your toes; jump in waist-deep.

Do your research. Talk to people who have [run VDI on HCI]. Other people have screwed this up. Don't make those mistakes.

David Aldarondo

David AldarondoDavid Aldarondo

Manager of network services at Post University

Look at your use case. It's not one-size-fits-all. There are [applications] that make sense in the private cloud. There are things that make sense on prem. If you have to do more with fewer staff, fewer funds, then take a look [at HCI for on premises]. Deem that the application is appropriate for hyper-converged.

[We made our decisions based on] the predictability of [HCI]. If you're hosting a webpage and for that webpage you'd expect X amount of traffic in the next year, you can predict the cost. If it's something like end-user compute where your use of the resources is going to be wildly varied, then you don't want to bet on public cloud for that. You want to understand the costs and make sure they're predictable year over year.

We went through a seven-month process of evaluating all the applications we're delivering, where they live today and where they should live in the future. We took that analysis and found that there were six [apps] that were appropriate for the public cloud, and everything else made more sense to leave it on prem [in our HCI deployment].

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