Ahead in the Clouds

Sep 9 2015   2:32PM GMT

VDI: Why desktop virtualisation has finally come of age

Caroline Donnelly Profile: Caroline Donnelly

Tags:
Business strategy
Cloud Computing
Guest Post
In this guest post, David Angwin, marketing director for Dell Cloud Client Computing, claims the benefits of desktop virtualisation now far outweigh the risks.
Desktop virtualisation (VDI) is a technology that has never been fully appreciated, despite promising benefits such as lower maintenance costs, greater flexibility and increased reliability.  
Many companies have taken advantage of server and storage virtualisation over the years, but desktops have been overlooked, and physical desktops remain the norm. 
While organisations are willing to invest heavily in virtualised back-end infrastructure, they may feel VDI will not provide much additional value, or that the drawbacks and risks outweigh the benefits. But this is not the case. 
Principles of desktop virtualisation
It is often thought VDI is about creating multiple virtual desktops on one device, but the reality is the user’s desktop profile is stored on the host server and then optimised for the local device the user is logging on from. This ensures they can experience a desktop optimised for that device, allowing for a consistent experience. 
Many companies have deployed various access devices to consume VDI and are reaping the benefits. These include:
Thin Client: This is where all processing power and storage is in the datacentre, and is a very cost effective way of delivering desktops and applications to a mass audience as the devices are relatively low cost and typically use much less energy compared with standard desktops. 
Cloud PC: This is essentially a PC without a hard drive that offers full performance and is a good fit for organisations running a small datacentre. The operating system is sent to the PC from the server when the user requests a log on. 
Zero Clients: A zero client is designed for use on networks with a virtualized back-end infrastructure, and is able to offer all of the benefits of thin clients, but with added compute power. 
With the right client and back-end infrastructure, zero clients can help to optimise working conditions and cut IT running costs, as there is less equipment on the desk. 
Desktop Virtualisation Benefits
VDI does more than provide a low-cost desktop to mass users, but can help create new business opportunities, in the following areas.
Remote working: VDI enables organisations to work with companies in different locations around the world securely. By setting up remote workers on the network, users can access the data securely without putting any data at risk. This reduces the potential for data theft, corruption or loss, as the data does not leave the datacenter. 
•Business agility: With faster access to data, organisations are able to react intelligently to changing market conditions. 
•Windows migrations: Physical desktop set-ups can create challenges for IT departments when new operating systems are released. Traditionally, IT administrators needed to visit each desktop in the organisation to make the relevant updates. However, with VDI, organisations have the opportunity to reduce this cost and time, as the network can be updated centrally, meaning software patches and OS upgrades can be simplified. 
VDI brings end users and organisations a wide range of benefits including ongoing cost saving and compliance benefits. Companies in all business sectors can realise a stable and positive return on investment, while providing a desktop environment that offers users quick and easy secure access to everything on the network to enable productivity.

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