What’s The Real Deal?
There is plenty of buzz around virtualization technology as an effective and efficient way of managing users, applications, and operating systems. Imagine the banking, healthcare, education, and call center industries where one form of desktop can fit all. Having a solution that is several things rolled into one is certainly an appealing proposition and for good reasons. Consider the latest Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions from leading brands like Citrix and ClearCube. They deliver greater application access, offer customizable desktops, and decrease OpEx for desktop provisioning/patching and CapEx needed to implement VDI.
Some organizations are in the process of familiarizing themselves with VDI concepts before retooling their infrastructure. Here, we examine some myths about technology and offer perspective to help you make the best decision for your business.
Myth: It’s Expensive
Cost is inevitably one of the biggest factors in any decision-making process. Would you pay good money for something that does not fulfill its intended function? While this can be unfortunate for everyday products and services, virtualization is not something you should get into without prior research. Companies, especially SMBs, are hesitant due to the expenses they associate with this technology.
Let’s assume a case in point. You are attempting to make a case for virtualization in your organization, and your boss rejects the idea. He says that for VDI to be successful, you must depend on a surplus of storage. In turn, it rapidly adds to the cost of the infrastructure you would require to support the setup.
Truth: It Doesn’t Have To Be
Traditionally, companies often implemented a one-to-one approach when it came to virtual machine images located in data centers. This is known as persistent VDI where each end user’s desktop is uniquely customizable. Employees can store information, maintain their personalized settings, and configure their instance which allows them to retrieve a particular desktop each time they log in. While this category offers a classic feel of a traditional desktop, it demands more backup and storage than its non-persistent counterpart. Apparently, this is what your superior was referring to. How about presenting an alternative that sheds a different light on things?
Non-persistent VDI, known as the one-to-many approach, is another desktop flavor. In this scenario, there is lesser storage to manage. Desktops are built from a master image which is simple to patch, update, and deploy. Administrators are also able to easily roll out company-wide applications to users. What’s more, they can reboot desktops back to a clean state even if the image is compromised.
User data and configuration settings are stored on separate hardware which is accessible even remotely. This isolates the OS from user data and enables IT, teams, to store that information on a low-cost device.
In any case, understanding unique requirements before choosing a specific virtualization solution is mandatory. This will prevent you from under or over-provisioning resources which could be a potential source of revenue drain.
It is also believed that virtual desktop environments use up valuable resources on hosts for desktops’ CPU and memory. Companies should just go for deployments that cater to certain use cases like administrative and helpdesk desktops. Anything beyond this does not justify the budget and will impact one’s bottom line.
This is not necessarily the case. Hosts like ESXi come with generous servings of CPU and RAM at affordable prices. Compression and deduplication storage technologies decrease backend storage expenses. So, it is actually cheaper to offer virtual desktops than to buy physical computing resources with similar features and specifications.
Myth: It’s Complicated
Virtualization solutions are not worth the time and effort because it is too complex. The factor contributing to this perceived complexity is user acceptance. VDI involves many layers, hence it is difficult to implement and integrate with existing systems. In any IT situation, users demand to be in complete charge of their data, applications, and desktop environment.
With BYOD programs on the rise, users bring their personal mobile devices to connect to the enterprise and carry out assignments. Hence, implementing VDI is challenging because administrators need to do two things at the same time. To begin with, they must deliver services to secure, managed endpoints. Secondly, employees should be given the flexibility so that they can develop a sense of self-mastery over their workplace environment.
Truth: It’s A Piece of Cake
This is where VDI actually helps. By isolating the user layer, it personalizes the desktop experience and instills a sense of self-ownership in employees. Administrators can then carry out unique desktop management on the basis of factors like applications, users, and scenarios. Even then, it is possible to enforce corporate access and security standards.
The availability of modern cloning technologies helps IT easily provision virtual desktops, delete, and redeploy with new ones when necessary. Initial provisioning stages may require administrators to offload cloning to the storage array for quick deployments. Using a golden image, IT teams have a single location from where they can conduct software deployment and updates. This minimizes the burden on the computing environment during cycles such as patching. User profile management is also a breeze, now that is integrated into VDI software. As a result, businesses no longer need to rely on homegrown scripts or third-party solutions. The reason is these might not deliver the capabilities and performance especially for supporting a growing number of users in enterprises.
Myth: It’s Only The Backend That Matters
How can businesses and users enjoy a great experience if vendors do not prioritize the backend technologies that support virtualization? In fact, if solution providers solely focus on the backend, then the rest will fall into place. This is because the backend gives a clearer picture of every module. By following this, we can greatly simplify and reduce implementation effort.
Truth: Every Ingredient Makes The Dough Rise
We agree that planning tools like deciding just enough VMs for a given server and the protocol to deliver virtual desktops are crucial. Even then, our work does not end here. What happens is that organizations are more concerned about how we are going to get end users to their virtual desktops. To address this, we must churn out relevant frontend technologies that attach users to each backend solution.
For example, the ‘frontdoor’ Citrix StoreFront facilitates an interface from which users access and manage Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environments. This is the ideal approach because it mixes and matches infrastructure hardware and software resources. It enables companies to consistently achieve compatibility, performance, and scalability benefits.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In any case, VDI should revolve around more around business needs and less around technical details. Never opt for solutions that lock you into further unnecessary decisions. An example is having to make further purchases to support your setup which you can easily avoid with the guidance of an experienced vendor. At the end of the day, having the flexibility to pick the right tools for the job counts.
Do you have any other VDI myths to share with us? Let us know if you do, and we will be more than happy to explore them. For further assistance, please visit our website and get in touch with our team.