In today’s world of hybrid and remote work, it’s no wonder that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions are taking off. With remote employees working from the road, their home office, and from the corporate office, it is nearly impossible for IT staff the manage, maintain, and upgrade individual devices securely and efficiently.
VDI centralizes a business's operating systems, software, and applications providing authorized and controlled access when it is needed.
Thousands of organizations have migrated to the VDI model, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Reviewing a brief VDI products comparison guide can help decision-makers compare and select the best solution for their organization.
On-premises or solution provider?
When making a VDI decision, the first choice is to determine whether an organization will build an on-prem VDI solution to be managed by an internal IT team or outsourced to a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solution provider. Each has its pros and cons.
An internally managed VDI may be the right decision if an extensive IT department already exists, all licenses are purchased and obtained, and a business prefers to maintain complete control and governance over the entire system. However, this choice can be prohibitively expensive for a company building from the ground up and requires significant IT resources to manage and maintain; consider, for instance, that the average Desktop Services Manager makes a salary of $95K (Glassdoor)
Selecting a third-party DaaS provider can be advantageous as it shifts the maintenance, management, and upgrading of a system to a trusted partner for a predictable monthly subscription price. Businesses benefit from the solution provider’s expertise and constant striving for best practices. No initial massive IT outlay is required, and internal IT staff can be freed to handle higher priorities. However, an organization relinquishes some level of control to the DaaS partner in exchange.
What to look for in the best virtual desktop infrastructure
Whether an on-prem option or external solution provider is selected, it’s critical for a company to understand what benefits are expected in the new system. Here are some key things to look for:
- Better Accessibility. VDI solutions must be accessible to employees or other stakeholders anytime and from any location. After all, one big reason companies choose to implement VDI is to provide better access to employees working from a wide variety of geographical locations.
- More Productivity. The bottom line is that companies want employees to be productive in their jobs regardless of where they are working. A VDI solution must facilitate that productivity through integration with industry-leading communications and collaboration tools such as Teams, WebEx, and Zoom.
- Reduced Cost. While both an internal and external VDI system should significantly reduce IT costs compared with maintaining a fleet of individual desktops, choosing a DaaS provider will reduce Capex and shift the business to an Opex model for this infrastructure. Now you have annual operating expenses instead of writing off Capex every three years.
- Increased Agility. Deploy services to new employees in hours not days. New equipment is hard to locate for purchase with the world's ever-present chip shortages. Unused equipment sits around when teams reduce size. VDI provides new users immediate access with a secure sign-on as well as instant removal of departing employees.
- Tight Security. VDI systems, by their nature, offer an additional level of protection from cybercrime. Backup and redundancy protocols protect data and make recoveries easier. In addition, since virtual desktops do not house any critical systems or applications, they are not as likely to serve as an entry point to an entire network.
- Reliable Performance. While a strong internal IT team can maintain high levels of performance, many DaaS solution providers make this a higher priority because it’s a core business. Industry reports show that most third-party providers maintain a 99.99% uptime with high-quality infrastructure and dedicated resources.
- Labor Solution. As many organizations struggle with employee shortages, implementing a VDI system can help them extend the reach to new talent pools willing to work remotely.
- Improved Continuity. DaaS systems offer the extra benefit of better business continuity in the cases of unexpected weather or other business disruptions. Most DaaS providers will have redundancy built into their systems, hosting operating systems, software, and applications at geographically diverse locations.
Comparing the top VDI solutions on the market in 2022
When it comes to making a final decision, organizations must weigh the pros and cons and compare investment to returns. It is difficult to compare the costs of on-prem vs. solution providers in general as this will depend greatly on the infrastructure that currently exists.
However, businesses can compare DaaS solution providers a bit easier. Nearly every DaaS provider offers the same general pricing model. Customers purchase a certain number of seats and then add extra features required. Here are the typical components:
- Remote Monitoring and Management. This is a core component of any VDI system. Most DaaS companies offer a tool or may be able to use customer-designated tools in their infrastructure.
- Anti-Virus Protection. A key layer of security protection, DaaS providers can offer virus protection or integrate customer choice.
- Operating System. Third-party providers can offer an operating system or use one that’s preferred by the customer.
- Patches. Just one of the many maintenance tasks that can be shifted to a DaaS partner, patching provides an extra level of security and protection.
- Security and Backup Levels. Most DaaS providers offer premium security and backup features at an additional charge. This can be particularly useful in highly regulated industries.
The final and most important criterion is whether a DaaS provider allows individual customization of seats. For example, many companies will have different user types. Many will be using primarily software-as-a-service tools, some will require access to SaaS as well as legacy applications, and only a few will require the entire DaaS experience.
While most DaaS providers only offer a flat rate that can be customized by features, Evolve IP allows Further tailoring of the individual seat with persistent desktops. This means when a user logs back on to their desktop their bookmarks, settings, and other customizations will be just as they left them. That means that customers are truly paying for only what they need, leading to significant long-term cost savings.
To learn more about why Evolve IP is the best choice for A DaaS solution provider, reach out today.