The Future Desktop

I have been doing a bit of work with data visualization recently, using Tableau. It got me thinking about the way we use data to produce information, and how that is changing. One of my early career challenges was to analyse what effect promotions had on overall product sales. In Unilever at that time the standard practice was to run product promotions with the supermarkets every few months. The idea was to gain more prominent shelf space, and so increase sales. The promotion had to offer something extra (money off, extra free, two for one) and manufacturing had to be... Read more →

I worked recently on a project to improve the performance and stability of a set of engineering applications after migration to a new datacentre and computing platform. We had really excellent data produced by the application centre business analysts. These showed in detail that applications were significantly slower than previously, across a wide range of transactions. On average, transactions were taking 25% longer (let's say). Someone set the objective that we would not be satisfied until 90% of transactions were within the benchmark figure for each transaction. On the face of it this was going to be difficult, because we... Read more →

End of an era

I think we are seeing the end of an era in how we think of, and manage, the corporate desktop. The corporate desktop is only about 12 to 15 years old. In a short burst, Microsoft introduced a range of technologies that made it practical to administer personal computers on a large scale: Active Directory, Group Policy, Windows Installer etc. Microsoft called it Intellimirror, although that name has disappeared. We take it all for granted now. It's how desktops work. Having an administered desktop like this was very important to the overall architecture of IT services. Devices on the LAN... Read more →

Performance of App-V and ThinApp

I was recently asked to provide evidence that virtualising an application would not affect its performance. The request was quite reasonable. The application in question was a high-performance engineering application: Patran by MSC Software. Patran has some configurable parameters to optimise performance on high-performance workstations. Not much point in optimising it if the virtualisation caused a loss of performance. My first thought was that virtualisation really shouldn't affect performance. Application virtualisation redirects the file system and registry to alternate locations. You can see this quite clearly in the structure of the package. This might affect IO intensive operations, but not... Read more →

I have been working on a large End User Computing programme for a while, and not found the time to blog, so now it is time to catch up with a few snippets. This one is about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and the BIOS settings of the physical servers. Here's the summary: VDI depends on high performance hosts, but by default hosts are typically configured for a balance of performance and energy efficiency. Check your BIOS. It may not be what you think. I first came across this a while ago when working on a new VDI deployment of Windows... Read more →