The What and Why Of VDI

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Changing your entire organization’s workstation infrastructure is a big deal. With so many factors to consider, it’s impossible for a single person to handle the job in a company of even moderate size. If you’re looking into deploying VDI for your employer, get together with your department and work through a few questions first. It’s important to get everything squared away before you start wading in and changing things. If your changes don’t work out the way you’d hoped, it can be a disastrously expensive mistake. Sure, virtual desktops may make BYOD policies more effective and safe, but will your users respond well? Will management? Will it create more problems than it solves? Look at some of the big VDI concerns, and then come up with others that cover your company specifically. Don’t make a move until you know for sure what the answers are.

The What and Why Of VDI

Is Your Organization Big Enough?

If you’ve got a small office, fewer than 100 people, then a VDI probably doesn’t make much sense. The cost of storage, the servers to run your virtual machines, new workstation thin clients and beefier network equipment will just cause an administrative headache and cost more than it’s worth. It’s easier to manage security policies and a VPN in a smaller organization, so stick with the tried-and-true laptop or desktop workstation model.

On the other side, large organizations are often far too complex for an IT department to handle hundreds or thousands of individual workstations, so VDI is a great choice. With their more robust budgets, larger companies can easily handle the specialized VDI hardware it’ll take to really make the solution shine. It’s also much easier to manage a few linked clone virtual machine images than every individual laptop and desktop out there.

Will It Reduce Costs?

Having the latest technology deployed in your company sounds tantalizing, but if the high cost of new equipment and software doesn’t alleviate other financial burdens for the business, you might as well throw that money in the garbage. If the employees in your company are handling their tasks smoothly without a high rate of workstation downtime or hassles accessing their files, VDI probably won’t work well. If, however, your employees are mobile, such as hospital staff or university staff, then each person having the ability to log onto his or her personal desktop from any physical machine available will reduce stress and help eliminate one of the most frustrating workplace problems: dealing with ever-changing, unfamiliar technology. Fewer mistakes, less downtime and easier access to a familiar workstation will save your employer money. Add to that the fact that having a VDI means you can keep the same client computers for years without so much as a new hard drive, and it’s easy to see why even large healthcare networks are making the switch to VDI.

No single list could ask and answer all the possible questions about VDI for every situation. Your company probably has a few quirks or requirements most others don’t, so you’ll have your own questions to ask and answer. The important thing is to take the time to discover what you have, what you need and how it will affect your users, your department and your organization as a whole.