Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a kind of remote-control technology that helps to set up and run several virtual desktops on a central server. These desktops can be accessed from any location or device. Connection to a virtual desktop is established with a software-based gateway. The gateway serves as an intermediary between the server and PCs, smartphones, tablets, or thin client terminals.
VDI is often confused with Desktop Virtualization. But there lies a difference between the two. Desktop Virtualization is a technology with which a desktop environment is separated from its hardware components. VDI is a type of desktop virtualization, but it involves hosting desktop environments - such as applications, OSs, and desktops—on centralized servers and making them available on request.
VDI is becoming popular because of the concept of enterprise mobility and the rise in the adoption of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). The latter offers high performance and scalability at a lower cost.
There are two types of VDIs: persistent and non-persistent. Both the types have their advantages -
A persistent VDI is a virtual desktop to which a person connects every time they log in. A non-persistent VDI, on the other hand, connects a user to a new virtual desktop every time they log in.
Therefore, with a persistent VDI, users can customize the desktop for their needs. It is because the changes made to the interface can be saved after a connection reset. In other words, it can be used as a personal desktop. Such kind of customizations is not possible with a nonpersistent VDI. It finds its use in organizations with many employees dedicated to repetitive tasks.
VDI is being used for several purposes today. Most of the use cases have evolved and become uniquely suited for VDI technology. Some of these include -
VDI can be used to deploy virtual desktops and update applications from a central location. This feature is being leveraged by companies to facilitate remote working.
VDI also facilitates the BYOD policy for companies. As it involves processing from a centralized server, it allows access to desktops with a wide range of devices.
Organizations that hire employees in shifts such as call centers can use this technology to assign one desktop to different people. This helps in streamlining asset management.
The scope of VDI is increasing with time. In the days ahead, it will accommodate other emerging needs of organizations.
There are many distinct advantages of VDI. Some of them are listed as follows -
VDI's can be maintained from a centralized location. It becomes effortless to update, patch, or configure all the virtual desktops used in an environment.
VDI is a device-agnostic tech. So, employees get the freedom to access their virtual desktops with any device of their choice including mobiles. Further, employees can get access to software solutions they had no access to, before.
VDI enables organizations to become more agile. For instance, seasonal businesses can get instant access to new desktops for seasonal resources including consultants, and sudden testing requirements.
A VDI environment is much more secure than an on-premises environment. It is because data in a VDI environment is NEVER left at the end client device. Therefore, chances of data loss due to unauthorized access to in-house devices stand eliminated.
VDI eliminates the need for hardware requirements in end devices. As users can access their virtual desktops from older devices, companies do not have to invest in expensive hardware.
VDI deployment should be done in an HCI environment because it perfectly suits VDI's resource requirements. However, it is best to do this only when an organization requires more than 100 virtual desktops. Other best practices include -
VDI is the future of enterprise operations. Businesses across banking, healthcare, finance, and other sectors are making a transition to this revolutionary technology. Other industries are also making big strides toward embracing it.
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