HCI gives virtual desktops a new lease of life

HCI gives virtual desktops a new lease of life

With the emergence of hyperconvergence enterprises might be able to realise the full benefits VDI.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been gaining traction with enterprises, albeit gradually. That’s mainly due to the fact that enterprises will have to go through the expensive cycle of replacing laptops and desktops every three or four years. Also, the task of issuing updates and patches to hundreds of individual machines can be cumbersome and time consuming. With VDI, companies can host all desktops, operating systems and applications in a data centre. This way, the endpoints could be thin clients that could include older desktops or mobile devices used by employees.

One of the biggest advantages of opting for VDI is that company data resides in the data centre and the chances of hackers targeting employees’ devices reduces. With VDI employees can securely access their data anywhere from their devices. IT organisations can centrally manage the desktops, operating systems and applications. This could lead to better manageability and greater cost savings.

Slow progress
While VDI as a technology has been around for almost two decades, enterprises are slow on its uptake due to several reasons. One of them is that with concepts like BYOD, employees tend to work with various operating systems and applications of their choice, which could make centralised management harder. Yet another reason is the downtime associated with VDI. If the VDI server crashes at any given point in time no one will be able to work and that could lead to huge productivity losses. Another issue is that companies today are increasingly moving their data centres to the cloud. The flexibility offered by cloud options makes VDI unattractive to many enterprises. That is also because VDI was originally designed for companies that had an on-premise IT infrastructure model. A few vendors today offer Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) and VDI on cloud, but these come with their own concerns, in terms of connectivity, cost and security.

The new case for VDI
However, with technology providers coming up with hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) appliances, there is a new case for deploying VDI. HCI is a software-defined approach that virtualizes all elements of traditional hardware-defined systems, including compute, storage and networking. HCI also encompasses replication, backup, cloud gateway, real time deduplication and WAN optimisation, among others.

HCI can also help enterprises reduce costs as HCI appliances integrate all elements of a data centre. Buying these elements individually and integrating them can be more expensive and time consuming. HCI also delivers better manageability and scalability while delivering automated updates. Many HCI vendors today are also offering solutions that include automated VDI. While VDI by itself may not make sense for many enterprises, with HCI they can hope to realise the full benefits of a virtualized desktop infrastructure.

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