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Rethinking the Virtual Desktop Experience

rethinking-virtualdesktop 

Article Written by Ali Din, CMO at dinCloud

With new technology, implementing virtual desktops is becoming easier. The technology is becoming simpler. The benefits can be realized sooner. But getting here was not without bumps.

For those organizations that have been early adopters of VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), the journey has not been easy. Over the years, software has evolved, but faced limitations in the network or other components. The promise of virtual desktops was to mimic, if not exceed, the performance of a physical desktop.

Types of Virtual Desktops

Virtual desktops took the concept of virtualizing servers to the end-user level. To achieve that, the concept of supporting a desktop fleet turned into an entire data center operation. This included servers, storage, and networking performing in unison to deliver a desktop or application to an end user over the internet.

To compensate for the latency across the internet and control the experience more, software vendors introduced additional components, such as connection brokers and additional infrastructure that would enhance the user experience.

Unfortunately, this created a more complex environment. Mostly sophisticated IT shops were able to go through the proof of concepts, implement the software, and spend large amounts of capital for the data center infrastructure.

To mitigate the large capital outlay and ease the burden on organizations, cloud providers offered hosted virtual desktops, which are now referred to primarily as desktop as a service (DaaS) or hosted workspaces.

The complexity didn't go away, but was offloaded to another organization.

Challenges of Running Virtual Desktops

When you run extra layers of software and other third-party components from software vendors you run into a number of complexities:

IT administrators must manage multiple, extra servers, monitor and patch these servers, and ensure that operating system upgrades or changes in the network don't impact the core servers running the infrastructure. And IT administrators must ensure their user base is running on the latest software client.

End users have to deal with upgrades in the software client and learn how to use and troubleshoot an extra piece of software, just to get into their actual work. This extra layer causes confusion for nontechnical users especially.

Many times, organizations buy software and other components to build VDI themselves. Unfortunately, much of these software purchases become shelf ware and left unused. From a financial standpoint, buying the software and equipment is a big risk. Not only is there significant capital expenditure, but it also commits the organization to that specific platform and lump sum user commitment. From an adoption stand point, the long list of SKUs, such as software and equipment needed to run virtual desktops, leaves many organizations at a standstill. Many projects slow down or become halted due to former complexity of VDI... until now.

The New Virtual Desktop Experience

With improvements in bandwidth, ubiquity of access to broadband, and technology upgrades such as Windows Server 2016, organizations can now enjoy the benefits of virtual desktops without the burden of a heavy infrastructure.

It is now possible to have a native Windows experience. A user can go directly from their Windows, Mac, or Android device and access a hosted Windows desktop. This simplifies the user experience and IT operations.

While not all aspects of the infrastructure are gone, the Microsoft native capabilities make it much more accessible for organizations of all sizes and levels of sophistication to enjoy the benefits. For those organizations that prefer not to take on the data center operations associated with virtual desktops, hosted workspace providers are able to offer this experience as a turn-key service.

Benefits of Virtual Desktops

Virtual desktops allow companies to provide a secure workspace to their users. This protects the intellectual property of the company and it also gives a layer of protection to the end user. End users can bring their own devices or use personal data and not worry about it co-mingling with corporate applications or corporate data.

Besides a secure environment, virtual desktops are also more resilient. Bugs, errors, or malware might impact an end user and make their physical device unusable. However, with virtual desktops, end users can jump from one virtual desktop to another, and even restore their profiles to another virtual desktop seamlessly. This allows organizations to ensure their workers are highly productive.

Virtual desktops also help reduce support costs for the desktop fleet. Rather than managing devices and virtual workers or remote branches, the support team can easily and centrally manage virtual desktops, including the deployment of new software more seamlessly to virtual desktops.

The improvement in bandwidth and technology for rolling out virtual desktops, or using a turn-key hosted workspace service has made adoption much easier for companies. It is one step companies can take to help simplify their operations on their journey to digital transformation.

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About the Author

Ali Din 

Ali Din is CMO at dinCloud, a cloud-based services provider that simplifies complex technology for the mid-market. Ali's IT industry career in the last 20 years has spanned product development, marketing, and brand management. For more information, visit: www.dincloud.com or follow Ali @TheDinMan on Twitter.

Published Tuesday, October 03, 2017 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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