What is VDI - Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) makes desktops and applications an on-demand service, anytime and anywhere. A remote server in a datacenter hosts the desktop environment and applications; users access these resources remotely through a variety of end-user devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and phones. The virtual desktops are derived from pools of identical virtual machines (VM) that an administrator configures for particular job functions. When end-users log in and create a session, a connection broker assigns the session to a virtual desktop from the appropriate pool.

VDI may be persistent or nonpersistent. With persistent VDI, all users have their own desktop image that they can customize and use in future sessions. Users can log in to the same desktop each session, providing an experience akin to a traditional physical desktop. With non-persistent VDI, users access one of many identical desktops derived from a “gold master.” These desktops are not altered by the user and revert to their original state once the users log out.

What is VDI - Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?

Why use VDI?

The world where office work happens almost exclusively at an office desk, via a company-issued desktop or laptop computer, is fast receding. The near ubiquity of internet access and the availability of newer, more portable devices allows work to happen almost anywhere. Workers increasingly access applications remotely, as a service, either from the enterprise datacenter or from various cloud providers. Whether the organization has 50 or 100,000 employees, it is difficult and expensive for IT to keep all end-user devices maintained, updated, and connected to vital applications and resources. Possibly the biggest problem is security, as devices often contain sensitive company data; nearly half of security breaches are due to lost devices.

Benefits of VDI

VDI has a wide range of benefits. Generally speaking, VDI helps you centralize and improve the overall security, availability, and efficiency of your desktop environment.

VDI also provides users excellent flexibility, as they can access their desktops anytime, anywhere, and from a wide range of devices. This in turn facilitates greater user productivity.

VDI is much more secure than traditional desktop environments because user desktops run inside your datacenter. Because users access their desktops through a client, no data leaves your datacenter. This feature largely eliminates the risk associated with users losing their devices.

VDI dramatically simplifies desktop and application administration. The desktops and applications run on virtual machines, which are all the same, doing away with the complexity of managing desktop variability.

VDI on HCI — the difference infrastructure makes

VDI technology has been around for years, but many VDI projects have failed due to underlying infrastructure. The complexity of many legacy infrastructures can make VDI projects take months to pilot and a year to get into production. Unplanned infrastructure downtime and weak performance can have major impacts on end-user experience--slow or unavailable desktops and applications can bring user productivity to a halt. Finally, legacy infrastructures often force IT to spend the majority of its time conducting maintenance and troubleshooting, instead of helping deliver new applications and services to end-users to improve their productivity.

HCI can offer

  • Improved end-user experience through strong and consistent performance, including low boot time and fast application response.
  • Reliable desktop and application availability through increased uptime.
  • Faster and easier scaling through simpler infrastructure expansion--as little as a node at a time. Does away with expensive, time consuming, and inefficient capacity planning. No need to overprovision or rip and replace if you outgrow your deployment.
  • Lower TCO and faster time to value through fast deployment, easier operations, and lower power, cooling, and space requirements due to smaller physical footprint.
  • Improved security from network microsegmentation and role-based access controls (RBAC).

Businesses using VDI

JetBlue uses Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

“To be frank, the Nutanix solution looked too good to be true on both of these counts. So we spoke to our Citrix account team, and they agreed that it was an excellent choice for our VDI deployment.”

American Red Cross uses Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

“On top of the Nutanix solution, we built our virtual workplace solution. The virtual workplace solution provides anywhere, anytime access to virtual desktops and virtual applications for end-users to really support the mission of American Red Cross.”

JSE uses Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

"We strive with stability, if we’re not stable as an organization, it’s a huge impact. Not just to the organization, but to the country."

Related resources

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops with Nutanix Enterprise Cloud

The Definitive Guide to VDI on Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Nutanix Files Delivers End-User Computing Without Compromise

Get Started with Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)

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