Cloud Desktops for DevOps Bring New Agility

Tough DevOps Challenges

Keeping control of the DevOps environment is really important. That’s one of the things I’ve learnt from working with a major software development house over the past few weeks.

The enterprise in question approached Workspot because they needed a platform that would allow them to push standardised desktops to individuals in their development teams, which are located in multiple sites all over the world.

Equally important is hiring great talent, but apparently, finding the right developers is a big challenge these days as there is a shortage of people with key skills. Theoretically, enterprises can hire talent in other geographical regions, but that presents a few challenges. Hiring people in another country will likely entail a lengthy visa process that can take several months to complete. Once the new hire process is complete, the onboarding process begins. Getting new hires settled in an office and procuring and shipping the laptops or workstations they need takes at least a couple more weeks before they can become productive. This organization (and many others I speak with) wants to be able to hire developers anywhere they can find the right people and then have them productive within hours, not weeks or months. Here’s where I come in, Workspot cloud desktops for DevOps at the ready to deliver Windows 10 desktops out to any of the 54 (and growing) Azure cloud regions around the globe.

What a Developer Needs: Cloud Desktops for DevOps

With cloud desktops and workstations, all the new, talented software developer needs is a device and an internet connection, and he or she instantly becomes part of the development team. This solved another headache that was consuming unnecessary IT resources at this software house. Before Workspot, they had to ship ‘standard’ machines to different states and countries, but this caused issues because there are differences in keyboard layout – not everyone uses the same one.  More importantly, sending a physical laptop, desktop or workstation could be surprisingly costly as import taxes are often added to the shipping cost. Those days are over. No more shipping, no more maintenance overhead, no more Windows v Mac debates. Now their developers are allowed to pick the device they want, reflecting what is most important to the nature of their work, and they simply buy it and expense it. Some are even using smartphones and tablets in docking stations, such as the Samsung DeX, instead of laptops. This is possible because the Windows 10 desktop they use for development is now a cloud desktop being delivered from Azure by Workspot!

Streamlined Dev/Test Process – Just Say Yes!

Workspot cloud desktops for DevOps teams supports multiple desktop images, so for developers, this means that they can have multiple desktops, all at differing versions, and all kept separate. This is great news if you don’t want to have to keep reimaging a physical device – and who wants to do that?  This also enables developers to try patching in isolation. Let’s say a release of some underlying software is issued; the developer could then allow that patch to be deployed in isolation. Then if it causes chaos, the developer can just delete that cloud desktop and spin up a new one using the original ‘gold’ image or template. No harm, no foul. Simple!

Of course, the developer might want to pass the desktop on to another person to see the issue and collaborate on next steps. This is easy with Workspot – you just reassign the cloud desktop to the person who needs to see it. This means the developer doesn’t have to create lengthy instructions about how to replicate the issue. They can just hand over the entire virtual machine.

Giving a developer a persistent desktop is one option; another option is the ability to give the developer a brand new, ‘clean’ cloud desktop each and every day since Workspot also delivers non- persistent desktops. So, each day when the developer accesses the cloud desktop, they have all the tools pre-installed as this desktop is built against a template.

Each and every day the developer would get exactly the same build. This does mean that any customisation would be lost, but customisation could be limited to the physical device they are using. So, on the physical device, whether that’s a laptop, a tablet, or whatever, the developer could have personal apps installed, such as music streaming services and social media apps, while keeping the Workspot cloud desktop isolated and dedicated only for work. This is how you get the best of both worlds! For this enterprise customer, it means they can control the developers’ IDE so code leaks from one release to the next don’t happen, intellectual property is better protected, and they have stronger overall data security.

Testers benefit as well as they know they’ll have a totally clean, brand new cloud desktop each day. This allows them to test and test again in splendid isolation knowing nothing was left behind from a previous test.

Workspot allows the Windows 10 desktop to be controlled, standardised and delivered exactly the same way over and over again. Since Workspot deploys exclusively on Azure, the underlying virtual machine type is controlled also and it’s identical each time. This comes in very handy if you want to insist that your developers develop on the same platform as the users will be on. Workspot hides all of the complexity associated with delivering virtual desktops as well as all the Azure complexity, making it easy for IT teams to deliver exactly the cloud desktop or workstation needed for each use case. IT leaders don’t have to worry about having Azure skills on the team; your IT admin doesn’t have to know what a Resource Group is or which Azure VM type to pick – that’s all handled by the Workspot turnkey service.

In-House Innovation

What I really enjoyed seeing was how this software house had integrated requests for spinning up a new cloud desktop into their ITSM solution – ServiceNow. Workspot publishes APIs which allowed the software house to produce an internal web portal where developers and testers can request that cloud desktops or workstations be provisioned for them. This creates a ServiceNow ticket which is routed to the appropriate manager (or skips this step if the requestor is already authorised to approve the request) so the manager can approve or deny the request. If approved, the cloud desktop is auto-created using the correct template and often before the approval email has been read by the requestor, their new cloud desktop is ready and waiting for them! For this customer, a brand-new Windows 10 client, with all the appropriate applications pre-installed, domain joined and delivered into any Azure region in the world, all happens in under 5 minutes. Here’s what the workflow looks like for their ITSM integration:

 

Spending time with this enterprise was a delight, because I was able to see first-hand the many benefits they are reaping from the Workspot solution. Their time-to-productivity is astonishing, and the user experience is outstanding, even for the most demanding GPU users. That’s Workspot cloud desktops for DevOps! Simply brilliant!

Ready to learn more? Workspot is an enterprise-customizable cloud VDI solution. Let’s explore your requirements. Schedule a demo now!

I regularly post on Twitter. Feel free to follow me at @JSamuelatWork