By Dhanasekaran Vadivelan, EUC Architect, Tata Consultancy Services
As organizations worldwide turn to Virtual Desktop as a solution to their desktop infrastructure challenges, they face challenges with high licensing costs, stiff hardware requirements and retraining their user and technical communities. The key question is – can VDI architecture deliver simplicity, higher availability and improved security at lower costs for my organization?
VDI is a technology that isolates one computing resource from others. Virtualized environments enhance the IT organization’s capacity to deliver powerful, robust solutions to meet business needs quickly and efficiently. IT administrators no longer need to configure each desktop component to be tied up to work together, ultimately reducing the complexity and hence resulting in lower operational costs. In addition, the desktop virtualization technology also offers greater protection against information loss or theft and guaranteed information availability even if a physical machine is down or inaccessible.
Leveraging VDI technology for separating various layers of the traditional desktop computer offers the following benefits:
1) Desktop Location Independence: End users using a Desktop PC would get some of the benefits similar to a laptop PC. Also, users from home can dial-in through broadband connection and log-on to their corporate desktop PCs without the need to purchase laptops.
2) Business Continuity: One of key benefits of moving Desktop PCs to Virtual machines is that an IT administrator can be very closely located to the Virtual machines that run on the servers. The second important benefit is the concept of centralizing user data. Users will not lose any data even in the case of device failure.
3) Centralized Management: Enables IT to manage the entire user desktop PCs from a central location. Centralized management reduces the IT technicians’ travel time to the end users’ workstation which subsequently improves the response time of IT and reduces support cost compared to the traditional PC.
4) Security: Help organizations keep critical intellectual information secured and store and present them from centrally located storage or managed servers.
5) Provisioning: Server hosted desktop environments can be quickly provisioned by the IT administrators and accessed by users with minimal deployment overheads.
6) Simplifies OS Refresh: Help organizations migrate their Windows Desktops to the latest OS such as Windows 7 without upgrading the current desktop PCs by simply hosting the new desktops virtually in the data center.
The VDI technology is a multi-tier architecture which would involve integrating more than one technology. Therefore, analysing the existing IT infrastructure is a key success factor for realizing the core benefits of VDI.
Some challenges related to rolling out VDI are:
1) Multi-tier architecture demands advanced desktop deployment and management processes for VDI adoption.
2) Network connections are required to be ‘ON’ for accessing the desktop PC, making it unsuitable for offline usage.
3) Audio/Multimedia, 3D Video and USB device performance is not as good as physical PC; hence the right user profile needs to be considered.
4) As deployment base grows, the complexity would also increase resulting in poor application performance and scalability issues.
5) Companies may require additional investments in terms of server hardware, storage, network and software for deploying VDI.
Before any IT strategy can be implemented the pros and cons have to be evaluated. We hope you now understand some of those related to virtual desktops.