|By Sameer Mohile||
|November 19, 2012 07:45 AM EST||
Enterprise IT has experienced a rapid evolution over the past few years. Cloud has revolutionized storage and brought with it a host of new and emerging information security challenges. Consumer adoption of mobile technology has forced enterprise networks to operate in a multi-platform environment in which the technology is largely selected, procured, and controlled without the advice or consent of IT. Of the many lessons learned in recent years, perhaps the most crucial is that IT must take a proactive approach to adopting emerging technologies, rather than being forced to react to and mitigate the inevitable fire drills. Of the transformative technologies now gaining traction in the enterprise, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has stayed relatively under the radar, but is nonetheless poised to play an integral role in the ongoing IT evolution. This article will discuss the benefits of integrating VDI into the new data center, and the factors enterprise IT departments must consider when evaluating if and when to bring on a VDI solution.
While the origins of virtualization reside in the drive for server consolidation, VDI is fast becoming a staple in the new data center. Today's evolving network takes virtualization well beyond servers to a means of centralizing IT, beginning with desktop PCs and expanding to encompass the wireless computing devices proliferating throughout the enterprise, including smartphones and tablets. The expansive adoption is evident in the numbers. According to a report published in September 2012 by VisionGain titled "The Cloud-Based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Market 2012-2017,"the VDI market was expected to grow to $11.2 billion by the end of 2012.
The advantages of VDI, particularly for large enterprises, are clear. For one, VDI solutions reduce desktop support and management costs by bringing a wide array of devices and operating systems into a single control solution. For another, they also enable energy saving and green initiatives by lower overall energy requirements of virtual desktops. Moreover, VDI offers business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities as well as a means to secure data in the data center, which is paramount when meeting compliance and security regulations.
Progressive IT departments at colleges, law firms and retail establishments have quickly caught on to the potential of VDI to radically streamline enterprise networking. The business and technical efficiencies involved with VDI are relatively simple and straightforward in exchange for the significant improvements VDI can deliver to network manageability, security and energy efficiency.
Before an enterprise undertakes the transformation to VDI, however, data center managers must understand the potential network impact from a performance standpoint, while maintaining key criteria such as cost savings, delivery of multiple converged services, and power efficiency.
VDI Deployments and Network Security
Network security is of paramount importance in today's business environment, and the emergence of VDI in the network has enhanced today's security, namely network identity, by simplifying, centralizing and driving security within the network rather than the PC OS. Security for yesterday's network meant complex "application layer" elements of sign-on security such as LDAP directories, strong authentication, and Single Sign-On (SSO) systems. With the VDI network, traditional operating systems are eliminated, but IT must still require and implement user log on, secure policies, visibility and monitoring in order to ensure security across the network.
The Energy Efficient Network
The amount of energy consumed by data centers is enormous, and growing in tandem with the burgeoning amounts of electronic data being created and stored by enterprises the world over. At the same time, enterprises are increasingly called to task to demonstrate their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), one aspect of which is reducing their carbon footprint. The efficiency of the networking equipment deployed therefore directly impacts a data center's ‘green' credentials. As energy costs rise and CSR gains public and government mindshare, reducing energy consumption has become a focal point for many enterprises, and VDI plays an integral role in this process. By centralizing resources and bringing in much higher speeds at the port level, VDI significantly improves the energy efficiency of the network. Rather than deploying multiple tiers and distributed Gigabit Ethernet LANs, suddenly the horsepower is consolidated into a single core layer providing the bandwidth necessary for all VDI connections. This allows much higher density 10 Gigabit Ethernet port modules on chassis type switches to easily collapse all traffic into just a few network switches. VDI implementations also contribute to energy savings at the device level. By enabling IT to easily manage smartphones and tablets operating on multiple platforms, energy-gobbling desktops can be replaced with these smaller, more energy efficient mobile devices. In the end, VDI is highly efficient, more powerful and easier for IT to manage.
Converging Voice and Video for VDI Deployments
Once the considerations for bandwidth and system centralization have been addressed, the issue of carrying converged media (mixed voice, video and data) comes to the fore. Just like traditional networks, the VDI network backbone still must handle convergence flawlessly so that all users have a consistent, predictable experience. Critical activities such as IP phone calls and collaboration, e-learning activities using IP video, customer call centers, to name but a few, all depend on the network for a seamless, quality experience, and when implementing a VDI solution, IT must ensure that this remains and priority. In order to ensure this consistency and predictability, the network has to not only be equipped with 10 Gigabit and Gigabit to the edge, it also needs the intelligence, Quality of Service (QoS) and ultra-low latency switching, to seamlessly deliver voice and video traffic to users based on predetermined priorities.
Maintaining and Enhancing Security for Enterprise VDI Deployments
As enterprise networks increasingly adopt virtualization technology, there is a growing demand on IT to successfully meet the networking challenges posed by a highly dynamic virtual environment. On the one hand, VDI is a superior tool enabling users to access the network via multiple mobile and computing devices operating on multiple platforms and operating systems. On the other, this diversified access creates an environment in which policy and identity management are paramount network security considerations since users can connect to the data center from any location using a variety of devices. Just as old networks were unable to handle the growing number of connecting devices, the access management and lack of identity features with old networks won't be up to par in the new virtual landscape.
Recognizing this security challenge, more and more secure government facilities are using advanced identity management to ensure compliance and security when using VDI, setting the stage for similar deployments in the private sector with large mobile workforces. Identity-aware networking, defined by Enterprise Strategy Group as "a policy-based network architecture that understands and acts upon the identity and location of users and devices," will be the solution du jour for private sector business looking to securely deploy VDI.
Identity-aware networking is an integration effort where the network gathers information from multiple existing sources then enables IT managers to use this data to build and enforce access policies. The best-of-breed network has the intelligence to dynamically collect and update information about users, devices, and location as the users connect to the VDI infrastructure and just as important, enforce policies once they are on the network. The business, regulatory compliance, and security ROI benefits available with the identity-aware network become the new norm, carrying the burden away from those that had to maintain application-layer security.
Network-based identity for VDI is associated with things like IP and MAC addresses, VLAN tags, and subnets that play a role in device authentication, VPNs, and IPSEC. With VDI, network layer security takes over. It is based on a number of inputs, including the user-id and role of the user, specific device characteristics and capabilities, and user/device location. Identity-aware networking wants to know if the user is logging on from a trusted or untrusted network, or whether a user is accessing the network from a wired port or over Wi-Fi. Furthermore, network access policies may need to change from one location within a facility to the next.
With most deployments, the IT department will strive to meet the needs of varying mobile users and disparate devices. At the network level, more granular network access policies based upon user roles, device types, and physical locations are required. The network then has to scale bandwidth, handle converged communications appropriately and bring network layer security policy that is not tied to any single device or application.
There are significant advantages to VDI, including a more centralized streamlined, and energy efficient network, but before implementing VDI, enterprise IT must ensure that the necessary protocols are in place to preserve network security in this new virtual environment. VDI demands an identity approach and a more aware network in order to satisfy security and compliance requirements. Only when data center managers closely examine the network's role in meeting key criteria such as cost savings, power efficiency, user and device identity, and ease-of-use can VDI truly progress towards becoming a new norm in computing.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Mar. 24, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 7,241
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Mar. 24, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 8,364
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 24, 2017 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,491
The rise of containers and microservices has skyrocketed the rate at which new applications are moved into production environments today. While developers have been deploying containers to speed up the development processes for some time, there still remain challenges with running microservices efficiently. Most existing IT monitoring tools don’t actually maintain visibility into the containers that make up microservices. As those container applications move into production, some IT operations t...
Mar. 24, 2017 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,775
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
Mar. 23, 2017 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,440
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 23, 2017 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,366
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,413
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
Mar. 23, 2017 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,107
Everyone wants to use containers, but monitoring containers is hard. New ephemeral architecture introduces new challenges in how monitoring tools need to monitor and visualize containers, so your team can make sense of everything. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, David Gildeh, co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, will go through the challenges and show there is light at the end of the tunnel if you use the right tools and understand what you need to be monitoring to successfully use containers in your...
Mar. 23, 2017 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,115
The IT industry is undergoing a significant evolution to keep up with cloud application demand. We see this happening as a mindset shift, from traditional IT teams to more well-rounded, cloud-focused job roles. The IT industry has become so cloud-minded that Gartner predicts that by 2020, this cloud shift will impact more than $1 trillion of global IT spending. This shift, however, has left some IT professionals feeling a little anxious about what lies ahead. The good news is that cloud computin...
Mar. 23, 2017 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 862
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Mar. 23, 2017 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,415
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership abi...
Mar. 23, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 10,691
The essence of cloud computing is that all consumable IT resources are delivered as services. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, demonstrated the concepts and implementations of two important cloud computing deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). He discussed from business and technical viewpoints what exactly they are, why we care, how they are different and in what ways, and the strategies for IT to transi...
Mar. 23, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,838
Thanks to Docker and the DevOps revolution, microservices have emerged as the new way to build and deploy applications — and there are plenty of great reasons to embrace the microservices trend. If you are going to adopt microservices, you also have to understand that microservice architectures have many moving parts. When it comes to incident management, this presents an important difference between microservices and monolithic architectures. More moving parts mean more complexity to monitor an...
Mar. 23, 2017 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,235
Microservices (μServices) are a fascinating evolution of the Distributed Object Computing (DOC) paradigm. Initial design of DOC attempted to solve the problem of simplifying developing complex distributed applications by applying object-oriented design principles to disparate components operating across networked infrastructure. In this model, DOC “hid” the complexity of making this work from the developer regardless of the deployment architecture through the use of complex frameworks, such as C...
Mar. 23, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,029
As Enterprise business moves from Monoliths to Microservices, adoption and successful implementations of Microservices become more evident. The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Documenting hurdles and problems for the use of Microservices will help consultants, architects and specialists to avoid repeating the same mistakes and learn how and when to use (or not use) Microservices at the enterprise level. The circumstance w...
Mar. 22, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,101
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Mar. 22, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 8,296
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Mar. 22, 2017 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,715
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
Mar. 22, 2017 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,788
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Mar. 22, 2017 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,711