Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: 4 Key Benefits and Challenges

Virtual Desktop

While business offices have traditionally relied on configuring individual workstations in the office, the new remote work world has forced companies to implement remote work software for larger amounts of employees.

Integrating a virtual desktop server into your business is a more costly option than a VPN, and companies may not want to deal with the upfront costs and implementation procedures. However, when performance and productivity is taken into consideration for company growth, a VDI’s strengths begin to show itself. In this article, we’re going to highlight 4 key benefits and challenges of virtual desktop infrastructure.

Performance requirements can create problems

Virtual desktop infrastructure works best when your hardware scales with its requirements, and that can be difficult for some businesses depending on their number of employees. A common complaint of customer service reps working remotely, for example, is a slow VPN, and sluggish performance.

Both of these can be separate issues, but also have a lot of overlap. Some of the key hardware investments to successfully deploy a VDI environment for your workers include:

  • Network capacity
  • Server capacity
  • Storage management

Small-scale in-house VDI can be affordable for smaller teams, but when it comes to enterprise support, the price of VDI becomes hefty. Imagine, for example, you need a server with at minimum 4GB of DRAM for each user on a Windows 10 platform, as a bare minimum. With 80 users, you’re looking at 320GB of RAM on a four-socket server, which can cost up to $20,000.

In this ultimate guide to VDI, you can learn more about cost-calculation, performance comparisons, and VDI maintenance.

Each individual desktop can access the same VDI image

Virtualization environments utilize virtual disc images (VDI) to create the emulated disc space assigned to virtual machines.

It’s beneficial to have each user on the same image, as this gives everyone access to the same operating system and all of the installed applications on the main host, overall reducing administrative efforts compared to supporting individual workstations.

However, it can be a drawback when you need unique images for users who require different sets of applications and privileges, as hosting different versions of virtual disc images will rapidly multiply the amount of storage necessary on the VDI server.

Applications can be smooth or a headache

Most applications will effortlessly integrate with your VDI, such as apps that easily install on your operating system platform with a simple procedure. Your typical work applications like Excel, Adobe Reader, and Photoshop should work without any problem.

However if your VDI needs specialty applications, such as those developed specifically for your business or contain special parameters that are difficult to virtualize, your mileage may vary. You will need to invest in having the right people set up your VDI infrastructure and install these specialty applications, and you can lose work hours while integrations are being done.

An IT team properly trained in VDI infrastructure will be beneficial here. However, administrative oversight will not be a costly factor over time. Administrators will need more upfront training on system oversight, but this is a very few number of roles.

Considering your VDI’s long-term growth with your company

Your VDI scaling with your company’s growth is absolutely a crucial consideration, and will be a consideration for every new employee you hire. More users means adding hardware upgrades to your server to accommodate them, and this can be daunting if your company suddenly needs to fill a lot of new roles as it expands.

This doesn’t become much of an issue with a bit of experience though. Setting up the initial infrastructure is what most report as the most difficult, but strategizing growth scale for VDI will become more natural with time.

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