You've likely heard a lot of buzz about virtualization and may be thinking of launching a virtual desktop infrastructure across your organization. But, is it the right choice? Below are a few advantages and disadvantages of a virtual desktop infrastructure to help you make a more informed decision.
What is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?
Desktop virtualization creates a layer of separation between desktop software and the physical device used, making it possible for the desktop environment to exist independent of a physical machine. For example, with a virtualized desktop, users can access their preferred applications, documents, and settings via their virtual desktops from their main computers as normal. The software isn't hosted on the machine itself; rather an image is hosted on a centralized server where it can be accessed by other machines as needed. For example, if a user's machine crashes, a replacement machine can be delivered and configured to access the virtual desktop in a matter of minutes.
A virtual desktop infrastructure consists of multiple virtual desktops that are centrally created, distributed, and managed.
Advantages of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Not only is it easy to recover from system crashes by allowing users to access their virtual desktops and data on replacement machines, virtual desktop infrastructures have other advantages. Below are a few more advantages of implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure.
Rapid deployment - With a virtual desktop infrastructure, you can quickly deploy desktops with specific characteristics across the entire enterprise. For example, if each user must have the same set of proprietary software, office productivity software, security software, network printing, and virtual storage configurations, you can create a virtual desktop master and use it to deploy new virtual desktops as needed.
Each server or computer can have more than one virtual desktops running on it. For example, a graphics designer might need to work on projects in using Windows 7, Windows 8, and Macintosh OS X. With virtualization, that user could run all three operating systems on a single machine.
Update deployments via a virtual desktop infrastructure can be as simple as updating the client desktop image and then distribute that image across the virtual desktop infrastructure.
Moving to a virtual desktop infrastructure can reduce IT costs by allowing you to get more out of existing hardware, make better use of virtual storage, and reduce support costs.
Disadvantages of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Alas, despite the advantages of virtual desktop infrastructure, some disadvantages exist. It may take a while to realize a return on investment with virtual desktop infrastructure, and it will require a capital investment to get started.
You will also likely need to invest in desktop, user, and virtual storage management as well as in training for your IT team. In addition, users will need a constant connect to your LAN or WAN in order to access the virtual desktop infrastructure and their virtual desktops.
Investing in a virtual desktop infrastructure and virtual storage has both its pros and cons, making it important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and then plan carefully should you decide to make the move.
Stephanie is an author and expert in data storage technology. She advises her readers on the benefits of having a virtual desktop infrastructure for your organization gathering sources from Tegile. (Source: http://www.tegile.com/solutions/desktop-virtualization-solutions). In her free time she enjoys spending it with her family and traveling around the world.