Transition: Physical to Virtual

One of our clients, a specialized care provider who operates several different physical locations and has hundreds of care givers and thousands of patients, decided it was time for a refresh.

While their aspirations were large, their budget was constrained. This caused a dialogue to open about methods to get the maximum impact of the refresh with minimum out of pocket cost and maximum technology reuse.

After exploring many options, the client determined the refresh would be best as a two step process, first moving applications and services into an Application Landscape and then providing Virtual Desktops to end-users.

In order to create that landscape, targeted upgrades to the client’s server infrastructure and storage were made and virtualization software installed and configured on the target. Over a period of weeks, the client’s services and applications were migrated to the Application Landscape so smoothly the Chief Operating Officer had to as the CIO “When is the server migration going to happen?” not realizing it was complete.

The second phase of the project began with an inventory of end-user requirements and usage patterns. It was determined that a mix of virtual clients would be required to meet the varied needs of staff. A Kiosk, mobile desktop, and traditional desktops would be encapsulated as virtual machine images and projected into the various end-user devices. Using this approach, ePHI controls could be maintained and standard software versions and patches could be more sensibly managed.

One of the chief concerns in taking this approach was end-user performance. The design center was such that a pool of client virtual machines was always available for an end-user to attach to and use. This rendered the concerns moot and the end-users reported better performance than the prior approach.

The client is continuing to get benefits from the Application Landscape and Virtual Desktops. According to their estimates, the ongoing costs amount to approximately 60% of the alternative approach. And that is, as they say, real money.

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