Coping with technology and security breaches in a constantly evolving business landscape requires organizations to manage their IT infrastructure more easily, efficiently, and securely. Taking this into account, the world where office work is almost always performed at a desk, via a company-issued laptop or computer, is rapidly declining. The availability of newer, more portable devices, coupled with the near-ubiquity of Internet access, enables remote work. Employees are increasingly accessing applications remotely as a service, either from the enterprise data center or from multiple cloud providers.
Whether a company has 50 or 10,000 employees, it is expensive and difficult to keep every user device maintained, updated, and connected to crucial applications and resources. Perhaps, the biggest challenge is security, as devices often contain sensitive data that can be lost, stolen, or tampered with.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can be a great solution to a company’s IT-related issues. Businesses get the best of both worlds as the technology is a customizable, virtual desktop that one can connect to practically any device and access files. It enables administrators to host and centrally manage these virtual machines in the data center while facilitating end-users with a familiar PC experience.
This form of desktop virtualization offers different advantages, including:
- Instant provisioning of new desktops.
- Cost reduction in new application deployment.
- Powerful desktop image management features.
- Freedom to access the user enterprise desktop environment from any computer, including an employee’s home PC.
- Desktop computing power on demand.
- Existing desktop-like performance, including multiple monitors, USB support, streaming video, and bi-directional audio/video.
- Extension of standard three year PC refresh cycle to five years or more.
- Near-zero downtime in the event of hardware failure.
Technology has matured to the point that today, it is a feasible and practical option for enterprises. For some use cases, VDI is the best choice over PCs, whereas others require a deeper understanding of the technology’s features and benefits before the decision-making process. Let’s explore them in detail.
Benefits of VDI
Cost Savings & Streamlined Management
Although different types of VDI solutions involve considerable upfront investment in servers, storage, data centers, image provisioning mechanisms, and network equipment, companies benefit in the long run. While the technology’s entry cost is higher than that of PCs, it offers impressive ROI and minimizes the operating expenses of desktops over a longer period.
Centralized management simplifies the task of supporting the setup with minimal technical assistance required. Resources are then freed up to focus on other IT projects or handle possible contingencies.
Companies do not need to purchase high-end desktops or laptops as virtual desktop infrastructure can run on any device by leveraging resources from the server. As a result, they spend less on hardware upgrades and use smarter, more affordable endpoints like Thin Clients and Zero Clients. These devices can extend refresh cycles as well as enable a transition to a BYOD setup that almost eliminates hardware support.
Security & Disaster Recovery
Data and images reside on the server safely behind firewalls and other data center security parameters. This simplifies the process of detecting and isolating threats, and data will not be at risk if a device is lost, misplaced, or stolen. For instance, no confidential data is exposed if an employee loses their device. The storage unit on the machine does not contain information that is stored back in the data center.
Virtualization is also capable of adding layers of backup and disaster recovery. In failure or catastrophic events it is possible to restore devices easily and quickly from a disaster recovery site. For example, employees can still access their desktop from any Internet-connected device even if a natural disaster inflicts damage to their office building.
User Productivity & Satisfaction
Using any device, employees receive the same desktop experience anytime and practically anyplace. This is important in today’s era of digital transformation where they regularly work on the go and outside of the standard schedule.
Employees now have the freedom of choice. In a BYOD scenario, they can opt for any device, whether it is a PC, tablet, or mobile phone. Users can install applications on their device and the virtual desktop remains completely separate from what they do on that specific endpoint. This gives them a sense of control while maintaining enterprise IT infrastructure security.
Engineers, designers, researchers, Tactical Operations Center (TOC) personnel run graphically intensive software. Whether it is leveraging 3D CAD software or rendering video, VDI software supports every possible application. If businesses require high-end endpoints to support these workloads and they have to update their hardware every two years or so, a virtual desktop setup can bring massive savings. Moreover, desktop and app virtualization services that run in the cloud deliver reliability and performance.
Businesses can offer near-zero downtime in case of hardware failure, resulting in higher productivity and less employee frustration.
Imagine the arduous process of backing up data on PCs and ensuring that it can be restored in case PCs fail or files are lost. The risk of PC theft jeopardizes the security of intellectual property even when data is successfully backed up.
Low Resource Usage
The distributed nature of PCs makes it difficult and time-consuming to pool resources to improve utilization and reduce expenses. As a result, desktop computers are left idle, remote offices demand duplicate desktop infrastructures, and IT may need remote desktop solutions to accommodate mobile workers.
Centralizing desktop management is a complicated task in a widely distributed computing environment. Add to this the fact that the corporate workforce progressively needs secure, on-demand access to their desktop environment, and clearly, administrators have a lot to deal with. A variety of PC hardware and end-user requirements also add to the challenge of standardizing desktops.
Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO)
The relatively low cost of PC hardware is offset by the high cost of supporting and managing physical desktops. Ongoing management including software deployment, patches, and updates can be daunting as well as labor-intensive. This is because of the need to test and confirm deployments for several PC configurations. Also, lack of standardization and IT having to troubleshoot problems on-site and in-person can significantly raise support costs.
There is a very real possibility that virtual desktops will surpass PCs soon, if they have not already. The demand for connectivity from an increasingly mobile workforce means that IT will be expected to deliver a predictable and consistent experience across endpoints. Users want seamless, reliable, and on-demand access to their applications from wherever they are and from multiple devices. This need to respond to business demands at different locations such as conference rooms, workshops, trade shows, and coffee shops is crucial. Desktop virtualization, with its ability to easily integrate with a cloud infrastructure, enables rapid deployment of IT resources for users in remote locations.
Business is challenged to efficiently roll out new changes and capabilities in days or weeks, not months. Many look to manage the corporate environment within existing budgets and resource constraints. Virtualization makes all this possible, on account of vendors offering their unique infrastructure and interface that address these factors.
Security is another important aspect. As established, since desktops are available only as images to employees, any changes they make on their desktops are reflected on the server. No information is saved on client devices, reducing the likelihood of data breaches. For instance, PCoIP technology uses advanced display compression to offer end users on-premises or cloud-based VMs as an alternative to local computers. The protocol compresses and transmits pixels in an encrypted format to various Thin Clients, PCoIP Zero Clients, software clients, and mobile clients, providing the highest level of enterprise security.
There is a visible trend in the coming years to fully dynamic work spaces that arise as a result of centralized concepts, and virtualization is essential for centralization. If you have any questions about VDI and how to implement a virtual desktop infrastructure at your company or if you would like to submit questions about custom designed solutions, let the ClearCube Technology team know!
Author: ClearCube Technology
ClearCube Technology invented the centralized computing industry with the first blade PC and continues to drive centralized and virtualized computing innovation with the broadest set of specialized PCoIP desktop zero clients that connect to optimized SmartVDI compute/storage host platforms for task/knowledge users and PCoIP Blade PCs and engineering workstations for power and highly-specialized users. Many of the world's largest financial services companies, health care organizations, and government agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and Homeland Security, rely on ClearCube centralized computing solutions to equip their users with secure, efficient and manageable computing resources.