How 2020 rewrote the digital workspace story
Throughout 2021, it is anticipated that workspace transformation will remain high on the agenda. The interim solutions put in place as quick-fix measures in response to the global Covid pandemic will need to be replaced with sustainable, scalable, and secure digital workspace solutions to support the long-term adoption of more flexible working practices.
With an extensive track record of success guiding organisations through their digital workspace transformations, cloud consulting and managed services business, Xtravirt, have unparalleled expertise designing, deploying, and maintaining VMware’s Future Ready Workforce suite of digital workspace solutions including VMware Workspace ONE and Horizon platforms. This has led them to be amongst the first VMware service delivery partners in the world to achieve the Master Services Competency for Digital Workspace and VMware Principal Partner Status.
Head of Technical Pre-Sales, Xtravirt
In this article, consultants from Xtravirt share their expertise and insights to provide answers to the 10 questions most frequently asked by organisations evaluating VMware Digital Workspace technologies:
What is digital workspace
In simple terms, it is a group of technologies sitting across four distinct pillars that can be adopted individually or as a whole to provide users with the tools they need to work productively and securely from any device, anywhere at any time.
four pillars of digital workspace
Account Manager, Xtravirt
What are the key benefits of an investment in VMware Digital Workspace solutions for my organisation?
VMware Digital Workspace solutions offer a wholly unified foundation that spans from cloud to device delivering a completely secure and coherent user experience everywhere. This seamless integration between all elements of the VMware technology stack means that your IT teams are able to operate at scale, enable whole departments at a time, change configuration and roll out changes across the whole company in a controlled and trackable way reducing time-to-productivity for new employees and hardware. Less time waiting for new kit, increased flexibility, a selection of devices and enabling remote working lead to improved employee retention and recruitment.
With the advent of subscription public cloud offerings, even the smallest organisation can take advantage of modern digital workspace solutions.
Senior Consultant, Xtravirt
With 34% of workers currently working from home and 95% of data breaches coming from endpoints, it’s more important than ever to have a keen eye on user access and capabilities. VMware solutions operate under a zero-trust model and supports 2 factor authentication and single sign on, enabling quick and secure identity and access management.
The increase in remote working has placed huge pressure on bandwidth and throughput requirements for traditional VPN solutions. Adopting a digital workspace solution means that the application data never leaves the corporate datacentre. This significantly reduces the pressure on the remote access infrastructure, increasing performance for users and reducing the risk of down time.
What are the key offerings in the VMware Digital Workspace solution portfolio?
The solutions within VMware’s Digital Workspace portfolio are best understood when aligned to the four pillars of the digital workspace outlined in question one:
How do we get started, is there a set path to follow?
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ digital workspace solution or deployment. Comprehensively documenting your organisation’s unique set of requirements is the best place to start.
Over the years, Xtravirt have perfected the art of discovery. Our feasibility assessments and discovery workshops are designed to document the current state of end user IT; understand the business outcomes and technical requirements; capture key use cases and define the target operating model.
Lead Consultant, Xtravirt
Customer Experience Centre
Xtravirt’s Customer Experience Centre (CEC) can also help you get started on your digital workspace journey. When it comes to understanding how the solutions in the VMware portfolio deliver optimised outcomes, our consultants do more than talk the talk – with access to the CEC, they can build and walk you through your future investment choices before you make your decision.
- Proof of concept – With virtual access to pre-architected full stack experiences ready when you are, see how VMware’s cloud and digital workspace solutions work together to deliver robust security, performance and productivity to the workforce.
- Solution demonstration – validate your choice of specific VMware digital workspace solutions, put your questions to our experts and live out the user experience before you commit to invest
- Product testing – Put advanced technologies through their paces and discover their full performance and technical capabilities when run on the latest Intel hardware
We’d prefer a more collaborative and flexible working model instead of dedicated desks for staff members. What’s the best approach to take?
Deploying a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution enables staff to use any desk in the office and work from other locations with ease whilst maintaining maximum productivity and security of company data. Users can obtain access through a variety of devices including laptops, tablets and Chromebooks as well as giving IT the option of reprovisioning old desktops and locating them on hot desks as shared client machines.
Customers can use VMware Horizon to create a pool of Virtual Desktops. Desktops can be assigned to a user or as part of a floating pool and can even be created on-demand as user’s log in maximising use of resources. The user persona and work in progress is maintained dynamically giving the consistent look and feel of a dedicated machine, much like using a laptop or desktop PC.
Account Manager, Xtravirt
Giving users the ability to switch between devices, using the right one for the function they are performing at any point in time enables new approaches to working. Choosing a tablet device for collaboration and moving to a desktop with large monitor for document preparation are great examples of how this can be applied in practice. With user experience, settings and work in progress following seamlessly as the user switches or travels from office to home, downtime and frustration is kept to a minimum.
With a structured engagement approach that always begins with a discovery phase capturing requirements and target business outcomes, Xtravirt can help define the best solution to meet those objectives.
Our legacy application is too slow over the VPN, how can I support my users to work remotely?
Lead Consultant, Xtravirt
In this scenario, the issue is normally the speed of the connection from the client device to the back-end application server and the time delay that this introduces. Many legacy applications were designed for the user to be in the same building as the datacentre rather than across a corporate network or VPN connection.
Leveraging virtual desktops or published applications via VMware Horizon to locate the users desktop right inside the datacentre next to the legacy application can reduce this delay to almost nothing. When the user connects remotely to this desktop, their experience can often be better than when working from the office. For specific requirements, further enhancement can be achieved by using an optimised display protocol such as VMware Blast.
We are worried about BYOD, data loss and the risk of remote users losing corporate devices. Could a VMware Digital Workspace solution help?
Our customers are critically aware that remote working adds even more focus to the ever present need to protect data. Greater support for BYOD to enable employees to continue working remotely and issuing more users with laptops that can be mislaid have both increased the need for control.
For BYOD mobile users, Workspace ONE provides users with secure email, internet browsing and file access within a sandbox environment, isolated from personal applications and services. Having the ability to remote-wipe the sandbox without affecting the rest of the device provides administrators with effective controls to minimise risk of data loss.
On corporate devices, Workspace ONE offers more granular control, managing device configuration and also supporting remote-wipe functionality.
The most robust solution is to deploy VMware Horizon which leaves the applications and data within the corporate perimeter. With this remote desktop approach, nothing is retained on the device. Enterprise user management and 2 factor authentication ensure that even if the user device is mislaid it cannot be used to access the Horizon environment.
Senior Consultant, Xtravirt
For compliance reasons we need to ensure control over access to data and historically only provide access from the office. Can we still achieve this with a VDI solution?
While data protection has always been important, the introduction of GDPR brought a renewed focus to the importance of compliance.
A VDI solution such as VMware Horizon means that data can be accessed remotely, but on the organisation’s terms. The ability to restrict downloading data, taking screenshots and copying and pasting between the corporate desktop and the local device all help retain data within the corporate environment. As the data never leaves the datacentre, if a user loses their device, there are no data protection implications.
The other side of data management is the risk of corruption in critical business data as a result of ransomware attacks. This can also be significantly reduced through the addition of Carbon Black endpoint protection which uses next generation anti-virus technology to monitor unexpected file activity and prevents unknown or suspicious applications from executing.
Once we have adopted a digital workspace solution, how easy is it to stay on top of everyday patching and maintenance
One of the many benefits of the modern digital workspace is the ability to reduce management overhead through automation. For example, VMware Workspace ONE can manage and enforce patching of endpoint devices (with Dell desktops, this also includes firmware updates). In VMware Horizon, non-persistent desktop pools mean that each time a user logs on their desktop runs from the most up to date image. By patching the base image once, an administrator can ensure that all users will quickly be up to date.
The key to gaining full value from any IT or digital transformation including the adoption of digital workspace solutions, is to avoid them quickly descending to become a new legacy. Xtravirt Managed Services portfolio offers support and managed services that align to customers needs as they complete their transformation and move onwards into business as usual. By addressing challenges such as key-person dependency or lack of internal resources, providing effective ongoing support or taking full proactive responsibility for maintaining solutions, Xtravirt ensures customers gain the full value from their investments and focus on supporting their own business growth.
Why should I work with Xtravirt?
Xtravirt is a modern cloud consulting and managed services business, with a 15-year history of enabling the digital transformation of organisations so they can innovate and thrive in a changing world.
Having led hundreds of digital workspace modernisation programmes, for organisations big and small, we are a trusted safe pair of hands for digital strategy, design and deploy and our consulting capabilities have won global acclaim for their proven ability to deliver value. Our Managed Services teams help support these solutions in alignment with customer IT over the full lifetime of the investment. With Xtravirt Managed Cloud Services we can deliver VMware platforms as an Xtravirt Managed Service.
We work as a strategic IT partner for FTSE 500 customers across every industry vertical, making sure we help them overcome the business and IT challenges today, ensuring they are prepared for the future, whatever that might look like.
Got your own questions to put to our experts?
If you’ve got more questions about Xtravirt or VMware Digital Workspace solutions, then we’d be happy to answer them. Simply go to contact us and put your question in the form and one of our team will get back to you.