A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a service that works by hosting the desktop operating systems of users on remote servers in the cloud. Anyone who wants to access their computer desktop does so via a virtual machine using a remote display protocol, with connection brokering services such as Canopy linking them up to their assigned desktop sessions using a server hardware platform.
That’s the really technical part, anyway. However, what businesses need to understand is that it can be a huge step forwards compared to older systems because it means employees can access their desktop from any location and are not tied to a single device.
Because the resources are centralised in the cloud, people can move between different offices yet still get into their own desktop environment that has their apps and data on it.
VDI provides individual desktop operating systems (such as Windows 7) and is designed to deliver a full desktop environment, not just certain applications. It also delivers a personal workspace back to each user when they log in, so it retains all their own customisations. This means no having to get used to a new machine when employees move between offices – they can simply get straight to work as usual.
What benefits can it offer?
A VDI offers a number of benefits for business owners looking to maximise their profits and boost efficiency.
To start with, because all the desktop components are virtualised it means everything is easier to manage and upgrade. This equals better continuity and a more efficient operating model, as machines do not need to be individually worked on by IT staff each time something needs to be altered.
There is also the fact that it is highly scalable. Where managers once had to over-provision equipment such as servers just in case of busy periods, they can now take such occasions in their stride and scale down again afterwards without wasting money. This frees up personnel yet also ensures customer needs can be responded to quickly.
However, perhaps the most important feature of a VDI at a time when malicious targeting of data is so prevalent is the added security it offers. No data is saved to the user’s device, so if it is lost, sensitive information cannot be retrieved and compromised. At the same time, it is an excellent way of supporting a disaster recovery strategy, as all the components are saved in the data centre and the restoration process is therefore very straightforward.
How does this apply to businesses and their end products?
So, how can this help companies to improve their efficiency and make things better overall for their employees? Primarily, it is a real asset where mobility and connectivity are concerned. Employees can hook up anything from laptops to smartphones to the same server and then access the same documents as their colleagues in a completely different location.
Furthermore, it means an end to cumbersome storage solutions. Thanks to their being able to access applications like cloud-hosted email solutions, workers can retain reams of records and correspondence without it slowing down their individual machines
In the long run, the cloud-based, collaborative approach that VDI offers could mean businesses have more time for focusing on their original goals without having to jump the hurdles that poor IT infrastructure can present – and that should lead to more profits.