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Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Allowing the workforce to operate from any location and on any device is a huge boost to businesses who depend on field workers, or remote workers. Providing a complete virtualisation of an individual’s desktop, allows the worker to access all their critical files, applications and more from wherever they are.

Aside from convenience, there are major advantages in security and data recovery, as the data exists in the data centre, cannot be compromised, and can be activated on any device. The user can run multiple operating systems and you can centrally deploy the same desktop environment to your entire workforce. It saves time, it saves money, is more secure, and provides better protection against disaster.

Essentially, a VDI is a hosted desktop operating system within a VM (virtual machine) that runs on a central server. The virtual desktops are then accessed on any device, including desktop computers, laptops, or mobile devices. Users must be connected to the WAN (wide area network) housing the VDI in order to work within the environment.

Cost considerations of VDI

For SMBs to enterprise operations, VDI can be a viable option. Cost barriers might be implied for some small businesses, that appear to price VDI out of the ballpark, however using a managed VDI solution can help to alleviate these overheads, as the cost is rolled into a package that covers several key enterprise-level features, including security, disaster recovery, servers, storage, and more. Further to that, a VDI can reduce the overall cost of IT hardware, as it eliminates the need to purchase a multitude of standard workstations and as such, can provide immense savings in the long run.

Streamline IT tasks, increase productivity

Additionally, fixing any potential problems that may arise is much easier, more expedient and far less costly. Updates and upgrades, including new security patches, are deployed centrally, so that every user on the network can access them immediately.  Desktop images can be accessed from any workstation resulting in hardware problems being easily addressed without any downtime.  The device is taken off the network and the work continued on another device entirely.

Drawbacks to a VDI workflow

While reliable, manageable and cost-efficient for many companies, one of the areas to keep an eye on is the need for flexible storage solutions. Consider that each user will be working, and saving their work back to the server. Depending on what type of industry you are in, this could amount to large amounts of data from many individuals. For industries who trade in data-rich files, such as graphics, audio or any type of media, this can present its own challenges, although the advantages to having complex professional software such as this only running on one server are many and hybrid solutions can be tailored to these needs. Ultimately, every company will need to weigh the pros and cons, but if you are using a completely managed VDI service, your IT technician can address any concerns you might have.

VDI: The players

While VDI has been around for some time now, it’s been a relatively slow burn. In years past, there was a great deal of resistance to virtualisation for one reason or another, whether it was cross-platform compatibility, a hesitance to migrate to the cloud, or the idea that it was an inflexible solution. These standpoints have changed considerably with a wider adoption of the public cloud, more cloud options, and the ability to integrate the VDI into a hybrid cloud environment.

Currently, the top vendors in the market are Citrix, Microsoft, Huawei and VMware, but some might be familiar with solutions provided by Cisco, Parallels, AWS or Red Hat, as they have been in the game for some time. Presently, Microsoft Azure dominates the field, providing existing Microsoft users with full integration of the applications they are already using, and providing support for certain workflows in a way that most other systems can’t.

Allteks: your VDI infrastructure specialists

If you are considering implementing a virtual desktop environment, and you would like to speak to an Allteks technical specialist, please get in touch today. We would love to hear about your business needs, and will be happy to walk you through a range of IT solutions to help you decide what’s best for you.

 

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