What is VDI, Who is Using It, and Why Ease of Support is the Number One Reason Companies are Deploying VDI
Why are 70 million PCs expected to be used in VDI networks by 2015? And why are 50% of companies with employees of more than 250 using VDI? A recent survey indicates that ease of support is the number one reason companies are implementing VDI networks.
To illustrate, imagine if you had to change the images on 250 separate webpages one by one? Now imagine being able to accomplish the same thing by changing only one image on one webpage. VDI reduces the number of image downloads in its network. For example, in one case study by Whitehat Virtual Technologies, a financial services client reduced the number of desktop images that they were supporting from 180 to 5, resulting in a significant savings in time and resources.
For many companies that implement a VDI network, it results in a long-range time-saving and cost-effective solution. 44% of those surveyed, therefore, ranked ease of support as the main reason they were using or planning to use a VDI network.
What is VDI, specifically? PC Magazine Encyclopedia defines VDI as a generic term for desktop virtualization, that is, virtual desktop virtualization, where “client desktops are run in virtual machines in a server.”
Technet Magazine endorses the benefits of VDI stating that, “VDI can help save time and money, provide greater defense against catastrophic failure, improve update speeds, and provide an easy way to customize desktops for certain users or groups of users.” VDI should be considered especially when “desktop flexibility” is a priority.
Disadvantages of VDI
What are the disadvantages of VDI? Imagine baking bread, you are making 100 loaves; the baking pan has a large dent on one side, you don’t notice until you are halfway through, what will happen to all of the loaves that you have already made? All of them will carry the same imperfection. The same is true of VDI, if there is a problem in the main server, that issue can be transmitted to all the PCs in the network rather to just one.
Careful Planning Needed for Successful Implementation of a VDI Network
For this reason, Jorge Orchilles, MS, a network administrator, consultant, and security operating center analyst, states that carful planning is an essential part of successful deployment of VDI. He recommends, “defining which users will benefit the most and what virtualization components you’ll need to deploy” for successful implementation of a VDI network. Additionally, because VDI requires a significant investment in hardware, potential savings are not immediate but spread out over several years. Orchilles states, “You need to plan and budget before embarking on the project.”
Scott Matteson, a Boston-based systems administrator and consultant, relates careful planning to thinking long-term about the resources that you will need both today and in the following years, again, before implementing a VDI system. Matteson recommends using configuration planning guides that will help determine the optimum level of mid-range hardware needs, without overinvesting in hardware. He also encourages clients to “document and learn from errors” factoring these into the transition and implementation of a VDI network and ongoing IT management.
VDI—Ease and Efficiency of Support
PCWorld, describing the advantages of VDI, states accurately, “When you encounter problems, you’ll generally have just one system to troubleshoot.” Most problems can be dealt with directly at the data center rather than in individual PCs, a major time savings. The same images are accessed from any workstation in the network; if a user is having a problem with their individual station, they can access what they need in another workstation in the network. To address the issue of network problems affecting numerous users, administrators should set up “redundant servers” as a failsafe.
Eric Tabor of ISG Technology quotes an in-depth analysis of IT trends by Computer Economics of Irvine, CA, where VDI is referred to as #3 in its list of “low-risk/high-reward” technological developments, in an article entitled, “Embracing virtual desktop infrastructure through managed services”.
Whitehat Virtual Technologies emphasizes careful planning well before investing in new hardware. Whitehat’s VDI Readiness Assessment provides an efficient, low-cost analysis of their clients’ IT environment to identify compatibility and capacity issues before deploying a VDI network, as well as to aid in determining the optimum IT management solution.
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