AppDNA – The Mixologist with a drink for everyone

What do Tom Cruise and AppDNA have in common aside from dashing good looks? Read on to find out.

Last week in part 1 of this VDI implementation blog series I introduced the premise that planning and executing a successful VDI implementation is on par with planning and executing a successful party.  We talked about segmenting your users to find out and the analogy that planning a VDI implementation, you need to know what your users like – what devices do they use to access applications? It’s like knowing what kind of drinks to serve your crowd.

Now that we know who is coming to the party, we’ve looked at the guest list (assessed our VDI users) we need to get the right materials in place to pull this shindig off.  Take it from me, food pairings are overrated if you are looking to create an event in which coworkers will find it hard to look each other in the eye on Monday, so we will skip the food analogies.  Instead, we will focus on the different types of liquid courage and the vessels that will allow them to make their “users” happy.  For the sake of this analogy, let’s take a step back and do some baseline mapping.

The reason that people go to a party is for the free booze.  The reason that people even care about their desktops is because it is simply a means that allows them to access their applications.  That was simple enough:  booze = apps.

The next part gets a little dicier.  We all have had to drink wine from a red solo cup before (haven’t we?), and regardless of what Sideways says, it is terrible.  The wine tastes like plastic and you might as well drink the wine directly out of the box.  Although the alcohol (read application) is the same, the fact that I am drinking it from the wrong stemware tarnishes my user experience and generally causes rage that ends up directed at the host – not too different from IT.  This leads us to the second part of the analogy:  the right stemware for each drink is on par with architecting the delivery method and technology stack to deliver apps to the end user.

So how can AppDNA help you mix the perfect drink with the right stemware for the right user (dependent on their mood)?  That is where we can start nerding it out through the art of application mixology.

The right recipe

As I said before, my biased view as to the reason behind the existence of the desktop, is that is acts as a delivery layer to serve the apps to the end users.  The desktop is only as good as an empty glass…however, this critical stemware still provides its share of challenges.

Let’s start with the “compatibility” of drinks to the different types of stemware.  If I drink beer out of a red solo cup, will it work?  Yes, the beer might be a little warm and taste of backwash, but it gets the job done and it is definitely cheaper than some of the alternatives.  If there are certain users that refuse to drink beer out of a red solo cup and prefer adult glassware, depending on how important they are to the success of your party, you might have to make a judgment call on whether you want to splurge for frosted pint glasses.  The same is true for application delivery….however, you have to start at an even more basic level:  can I serve this beer in the first place?

Without understanding application compatibility across all of the different delivery platforms (Win 7, x64, Server 2008 R2, Application Virtualization, XenApp 6.5, local installation, streaming), how can you make a judgment on how to best serve the app?  Application testing across a single platform might be the path of least resistance, but if you choose to deploy a highly used application that was meant for local streaming, but only deliver it via XenApp, you will have deployed VDI, but it will not be good.  Imagine wanting to use a nice pint glass to drink your beer (use case), but instead you only get a shot glass.  You will have to continually go back and fill it, which results in a terrible user experience and more rage.  This is honestly the reason that I see more of the VDI projects fail.  Enterprises have already decided what their VDI technology stacks include, without understanding their guests or how the applications will fare.  This is a recipe for ending up drinking Jagermiester out of a crystal snifter…it just doesn’t make sense – even if you think it is awesome.

Who wants VDI success? Know your drinks across all different stemwares

With AppDNA application management software, organizations can automate application compatibility testing across multiple desired platforms and understand just what type of stemware will be required for a successful party.  In minutes, IT is able to understand if an application is broken for a desired platform, what is wrong with it, how they can fix it, or if they can’t fix it, what they need to do to find an alternative delivery methodology.

From a planning perspective, understanding the current state of your entire application portfolio up front allows enterprises to ensure that they create the right delivery stacks based on their user segmentation.  The true value of this data is around ensuring that the party planners in IT are armed with the information they need to go back and ensure that they are delivering the right booze in the right glass to the right user.

With all of the data available to the enterprise up front, they can also start getting creative with their VDI rollouts.  As much as I would love to say that you can roll out VDI all at once with one flavor of delivery, we all know this isn’t true…this means we will have parallel VDI efforts in place.  If the path of least resistance and cost is the short term goal, go ahead and roll it out for the apps and users where it makes sense.  If the long game is to eventually allow end users to have a XenDesktop personal vDisk with their applications streamed for mobile use and great end user experience, you can tinker in the background with the recipes that AppDNA software provides to get the apps ready for that delivery model while still managing the short term successes.  Think of AppDNA as that handy little iPhone app that tells you how to mix cocktails for any occasion.  The user experience remains king.

All of your VDI is belong to us!

In the next blog I’ll share how the AppDNA software can even pour drinks for you- no need to stand around all night serving – go have fun and still have a great party.

In the meantime, check out the no-charge Desktop Transformation Accelerator and Lakeside tool to assess what stemware you need for your VDI party.

Don’t forget to register for Citrix Synergy in San Francisco, I’ll be there listening to your VDI stories following these Synergy breakout sessions.