What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
Large changes are happening within the work landscape as work-from-home and hybrid cloud ecosystems are becoming commonplace. With the sprawl of employees and environments, it has become difficult to administer the manageability, security, and infrastructure requirements needed to keep a business running. Due to these challenges, IT leaders are looking for tools that securely ease the management of these environments without breaking the bank. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is that tool.
What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a virtualization solution that uses virtual machines to provide and manage virtual desktops. VDI hosts desktop environments on a centralized server and deploys them to end-users on request. accessed over the network with an endpoint device (laptop, tablet, and so on).
With a VDI solution in place, organizations can realize several benefits. Desktop computing takes place on the host server, rather than at the endpoint device, so the hardware requirements for the endpoint are lower. This potentially invests in an endpoint device lower, and it may be easier to support a diverse range of remote and mobile devices. As the hardware needs of the desktop software change, it may also be easier to reallocate CPU and memory from the server side than from the endpoint devices.
Security and configuration management are additional benefits of the VDI solution. Because all data lives in the data center, any loss of an endpoint device limits the exposure of the data that is not stored in the device. In environments with standardized desktop configurations that do not need to be customized for each user, a VDI instance offers strict controls to eliminate deviation from organizational standards.
How does VDI work?
In modern digital workspaces where numerous apps must be accessed on-demand, VDI facilitates secure and convenient remote access to help boost employee productivity. It also enables a consistent experience across multiple devices. In all VDI deployments, the following characteristics apply:
- Virtual desktops live within virtual machines on a centralized server.
- Each virtual desktop includes an operating system image, typically Microsoft Windows.
- The virtual machines are host-based, meaning multiple instances of them can be housed on the same server within the data center.
- End clients, such as PCs, tablets, or thin client terminals, must be constantly connected to the centrally managed server so they can maintain access to the virtualized desktops they’re hosting.
- The connection broker – a software layer that acts as an intermediary between users and virtual resources – finds a virtual desktop within the resource pool for each client upon successful access to the VDI environment.
- Meanwhile, a hypervisor creates, runs, and manages the various host-machine VMs that encapsulate individual virtual desktop environments.
Why Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
VDI offers several advantages, such as user mobility, ease of access, flexibility, and greater security. In the past, its high-performance requirements made it costly and challenging to deploy on legacy systems, which posed a barrier for many businesses. However, the rise in enterprise adoption of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) offers a solution that provides scalability and high performance at a lower cost.
Benefits of VDI
The following are a few of the most important benefits provided by virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI):
- Increased scalability: Cloud computing has made VDI more enticing by leveraging scalable infrastructure to consume resources when required by the VDI. By consolidating all of the VDI infrastructures on a host server, it reduces the hardware requirements and purchases, since users can access their environments from any device.
- Centralized management: VDIs provide a centralized management structure that allows administrators to patch, update, and change all virtualized desktops at a single time. There is no longer a requirement of needing to fix the entire organization individually. This also allows for a complete desktop disaster recovery strategy because all components are saved and backed up in the data center.
- Security: VDI helps businesses maintain their complete confidentiality since the applications live on the host server in the data center and not the client device. If a device is ever stolen or corrupted, the connectivity of the device can be terminated to protect the businesses’ data. It is critical, however, that the operating system images be properly managed and updated, and the authentication of remote workers must be thorough.
- Accessibility: VDI allows end-users to “bring your own device” (BYOD) and use their devices to gain remote access to their files, applications, and cloud services from any location. This essentially creates a digital workspace/remote desktop, creating a better user experience and making it significantly easier to work from home because employees can utilize PCs, tablets, smartphones, and thin clients.
- Cost savings: Hardware expenses are significantly reduced since IT does not need to keep purchasing new hardware. The consolidation of the processing on the server helps drive the decrease in IT expenditure.
What are the use cases for VDI?
VDI is an important technology for many types of workers across numerous industries. Remote employees, hybrid workers, contractors, kiosk and task workers, field technicians, medical professionals, teachers, and many others regularly rely on VDI to access a reliable virtual desktop from one or more locations. Thanks to the versatility of VDI across its different deployment types, this virtualization technology can work equally well as a way for users to have access to standard, nonpersistent desktops or to turn their virtual desktops into a highly personalized digital workspace.
Why VDI might be right for you
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is an integral part of many companies IT strategies because it allows businesses to reduce their expenses and simplify the management of these systems. The importance of VDI is becoming exponentially accelerated as companies look at enabling a more flexible work landscape because it provides the accessibility, security, scalability, automation, and ease of use to implement quickly and effectively.