Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Workspace Explained

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Technology changes so rapidly these days that it’s hard to keep up with the terminology and acronyms. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has made its way to the top of the alphabet soup list in recent months and deserves an in-depth explanation for those interested in exploring the VDI workspace. 

Understanding Terminology 

The VDI workspace as a whole encompasses those solutions that centralize the hosting of business applications for an organization. From there, companies must choose between an on-premise, build-it-yourself VDI, or a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) hosted VDI, which is a third-party subscription-based solution. 

Although there are technical and performance differences between the two, they are generally the same and offer very similar benefits to companies. The major distinctions between the two models revolve around whether resources are shared or dedicated and who has the control and management responsibilities. 

Value vs. Cost 

If you are debating whether to select an on-premise VDI system that you build yourself or a hosted DaaS VDI solution for your organization, you’ll want to think carefully about the difference between value and cost. 

Businesses that are strictly looking at cost will likely choose the build-it-yourself VDI system, which appears to be a lower-cost option at the surface as much of the initial investment in the equipment may have already been made. However, it’s important to evaluate the long-term maintenance costs as well as what resources will be required to keep your on-premises VDI system up to date. 

Choosing to focus on the value of the overall solution may lead you to select a hosted DaaS VDI solution, which may be able to provide more features, functions, and resources. After all, relying on a third-party organization means you’re paying for the expertise that the vendor is motivated to provide. 

In either case, centralizing all the equipment and applications required to run an IT and desktop environment through a VDI workspace will undoubtedly improve efficiency, result in productivity gains, reduce administrative tasks, and lower the total cost of ownership.

Creating an On-Premise VDI 

If you choose to build your own VDI on-premise, you’ll be using many of the elements of your traditional desktop environment. Moving to VDI means you’ll centralize most of the software and applications your employees use in a data center, which will now house your VDI as well as systems such as your customer relationship management system or your enterprise resource planning solution. 

Remote display technologies such as tablets or mobile devices will need to access the centralized machines and the software running on them. 

Advantages of an in-house VDI include centralized in-house management, easy upgrades to applications and software, potentially reliable and strict security, low cost of ownership, and plenty of flexibility and mobility for employees. 

Challenges to this option may include access to experienced talent, a heavier load and cost to your data center, and ongoing access to a sophisticated infrastructure and network. 

Choosing a Hosted DaaS VDI 

Organizations who want to turn over creating the VDI workspace to a third-party expert will exchange the resources required to build and maintain an in-house system for a smaller but ongoing monthly subscription fee. 

Instead of incorporating your VDI into your existing data center, you’ll be able to take advantage of your host VDI’s data centers, sharing resources with other organizations. Since DaaS VDI companies offer this hosting service as their core business, they will be able to develop the expertise and take advantage of cutting-edge technologies on behalf of their entire client base. 

This is one of the primary advantages of using a hosted DaaS VDI solution; you get the benefit of their expertise and equipment without needing to make an ongoing investment in technology or staff. At the same time, you’ll also obtain the other benefits as well, including easy updates, tight security, and flexibility. 

Many of the challenges of the build-your-own VDI system will be resolved, with the remaining disadvantage being some loss of control and management. That said, a hosted DaaS VDI solution can provide your organization with a higher level of availability and redundancy that can be cost-prohibitive in an on-premise system. In addition, you’ll be able to redirect your existing IT staff to other mission-critical tasks. Scaling the size of your VDI is also simple. 

The User Experience 

Once you’ve determined what kind of VDI your organization will pursue, your employees may not notice much of a difference on their virtual desktops and other devices. Essentially these devices will be running off the operating systems and software hosted on a centralized server either in your data center or your VDI partner’s data center. 

The difference will only be what happens on the network and centralized location. Instead of having to update or manage multiple applications or software packages on hundreds or thousands of individual machines, all of this management, troubleshooting, or upgrading can take place in the data center itself. 

Those changes are then immediately reflected to all virtual devices, allowing employees to access business data from anywhere. This is especially important as more and more companies move to a remote or hybrid work environment, allowing central governance and security issues to still be managed by your IT team. 

Taking advantage of the VDI workspace will allow companies to be much more flexible in achieving their visions and missions, regardless of where talent is located and how frequently staff must be scaled. VDI promises to reduce costs and increase revenue, making a significant contribution to the bottom line. 

Contact EvolveIP today for a free consultation. 

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