Migrating desktops is never easy. The promise of better management and security that is offered by desktop virtualisation is adding a new twist to the many desktop migration projects that are beginning to show themselves. In this article we look at what, if anything, that we have done in the past can be applied in a " …
Knackered after 3 years?
"...We know from our research that the age of much of the desktop machine population now exceeds three years, and that many organisations face considerable challenges maintaining the effectiveness of this ageing kit in terms of meeting business needs."
One of the two machines I am using right now is probably well over 3 years old. There's nothing wrong with it; probably years of life left in it. Bit dusty maybe, but that's about all. It's still reliable, shows no signs of clapping out, and is still more than fast enough to do my work. And I'm developing software on it.
I know technology marches on and all that, but the curve has levelled out considerably over the last few years (in practical terms). And most desktops are used to write emails, read and write some Word documents, look at some spreadsheets and talk to a database or two. Why is a three year old machine unable to do this today any less effectively as it managed three years ago?
Law of diminishing returns
the fact is very few activities outside of development, Scientific research and video/audio work require or demand PC's/Macs newer than 3 years old. All the main office apps will run happily on a P4 3Ghz or AMD X2 that are now 5 years old. many performance problems can be resolved by upgrading ram. Unless software devs add a real must have feature and make it Win 7 only, there is very little reason to upgrade hardware until it dies.
I thought it was mostly to do with warranties and accounting?
Our company religiously swaps kit out as soon as the manufacturer's warranty expires, presumably since after that point in time any kind or problem/repair is going to take forever and cost a fortune, whereas with current kit getting it fixed is relatively quick and cheap.
It also doesn't hurt that The Accountants classify stuff as fully depreciated and officially worthless after 3 years.
Having said that, I've seen someone trying to persuade a four year old laptop to run XP and all the endless layers of security and management crap that big companies love to shovel into the system tray. It took five minutes to start up or to shut down, would infallibly lock up if you tried to hibernate it, and had a battery life of about an hour. Ouch.
Mommy? What's an EMPS?
What dictates virtualization?
Cost, application and 3rd party Hardware.
Just like Security eh?
How do you handle OEM Windows licenses?
We have a few older PCs running XP with OEM licenses. What would be a good way to virtualize these systems either as one server + VNC clients or as individual VMs running on client PCs? Getting retail XP licenses is difficult at best. Not sure if Windows 7 "XP Mode" can be used as a standalone VM.
Where I work we have a lot of good PCs 6-8 years old. We had one power supply fail out of 80Pcs. They are a bit slow running XP so we put GNU/Linux on them. We bought a few new PCs and put GNU/Linux on them. When we want performance we use the old machines as X clients of the new PCs so everyone has a piece of large RAM, fast CPU, and fast storage. They make excellent thin clients and we only need to upgrade a fraction of our PCs to stay current.
The "custom" of changing PCs frequently is incredibly wasteful but very profitable for Wintel.