A Google search this morning showed a parade of different articles, all titled “Desktop Virtualization Comes of Age.” At first glance, the earliest article was back in 2007. Yet another appeared almost every year. That means we’ve been predicting virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) will become viable and affordable for almost 10 years.
The reason for the delay wasn’t just immature software technology. The supporting infrastructure for making a large-scale deployment work wasn’t there either. We needed:
- Network speed and bandwidth
- High-performance thin and zero client devices
- Sophisticated yet simple image and user profile management
Today, technology has caught up with the predictions. But with BYOD, employees are using their own laptops, tablets and smartphones for work more than ever. Does business still need all the centralized management that VDI promised?
Absolutely, and here are just six of the many reasons why.
#1 Dedicated employee, non-dedicated equipment
Graphic designers and engineers need serious horsepower to render 3D images and crunch analytical data. And they tend to work long hours. Now they want to do that extra work from home. Instead of packing up powerful desktops for home, they can take a laptop with a thin desktop client. This leaves the computing power back in the data center. Plus, unlike dedicated workstations, a virtual desktop doesn’t sit idle.
#2 No more lost laptops
Did you know that a full 10 percent of corporate laptops are stolen? Whether from the office, from the airport or from home, that’s a high theft rate.
There are two losses to consider: the laptop itself and the data on it. The data loss could well cost the company more than the laptop. With a virtual desktop, there’s no local data to steal. Plus, a “terminal” laptop needn’t be the priciest unit on the market.
#3 Office mobility—it’s a good thing
Almost 20 percent of Americans work from home, some occasionally, others fulltime. Whether you send a cheap laptop home with employees, or you install a thin client on their personal machines, if the host machine is stolen or even crashes, there’s no loss either to the actual “desktop” environment or the data.
And back in the office, you can move that same “dumb” laptop from cubicle to conference room, simplifying meetings and collaboration.
#4 Part-time and contractors on the rise
Not all your mobile workers are employees, either. IDG estimates that by 2020 over 40 percent of the workforce will be part-time or contract workers. But issuing company laptops to these non-employees is problematic from a data security standpoint.
With a virtual desktop environment, you’ll have tighter control over what those freelancers can and cannot access. VDI user management tools allow for special images and access control to be customized for workers of different types and roles.
#5 Handling the revolving desk
In many businesses like call or monitoring centers, employees don’t have assigned seating. There are arrangements for replacing shared desktop computers with thin or zero-client workstations. No matter which seat an employee occupies, his virtual desktop can follow him—and there’s no local storage to worry about.
Even in more traditional office settings, flexible seating is becoming popular. Equipping each cubicle with a virtual client workstation lets any worker use any seat. Plus the same “desktop” can be accessed remotely.
#6 Forget the annual refresh—and the costs
One of the biggest IT budget items is the annual refresh of desktop equipment. As new versions of operating systems and applications are released, the machine needs more memory and more disk space. Besides equipment costs, it’s a never-ending support task for staff.
With VDI workstations, all the computer resources are on the server. Software updates are done virtually by staff from a central location, not to mention “hardware” allocations. This lowers support costs and all but eliminates hardware refreshes.
Want to explore other ways desktop virtualization can save you time and money? Paranet’s SimplePC solution can make your workforce more mobile than ever and free you from the cost and pain of annual hardware refreshes. Schedule a consultation to learn more.