Just a few months ago, only a handful of organizations and businesses were actually implementing a virtualized working environment.
Since the novel Coronavirus became a widespread pandemic, there has being a rapid and accelerated paradigm shift into the era of virtualizing the workplace.
Although the transformation had been underway for quite some years, many businesses were caught off-guard technologically because their employees were ill-equipped to access their data and applications to work from home.
Businesses must now embrace the new normal and avail themselves of technological flexibility that can offer workplace mobility.
This only means one thing, virtualization - the use of virtual desktops solutions.
A virtual desktop is an operating system and accompanying applications that are hosted on a server and made accessible to an endpoint user; typically, a remote endpoint user.
Virtual desktops are accessed through client software installed directly on an endpoint whose job it is to allow the user to interact with the remote virtual desktop.
Virtual desktop clients are available for a variety of devices, including tablets, smartphones, Raspberry Pi, PCs, and other devices. In some instances, the virtual desktop can be implemented locally as a virtual machine (VM), on the same system typically a PC, to create multiple desktops on one host PC.
The major virtual desktop service providers are Microsoft, HP, Citrix, IBM, Oracle, and VMware. Many other vendors also offer virtual private desktop products and services to help in the deployment, management, security, and optimization of virtual desktops.
VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is the technology used for accessing your virtual desktop remotely. VDI has five (5) basic components:
This component splits the system architecture into various layers. Before virtualization, the hardware was bound to the operating system (OS) at the time of installation. Thus, in the case of a hardware failure, the OS also crashed, and you would lose all the data.
Through virtualization, the OS and the underlying hardware are separated by a software called a hypervisor. You can install multiple operating systems on a hypervisor installed server.
A hypervisor is a software that separates the operating system from the underlying hardware. The hypervisor creates a virtualized environment in which the hardware can be divided into multiple virtual machines (VMs).
Each virtual machine can have its unique configuration, OS, and applications and can be provisioned to each user. The High Availability (HA) function in the hypervisor also lets it connect to multiple servers. Hence, even if a physical server fails, your desktop instance is moved to another server almost instantaneously.
3. Connection Broker
Desktop instances are connected seamlessly via the connection broker. It is also responsible for the authentication of the users and sending them to their desktop instances. Active and inactive desktops are also constantly tracked by the connection broker. When a request is sent by a user to connect to a desktop, an idle desktop instance is provided for the user. When a user disconnects desktop, it updates the status to inactive.
4. Desktop Pools
Desktop pools are a group of similar desktops that can be configured according to a specific function. For example, accounting or IT departments within an office might make use of desktops with different configurations as well as applications. The accounting department may need applications like Sage or QuickBooks, which may not be required for IT. You can create a desktop pool for these departments based on their requirements.
5. Application Virtualization
Application Virtualization is the technology used to create a virtualized application image and replicate it to all the virtual desktops in a desktop pool. It makes application deployment easy and hassle-free.
Desktop virtualization has become an important technology for many organizations. As businesses face restrictive budgets, uncertain funding, demands for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies, desktop virtualization allows businesses to provide a simple, cost-effective, and secure way for employees to access applications and resources needed to perform their job function from any location and from any device.
A virtual desktop means that a user’s desktop environment is stored remotely on a server, rather than on a local PC or other client computing device. Desktop virtualization software stores data, applications, and the desktop operating system on a remote server.
Desktop virtualization is a valuable technology platform and solves several business problems with many benefits that desktop virtualization has to offer.
Workplace Flexibility: Probably the most obvious advantage. If your desktops are hosted virtually, employees and members of your team will be able to access them regardless of their location, situation, or device. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend is been adopted in many businesses, relying on their employees to use personal devices for some work applications. In each case, flexibility is essential, by hosting your desktops and applications in the cloud, you can achieve accessibility even in these situations.
Significant Cost Savings: VDIs typically come with relatively minimal cost if the server setup already exists. In exchange, you can get potentially significant savings down the road. It’s a positive investment that has the potential to bring a significant return. First, you can rely less on expensive desktop computers with the exact right software and license needed. But even upgrades and maintenance, which can take significant IT time when performed on many different machines, are reduced to a minimum as they can be accomplished in a much more centralized manner.
Dynamic Updating: Creative professionals look to Apple screens, while IT experts prefer PCs. Managers expect laptops that increase portability, but tablets and even phones become invaluable while on the go. Updating these various devices with both regular maintenance and major upgrades can quickly become difficult. The same software might not be compatible depending on the OS, age of the machine, or browser.
A virtual desktop becomes a solution, centralizing the updating process to make it more dynamic. Employees need not worry to check whether they have the newest OS version or not. Instead, you can perform the upgrade once centrally, benefiting everyone in the organization.
Decreased Security Risks: Especially as organizations grow, digital security becomes an increasingly essential concern. After all, a single cyber-attack can cost the major businesses a lot in damages. Preventive measures are not optional, but absolutely essential to ensure long-term business survival and success.
A virtual environment for your business will play a significant part in making your business more secure. Your data would be stored in a central system, which can be better secured. Everything is centrally managed, allowing you to set the rules and keep your data in the right hands.
Better Disaster Recovery: Disaster recovery has become an essential part of IT management. Businesses who experience a disaster without a recovery plan in place almost never recover from it. Virtualization is definitely not the only step, but an important one you should consider strongly.
You no longer rely on stationary computers that might be lost or damaged in the disaster. Instead, the data is stored in a location, safe and backed up regularly all centrally. Even as recovery efforts begin, you can already access that data to minimize downtime and potential damages.
Increased Productivity: Moving to a virtual desktop interface will almost certainly improve your organization’s productivity. Its operations become more agile, while employee abilities and efforts become more flexible. Productivity can be maintained even in the face of disaster and in a more secure environment thanks to better protection against data breaches.
Finally, the long-term cost savings can be invested in the business for better operations down the road. This type of improved productivity becomes invaluable over time.
As businesses move their applications and services onto the cloud, they will ultimately reach a point where they realize that the critical infrastructure necessary to sustain their business technologically as they grow is not the most economical and effective.
When this point is attained, a Virtual Desktop solution will provide a secure and efficient home for their systems, businesses, and budget. DaaS is an attractive go-to solution for businesses moving away from managing their own hardware either on their on-site data centers or at a colocation.
With benefits such as easier software patching, updates, faster migrations, improved application, and data security, the costs of deploying and maintaining the hardware required shifts from a capital expense to operational expense.