The transition to remote work has boosted interest in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to provide a better and more secure experience.

When the pandemic began, the priority was to ensure business continuity, said Gabe Knuth, Marketing Manager with VMware at a recent ITWC webinar. “Now we’re trying to figure out how to set ourselves up for the digital-first new normal,” he said. “To do so, organizations need to adopt agile technologies, such as virtual apps and desktops that seamlessly integrate into a user’s work environment.”

Working from home has not been without some challenges, Knuth said. Users have complained of a degraded experience with VPN. Some have connectivity challenges and security is a constant concern.

“With everyone working remotely, the need for a consistent user experience regardless of workload or user location has never been more important,” said Scott Matthewson, Innovation Services Lead with Softchoice.

How VDI helps prepare your organization for the future of work

Desktop virtualization allows users to access virtual desktops and applications from a connected device. Knuth explained that it “empowers the future-ready workforce” in five ways:

  1. Supports hybrid environments. In a 2019 VMware survey, 91 per cent of users said that hybrid is a nice to have or a must-have capability. Seventy-seven per cent expect multi-cloud to be part of their environment. VDI allows organizations to deploy desktops from anywhere, whether it is on-premises or in the cloud, said Knuth. “And you can manage it all from a single pane of glass,” he said. “You don’t have to manage separate silos of desktops and apps, wherever they happen to be.”
  1. Simplifies management. A virtual desktop service allows admins to package and deploy an application to any environment one time, as well as enforce user settings across platforms, said Knuth. Another big advantage is that it can allow remote access to corporate resources very quickly. “We had one customer that needed to spin up 35,000 desktops and we were able to help them do that in just five days,” said Knuth. A business analysis estimates the savings in support and administrative efficiency to be $216,000 over three years.
  1. Improves end-to-end security. VDI uses built-in security to provide security across the infrastructure. It stores the data in the cloud instead of on local desktops.
  1. Serves as a trusted digital foundation for a modern architecture. A VDI service can adapt and integrate easily with an organization’s existing active directory or with other identity providers.
  1. Enhances user experience. The improvement in user experience is the most important advantage, said Knuth. “We want the users to be able to work from anywhere and on any device,” he said. “We want their productivity to stay the same, even though they may be working from home.” VDI supports real-time audio and video for applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It has adaptive protocols that adjust to changing network conditions that impact latency. “So, when the kids fire up Netflix on their iPads, the experience of the end users will be maintained. The ultimate goal is to make sure the user experience is as close to local or better.”

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