The coronavirus pandemic put a spotlight on virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) as reliable, scalable technologies to support remote workers. Telecommuting has evolved into remote work, a steadily growing trend among the many companies and organizations going through digital transformation.
Well before COVID-19 forced employers worldwide to send workers home for indefinite periods, VDI and DaaS systems helped business productivity, even when employees weren’t in the office. Organizations still relying on bolted-down desktop computers and individually managed laptops, by contrast, have likely struggled to keep their workforce productive with the rise of the pandemic, according to Saikat Chatterjee, senior director, advisory, at Gartner.
“We’re being forced into the world’s largest work-from-home experiment and, so far, it hasn’t been easy for a lot of organizations to implement,” Chatterjee stated in a recent post at Gartner.com. He pointed to a survey of HR leaders in the Asia/Pacific region which found that their biggest remote-staff challenges were limited technology infrastructure and discomfort with new work processes.
VDI and DaaS can be a solid solution for these challenges because they run applications on server computers and virtual machines that stream the interaction into the browser running on almost any kind of networked computing device. This lets employees run their essential apps on their favorite devices, and frees up IT departments from having to track and update each employee’s device.
[Related technology: Helping ensure business continuity for remote workers with End User Computing solutions]
While VDI generally operates from on-premises data centers, DaaS can run natively from private or public cloud infrastructures. With these virtual desktop technologies, an engineer designing a power plant can work on a 3D model on a high-powered workstation at the office, then go home and run the same modeling application on a laptop or tablet computer. Heavy-processing jobs like CAD/CAM, engineering applications and media editing that typically require a pro-caliber workstation can be streamed and used on any device.
Revealing Where DaaS Really Shines
Ruben Spruijt, a senior technologist in the End User Computing Group at Nutanix, has been giving a lot more thought to remote work since the rise of the coronavirus.
“Working from home really pushes us to work more digitally, communicate differently, and work differently,” he said. It requires IT managers to deliver all of the application remote workers need to work effectively from anywhere.
One of Spruijt’s key responsibilities at Nutanix is helping users and customers understand the value of technologies like VDI and DaaS, which give IT people the freedom to manage, install and update applications and data services remotely.