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How To Setup Virtual Desktop Infrastructure For Your Remote Workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic made millions of people work from home. It created a situation of emergency where everyone was in a state of panic, and everyone was forced to stay indoors.

Did you know that a total of 48% of the American workforce started operating virtually in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak?

Before the pandemic hit in 2020, work from office culture was a part of the normal workplace setting. A large percentage of people were doing a 9-5 job while occasionally working remotely. 

When this setup was uprooted, remote working became the new normal. As a result, big and small businesses started utilizing technology to support remote work. But, even with state-of-art technology utilization, many companies still experience challenges related to scalability, security, and budget. 

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can offer solutions to these challenges. Read more to know how you can set up a VDI for your remote workforce. 

What is VDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is a concept of creating virtual desktops. Desktop systems are hosted on a server for virtual access. This means that a thin client runs your virtual desktops in a window running on a web browser, application client, or operating system. However, the actual application client operates from a remote or an in-house server. 

As a user, you only have to join this thin client via multi-factor authentication to access virtual desktops.

However, you may find it counterintuitive to utilize multiple services and layers for every user. VDI has a series of benefits that empower operational efficiency, justifying its usage.

  • Enhancing accessibility by isolating applications from a device, which creates an easy connection whenever required.
  • Application isolation from devices like desktops also improves security. Thin clients don't store the data. So, if an employee is accessing a thin client on a mobile, the device doesn't have residual data when you have closed the virtual desktop. This offers advanced security.
  • Reducing the hassle of managing, purchasing, and maintaining office desktop units. Replacing them with thin clients allows multi-device usage. Users can access this thin client on a smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet.
  • Advanced responsiveness in adding and removing thin clients based on the resource requirements of the business. 

How To Set Up Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?

Various businesses utilize VDI only to deliver apps to the users via a thin client. These apps often have special licensing or additional resource requirements. Many other businesses use VDI to deliver the entire Windows desktop to end-users. This way, every employee has access to their own remote desktop system.

Regardless of the type of implementation, the VDI setup is crucial. Find below the steps that are essential for VDI implementation.

1.  Identify Project Scope

VDI is crucial, and its scope is huge. Hence, start by narrowing things one by one.

Decide one thing from partial or full desktop replacement.

If you choose a full replacement with VDI, you need hardware and software according to the storage and performance requirements. This will move your Windows systems to the VDI server, which you can access with thin clients. 

Another option is to migrate some essential applications to the VDI server. Since you are not migrating the entire desktop at one time, evaluating storage and performance requirements is easy. The scope of your project is not limited to partial migration, as there's always a choice to scale later.

After finalizing the above factors, initiate capacity planning. 

  • How many employees will utilize VDI?
  • Is your network sufficient for these client-server communications?
  • Is your data center equipped to handle the network and storage?

2.  Select a Vendor

The infrastructure related to the VDI connection is known as connection broker. Every VDI vendor may use different terminology, but the difference in VDI servers and connection broker should be clearly understood. 

A connection broker consumes various virtual servers itself, so it can be seen as an overhead. It manages your user portal, starts/stops virtual machines, authenticates and authorizes users, and connects users and apps or VMs.  

VDI servers, on the other hand, run the entire desktop for the user through a remote server. So, for example, if you are virtualizing your desktop or Windows system, then virtual servers would be created for every user of your organization. You can pack many of these servers in the hypervisor, such as 20 virtual servers in one physical server.

While selecting a vendor, be more focused on choosing the right connection broker. Some businesses choose to run VDI servers on the cloud entirely when you have no requirement for a VPN. This reduces the hassle for server setup, hardware, software purchases, and hypervisor setup. The CSP usually manages Cloud-hosted VDI solutions.

3.   Set Up Hypervisor

If you use cloud-hosted VDI, hypervisor setup is not required because the CSP offers both a connection broker and hypervisors for VMs. 

However, on-premise VDI servers require a hypervisor setup for proper scaling and descaling of resources. You can select from some of the leading hypervisors, such as RHEV, XenServer, etc. 

Select this element carefully because it defines your scalability - quite literally. Every user on your VDI server is taking some space in your physical server. When you want to scale, there needs to be physical scaling in hypervisor storage. Hence, you have to ensure you have control over your disk, server, and network performance. 

4.   Train Your Employees

Finally, take some time to train your employees. Everyone is used to working on Windows desktop, but not everyone can understand VDI immediately. So, spend some time educating your end-user and prepare them for authorization, authentication, and other controls. Ensure that the VDI is installed correctly on every users' device.

If you are hosting the complete VDI infrastructure on the cloud, you may get this support from your hosted VDI provider.

Conclusion

Various costs are associated with the implementation of the VDI solution. Thus, some businesses may find VDI set up a bit challenging due to budgetary constraints. To eliminate the issue, you can opt for hosted VDI. Some of these costs can be mitigated with a flexible cloud-based VDI. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yuvraj Jain 

Yuvraj Jain is a technology analyst at ACE Cloud Hosting, a leading Desktop-as-a-Service hosting provider. He is keen to write about the latest tech trends and is fond of exploring VDI technology, DaaS, hosted virtual desktop, and cloud hosting services. In his free time, he likes to read blogs and books related to life.

Published Thursday, June 24, 2021 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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