When Brian and Gabe published their DaaS book the other day, I read it and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Many of the finer points with VDI, DaaS, and a more application-focused or traditional desktop delivery model make this a great read for anybody who is interested in the topic. On brianmadden.com, there are a couple of really good  blogs about DaaS in recent days as well.

Anyways, in the book on page 95 (or if you're more in tune with Kindle eBooks - Location 1141), Brian and Gabe point out that the migration to DaaS or VDI requires a little bit of work:

After all, you have to somehow get all the desktops and applications from your company into the DaaS provider’s cloud. This is no small task. It’s an all-out forklift of a desktop migration, and you’re in the driver’s seat! There will almost certainly be costs associated with this, from discovery of applications (think assessment solutions like Lakeside SysTrack, Citrix AppDNA, or (…)) to purchasing additional software or licenses, to training users, to managing applications and users after they reach their new home.

Madden, Brian; Knuth, Gabe (2014-02-25). Desktops as a Service: Everything You Need to Know About DaaS & Hosted VDI (p. 95).  . Kindle Edition.

When I worked for one of the desktop virtualization vendors we knew that one of the main inhibitors to successful virtual desktop and app adoption was the need to better understand users and their applications. Without the right tools, it's often an almost insurmountable obstacle and the quest for an end-user assessment tool actually introduced me to Lakeside in the first place.

Our SysTrack product is the industry leading Big Data solution for End User Computing - since 1997 - before Big Data was even a word. Hadoop didn't even get started until the early 2000s.

Big Data is often described as the discipline where you take a lot of often machine generated data, put it all in one place (read: One database, hadoop cluster, or whatever) and then use one or more number crunchers to turn all that data into useful information. That's how it got started, but Big Data is much more about taking an otherwise unmanageable amount of data and correlate it in a way that it provides deep insights that are relevant.

What does Lakeside SysTrack relate to Big Data?  Let's look at two distinct aspects:

  • Turning Data into Information: SysTrack grabs several thousand data points every few seconds from systems that it monitors and it aggregates the data in a way that you can report on it. The primary use  case is for on-going monitoring and management of compute environments,   but the information lends itself superbly to planning a VDI or DaaS  deployment. SysTrack tells you what applications are running, how many and what kind of resources they consume, what applications you have that are not being utilized, etc. There is more to it than I can detail in a short blog.  Tools like our Virtual Machine Planner can be leveraged to put together neat master images, assign users to them and to predict the resource footprint in the data center. That was easy.
  • Data Collection. Most Big Data hadoop clusters rely on having all the data in all its granularity in a central point and hadoop doesn't care much how you get it there. So, it's great for stuff that is already in the datacenter, but not very well suited for end-user-compute environments, where the data have to be  captured on potentially 10,000s of devices all around the world.

Therefore, SysTrack is built on a unique architecture where the data are being captured on the end point and it uses a tiny bit of the end-point's compute power to turn the raw data into an intelligent summary that is then shared over the network with one or more central servers. Only about 100kB are transmitted each day, so that the network is not clogged up in the process. Device offline? No problem - the condense process as we call it simply happens the next time the user connects.

If you're interested specifically in the DaaS aspect of SysTrack, have a look at this whitepaper: http://bit.ly/DaaSBP

If you like to leverage the free Citrix project accelerator (which includes the free FastTrack product to assess the application estate and for general image planning), point your browser to http://project.citrix.com, start a project, and click on "Use Automated Tool" when you get to the section about applications.

Lastly, let us know if you'd like to learn more about the full version of SysTrack, which includes the full functionality of the Virtual Machine Planner and much more.

Florian

florian.becker@lakesidesoftware.com
Twitter: @florianbecker