As companies look for ways to enable flexible access to data without compromising security standards or data integrity, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is piquing the interest of IT managers across various industries. With the latest VDI solutions offering far easier implementation and more scalability, now more than ever, desktop virtualization can help businesses achieve the secure, manageable mobility programs employees need.
Are remote data-management concerns stalling your business initiatives? In this slideshow, Jeff McNaught, executive director and chief strategy officer, Dell Cloud Client-Computing, offers five ways VDI can simplify IT management.
Simplifying IT Management with VDI
Click through for five ways virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can simplify IT management, as identified by Jeff McNaught, executive director and chief strategy officer, Dell Cloud Client-Computing.
Empower your employees to work dynamically across multiple devices.
While tenured workers still prefer to use a desktop or laptop, 2-in-1 devices are rapidly gaining popularity among senior executives. Meanwhile, workers aged 18 to 35 reportedly use a greater number of devices than older workers. These disparate needs place a burden on the IT teams tasked with securing this multitude of distinct devices.
VDI enables IT teams to separate employees’ desktop environments – and associated applications and files – from their physical devices, giving companies a safe and simple way to ramp up BYOD programs. Employees can then access their Windows desktop from any device without introducing security risks associated with data residing on remote devices. Even if a device is lost or stolen, key intellectual property resides only within the secure data center, and unauthorized users are not able to access company information without login credentials.
With the upswing in people choosing to work from home, organizations can ensure security as well as convenience by providing workers with a thin client for this purpose. A thin client eliminates the risk of employees logging in remotely using the family PC, and therefore the risk of family members installing software that impacts work, as well as the inevitable issues around sharing the PC with family.
Data Integrity and Security
Maintain data integrity without compromising IT control and security.
For companies with multiple users accessing the same files from different locations like health care organizations and architecture firms, VDI provides a way to allow access from a number of different devices without losing the integrity of the data.
For example, doctors can access electronic health records from terminals located at the patient’s bedside as well as other designated points throughout the hospital. Architects can access resource-intensive building site plans and make edits on laptops or tablets while they’re in the field, where the size and complexity of these files would normally preclude remote access.
With the files stored safely in the data center, multi-team collaboration is enhanced as there is little risk of outdated and multiple versions sitting on different devices, and if any of these devices were lost or stolen, thieves or other unauthorized users would be unable to get a hold of the data itself.
Streamline management for desktops and applications.
Maintaining virtualized desktops and applications is often much easier for IT teams than maintaining a distinct set of endpoints which can number in the hundreds or even many thousands. Every time an employee logs off, the virtual desktop can automatically be reset, removing any software the employee may have manually added. This keeps employees from installing unauthorized applications and provides an easy way to troubleshoot — any time a problem occurs, employees can simply reboot and their desktop will be restored. In addition, rather than configuring individual desktop images for each employee, an administrator can quickly and easily create multiple virtual desktop configurations with settings and layouts that cater to specific departments’ workloads.
Scale-out and configure based on your business needs.
There are two general methodologies for implementing VDI: reference architectures, which enable a high degree of customization, and appliances, which are simpler to procure and deploy. Either option can be scalable, but appliances are faster and easier to implement and adjust. Specifically, VDI appliances combine compute, storage and software in a single pre-configured device to support a specific VDI workload, and are generally favored by organizations looking for ease of deployment and management with predictable costs as they scale. Some can be deployed in under two hours, giving even fast-growth companies an easy way to keep up with workforce demands. Small businesses that might have thought that VDI was too complex and costly will be pleased to see those issues have been addressed with appliances. New appliances start at about 75 workers, and can easily scale cost-effectively to 5,000, so company growth is also not an inhibitor to VDI adoption.
Budget within your project scope and resources.
While desktop virtualization once had a reputation for being costly, it has evolved into one of the lower total-cost-of-ownership options available. Most of these cost savings for IT teams come from reduced OpEx spending over time, thanks to the ease of management and the efficiency of low-power thin clients. But for organizations with remote sites or workers, there are significant CapEx benefits as well. In particular, companies can opt for long lifecycle, thin client devices and significantly reduce endpoint purchases. They can also support BYOD programs since almost any device can be used to connect to a virtual desktop.
At the same time, VDI allows for more streamlined management of software licenses, as IT can track and pay only for licenses that are actually needed instead of buying a block of endpoint software licenses that may go unused. From lower implementation costs to a longer lifespan and reduced management costs, VDI has become a simple and cost-effective solution to meet the needs of today’s demanding, complex, and dynamic IT environment.