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.
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.
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).