Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
The needs of the modern IT department are constantly evolving. IT leaders face a constant challenge of balancing the needs of their stakeholders. Their users want BYOD or greater flexibility in device use to support their increasingly mobile working practices. Management has concerns about information security, possible compliance issues, and the need to retain control over their both data and people. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a compelling option for companies that are grappling with these challenges. A deployment scenario of 100 users is shown below:
In this instance, all their business applications are already virtualised (e.g. on a virtual private cloud). Users themselves connect via a VDI connection broker. Up to 100 virtual desktop users can be online at any one time. Each virtual desktop is configured via a gold master base image containing the default configuration – e.g. operating system and applications like Windows and Office – with additional applications being available for selected users (e.g. Adobe Creative Suite).
A common objections with VDI technologies is “what do I do if I’m offline”, e.g. with a laptop on a plane. The solution is simple – the laptop switches into local mode and the user works on their documents offline. Once the connection is re-established, the virtual desktop syncs with the server.
VDI supports Mac, Windows or Linux devices and iPad or Android tablets. Users login via two-factor authentication for security. Even though the device itself may lack the capabilities of a desktop PC, the virtual desktop concept gets round this problem by separating the logical entity from the physical entity, thus allowing the users to access “their” desktop from any device.
Elasticity and Scalability
One major advantage of VDI is that, like server virtualisation, it separates the physical from the virtual, allowing more rapid expansion and contraction. Moreover, if the user is using their own devices or an existing client, there can be no need to buy new hardware. A typical scenario would be the need to recruit temporary staff for a specific project (e.g. a customer contract), for a specific campaign (e.g. a short-term marketing initiative) or for seasonal spikes in business volume (e.g. the Christmas period). Now, customers can not only scale up their web hosting presence dynamically to cope with increased traffic but they can also increase their workforce by using, say, home workers using their own PCs, with VDI eliminating the need to buy/rent new hardware.
Regardless of whether virtual desktops are being accessed by company PCs in branch offices, by temporary workers at home, or by mobile workers on iPads, all the data is stored in 6DG’s datacentres on our cloud compute and storage platforms. This means that the VDI rollout can fit elegantly into the company’s existing data policies and compliance frameworks whilst still enabling the new ways of working that modern business and next generation employees demand.