Virtualization has become a standard practice in modern businesses since its popularization over the past decade. With the rise in remote work, fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) saw a huge rise in popularity. Unfortunately, despite the numerous benefits, early VDI solutions also came with some drawbacks, including a challenging implementation process, a complex and expensive backend infrastructure, and weak network connections that impacted end-user experience when bandwidth proved a limiting factor. As well, investing in VDI software sometimes came with licensing challenges. For smaller businesses with minimal IT expertise and budget, switching to virtual desktop infrastructure was an unrealistic goal.
However, VDI is once again experiencing a surge in demand, as organizations seek out the most flexible and cost-effective way to deploy highly available services to remote users. This blog will delve into the top 7 benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure, and how companies (including small businesses) can take advantage of it.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) uses virtual machines to manage and provide virtual desktops to end-users. Rather than being confined to a single physical device, a virtual desktop allows end-users to access their applications from any compatible device. With VDI, desktop environments can be hosted from a centralized server and deployed on-demand to employees. VDI allows organizations to deploy virtual machines that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, making it an ideal solution for remote workers.
VDI solutions rely on server virtualization technologies such as VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Citrix. These technologies enable the efficient sharing of physical server resources among multiple virtual desktops.
A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment offers several benefits for organizations. Here are 7 key advantages of implementing a VDI environment:
One of the key benefits of VDI is the ability for end-users to access their desktops and applications from any compatible device with an internet connection. This provides end-users with the flexibility and mobility to work remotely from various locations. Instead of being chained to one specific piece of hardware, employees can access their virtual apps and data on-demand whether from their mobile device, laptop, or desktop PC. This provides the perfect use-case for remote work environments, BYOD policies, and loss prevention for broken hardware or stolen devices.
VDI solutions can reduce up-front costs of hardware. Since processing occurs in the data center, older or less powerful devices can be used as endpoints, potentially extending the lifespan of existing hardware, meaning there’s no need for expensive or cutting-edge hardware. VDI can also save costs on licensing, other IT infrastructure, hardware refresh deployment, and maintenance, as well as saving investment costs on company-issued devices.
In addition to reducing costs of hardware, VDI also reduces the complexity of IT environments. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solutions eliminate the need to configure each system manually, meaning IT administrators can centrally manage and deploy virtual desktops, applications, and updates to end-user devices almost instantaneously. This lets IT admins configure their network settings, add users, run desktop applications, and turn on security measures from a central management pane with just a few clicks. This centralized management reduces the complexity of managing individual desktops and allows IT teams to focus on more important matters.
Unexpected disasters, system failures, and security breaches can all result in financial losses without the proper preparation. The centralized data storage of VDI facilitates easier backups and faster recovery and allows a much simpler implementation of backup and recovery solutions. Additionally, in the event of a power outage or adverse weather, users can quickly resume work from different devices at a different location, if their primary device is unavailable. As a result, there’s minimal downtime and business owners can keep their key stakeholders happy.
Additionally, VDI allows for better resource utilization by allocating computing resources dynamically based on demand. Businesses using VDI can quickly deploy virtual desktops to match the number of users they have. This can lead to cost savings and improved performance. The simplification of adding or removing virtual desktops as needed makes VDI much more adaptable to changing organizational requirements.
In contrast, without virtual desktops, businesses needing to scale up or down would need to manage physical premises and equipment. In the event of scaling down, this can mean losses.
Another benefit of VDI is that it offers increased security capabilities. Because VDI is centralized and sandboxed, it eliminates the issue of having sensitive company data stored locally on client devices. This reduces the risk of data loss or unauthorized access in the case of a lost or stolen device. As well, it keeps personal apps and information separate from enterprise applications, helping to protect both sides. VDI also gives IT administrators enhanced control over the security policies on devices, because they can enforce security from a central management pane, ensuring that all deployed desktops are adhering to the organization’s security standards.
Moreover, VDI often offers organizations help with compliance certifications, particularly in certain verticals like government or finance services where there’s a need to host and process data to align with federal regulations. Since VDI offers centralized security management, it helps IT teams manage security policies, access controls, and data protection measures, ensuring compliance regulations are met within the organization.
While VDI offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to carefully assess the specific needs and challenges of an organization before implementing such a solution. Additionally, considerations like network bandwidth and performance should be considered for a successful VDI deployment. A managed services provider like Gibraltar Solutions can help businesses begin their journey in implementing virtual desktop infrastructure and managing their environment.