The head of IT in a company must identify, isolate, mitigate, and resolve all business problems encountered. Therefore, business decisions must be viewed from the prism of cost/benefits to the company. These business problems can be solved by incorporating virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology into an overall IT policy.
VDI has proven to be invaluable in a few cases, such as:
- Healthcare: VDI allows for precise permissions to be defined for health care professionals such that they can only view patients’ records relevant to cases they are cleared to handle. Thus patient confidentiality which is a key cornerstone of the healthcare industry is upheld.
- Education: VDI can provide students with virtual laptops along with strict limitations on the kind of content they can access for the duration of their course of study. Thus only material relevant to their learning is accessible.
- Shift Workers: It will be unnecessary for company staff who work based on duty rotation to be allocated a dedicated computer.VDI capability is such that multiple desktop accounts can be managed on fewer endpoints. This is a significant amount of cost savings for the company.
According to Rapidscale a global provider of managed cloud computing and application solutions for the SMB and enterprise markets, results obtained by incorporating VDI are so astounding, the figures speak for themselves:
- 80% of Fortune 500 businesses already include VDI in their IT strategy
- Admin and operating costs were reduced by 70%
- Energy bills were reduced by 97%
- Productivity was increased by about 98%
- 70% of professionals worked via smart mobile devices in 2018
- The U.S alone has a 62% VDI adoption rate
Benefits of VDI
1. Simplified and Centralized Management
Problems will come up with the infrastructure deployed requiring resolution. Work can be done remotely to resolve faults from the central station. Thus, a key benefit of VDI is simplified and centralized management.
You can affect installations, troubleshooting procedures and upgrades without any action whatsoever being undertaken by the user. Activities like virtual creation of desktops can be deployed without affecting the end-users’ productivity in any way. Flexibility via VDI gives unique advantages.
Devices like mobiles, tablets, and Thin Clients are now accessible since VDI utilizes basic I-O (input-Output) data. Furthermore, because of this unique capability, users now have within the reach software that normally would not have been available to them, like Windows-based software packages on a Mac. Users now have enhanced capability due to accessibility.
4. BYOD – Bring Your Own Device
Since the virtual desktops are hosted on a server at a remote location, the operating system of the device accessing the server is of no consequence. Thus, users can use any device they want. VDI removes what was a prior limitation by making the Bring your own device (BYOD) capability available.
5. Workforce Mobility
Virtual desktop infrastructure is the solution to workforce mobility. Many IT personnel state that tablets and smartphones are better suited to play tools as their Touch-based apps have limited application as business tools. Financial results reveal this to be true- Why are PC sales up and Tablet sales down – Techcrunch 24 Aug 2014. Desktops (especially of the Windows variety) are better as business tools.
Products such as VMware Horizon View or Citrix running on the VDI platform allow the workforce to use their device of choice to access a view of their work.
6. Cost Efficiency
The reason VDI generates so much cost efficiency is fairly obvious. VDI saves cost by reducing labor, energy and time. Also, VDI endpoints are inexpensive while the hardware involved has a longer lifespan than a typical PC and costs less. Centralization cuts down the huge cost incurred by a virtually unlimited number of individual user licenses. These are some of the advantages of VDI.
7. Increased Productivity
VDI increases productivity. Centralization of end-user management and maintenance frees up the admin personnel to focus on other key tasks. Also, end users are not slowed down by system failures, upgrades or security issues like a virus attack as such events or anomalies are identified and resolved almost instantly.
8. Smaller Bandwidth
One of the advantages of virtual desktop infrastructure is that you get to use a smaller amount of bandwidth. The virtual desktop infrastructure solution hosts on a central server all the information that usually would reside on a user’s computer. Since the same data is made available to all users on the network it saves time and money.
9. User Experience
VDI enhances user experience in a number of unique ways. Staff can use any device of their choice (thin client, PC, Apple, Linux, etc). They are all accommodated since connection is to a central desktop image. Furthermore, user experience is improved as they view an image of the core desktop (their personal desktop) and not a blank image when working remotely. Apart from that, this same image is obtainable anywhere with any device.
10. Centralized Security Features – VDI Security Benefits
VDI comes well equipped with sufficient security benefits, notably centralized security features. Data is located in a central point, secure and protected. This eliminates possible points of failure or attack like virus infestation and unauthorized accessing of sensitive documentation. VDI also provisions data backup in case of system crashes, theft or loss.
11. Data Security and Instant Backup Capabilities
VDI has provisioning for Data security and instant backup capabilities. It is common practice in companies running mission-critical systems to deploy VDI in two separate datacenters. One serves as primary while the other is a backup site for redundancy. If for any reason one center goes down due to a compromise in security or major component failure, there is an instant handover to the backup site for seamless and uninterrupted continuation of services.
12. Supports Green Initiatives, Saves Power
VDI supports green initiatives and helps to save power. This is because a thin client work session consumes much less power than a desktop computer. VDI is a unique way of reducing energy costs for the company and reducing the carbon footprint in the world.
13. Resource Savings
The advent of VDI has brought about resource savings. Centralized management and virtualization have eliminated the need for IT, support staff, to physically access user sites for fault resolution. Consequently, resources like personnel can be more judiciously engaged thereby saving time and energy as well as boosting efficiency.
14. Utilization of Same Image
VDI supports the utilization of the same image which is a major benefit. Organizational, as well as support costs, drop substantially due to the installed operating system and applications deployed which make this a possibility.
15. VDI Advancements with Better Graphics
VDI has brought on board advancement with better graphics. The image quality now for both text and graphics is better courtesy of features like graphics acceleration.
16. More Options for Expensive Desktop Upgrades
VDI makes possible more options for expensive desktop upgrades. The datacenter in which server and storage needs are resident eliminates the scenario of having a massive collection of PCs in the office. The same experience you get from high-end desktops can be replicated on tablets without having to incur the cost of expensive upgrades. Thus, the desired environment can be delivered uniformly to all users.
17. Better Support and Troubleshooting for End Users
Better support and troubleshooting for end-users are now made possible by VDI. Any user who experiences hardware malfunctions on their device can simply log in using another to access their apps and data. The malfunctioning device can be accessed remotely to determine the fault and proffer resolution.
18. Data Ownership
VDI guarantees data ownership. The massive investments in resources installed at the datacenter which covers storage, power, networking, security, backup and disaster recovery (redundancy) ensures that your data hosted in the cloud is safe, updated, accessible as well as retrievable. Therefore, your company can rightfully lay claim to data ownership in all ramifications as you do not need to depend on a 3rd party for such services.
19. OS Migrations
VDI has simplified OS migrations immensely. Previously, deploying a Windows Vista package for key managers would have entailed taking an equipment audit, as well as carrying out an upgrade on both hardware and software components. Today VDI is capable of just projecting out a Windows Vista image from a central station to all the selected managers.
20. Collaboration for VDI Environments
VDI supports and boosts collaboration. In America, virtual desktop infrastructure technology is used to access a huge database of electronic medical records daily. Patient records must be accessible to caregivers anywhere on any device so as to bring medical service ever closer to the patients.
VDI promotes independence. The device you choose to use is irrelevant. Thin clients, PC, Apple or Linux are all acceptable, all you need do is connect to your VDI using ICA or RDP protocols.
22. Stability and Connectivity
VDI gives direct control over the stability and connectivity of your network. This is due to backup and recovery policies as well as universal accessibility for all clients.
Cons of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Undoubtedly there are many VDI pros and cons. A few of the cons are:
- User’s resistance to change:
This could include more control by the IT unit or a new login procedure.
- VDI is not a one size fits all comprehensive encompassing solution for all scenarios:
It is ideal for customer care personnel who use the same systems daily. It is however not suited for itinerant salespersons who service different clients in several locations. The useable functions as well as applications accessed by each staff vary considerably and must be taken into consideration.
- Vigilance is still required even though cybersecurity has been enhanced considerably:
Vulnerability audits and monitoring practices still need to be carried out to counter threats like hackers.
A considerable amount of time will be needed to craft a policy guiding devices to be granted or denied access to the system.
Overhauling infrastructure from a decentralized configuration to a centralized one will of necessity consume time and finance
VDI architecture is such that desktops are delivered as a managed service from a data center. Businesses can leverage on this unique capability because the burden of security concerns have been taken off their shoulder, costs have been significantly reduced, company IT reliability has received a boost, deployment has been made easy and as pain-free, as possible while employee productivity, as well as satisfaction, has increased tremendously. Indeed VDI is here to stay.