Desktop Virtualisation, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), is a concept designed to centralise computing resource in the data centre, tackle common technical challenges and provide greater control and manageability of the desktop estate and increased flexibility for users. VDI solutions can bring a wide range of benefits and create new opportunities for flexibility, efficiency and longer term costs savings.
There are many reasons to look at taking an alternative approach to managing your desktop environment.
VDI solutions can give huge flexibility to your users. This flexibility is crucial in today’s ever-changing IT landscape. It allows you to get fantastic return on investment by opening up access to systems to achieve greater productivity for less.
Some of the key elements around flexibility of our solutions are:
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - Being able to provide users with a desktop accessible on any device creates huge flexibility for both IT staff and users. This is in more and more demand with the rise of smartphone and tablet computing.
Home Working - Home working can bring reduction in travel time, reduction in real estate requirements and increased productivity. Also in times of bad weather where travel is impossible, workers can remain productive.
Mobile Working - Keeping users productive whilst out of the office is a crucial requirement for modern operations.. Allowing users to interact with systems in real time and not having to wait to get back to the office to synchronise data increases efficiency.
Operating System Choice - Different jobs may require access to different operating systems at different times. A VDI solution allows complete OS freedom irrelevant of access device.
The financial benefits of virtualising your desktop environment can be significant but must be looked at in the medium term. As VDI solutions are an infrastructure based solution the initial acquisition costs can around the same as replacing the PC estate, but viewed in the longer term the Return on Investement and Total Cost of Ownership figures look compelling.
A VDI environment delivers financial benefits in the following key areas:
Sustainability - An average PC refresh is around 4-5 years whereas a thin client’s should be 10 years or more and is significantly cheaper per device too.
Reduced energy costs - Thin client desktop devices draw a fraction of the power of a PC and also produce significantly less heat, thus reducing the pressure on air-conditioning systems and contributing to an overall reduction in energy costs and carbon emissions.
Improved Staff Efficiency - Centralising the management of desktops can greatly reduce the staff resources required to maintain the desktop estate, freeing them to provide other IT services.
Real Estate Cost - Increased mobility and flexibility can facilitate hot-desking and remote working.
Windows 7/8 Migration - Many PCs are not capable of running the next generation of Windows OS. By virtualising the desktop the device no longer inhibits OS migration
License Consolidation - VDI can be a catalyst for looking at your software and licensing needs. Huge amounts of money can often be saved.
Managing a traditional desktop estate can be costly, time consuming and a black hole for resources. By moving away from this approach you can not only save money but also give your organisation the freedom to revitalise your entire IT strategy. Set out below are some of the key advantages that a VDI environment can bring:
Centralised management - Bringing the desktop into the Data Centre means that the amount of time that technicians have to spend fixing desktop issues is greatly reduced. No longer do they have to be dispatched to visit the end user to address issues.
Device management - The use of low or zero management end user devices also decreases the amount of “on the floor” time the technicians have to spend. In effect the end user device becomes like a light bulb, they can be managed by estates.
Greater control over software and OS updates - As all the desktops are created from Templates, management of the software on the desktops only requires to be installed on the template and the desktops re-cloned to make that software available to all desktop associated with that Template. This greatly reduces the time taken to deploy new or updated software to the user base.
In the case of XP to Win 7 migration, users can be migrated very quickly to Windows 7 without the need to make any changes to the end user device. Also, the reverse can happen quickly. Should it be found that there are issues with the Windows 7 desktop, user can be reverted back to XP very quickly thus maintaining business continuity.
In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the personal and corporate focus on environmental impact and responsibility. This awareness of green issues is becoming more and more important in informing decisions taken around IT infrastructure and changing the way the organisations approach their desktop strategy can bring significant ecological benefits.
Every organisation is under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint and IT is a major contributor to that carbon footprint. Virtualisation is one way to taking a major step forward in the reduction of carbon usage.
By reducing the power consumption of the desktop environment, using desktop devices with significantly longer longevity than a PC and having the desktop estate managed centrally all contribute to significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the desktop environment.
Security is a key factor in deploying virtualised desktops. In addition to removing data from physical machines there is greater control over locking down the desktop and controlling peripherals such as USB keys.
Remote workers no longer have sensitive data stored on mobile devices. The data is secure, managed and protected inside your data centre. If the device is lost or stolen, the impact is much less, particularly when combined with additional security solutions such a two factor authentication.
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