Desktop virtualization may be a quicker and easier way to make changes to
any part of your computer system.
Without desktop virtualization each desktop PC must be worked on individually or
complex and inconsistent distribution
tools must be used. The downloading and
set-up takes time.
“One advantage of desktop virtualization
is the ability for employees to work from
anywhere,” says Geoff Hanson, practice
director of servers and storage at Pomeroy
IT Solutions. “Another is the immediacy of
Smart Business talked with Hanson for
his insights into desktop virtualization.
What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI, is
the virtualization of the desktop environment. Without re-engineering applications,
traditional thick-client desktop PCs are
replaced with virtual machines that are
centrally managed and maintained from
the data center. Users can access their
desktops, which are running inside virtual
machines, remotely from any location via a
thin client or PC. This environment provides increased levels of reliability and efficiency while delivering a familiar experience to the end user.
Why is it important to my business?
There are many important advantages to
virtualizing a business’s desktop infrastructure. Through VDI, businesses are able to
simplify their desktop management,
increase and tighten control and security
and reduce their operating costs. By hosting the desktops on virtual machines that
are running on servers in the data center,
businesses are able to provide more effective and efficient desktop business continuity, high availability and disaster recovery functionality. System administrators
performing operating system and application upgrades, patch management and
desktop maintenance can perform these
tasks remotely through a centrally managed single dashboard interface. Provisioning new virtual desktops is accomplished in minutes, making end users more productive from the start. End users are
provided complete and unmodified virtual
desktops with greater application compatibility that behave just like their normal
thick-client desktop PCs, eliminating the
need for end-user training. They also have
the ability to access their virtual desktops
remotely from any location.
It is projected that businesses will procure
more than 300,000 virtual desktop licenses
by the end of 2008. That number will increase to more than 50 million virtual desktop licenses procured by the end of 2013.
What are the components of VDI that my
business needs to consider?
There are multiple components in implementing a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
The first component consists of the server
virtualization software that runs on the
servers in the data center where the virtual desktops will reside. The second component is the virtual desktop management
software that remotely manages the virtual desktop environments, and the third
component is the connection broker that
connects the end users with their virtual
Is this going to cost or save money?
Businesses will realize significant cost
savings through implementing a VDI.
Hardware savings in the data center will be
achieved through server and storage consolidation and virtualization. Data center
operating cost savings will be achieved
through reductions in footprint, power,
heat, warranty support services and labor.
A client is needed to remotely access the
virtual desktops. Many businesses are
addressing their client needs through their
desktop technology refresh cycles by
replacing their traditional thick-client PCs
with centralized virtual desktops. They are
replacing many of the physical PCs, based
upon end-user requirements, with thin
clients. Thin clients include USB interfaces
to support printers and other external
devices and provide added levels of security. Thin clients are less expensive than traditional PCs, are energy-star compliant and
come with full warranty replacement.
Are there risks in virtualizing desktop infrastructures?
Yes, there are risks in virtualizing a business’s desktop infrastructure. Hosted virtual desktops are suitable for some, but not
necessarily all, end users. The performance
of applications through virtual desktops
may not be adequate for certain user
requirements. A strong recommendation to
IT organizations moving forward is to have
an assessment performed of their IT desktop infrastructure. It is also extremely
important to have assessments performed
on their server, storage, printing and networking infrastructures. These assessments allow businesses to better understand their hardware utilization, network
contention and the cost savings that can be
realized through consolidating and virtualizing their environments with new energy-compliant, energy-efficient and state-ofthe-art technologies. Regular audits of their
infrastructures should be performed to
ensure maximum utilization and efficiencies are being realized.
GEOFF HANSON is the practice director of servers and storage at Pomeroy IT Solutions in Cincinnati. Reach him at (602) 690-6376