Understanding the Benefits of Desktop Virtualization

IntelDesktop virtualization is a technology that offers important benefits to businesses, though it is not unusual to imagine small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) being turned away by its potential complexity.

There is no doubt that a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) implementation can offer tangible benefits if done properly, which behooves SMBs to thoroughly examine the benefits and usage scenarios to see if it can be harnessed to benefit their bottom-line.

Understanding VDI

To be clear, VDI should not be confused with traditional server virtualization, which sees the contents of physical servers virtualized and run within a server host. Instead of servers, VDI sees virtual desktops run within a physical server at a centralized location such as a data center. Servers powered by Intel® Xeon® processors are typically used, and can run up to 80 client desktops. On the front end, a variety of end-user devices or appliances are used as the display point for the contents of the virtual desktop streamed over the network.

Because IT administrators can maintain and update virtual desktops from anywhere, VDI reduces the need for IT staffers having to make trips to remote locations or even different parts of the building. And with most of the work done on the backend, inventorying of hardware and software licenses is much easier, while deployment of new client workstations is also sped up significantly.

Usage Scenarios

Conventional thinking may envision the use of desktop virtualization only within the enterprise, but even smaller businesses with just a few dozen users can benefit from VDI. A small bank or financial services firm, for example, could deploy desktop virtualization for employees in remote (or branch) offices. Because employees are essentially running the virtual desktop and applications within a central data center, a VDI solution offers a higher level of security than a traditional desktop PC.

Where local users are concerned, educational institutions such as schools or training centers too can leverage virtual desktops to grant access to school resources without having to build large-scale physical computing labs. Specifically, training applications could be installed and properly configured within a virtual desktop that is pushed out based on a particular modules or students’ level. This can serve to substantially streamline support operations, even as it prevents student from breaking things for the next student – deliberately or otherwise.

VDI Hardware

Much like a standard desktop environment requires the purchase of PC laptops and desktop hardware, a VDI deployment does necessitate the use of client-side hardware, also known as thin clients. Depending on the exact backend implementation, it may also be possible to utilize mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to access a virtual desktop, though most businesses will want to implement thin client workstations.

For the latter scenario, Dell Wyse offers a wide selection of secure and cost-effective thin client models designed to integrate with various virtualized infrastructure. This includes wired and wireless models that require separate input and display peripherals, to Linux (or Windows) based thin client laptops with built-in 3G or 4G mobile capabilities. Finally, smaller businesses without the IT personnel and expertise to roll their own VDI solution can explore end-to-end solutions such as the Dell DVS Simplified desktop virtualization appliance solution featuring Intel® technology.

This is a paid post in conjunction with IDG, Dell and Intel®