Over the past year, organizations have turned to a wide array of solutions to help power remote work. One of the most effective has been virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which allows companies to centralize their IT resources and provide users with remote access to a consolidated pool of compute power.
While VDI may not be the right fit for every business, the model can provide a solid foundation to enable a remote work environment that is both powerful and secure. Here are three significant benefits that organizations can achieve through VDI.
1. Superior Performance
The performance benefits of VDI boil down to this: The model allows organizations to run their desktops on data center infrastructure, which is vastly more powerful than the laptops that employees typically work on. By taking advantage of the consolidated compute power in the data center, organizations can deliver performance for different workloads — making resource allocation more efficient and giving end users the ability to run compute-intensive applications without access to high-end physical devices.
This sort of performance is especially helpful for organizations that are running significant legacy applications and therefore cannot simply move their application environment to the public cloud. VDI is a good fit for applications running in a client-server model, where a client is making calls back to a database. Responses are faster when the client is located closer to the database; in a VDI environment, everything is running in the same data center, resulting in an improved user experience.
2. Improved Governance and Security
Other tools to enable remote work, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), create an extension of the corporate network to users’ PCs, potentially increasing cybersecurity risks. What’s more, an environment of distributed machines can create a number of management burdens for IT departments. By contrast, VDI gives organizations a way to limit users’ remote access, giving them only the resources they need. With VDI, the enterprise controls the golden image (a master template from which virtual desktops are created), which it can clone consistently across the entire desktop environment — allowing administrators to enforce policies and provide users with a uniform experience.
3. Easy Elasticity
When end users each have their own individual PCs, organizations may find it difficult to scale desktop resources up and down. If, for instance, a company equips its employees with laptops that are twice as powerful as needed, it is nearly impossible for it to efficiently recoup the additional costs for this extra power or redistribute it as a resource. VDI environments, specifically in a cloud tenant such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), can quickly scale up or down to accommodate business needs, and administrators can make quick decisions about where and how they allocate compute resources. It’s a much simpler solution than distributing and managing physical endpoints.
In addition, organizations that opt for VDI may find that this additional flexibility extends their compute refresh cycles.
Despite these benefits, there are some important considerations for business and IT leaders when weighing a VDI initiative. For instance, some executives expect that virtual desktops will immediately slash their hardware costs. In fact, much of the potential for savings comes through long-term reductions in costs such as management and support.
With deep experience helping countless companies achieve their business goals through VDI, CDW can guide organizations through the decision-making, planning and implementation processes — helping to ensure that they land on the right solutions to meet their needs.