Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is making a splash among businesses looking for an easier and more cost-effective way to manage their employees’ computers. While not a new concept, VDI technology is better than ever and can be seen as a real game-changer.
VDI is a technique used to separate a desktop computer environment from the physical computer by using virtual machines that are hosted on a centralized server. In other words, instead of setting up individual PCs for each user, employees connect to a virtual PC from any device, and all management of the PCs is done from one location.
Two Reasons Why Businesses Need VDI
Changes to how businesses and employees operate (e.g., mobile devices, flexible work schedules, and bring your own device [BYOD] policies) require changes in technology. VDI helps information technology (IT) adapt to the evolving workforce by offering flexibility, efficiency and security in two major ways.
1. Enable the mobile workforce
With so many options for utilizing technology, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, today’s employees do not want to be limited in how they engage with their company’s IT resources. VDI allows organizations to provide their staff with the flexibility to work from multiple locations and devices while enjoying the same experience as if they were sitting in front of their PC. Employees that are constantly on the go need mobile technology that will allow them to maximize their efficiency and deliver constant results.
2. Simplify workstation setup and application rollouts
Regardless of the size of a company, setting up employee workstations often requires a lot of tedious and redundant tasks. In most cases, this leads to loss of time and money incurred from labor costs, maintenance and downtime. VDI can drastically lessen the time and expense of getting employee computers set up since all updates are made on the host computer and then pushed out to employee workstations. As an added benefit, less expensive workstations, such as thin/zero clients and low-end laptops, can be used since the host computer is the workhorse behind the workstations.
Wasted Time Is Expensive
Regardless of your type of business, wasted time equates to wasted money. Time is a very valuable asset to any organization. Once it is lost, it cannot be recaptured. Every second a system is down means dollars lost.
Desktop support is a necessary part of IT, but it is traditionally time-consuming and can cause end-users to be “down” while their issues are resolved. VDI allows IT to maintain and troubleshoot the user desktop experience in a centralized system, allowing issues to be resolved faster and with greater efficiency.
Often, when a business evaluates VDI, it finds the upfront investment prohibitive. However, a cost benefit analysis will show that VDI offers several benefits, as well as cost savings in desktop management, new computer provisioning and software upgrades. A trusted partner with expertise and VDI experience can help design and implement a solution that minimizes risks and increases productivity.
Doing It Right
Businesses should always be looking at the big picture in terms of decision making. Although the up-front cost of a VDI implementation may not seem outwardly justifiable, companies often find that the benefits and long-term savings in time and money, as well as the huge benefits to productivity, outweigh the initial investment.
With VDI, practically any problem can be resolved directly from the company’s data center, enabling near seamless updates and repairs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if there are errors in the server configuration, it can lead to issues for all users. Therefore it is important to ensure proper setup. Additionally, the solution design must plan accordingly for growth, upgrades and future functionality.
As part of your VDI planning, it’s important to consider many facets, from your motivation and goals for moving to a VDI infrastructure, to how a move to VDI will integrate with your existing business processes and company culture, and finally, to ensuring you have all your bases covered and take your time with planning and installation so that you get it right the first time, to minimize downtime and future frustration.
Jefferson Eckles is the business process manager at DP Solutions (www.dpsolutions.com/vdi), in Columbia. He can be reached at 410-720-3300.