What is VDI?

Humanity runs on computing. Our personal lives revolve around our own devices, and for years work-life relied on physical servers and work environments. However, like life, technology evolved, and newer, more extraordinary solutions arrived to lift us into the cloud.  Our lives now depend on cloud services from Google and Apple to power our smartphones. Companies now have the opportunity to move physical desktops into the cloud by implementing virtual desktop infrastructures and BYOD programs.  But what does that all mean? Virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs) are a form of desktop virtualization that takes desktop images and delivers them to end users over a network. In other words, you can now access your work desktop remotely from compatible devices.  These end users can access a virtual desktop environment that mirrors a physical desktop with the help of virtual machines (VMs), servers, hypervisors, and operating systems. Typically the endpoint device is a mobile device like a laptop or tablet, but they can also be thin clients. Regardless of the client device, application virtualization opened the door for a more cost-efficient method of having businesses operate safely in the cloud — that’s VDI.  In this article, we explore how virtual desktop infrastructure works, the benefits of implementing VDI in your business, and how to use VDI for the best results!   

How VDI Works

Understanding the functionality of VDI starts with the data center. IT experts provision centralized servers stored in the data center with VMs. These VMs create a space for the virtual desktop to operate using a hypervisor to manage the virtual desktop environments. A user will connect to these VMs using a connection broker or an intermediary program between them and the virtual resources. VDIs come in two flavors:
  • Persistent Desktops – Persistent desktops, or persistent VDIs, are virtualized desktops where users can customize their desktop experience to match their needs. Settings, files, and configurations remain after each session. These desktops are ideal for call center work, where employees need to customize their workflow for their department. 
  • Non-Persistent VDIs – Non-persistent desktops, or VDIs, use pre-loaded desktops to display virtualized applications that don’t require saved settings. These non-persistent desktops are ideal for task workers who need virtual apps to complete their jobs but do not need customized desktop computing. Non-persistent VDIs are more affordable than persistent desktops but lack flexibility. 
Although VDIs are virtualized solutions, they differ from Desktop as a Service (DaaS) in one critical area. Each VDI uses an operating system like Microsoft Windows or Linux and needs a constant connection to maintain remote access. Where DaaS runs on cloud infrastructure, virtual desktop infrastructure requires an on-premises device, which may not be ideal for every business.   

The Benefits of VDI

Virtual desktops are gaining popularity, largely thanks to the remote work revolution. Remote desktop services (RDS) received a massive bump in performance. And now the benefits of VDI over physical desktops include: 
  • Cost savings – Anything technological immediately conjures nightmares of high-priced equipment. However, you can implement a virtual desktop infrastructure using old devices. Because of the ability to use older equipment, you save money on upgrades and state-of-the-art infrastructure. 
  • Centralized management – Your centralized server allows updates, bug fixes, and configuration changes to happen from a single origin point instead of individual machines. The single-point control eliminates the need for IT to update operating systems locally, which saves time and frees IT staff to focus on other areas. 
  • Remote access opportunities – You can load a virtual desktop onto any compatible device, which increases flexibility. The flexibility allows remote access as a VDI creates a digital workspace. VDI solutions allow for scalability without increasing workspace size, which further keeps costs down, especially during expansions. 
  • High-level security – Virtual environments are notoriously vulnerable, but with properly implemented VDI technology, you can enjoy a high level of protection. In fact, when you pair your virtual apps with Summit Hosting, you benefit from a host of security features, including multi-factor authentication, world-class EV SSL certifications, and VPNs. Your data and desktop instances are safe from prying eyes. 
In addition to these tangible benefits, when you invest in a host server solution through Summit Hosting, you benefit from 99% uptime, 24/7 real human support, and dedicated servers with SSAE18 certifications. Remote access has never been more secure or had more functionality than when you host your virtual environments with Summit Hosting!  

How to Utilize VDI

Now the fun part begins — preparing your team for VDI deployment. But how do you get started? And what are some things to be aware of before undergoing the transition into a VDI environment? Here’s what you need to know about transitioning from physical desktops to virtual desktop infrastructure. 

Update Your Network

One requirement for successful implementation is a constant connection to the centralized server. That means your network needs to be up for the job. First, perform a network diagnostics to see if you are already ready for VDI. If not, you need to optimize your network by anticipating high-usage times and updating your components to expand network capacity.  Note that your on-site IT department will need to be ready for the updates. You might also need some initial investment for licensing and infrastructure if your business’s network is not ready for the added bandwidth. 

Optimize for Business Needs

Once your network is ready for the additional demands, you need to decide what type of VDI suits your business’s needs. Do you need a persistent or non-persistent structure VDI? What are your performance requirements? What virtualized applications will you need?  Various organizations, like Citrix, Microsoft Azure, and VMWare, all offer services that deliver hit-or-miss performance capabilities. Only with Summit Hosting can you be sure your business will have a high-performance solution! 

Test Your Connection

User experience varies greatly depending on the configuration settings you decide to implement. That's why it’s vital that you test your VDI across the network to ensure each desktop experience runs appropriately. Running a test prevents any mishaps from happening should there be a significant flaw somewhere in the system. It’s better to run into that issue in a testing environment rather than while your employees are conducting business!   

Manage Your Remote Servers with Summit Hosting

More companies are finding benefits in employing remote workers. It allows organizations to source talent from anywhere, reduces work environment costs, and employees love the flexibility. However, implementing a system for efficient, high-performance remote work can seem daunting. Virtual desktop infrastructure helps by providing a centralized and virtual space to run desktops that users access from any device. Regarding cloud solutions, there’s only one true industry leader: Summit Hosting. Summit Hosting provides secure hosting solutions for your virtualization needs that boast dedicated servers, expert support, and affordable scalability. Plus, Summit Hosting covers all industries, from healthcare to construction and everything in between. Give us a call today, or try us for free and see how Summit Hosting can help solve your virtualization struggles. 

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