Infrastructure Services for End User Computing

In other posts I’ve described the conceptual components for an end user computing environment and the scenarios (or use cases) for use of end user computing. However, the enterprise end user device or ecosystem doesn’t stand on its own – it sits within a complex environment of corporate (IT) services. When looking at the end user computing space it is important to understand which of the other, more general, IT infrastructural services are involved in delivering or supporting it. Understanding the inter-relationships here can make our design of the end user computing environment more complete. The kinds of infrastructural services that I believe we need to take into account are:

  • Physical: users and their devices need some physical services. Primarily a physical space to work in and power.
  • Printing: services for printing and scanning documents.
  • Storage: services for storing, accessing and backing up files.
  • Business Applications: the different line of business applications that users need access to.
  • Identity & Access Management: identity and access services that determine access to other services (e.g. applications), or control user access to the end user environment.
  • Asset Management: services for tracking hardware and software assets, managing their life-cycle and license compliance.
  • Network: wired or wireless access to an organisation’s internal network and/or the internet.
  • Communication: services for different types of communication: voice, email, video, voicemail etc.

We need to understand the answers to a range of questions, and as we move from a one size fits all approach to a more heterogeneous environment we need to understand the different needs of our different solutions. They will need radically different answers to the same basic questions: How do different end user computing solutions interact with the different infrastructural services? What infrastructural services do they need?

Will my fixed thin clients need wired network access? Will my mobile tablet users need wifi? How will mobile tablet users print? How will we manage video communication on our virtual desktops? These are a some of the special, specific questions that we will need to address when we look at the peculiarities of particular end user technologies and their dependencies and constraints around these infrastructure services.

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