The Resurrection of VDI for Desktop Virtualisation

By Lauren Fritsky

It costs too much. It’s too hard to implement. End users aren’t happy with it.

These have been some of the top complaints surrounding traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). In fact, many enterprises seemed so dissatisfied with the technology that IT experts and media outlets predicted it would become nearly obsolete.

Early into 2012, VDI’s future seems to be looking a bit brighter thanks to better education around alternative delivery methods and new technological capabilities that make it easier for IT departments to manage and better for end users to experience.

The management issue

Moving all the desktops into the data centre for traditional on-premise VDI implementation saw costs surge dramatically because of the SAN storage and data centre infrastructure required. For all that expense, IT departments then had a more complex environment to manage, plus users squawking about a cookie-cutter desktop experience.

Software as a Service (SaaS) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) cloud deliveries have emerged as ways around these hurdles. These cloud approaches alleviate the pain of central storage management, software or hardware procurement and in-house technical support for the IT department. They can also slash CAPEX investments and typically give the enterprise lower, set monthly costs. Companies such as Microsoft and Citrix have partnered with cloud service providers to offer DaaS VDI hosted either onsite or in the private cloud.

Easier on-premise deployment

Other VDI providers have found ways to reduce the amount of infrastructure needed when virtualising the desktop onsite.

Through consolidating desktop provisioning and management, connection brokering, load balancing and availability without the need for shared storage, businesses can reduce about 60 per cent of their traditional VDI infrastructure. Companies like Citrix offer this delivery method through grid architecture reliant on local storage of off-the-shelve servers, which removes the need for individual management and connection servers. The company’s VDI-in-a-Box is targeted at SMBs, which research shows have traditionally hedged on virtualising the desktop due to cost and complexity issues.

A more personal experience

Easier access for mobile employees was the second most common reason listed for looking at a cloud-based VDI solution, according to users polled in an InformationWeek survey. But employees bringing their own devices to work want customisable experiences, which is where traditional VDI has struggled. Providers such as VMware have found a way around this by including persona management technology. IT management can create an individual desktop experience whether it’s being accessed from a traditional PC or a mobile device.

VMware View 5 offers persona management so IT management can centrally manage the desktop through an on-premise cloud while giving a personalised experience to users.  Employees can also access their work desktop on other laptops, PCs or thin clients from home through VMware View Client or on mobile devices through VMware View Client for iPad or Android.

The Datacom team works with a variety of vendors to deliver desktop virtualisation solutions, including VDI or alternative VDI delivery methods. We will reverse engineer from your current environment to develop a customised desktop virtualisation solution that makes sense for your business goals. We have a proven track record of large-scale desktop deployment for enterprises around Australia.

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