Step 1: Determine the Scope of the Presentation Virtualization Project

Published: February 25, 2008


Before designing a presentation virtualization infrastructure, an organization needs to determine which parts of its environment to include in the design and the objectives for the project.

This step drives decisions related to what applications to add to Terminal Services and for what user population. Server farm numbers, size, and placement are also driven by the scope of the project. Quite often, a combination of these deployment options is required to deliver the best service. For example, Terminal Services may provide a time reporting application to the entire enterprise, an accounting package to the Accounting group, and a country-specific tax package to the offices in one country.

Task 1: Determine Location Scope

Before the architecture can be derived, the scope of the project must first be determined so that the planners know the boundaries for which they are building a solution. The scope of the project could be enterprise-wide, one or many locations, or perhaps a single department. If an organization is considering multiple implementations of Terminal Services, it can iterate through this guide for each instantiation.

Because it is easy to get caught up in the technical details of a project, it is important to verify that the planners are clear on the scope of the project so that they can make the appropriate technical decisions to keep the project aligned with the business objectives and make the appropriate trade-offs in fault tolerance, capacity, and performance.

In order to ensure that the location scope of the project remains clear, record it now so that it can be used as a header on the job aids that will be created later, examples of which are shown in Appendices A, B, and C.

Task 2: Determine Application Scope

Now that the overall scope of the project has been determined, the second task is to define what exactly the business wants to have hosted by Terminal Services:

  • Is the target to have entire desktops and all applications hosted by Terminal Services?
  • Is the goal to have a single application made available through Terminal Services?
  • Is the objective to have as many applications as possible hosted on Terminal Services?

In order to ensure that the project stays focused on delivering the required services, it is very important to fully understand the business objectives for the project:

  • What benefits does the business expect to achieve through the use of presentation virtualization?
  • What is the value of those benefits and, therefore, the cost case for using Terminal Services to deliver those benefits?

The business objectives should be prioritized right from the start so that they are clearly understood and agreed upon between IT and the business.

In order to ensure that the application scope of the project remains clear, record it now so that it can be used as a header on the job aids that will be created later, examples of which are shown in Appendices A, B, and C.

It’s also important to set some expectations with the business related to the published application environment. There will inevitably be concerns amongst users about loss of control of their application environment and restrictions or additional work that might be imposed on them by the new mode of operation. This can be a good time to have an open discussion about some of the changes that users may perceive. One of those changes may be additional authorization challenges that might be presented to users before they can access their applications. Although it is possible to provide seamless authorization pass-through so that a user is only challenged once for his or her credentials, this requires the use of the most recent technology and so may necessitate some upgrades, at additional cost.

Decision Summary

Decisions about the scope of the project must be based on the specific needs of the organization. The scope of the Terminal Services project in Windows Server 2008 drives decisions in future steps related to capacity requirements. Although there is no single best approach to follow, ensure that the organization is aligned with, committed to, and supportive of the selected approach before continuing the planning process.

This accelerator is part of a larger series of tools and guidance from Solution Accelerators.


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