The EUC Pillar
When I’ve started to write this series of blog, I had one idea in mind, and I’ve tried to outline it through the past blogs. The series was not intended to be very technical, but more to show a high level of the datacenter pillars and how in fact, too often, the end user community, primarily responsible for most of the changes existing in the datacenter, are unfortunately not entirely in mind.
Way to often I meet with Directors and C-Level and realize how little the end users are discussed during a storage conversation with customer’s trusted advisor. Too often it feels that most of the Presales conversations are focussed on a precise angle of a requirement in the datacenter, and you might be lucky to find someone capable of articulating a larger conversation; if that’s your case push it to the next level.
However what I do see as well too often, is the fact that an entire aspect of the largest complexity is too often left aside, or the conversation deviates from its true purpose.
As the model of IT is shifting to a user centric model, our minds have to think differently, and really investigate the true need of the end users, as they are the most complex aspect of our every day.
Sizing and architecting became a much easier and accessible task to perform and aligning the right technology is far less obscure than, let’s say, 7 years ago.
However, adequately aligning the end user expectations requires far more understanding of the organization DNA to be able to make the right choice, align the right solution and measure the outcome, simply because we are humans.
Today we will be talking about the EUC, or “End User Computing”, one of my favourite topic, as it touches not only the datacenter, but the desktop and the applications, and aligning those three is a true art.
The Desktop model
Welcome to the most massive shift ever! XP lasted 10 years. Now what?
Windows7 and Windows8 have started to gain momentum but haven’t truly pierced nor lead a change… why? XP represented the most stable model of Microsoft Operating since Windows 98 and represented a natural evolution of the end user computing as we knew it and so organization didn’t see any challenges in implementing XP to replace Windows 98 in the Enterprise.
All right that was easy!
However 10 years is long, and the new reality has caused many headache and Microsoft understood it by pushing over and over the deadline of XP. But now we are faced with a decision to take and need to ensure that we do the right now based on a few requirements that can be surrounded by a single phrase:
The Consumerization of IT has led to a phenomenon called bring your technology (BYOT a.k.a, BYOD, BYO etc..), in which companies allow employees to access corporate systems using their own personal devices, leading to mobility and security concerns while driving data growth at a rhythm unseen before.
So we are we in the desktop model as we know it? As applications are getting packaged to be mobile and follow the users on the BYOT journey, the model is harder and harder to evaluate. While the past showed that IT was able to service 100% of an end user community by a stable and standardize desktop model, this model was transported to the datacenter in a form of virtual desktops, and those same virtual desktops accessed by a variety of device that IT had or have no idea about.
Microsoft has felt it, VMware and Citrix have built the path: seamlessly integrated with user’s preferred device, the desktop need to be virtual, Windows7 or 8 no longer matters and this is where the largest change in the desktop model has changed.
Choose one OS, the one you feel the most comfortable with, and it will be delivered to your preferred device, seamlessly integrated.
The Application model
Aside from the desktop conversation, the application model is one of my favourite conversation. Why? Because it has completely changed and it truly drives and support the profitability of any organization but I have WAY to often heard nightmare conversation about it.
Let go back a few years ago. A typical application was installed locally on a device and connected (or not) to a backend database. The model was lean.
While often affected by changes in the operating system, it happened from time to time, that this application was no longer working, and unless you were one of the programmers of it, we could say: “and only God knows why”
As frustrations piled up and profitability went down, manufacturers realized that if they wanted the desktop model to evolve to a portable one, they need to address the application side of the end user computing, and the main reason was that end users no longer were concerned by the device they used as long as the application they accessed was available from the device they needed.
It was pretty quick I would say; and much like the desktop, promptly we have seen the applications following the model of the desktop and become very portable.
Now let’s set the bar: any application requiring a backend database will still not be able to function if there is no backend network access. We know that right?
But interesting enough, the applications become so important that they have stopped the evolution of the desktop model to a virtual one. And I like that! Because we have finally reached the point where we realized how important was the applications and the users consuming it, and has the IT industry tried to shift some paradigm, the community has raised the flag and helped pointing into the direction where they needed help: the application portability.
However, this is causing far more damage to the desktop than I think was expected.
I don’t believe that the traditional Enterprise level organization will leverage 100% the application portability to eliminate the traditional desktop model. Yes, the Enterprise level organization MIGHT leverage a form of BYOD, but I don’t think we are at the stage where anyone will bring any device they like to work on the corporate applications.
Why? hum… because we are human, and need to absorb and process the change, that’s all
But I do believe that ANY organization of reasonable size, can easily open the doors to a BYOD, assuming the employees wishes to follow of course.
What I’m saying is the technology has addressed two big challenges: how do we changed the desktop model as we know it and how do we change the application model as we know it?
The virtual desktop has provided alternatives and integrated the solutions seamlessly; I know for a fact a client that didn’t know he was on a virtual desktop at the office for months!
The application model has evolved to a model where it does no longer require to be aware of the underlying operating system. It can move from one OS to another, from one device to another, seamlessly.
Have we realized the tremendous changes driven in the end user computing? I believe the goal to allow a highly portable end user model has arrived, and while this allows a new angle of profitability it truly unlocks large amount of potential in both operation and capital expenditure.
True that the backend datacenter requires to keep up. True that part of the investment is required in the datacenter to allow this highly portable model to happen, but if we’re able to articulate the opportunity, no longer will we have to worry about the end user computing side of the business.
Give me an OS, give me the device I want, and I will be able to work, any time, anywhere.
Anytime, anywhere, from any device is a brand that needs to shine among our organizations, as we need to focus on the future and the growth of profitability, no longer can we sustain the challenges experienced in the end users field.
I love what we’re going through. I hope to see it reach its true potential.