|At this point in time, most of you have considered and/or implemented some level of virtualization within your IT infrastructure. The most common implementation consists of server virtualization, whereby an organization establishes one or multiple host servers as the physical server infrastructure. Then, virtual servers are run on the single server, or cluster of host servers.
However, the approach of establishing virtual desktop instances to replace the traditional personal computer or workstation environment is still in its infancy. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) could be the key to solving a wide array of problems, including the expense of desktop management and the cost to upgrade or replace older desktops running Microsoft Windows XP.
Top 5 Reasons to Consider VDI*
- Windows 7/8 Migration. At this point, you have been implementing Windows 7 to replace dated Windows XP desktops. However, the cost of the migration makes it worthwhile to look at VDI as an alternative, particularly if the per-desktop hardware cost is significantly lower.
- Workforce Mobility. Mobility and accessibility are major driving forces today; people everywhere are on the go and convenience is key. When you separate the software (OS, applications, and data) from the PC hardware, the hardware becomes an access device capable of connecting you to that software. It’s not just PCs anymore; any device can seemingly access your information or your desktop.
- Cost of VDI Has Dropped Significantly. Early VDI solutions helped put a spotlight on many of the challenges that needed to be addressed. This opened the door for faster, perhaps more nimble and more purpose-built, innovators to step in with second- and now third-generation solutions. “Zero-client” VDI solutions allow the desktop footprint to shrink significantly along with the cost.
- Concerns Over Data Security. Using VDI, the operating system, applications, and data are separated from the VDI client and centralized on servers. IT managers are able to simplify the environment and maintain data on secure servers in their data centers. The threat of a lost laptop or stolen desktop isn’t as great a worry since the data does not reside on the desktop.
- Centralized Support. With VDI, a virus that hits a desktop is simple to contain and remove. Just go ahead and reload the VDI instance and eliminate the virus. Other traditional desktop support requirements (i.e. software updates, hard disk defragmentation, etc.) are no longer required, saving IT management the cost of desktop administrative cycles.
VDI Assessments & Pilots
When considering VDI, it is an excellent idea to perform a strategic assessment. This step allows you to consider the following:
- The end goal: What do you hope to accomplish by implementing a VDI solution?
- The effect on enterprise applications: What impact will VDI have on your line-of-business applications? Do any off-the-shelf or custom applications need to change to support VDI?
- Price per Desktop vs. Cost of Support: Which is more critical to your business model? The volume and cost per desktop for replacement or the cost of your desktop support.
Once you have established the strategic elements above, your answers will help to drive a VDI pilot. The pilot will allow you to confirm the best VDI software solution for your particular requirement, test all required applications within that environment, and allow critical users (test pilots, so to speak) to help with the evaluation and, ultimately, buy-in to the new environment.
Learn more about PTS’ Data Center Virtualization Strategies & Assessment Services as well as our array of VDI Solutions.
* Credited to Top 5 reasons to consider VDI in 2011, Virtualization Report, David Marshall, InfoWorld, April 6, 2011.