By Seth Morrell, Vice President of Innovation and Strategy at SynchroNet

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Does the thought of addressing a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or end user computing (EUC) environment seem like a Sisyphean task?

Have you seen an ambitious organizational initiative around moving desktops to the cloud mired by complexity, confusion, and lack of understanding on how to cost-effectively deploy, support, and operate at scale?

To be successful, you can’t just throw things at the cloud until something sticks. You need a framework.

At SynchroNet, we use the End User Computing Adoption Framework (EUCAF) as a proven approach to providing customers with a clear path to analyze, design, deploy, automate, and operate their Amazon WorkSpaces, AWS AppStream 2.0, or VDI on Amazon Web Services (AWS) at scale.

SynchroNet is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner with the AWS End User Computing Competency. Our hyper-focus on EUC helps enterprise, governments, and APN Partners accelerate the adoption and lifecycle support of EUC services at scale.

In this post, I will discuss a proven approach to scaling desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) or VDI in the cloud.

End User Computing: The Often-Overlooked Capability

Historically, end user computing has been an enterprise afterthought that’s greeted with shrugged shoulders, budgetary apathy, and a sigh. It is often overlooked, as it does not have the red carpet cache of areas like big data and artificial intelligence.

However, EUC is perhaps the most important capability in an IT shop’s portfolio. All IT consumption is performed through end user computing.

This very blog post is likely being read on a laptop, phone, tablet, and/or monitor that is managed, configured, and supported by a dedicated group of professionals focused on making sure the bits and bytes you are consuming, working with, and creating from are available to the end user community in a reliable, predictable fashion.

EUC capabilities are expected to work, all the time, without compromise, and with flexibility based on individuals’ unique needs. That’s a tall order for any IT organization to meet.

Over the past few years, new capabilities in the EUC space have become available and given enterprises options they did not have before. These capabilities include cloud-based desktops that deliver the benefits of virtual desktop computing, with all the DevOps and demand-driven benefits the AWS Cloud has to offer.

These capabilities help the business by providing new options, more agility, and more IT capacity through efficient and effective methods of EUC delivery.

The End User Computing Adoption Framework (EUCAF)

Based on AWS best practices and the AWS Well-Architected approach to cloud architecture, the End User Computing Adoption Framework provides a lens-specific approach to customers considering adopting a cloud-based desktop solution such as Amazon WorkSpaces or Amazon AppStream 2.0

The EUCAF incorporates the 5 pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework: Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency (End User Experience), and Cost Optimization.

SynchroNet leverages these established best practices with vast experience and lessons learned from similar sized environments to expedite deployments, reduce risk, cost and complexity, and help quickly and effectively scale EUC workloads on AWS.

The EUCAF is delivered via four phases, each meant to help organizations adopt EUC services at scale: technical validation, business validation, launch, and operate.

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It’s important to note that while the EUCAF looks like a sequential set of processes, it’s typically delivered in a continuous, iterative fashion utilizing the phases as ways to govern activities towards a holistic and well-practiced output.

Phase 1: Technical Validation

The technical validation is where customers often come to understand where in the DaaS adoption journey they happen to be, from early learnings about cloud and Amazon WorkSpaces, for example, to performing production-minded proofs-of-concept (PoC).

This phase is meant to lay a foundation for rapid adoption of Amazon WorkSpaces or Amazon AppStream 2.0 (as well as VDI on AWS) to enable both business and IT to reap the benefits it brings to the organization as quickly as possible.

Phase 2: Business Validation

Often completed in parallel with technical validation is the business validation phase that’s focused on economics and business value DaaS brings to the enterprise. In this phase, customers want to understand if their use case will technically work for them.

Typically, the desire to understand current and future cost drivers of the DaaS model are also an imperative for operating at scale. What will savings over traditional on-premises VDI or desktop-at-desk services look like?

While proving out the initial case is budgetarily critical, the ongoing opportunities to match cost against service capability and demand should also be examined. Oftentimes, customers can identify ways to optimize cost in business terms with Amazon WorkSpaces that are just not possible with traditional desktop computing approaches.

For example, on-premises VDI desktops and the associated infrastructure are available even when they’re not in-use. With Amazon WorkSpaces, an enterprise IT team can tune the availability, and thus the cost, of a user desktop or group of users’ work schedule, optimizing cost and also the management, support, and operations that goes into supporting the environment.

Phase 3: Launch

One of the fundamental benefits and drivers behind the EUCAF is the focused ability to help organizations get to production as quickly as possible to maximize benefits sooner.

The launch phase is focused on these activities and includes building out the environment, testing and validation, communicating with users, performing the migration—all done with a production mindset.

Using a production mindset during launch helps customers pressure test the processes and technology to understand what’s working and what might need additional iteration. It also accelerates knowledge transfer with all the parties needed to make it a success, thus allowing for smoother and quicker adoption with each future sprint.

Phase 4: Operate

The final phase of the EUCAF is focused on aspects of the solution that ensures it will be properly supported and operated at scale. This is an opportunity for organizations to improve existing processes and introduce new ones that take advantage of cloud-based offerings.

Operating in the DaaS model provides modern IT organizations the capability to continually tune the end user experience, cost optimization, and operational excellence. There’s no need to “set it and forget it” when the new environment provides for continuous improvement and automation.

As existing processes are improved, new processes are introduced and knowledge about the platform’s capabilities increase. As a result, teams will start to build and automate processes using cloud-native functions that were never possible with an on-premises solution.

EUC is a Way of Life for IT Teams

After the initially identified use cases successfully adopt Amazon WorkSpaces or Amazon AppStream 2.0 (or other VDI on AWS), the EUCAF’s framework serves as an iterative roadmap for ongoing deployments of additional cases. With each successfully-deployed use case, the journey using the EUCAF roadmap will flow faster and smoother.

This programmatic approach starts with low-hanging fruit or easy wins and builds upon prior success, across departments, user types, and support segments.

As the enterprise customer gets accustomed to this new capability of continuous analysis, preparation, delivery, operations, and optimization leveraging a tool such as the EUCAF, scaling to additional opportunities becomes a non-event.

As IT cycles become available from the advantages that EUC on AWS brings to the environment, the potential for automation, user functionality and accessibility, and the enthusiasm within IT teams begins to increase to the point of proactively looking for new use cases to put through the process.

EUCAF becomes a way of life for IT teams because of its proven ability to accelerate adoption and speed deployment.

Serverless Automation with SynchroNet CLICK

As customers begin to scale Amazon WorkSpaces, additional third-party tools offer enhanced capabilities that make ongoing management and deployment of these solutions even more compelling.

One such solution is called SynchroNet CLICK, which leverages the power of AWS serverless technologies to automate Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0 life cycles.

CLICK automates the processes of provisioning, termination, changes, resource allocation, and user self-service. There are no off buttons on cloud desktops; provisioning thousands or even tens of thousands of WorkSpaces with the native console presents a whole other set of challenges.

Life cycle platform management tools such as CLICK make deploying and managing WorkSpaces fast and easy, further freeing-up IT cycles so other value-add capabilities can be improved upon or created.

In our “This is My Architecture” video, you can learn how SynchroNet uses a lightweight, serverless, event-driven architecture to ensure the right user personas get the right resources every time by automating Amazon WorkSpaces provisioning

This is My Architecture: SynchroNet CLICK (4:41)

Summary

If end user computing has been relegated to an afterthought in your business, our End User Computing Adoption Framework (EUCAF) is your way out.

The advent of desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) capabilities provided by Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0 (as well as virtual desktop infrastructure on AWS) provides a powerful alternative to traditional EUC options. The current evolution will optimize cost, agility, elasticity, operations, and business capability as never before.

Pairing your EUC solutions with a straightforward deployment strategy, such as the EUCAF, enables enterprise and government customers to take full advantage of the technology in an accelerated fashion.

With AWS services and SynchroNet, end user computing can become a crucial part of your digital transformation experience.

The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

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SynchroNet – APN Partner Spotlight

SynchroNet is an APN Advanced Consulting Partner. Their hyper-focus on End User Computing (EUC) to help enterprise, governments, and APN Partners accelerate the adoption and lifecycle support of EUC services at scale.

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from AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/apn/accelerating-cloud-adoption-with-the-aws-end-user-computing-adoption-framework/