As we watch dreams of mobility coming true around us every day, the appeal of desktop virtualization is obvious. Pile on seemingly perpetual Windows end-of-life concerns, and that appeal only grows.
VDI — virtual desktop infrastructure — enables enterprises to optimize costs by continuing use of legacy systems, while also running the latest applications and remotely publishing them to any device. Managing VDI is complex, however – the acquisition, care, and feeding of its infrastructure is costly and demands expertise many do not have.
Enter desktop virtualization services, which take VDI either wholly or partly into the cloud.
Benefits of desktops as a service
The benefits of cloud-based virtual desktops are substantial . Here are the Big 10 in summary form:
- Pay-as-you-go subscription service, so no capital investment
- No ongoing infrastructure management (hardware, software, networking)
- Quick, scalable deployment and easy platform migration
- Service provider manages and maintains a secure, high-reliability, leading-edge desktop environment
- Network is more secure and flexible, so connectivity is uninterrupted
- Granular customization options
- More efficient helpdesk capabilities
- Disaster recovery is “built in”
- Fast, easy anywhere/anytime/any-device mobility of user data and desktop images
- Easy for end-users to personalize
Still, DaaS faces challenges
Depending on the nature of your business, you may hesitate about desktops as a service — and for good reasons:
- When the number of users gets high enough (especially power users), DaaS can get pricy compared to VDI
- Issues with multi-tenancy licensing of Microsoft OSs linger (yes, still), which drive the appeal of smart, thin clients (e.g., Chromebook) able to run Windows environments virtually
- DaaS users may experience periodic network latency or lack of Internet access
- Storage and data separation issues may arise when DaaS users need to connect to local files
Meeting in the middle
All this spawned arguments about VDI versus desktops as a service , followed by the understanding that for many enterprises, the best virtual desktop options may be some sort of hybrid combination of alternatives.
Ultimately, the embrace of a range of alternative desktop virtualization services is just in time; these services offer the best way for businesses to enable employee and customer mobility at a time when 49% of U.S. employees already use a personal mobile phone for work-related tasks .
My recommendation: Talk to a technology advisor you can trust about the various ways to liberate your desktops from, well, your employees’ desks. Your competitive edge depends on it.