Posted by: Alan Perlman
CDW, Champion Solutions Group, VDI, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Window 7 Migration, Windows Vista, Windows XP
The other day we posed the question of whether VDI would help to drive migration from XP to Windows 7. We didn’t get any answers, so we figured we’d do a little more research ourselves. Here’s some of the stuff we came up with. First of all, did you know that there’s research out there that states that 90 percent of IT managers in medium and large businesses say they are considering or implementing at least one form of client virtualization? This was based on a survey conducted last year by CDW: CDW Client Virtualization Straw Poll Report. The guess here is that the large majority are in the “considering” category and are looking at using client virtualization for selected users and departments as a way to get a handle on the technology and what it will actually take to implement it. But Windows 7 deployment is certainly a major impetus for looking at VDI.
This is from Christopher Pyle, Presidnt and CEO of Champion Solutions Group, an infrastructure solutions and professional services provider that claims to have helped hundreds of customers implement VDI. He was asked: Is Windows 7 migration a good time to consider implementing VDI. His response: “First of all, Microsoft only supports the latest two versions of its operating system, Vista and Windows 7. However, 80 percent of the world runs Windows XP, which means that they need to migrate to Vista, and that’s not the OS you want to use. You should move to Windows 7. The problem is many of the desktops that run XP won’t run Windows 7 because they aren’t powerful enough. So if a company is interested in prolonging the life of its existing desktop infrastructure, VDI is a great way to do that. VDI is also a much faster way to deploy a new operating system than the traditional method. It’s a good way to ease into Windows 7. We’ve seen clients put a Windows 7 icon on the desktops of Windows XP users and simply ask them to click on that icon every afternoon and run in the Windows 7 environment till the end of the work day. If they have have trouble, they simply go back to the XP environment. Clients can continue this for a few weeks prior to flipping the switch to a full Windows 7 migration. It allows the end user to ease into the new Windows 7 environment.”
Our final bit of research is from an article of unknown origin that talks about VDI, Windows 7 and the impact on existing hardware. The main point is that you’re better off if the hardware is 64-bit and has more than 4GB of RAM. The other important point is that if the processor doesn’t support virtualization, or the BIOS doesn’t support virtualization, you won’t be able to use Windows XP Mode, although you will still be able to use virtual machines. Overall, VDI environments require more resources and these include newer processors with more RAM, if your budget allows. And, if you’re migrating to Windows 7, your budget in all likelihood would and should allow for it.
So what do you think? We are transitioning the Trender blog next week to talk about VDI, so if you want to comment on Windows 7 now’s the time to speak up. See you on Friday.