Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Driving Desktop Operational Costs Down

Sunday, February 19, 2006  

What a droll title for a post. Next week my group is working on two intertwined projects in an effort to drive down our ongoing operational costs. I've mentioned one guiding principal in doing that -- server-based computing. We use Citrix's MetaFrame XP product at this time, presenting the entire desktop on a Citrix server. Our proof of concept over the first part next week will encompass the following changes:

1. Moving to the enterprise version of Presentation Server 4.0.
2. Incorporating the Citrix Access Gateway to provide an SSL VPN and customize the kind of access that can be had to internal network resources.

The goals will be to gain the advantages of PS 4.0 (better printing, CPU usage control, server load balancing at the software level) with the addition of the CAG's security options. I forsee existing costs going down because we eliminate the #1 and #2 problems our end-users have with the existing platforms (i.e., printing issues and the follow-me desktop). In addition, we will be able to provide a secure method to publish certain applications for clients that require a highly secure connection, slashing the necessity to maintain private networks to those client sites.

The second proof of concept going on next week is a test of Softricity's SoftGrid. We will be determining if software virtualization is all it's cracked up to be. If so, imagine no need to image desktops anymore. Take them out of the box from your favorite provider, patch, install your favorite client antivirus/firewall software, join the domain. That's it. This dovetails the server-based computing initiative by virtualizing the software running under Metaframe. Set up the basic Citrix server, join the farm & domain, publish the virtual apps for whomever logs in. Done. No more software conflicts. Disaster recovery procedures practically write themselves, similar to the ease of recovery we've experienced from virtualizing our servers. I'm sure that the devil is in the details (i.e., actually "sequencing" the application to virtualize it). However, if it is a a one-time major pain followed by the occasional patch, I can't see it will be worse than the current software deployment and patch management nightmare.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 2/19/2006 03:13:00 PM

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