In the past, having a dependable, robust network meant that your business could handle large loads of traffic, had great storage capacity and was safe from security threats. All those things are still relevant today, yet the difference is that the network structures have evolved while retaining those essential characteristics. In the past, those traditional systems were based around individual workstations with discrete storage devices.
With new innovations, desktop virtualization is allowing organizations to structure networks in completely new ways that enable efficiencies that weren’t reachable using the old methods. It essentially allows more work to be accomplished with fewer, less expensive machines. Desktop virtualization is increasing in use throughout different industries, with financial companies, hospitals, law firms and government agencies using it to stay organized and increase employee productivity.
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is how companies are reaching these new efficiencies, as VDI provides a way of maximizing your IT resources. It’s a means of creating employee desktops that originate in a data center running on an in-house server. Employees then log in to the virtual desktop to access their information, which resides in the data center, not on individual hard drives.
The resulting benefits allow IT and energy costs to be reduced, with the potential to save hundreds of dollars per user over a year’s time. Since a central server stores the data, many security threats are reduced and a lost laptop or device won’t mean that any sensitive information is compromised.
VDI also makes IT management much easier, reducing the time it takes to perform upgrades and solve problems. Additionally, users are given a more flexible infrastructure that provides anywhere access and better ways to collaborate across teams or departments.
If all these advantages are appealing, and you’d like to adopt a VDI approach to your company’s IT structure, some preparation needs to be done before you begin implementation. Since VDI allows users to access and store information on the central server, the paths to that server have to be reliable and able to handle a heavy traffic load. The bandwidth has to be in place for the system to be effective and not undo all the benefits VDI creates.
Storage is also a concern, as your server will now be the mainstay of your organization. You must have storage hardware that can handle VDI. Being able to equip your central server with enough space for your employees will likely require some changes to your storage abilities. Plus, users will need to be able to have all their applications ready and available, so a strategy for managing all this will need to be in place before implementing a new system.
Since your network’s strength will be put to the test with a VDI system, you should first assess the amount of bandwidth you’ll need. Different employees will have different needs, and determining as closely as possible what you’ll be required to provide is crucial.
As far as storage goes, if your data center is unable to handle everything, your company may need to use a storage area network (SAN) or network attached storage (NAS) device. Application virtualization is also an effective way to tackle any application concerns and can serve as another way to streamline IT responsibilities, in that multiple versions of a particular application won’t have to be paid for and installed on individual machines.
Also, before a full implementation, do a test run with a group of users. This will give you an indication of how well people will respond to it and if further adjustments needs to be made before doing a full rollout.
VDI offers a series of advantages, and industry leaders are forecasting that desktop virtualization will become the norm for many businesses. As long as your company’s infrastructure will be a good fit, then VDI can help you reach new levels of productivity and efficiency.
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