Virtualizing consists of finding a dedicated computer or server to stay on and be the “Main” server for virtual connections. Often a powerful computer, this will simply have a static address (internally or externally) and become the horsepower behind processing all the user requests for applications, data and more.
To Virtualize, there are some general pre-requisites you will need:
- Determine what applications are needed (office, word, etc)
- Discover if shared files will be required across company (shared drives) and where they reside.
- Find a computer with 8 Gig ram or more to operate as the Gateway portal for your in-office and out of office access. Virtual Servers are ok if they don’t change.
- Create users on the Gateway computer and create profiles for each.
- Connect and go….
Determining which applications that can be used is one of the most important but commonly overlooked decisions in virtualization. Only about 5 programs are generally needed or used. By Virtualizing, you can actually increase your security by allowing through the virtual only the applications you want the organization to use.
Shared files and enforcement of AD or other folder / file security is then offered once purchased, allowing some users access to certain shares while others cannot. Making a quick list of who can access what prior to installing the software can help speed up the installation and ensure compliance with your policies.
Computer / Server sizing is important and a virtual host uses tremendous amounts of memory to be capable of real-time service to multiple users. It’s a good rule of thumb to allocate 2Gig per user if you want fast performance. One computer (non – server) can usually host 5 virtual workstations, while beefing up the ram and processer or switching to an 8Gig server 2008 can probably service 12-15 without an issue.
Creation of the users is simple as you can simply create a profile on the Gateway for each user, load their email, files and more. Some organizations can even have shared drive access elsewhere that is usable by the virtual workstation. Best practice is to create a “LOCAL” profile on the Gateway PC or Server, and then logon and make sure everything works. The virtualization will come when someone connects via remote client software, IOS, or other method and be provided with the applications and data you pre-loaded. A user switching from one device to another is a non-issue as the gateway has all the information and nothing is saved on the connecting device.
Printing can become a burden if users are offsite so make sure to know if you want to allow home printers to be used before you install and configure the software. To learn more about printing from virtual workstations click here.