Despite past misgivings about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, some enterprises may now prefer it over RDP for remote-working because of these benefits.

During tough times, agile organizations are usually better-placed to innovate and adapt to capitalize on emerging opportunities in a matter of weeks, not months.

To ensure effective collaboration and decision-making among socially-distanced employees, a reliable and efficient remote-work environment is required—one that provides stable and secure access to work applications and data.

One key technology to meet this demand has been the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which has allowed organizations to incorporate a completely virtual desktop ecosystem. Armed with the ability to access the workplace from any preferred device, anywhere, VDI allows employees to define their workplace experience on their own terms.

Beyond the benefits to remote workers, even in a post-COVID work environment, VDI can also serve as an engine of digitalization and transformation.

Natively-secure virtual work environments

With 7-in-10 CIOs in the Asia Pacific region reported to rank cybersecurity as their leading responsibility ahead of other IT priorities, business leaders are constantly on the lookout for solutions that minimize exposure risks as a way to prevent attacks.

Today’s distributed work environment, combined with the inevitable connection of personal devices to corporate networks, calls for increasingly-flexible cybersecurity strategies that can scale to manage an ever-growing number of endpoints.

A clear benefit of the VDI model is that all data is stored in a centralized infrastructure; nothing is retained at the endpoint. This adds an important layer of protection that Bring Your Own Device ecosystems will require, considering how attractive personal devices and unsecured connected devices at home have become as targets for cyber criminals.

VDI’s proactive security approach also encompasses the centralized management of virtual desktops. Functions such as sharing data based on the user’s location, or the option to isolate sessions to limit access remotely, further enhance a business’ cybersecurity posture.

Consequently, managing access for third party contractors has traditionally presented a high-security risk. Through a private VDI platform, administrators can quickly provision and de-provision desktop resources as needed for a given contractor. This increased visibility, combined with the ability to geofence users and isolate VDI sessions, ultimately offers the ability to build a more secure virtual desktop ecosystem.

Flash storage has rejuvenated VDI

VDI provides the ability to streamline environments so that IT teams are geared to respond to market and user needs quickly—a critical advantage for a business looking to identify opportunities in a volatile landscape. For instance, when trialing and maintaining applications, administrators can deploy and test new platforms within ‘live’ environments immediately without having to provision hardware resources. Once the testing is complete, IT teams can simply spin down the VDI instance and roll out the new update, application or desktop environment.

With the right storage capability, VDI also provides heavy resource users such as IT teams, the same powerful user experience for large workloads. Entire workloads can be re-provisioned with resources that are needed to allow a diverse range of users to be productive wherever and whenever they choose to work.

Traditionally regarded as expensive and slower when run on spinning disk architecture, this is no longer the case as many organizations have turned to flash storage for high performance with lower latency, higher resiliency and powerful scalability at a more efficient total cost of ownership (TCO), even with heavier workloads.

Data reduction for higher DC efficiency

In the face of increasing pressure to maximize resources and cut spending, VDI and virtualization give businesses better control over their cloud environments and the allocation of resources.

The ability to dynamically-provision resources offers unparalleled flexibility and helps IT teams to realize the true value of data center efficiency without the need to worry about big endpoints and lost resources.

DC performance can be further transformed with data-reduction technologies such as deduplication and compression, which supports high performance for mixed workloads and almost every application at much better value.

By controlling all resources connected into the virtual desktop delivery architecture, IT teams can be one step closer to optimal data center efficiency.

Moving ahead with VDI

Once overlooked and under-utilized due to long timeframes, heavy resource commitments and the huge upfront costs required for virtual machines, VDI technologies could be the foundation for a modern data experience for some enterprises, which can then improve security and increase control while expanding connectivity as employees move toward the new norm of a hybrid home-office work model.

If implemented well, VDI can position teams well to support new business models with faster development cycles, while streamlining operations to deliver better experiences for end-users and customers alike.