Just a few years ago, computing was simple and inflexible. In offices, people punched a button on their desktop and tapped their fingers on the desk waiting for it to start.
Even though the computers were slow and people weren’t much comfortable with the process they eventually got familiar.
However, this was a great headache for the enterprise. Because, in addition to paying for desktop workstations for each employee, enterprises spend considerable time maintaining and updating software, updating security measures, and access to protected data.
Unfortunately, this is not just limited to small and large companies but other institutions such as hospitals, schools, and government agencies also faced this problem.
Around 15 years ago, Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) came to the rescue, and today, it is a part of the larger End-User Computing (EUC) ecosystem.
1. What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a form of desktop virtualization. Within virtual machines (VMs), specific desktop images run on VDI and are delivered over a network to end clients. It’s a desktop operating system that runs and is managed in a data center.
The endpoint device allows the user to interact with the OS and its applications locally. These endpoints may be a traditional PC, laptop, or mobile device.
The term Virtual desktop infrastructure or VDI was originally coined by VMware. Linux virtual desktops are an option while Windows-based VDI is the most common workload.
Access to VDI depends on the organization’s configuration. This configuration can range anywhere from the automatic presentation of the virtual desktop to requiring the user to launch it.
Once the user accesses the virtual desktop, it looks and feels like a local workstation. Afterward, the users can select the appropriate applications and perform their tasks.
2. What is VDI and How it Works?
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is the creation and management of desktop environments. This environment allows employees to work and access computer applications from the office, or remote locations.
Virtualization solutions support VDI deployments by creating virtual machines (VMs), a virtual computing system. VMs allows organizations to simultaneously run multiple applications and OS on a single physical server.
Virtual desktops live within VMs on a centralized server and are enabled through hosting a desktop OS, such as Microsoft Windows Desktop.
By using the desktop operating system hosted on VMs, IT can manage to deploy their corporate data, desktops, and applications to users in a virtual data center. They can then go on to deliver them as a service via the internet unlike traditional PCs, where a user utilizes a physical endpoint from an on-premises location.
A connection broker finds a virtual desktop when implementing a VDI solution, within the resource pool to connect to, for each employee, when accessing the VDI environment.
Some of the examples of connection brokers include VMware Horizon, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Workspaces, and Nutanix.
Employees can securely connect to their desktop images through any device or location. it gives you the ability to access your applications from anywhere because it doesn’t require you to be at your physical desktop.
3. What are the Benefits of VDI?
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has the following benefits including:
Cloud computing has leveraged scalable infrastructure by making VDI more enticing to consume resources. Since users can access their environments from any device, it reduces the hardware requirements and purchases by consolidating all of the VDI infrastructures on a host server.
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) provides a centralized management structure. This structure allows administrators to update, patch up, and change all virtualized desktops. Hence, there is no longer a requirement to fix the entire organization individually. This gives allows for a complete desktop disaster recovery strategy as all components are backed up in the data center.
Since the applications live on the host server, the virtual desktop infrastructure helps businesses maintain their complete confidentiality. In case a device is stolen or corrupted, to protect the businesses’ data, the connectivity of that device can be terminated. However, the OS images must be properly managed and updated, and the remote workers must be authenticated.
VDI allows end-users to use their devices to gain remote access to their files, and cloud services from any location. This creates a digital workspace providing a better user experience and making work from home significantly easier as employees can utilize PCs, smartphones, tablets, and others.
Since, with VDI, IT does not need to keep purchasing new hardware, organizations’ expenses on hardware are significantly reduced. The consolidation on the server helps decrease IT expenditure.
4. What are the Main Features of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?
Virtualization divides the VDI system architecture into different layers. Then the hardware is bound to the OS at the time of installation before virtualization. Thus, the OS also crashed in the case of a hardware failure, and you would lose all the data.
In virtualization, the OS and the underlying hardware are separated by hypervisor where users can install multiple OS on a hypervisor-installed server.
As states above, the hypervisor separates the OS from the underlying hardware to creates a virtualized environment. Then the hardware is divided into VMs and each VM can have its unique configuration, OS, and applications.
In VDI, the hypervisor creates desktop instances and each desktop can act as a separate desktop. Also, High Availability (HA) in the hypervisor allows it to connect to multiple servers even if a physical server fails.
Connection broker, a software program, is responsible for the authentication of the users and connecting them to the desktop. It also keeps track of active and inactive desktops.
Furthermore, it provides the user with an idle desktop instance when they send a request to connect to a desktop. It updates the status to inactive when a user disconnects the desktop.
The desktop pool is similar to desktops that can be configured according to a specific function. For instance, accounting and IT departments might use desktops with different applications and configurations.
With the desktop pool, users can create a desktop pool with a similar configuration for these departments.
Application Virtualization makes application deployment easy and hassle-free by creating a virtualized application and replicating it to all the VDs in a desktop pool. For example, VMware ThinApp creates an executable file of the application before and after the installation of the software. This file can then be used in any system without going through the installation process repeatedly.
5. How does VDI Support Digital Workspaces?
Digital workspaces are application-driven and offer a straightforward way to access multiple types of applications. In addition, they offer security to end-users and organizations.
In today’s increasingly mobile and remote teams, the VDI solution offers reliable and economical ways to help scale key applications and services. It delivers a consistent experience across devices, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, giving employees a high degree of freedom while working. This, in turn, allows for more streamlined workflows in any organization.
Moreover, with data breaches becoming more costly with each passing year, VDI improves cybersecurity and reduces IT overhead. By isolation and centralization of the VMs in a multilayered security strategy. Lastly, it spares the complications of having sensitive data stored locally for IT departments.
Traditionally, physical desktops had high procurement costs and they lock in a fixed allocation of resources. Software licensing for machines then drive up the per-unit cost of a desktop. Technologies including virtualization and hyper-converge are essential to avoid these drawbacks.
VDI brings virtualized desktops using its infrastructure as a cost-effective option. However, this happens only when an organization has enough desktop users to warrant the infrastructure and support staff.
In the case of small organizations, they may want to adopt virtual desktops due to limited IT support. However, they may lack the resources to procure and maintain the infrastructure.
Concerning desktop infrastructure, the key benefits of VDI include compliance operations and streamlined security. Besides, it’s easier to apply security patches and deploy secured desktops because desktops are centrally managed. This removes legwork for the IT staff and ensures they install correctly and address errors in the patching.
Shreeya Chourasia is an experienced B2B marketing/tech content writer, who is diligently committed for growing your online presence. Her writing doesn’t merely direct the audience to take action, rather it explains how to take action for promising outcomes.