Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Simplifying Virtual Desktops

October 8, 2013, Kuala Lumpur - In recent years, the rapidly shifting IT landscape has brought about more risks and challenges for organizations in terms of data management and security. Additionally, technological initiatives, such as workshifting, consumerization of IT and cloud computing, have added complexities to the way IT manages, controls and protects sensitive enterprise data.

As the workplace of the future becomes more diverse, organizations are leveraging virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to enable employees to access corporate desktops from any device, at any time, resulting in a more agile, responsive and secure computing environment with real market advantages.

Mark Micallef, Area Vice President of Citrix ASEAN, shares his insights on the top five considerations for businesses looking to simplify virtual desktops.

1. Cost
Regardless of the size of the organization, it is important to factor in all direct and indirect costs associated with VDI implementation in the total project cost, and assess the total cost of the physical servers, shared storage, management and any other infrastructure needed for production deployment. It is also vital to consider the ultimate size of the planned deployment and decide if it will take place in phases.

2. Simplicity
Traditional desktop virtualization deployments require enterprise resources and expertise, and typically take weeks to months to complete. Therefore, it is essential to calculate the complexity of the proposed VDI solution carefully, and evaluate the number of hardware and software components the solution will require, and focus on simplifying the VDI solution under consideration.

3. Scalability and high availability
Enterprises should plan for scalability in any solution implemented. A solution should be able to scale cost-effectively to match a business’ needs over time. Some enterprises may be used to overprovisioning costs, but as a first step, it is good practice to consider the impact scalability-related overprovisioning would have on budget.

4. End-user experience
Enterprises should first understand their employees’ workloads and evaluate how a particular solution would meet their needs. This is key as virtual desktops can boost productivity. During this process, it is also recommended that companies consider the networks their employees might connect from and check if the protocol is mature enough to support various end-point devices, such as tablets, mobile phones and printers. This is because VDI solutions may rely on different protocols to stream virtual desktops to users.

5. Openness of the architecture
In evaluating VDI solutions, enterprises should consider if these solutions are open enough to offer options and flexibility in protocols and virtualization technologies. VDI solutions with open architecture can easily blend into the organization’s infrastructure, therefore removing any technology learning curve and additional expenses.

While licensing and hardware costs for VDI may be higher at the outset compared to alternative virtualization options, enterprises can expect several productivity and business alignment benefits.

Furthermore, centralized management, effective patching and workforce enablement can also be a key tool for desktop security as well.

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