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How can I benchmark resource consumption before implementing a VDI architecture?

Brian Madden explains how you can determine your resource needs before carrying out a VDI project in this expert answer.

It is critical, critical, critical that people have an understanding of what their virtual desktop infrastructure environment resources are going to be before they go down the path of VDI.

I've been doing VDI-type consulting for almost 10 years, and before that terminal server consulting for almost 20 years. You know that expression about throwing stuff on a wall and seeing what sticks? That was 99% of VDI architecture planning for the past decade.

The good news is that there are vendors that make assessment products. One is called Lakeside Software; there's another called Liquidware Labs. And there are others, and they're all fine. Pick whichever one you like best, it doesn't matter. These are products that allow you to install agents in your desktops and laptops before you go to VDI.

Before you even think about VDI architecture, before designing anything, you install the agent on the laptop and let it run for a month. It collects all the data -- like how many disk IOPS are users using, how much of the CPU they're using, even how graphically intense their applications are. If I'm sitting there using Microsoft Word all day, that's all I'm doing -- versus watching YouTube videos that have a lot of moving pixels -- then that's going to affect what network requirements I have.

So, you can buy software products that you just install on all your desktops and in your environment. Let them run for a month or two. You don't have to touch them, and then it collects the data and gives you reports that actually show you, "Here's how many IOPS you're going to need for storage with more capacity."

They can also help you in other ways. They'll say, "Oh, all these users have 80 GB of storage for every laptop that is being used, but 60 of those are the same because they're all the same version of Windows, same version of Office, and those files are all the same and can be consolidated once you go to storage with VDI."

You'll spend 2% of your VDI budget buying something like a Lakeside or Liquidware product, and it is money well spent. I can't tell you how much I've made as a consultant cleaning up people's messes where they could have just bought these products in the first place, not have had the mess, and paid way less than what it cost to have a consultant fix it later on.

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