VDI to Lead the Remote Workforce

Today’s modern VDI solutions enable IT teams to enhance the security stance of the extended enterprise while simultaneously boosting workforce agility.

Alan Conboy

August 21, 2020

4 Min Read
VDI to Lead the Remote Workforce
(Source: Pixabay)

Due to the recent global pandemic, the need for more flexible computing options for remote workers have arisen. With remote working models now set to become the 'new normal,' organizations are having to rethink their IT operations as they prepare to support a distributed workforce for the indefinite future. For many, this will mean taking a closer look at virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions to simplify how they extend secure network access for users working beyond enterprise walls.

The trending increase of the virtual desktop

The rapid growth in popularity of VDI over the next decade or so was fuelled by a number of other benefits offered by the technology: improved workflows, a single sign-on that enhanced the user experience, hardware savings, and the ability to enable and support BYOD programs.

However, while VDI saved IT teams valuable administrative and support time in enabling remote users, the technology had its challenges. While virtualization generated savings over time, the initial implementation required a complex and expensive backend infrastructure, and weak network connections impacted the user experience when bandwidth proved a limiting factor. Plus, investing in VDI software often involved some complexities and licensing challenges.

As a consequence, early VDI technologies failed to achieve their projected market potential. But VDI is once again experiencing a surge in demand, as organizations seek out the most flexible and cost-effective way to deploy highly available services to remote users.

The marriage of HCI and Edge leading to VDI transformation

The emergence of Edge Computing, in combination with hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), has proved transformative. Alongside making it more affordable and easier to deploy, this pairing now delivers the simple scalability and operational efficiency that today’s organizations need to provide services for large numbers of remote users. As the number of remote users escalates, remote HCI nodes are simply added to already deployed systems – and can just as easily be rolled back when demand for remote services drops.

Rolling out an HCI- and Edge-powered VDI solution is also proving to be a highly practical option for small IT teams tasked with supporting large numbers of users for the long term. Requiring no specialist knowledge, other than a few hours of training, together, these technologies simplify and automate many of the time-consuming day-to-day tasks that confront IT teams by streamlining and centralizing administration.

Designed to be managed from a central interface, IT staff can manage and scale everything – compute, storage, networking – as needed from a central console. This makes it easy and straightforward to manage software and virus updates, as well as backups, for each user remotely.

The addition of Edge Computing systems to VDI solutions also gives IT teams powerful new integrated and automated disaster recovery (DR) capabilities, such as replication, file-level recovery, and snapshot scheduling. Similarly, IT teams can send full network backups and snapshots of individual desktop profiles over wider networks to a cloud repository or remote data center to strengthen their enterprise BAU strategies. In the event of an unexpected failure at a work access point or terminal, users can immediately move to a different machine and log back in.

Finally, Edge Computing eliminates the latency and bottleneck performance issues previously associated with VDI technologies. This makes it easier for IT teams to maintain and manage growing desktop workloads while assuring the outstanding desktop experience today’s users expect.

Meeting remote workforce demands

The recent crisis has highlighted the importance of remaining secure and efficient when providing remote work options for enterprise users. The advent of HCI Edge Computing has revolutionized VDI, not only making it easier and more cost-effective to deploy – but also easier to manage and scale out when needed, while still being able to increase security at the edge. Today’s HCI-powered VDI solutions offer a highly secure and affordable way to deploy the predictable, yet secure, performance today’s workers will require in the coming months and years.

Many organizations that had previously implemented today’s VDI solutions found themselves better prepared to support their workers remotely when the impact of COVID-19 triggered the public health lockdowns imposed by national governments. As a result, they were able to quickly react to the immediate need of connecting remote users to their existing corporate workstations and scale up fast to cope with enterprise demand.

Today’s modern VDI solutions enable IT teams to enhance the security stance of the extended enterprise while simultaneously boosting workforce agility.

Ideal for serving remote users without a VPN connection, today’s HCI and Edge-enabled solutions cut through the cost and complexity, so that businesses of all types and sizes can finally realize the true promise of VDI technology.

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About the Author(s)

Alan Conboy

Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO at Scale Computing. He has been with Scale Computing since 2009. With more than 20 years of experience, Conboy is an industry veteran and technology evangelist specializing in designing, prototyping, selling, and implementing disruptive storage and virtualization technologies. Prior to Scale Computing, Conboy held positions at Lefthand Networks, ADIC, CreekPath Systems, and Spectra Logic. Conboy is notably one of the first movers in the X86/X64 hyperconvergence space, and one of the first 30 people ever certified by SNIA.

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