November 21, 2013

Moving to VDI and Why it Makes Sense Now

For years, companies have been working toward optimizing their workstation demands and maintenance routines. Many companies have turned to virtualization technologies for their servers as well as in their data centers. By doing this, IT departments have reduced device management issues, cut down on operating costs and streamlined administration. Companies have seen the substantial benefits of desktop virtualization and are now realizing that now is the right time to apply these same technologies to their own desktop infrastructures.

VDI

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or (VDI) refers to the practice of hosting workstation operating systems and applications on a server. Users can access the “virtualized” operating systems and applications from any device including Thin and Zero Clients for VDI, as long as the device can connect to the host server. Because the operating systems and applications are “virtualized” they can be accessed by devices running on different operating systems such as Linux, Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Similar to server virtualization, VDI offers many benefits. It simplifies desktop administrative and management tasks, both desktop security and data protection is centralized, centralized management reduces operational expenses, remote user access can be easily extended and new users can be up and running quickly and efficiently. As the size of your company increases, so does the scope of its technical and networking needs. VDI is an essential part of guaranteeing these needs do not turn into a time consuming mess, when a simple task like applying the latest OS hot fixes must be performed on hundreds or thousands of computers within the organization.

Security is also a key factor when rolling out VDI. Sensitive data is secure because all workstations are virtualized and hosted on servers or in data centers. You have greater control of how you secure your desktop and administrators can lock down the image from external devices or prevent copying data from the image to your local machine. Remote users also benefit as sensitive data is stored on the server and not on the device itself. If companies chose to convert from PC’s to Thin or Zero Clients, they will also receive the added benefits of significantly less virus and malware exposure, adding to security measures.

Some companies do not recognize the immense return on investment (ROI) they will receive by moving to a VDI environment, especially when converting from PCs to Thin or Zero Clients. A Thin Client VDI session will use considerably less electricity than a desktop computer making VDI a way to significantly reduce your carbon footprint on our planet and save your company money in power costs. Hosted VDI reduces desktop costs by almost 70%. Also, according to VMware, less IT staff support and management of fewer devices can save an average of $480 per user, per year. Improved end-user productivity because of reduced downtime saves an average of $130 per user, per year and simply having a VDI desktop environment can save on average over $610 per user, per year.

What companies must realize is that even though desktop virtualization solutions seem costly, the opportunity to lower OpEx costs by greatly simplifying desktop maintenance tasks, which are both time consuming and expensive for IT departments is even greater. The cost savings are in OpEx, not in CapEx. According to technology research companies like Gartner, IDC and Forester, companies will see a 29% reduction in IT operational costs, a 40% reduction in hardware and software costs, an 88% reduction in worker downtime and a 78% increase in IT staff productivity. So not only do operational costs go down, so does worker downtime, meaning an end user can quickly get back up and running with very little interruption.

In the past, certain stumbling blocks have deterred companies from choosing to implement VDI. Traditionally, VDI did not work well in environments with high latency issues. However, with recent technology advancements such as improvements in VDI protocols like VMware Horizon View 5.3, these issues are no longer a concern. With many recent developments, VDI has matured and now offers the exceptional user experience that it once lacked. That, along with improved administration and reasonable prices for VDI Thin and Zero clients, advancements in centralized management, improved data security, easy and effective patching and support, shorter recovery times and centralized document and data storage, desktop virtualization has come a long way in the last 10 years and there is no better time for companies everywhere to start taking advantage of what it has to offer.With VDI, organizing all of your company’s different profiles and images could not b easier. You can create a library of VDI images for each department and push them out accordingly and if your company uses any type of vendor, consultant or contractor you can also use secure encrypted images to safely allow them to work in your environment. By consolidating user environments into a central location, it allows IT departments to deliver the right environment by using technologies like cloning, to a user quickly and easily. The primary goal of end-user technology must be higher productivity and once virtual desktops are in place, they offer IT management significant opportunities for optimum operational efficiency.

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