In today’s world of security breaches and technology that seems to change in the blink of an eye, organizations are always on the lookout for ways that they can manage their IT infrastructure more easily, securely and efficiently. Enter into the world of VDI. VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is technology that hosts a desktop operating system within a virtualized machine on a centralized server. The desktop images can then be accessed by any device, such as desktops, tablets and mobile devices at any time and from anywhere. If you’ve invested in server hardware, or have that investment slated for 2018, here are some reasons why VDI might work well for your organization.
Administrative tasks are easier with the centralized desktop management in VDI. A single image is used to deploy multiple user desktops across the environment. This makes it possible to deploy thousands of laptops and desktops in less time and at a lower cost compared to traditional PCs.
Updates, changes, patches, bug fixes and drivers can be done across the entire environment simply by updating the desktop image and then rolling it out to all users. The next time users log on, they will have the updated image and still have all of their settings in place. If a problem occurs with an update, it can also easily be rolled back to the previous image.
While VDI requires a major upfront investment in server hardware, storage, and network equipment, it can still provide cost savings in the long term. Since management is centralized and VDI is making the task of supporting the environment easier, less support personnel is required. This frees up resources to work on other IT projects beneficial to the organization.
Utilizing the resources from the server, VDI can run on any device therefore expensive or high-end desktops aren’t necessary. Organizations will be spending less in hardware upgrades, transitioning to less expensive options such as thin or zero clients, which can lengthen refresh cycles, or they can migrate to a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment which removes hardware support almost entirely.
Security and Disaster Recovery
With VDI, data and images exist on the server, safely behind firewalls and other datacenter security protocols. This makes it easier to detect and isolate threats, and if a device is lost or stolen the data won’t be at risk. VDI can add levels of backup and disaster recovery as well. In the case of failure or catastrophic event, devices can be restored quickly and easily from a disaster recovery site. If you’re building gets hit by an asteroid, users can access their desktop from any internet connected device.
User Productivity and Satisfaction
VDI allows users to have the same desktop experience from any device, anywhere, at any time. This is crucial in today’s workforce where work happens on trains, in coffees shops and outside of the normal 8-5 schedule.
Users also have the freedom of choice. Users can pick their device, whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet or pc, and even between manufacturers like Apple or Dell. Should they bring their own device, they have the ability to install whatever apps they wish on that device and the virtual desktop remains completely separate from what they may be doing on that endpoint, giving them the feeling of control while maintaining security for the organization.
Should specific applications be necessary for certain users, such as CAD or Photoshop for example, users can access those applications regardless of the hardware limitations of the device. Organizations are able to provide near-zero downtime to users in the event of hardware failures which results in increased productivity and less frustration for employees.
As with any major change to IT infrastructure, careful implementation must occur in order to reduce complexities. Considerations must be made as the initial investment for a virtual environment can be quite costly; this purchase could exceed that of purchasing a basic PC for each user. However, the investment is still worthwhile long-term thanks to lower operational and support costs due to centralized management as well as the ability to utilize existing hardware, saving on expensive PC refresh cycles.
VDI is a comprehensive solution and as such, networking, storage and compute resources will need to be taken into account. Sizing, configuring and deploying a VDI environment can be difficult, however, the majority of these challenges can be circumvented by engaging the right technology partner. If you are considering VDI for your organization, MicroAge can help navigate through these challenging aspects. Reach out to your Account Executive or our Practice Management Team, send us an email or leave a comment below!