Imagine how much easier things could be if there was a way to securely access all of the apps and data of an entire company from any authorized computer or device in the organization. Wouldn’t it help make your business be more efficient and simplify your processes? This is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology.
VDIs basically free up the workplace from the workstation, allowing users to have full access to the apps, data, user profile, and operating system without any of them needing to be installed, secured, and maintained on their PC or laptop devices. A VDI spins up a user-customized workplace instance on demand that is hosted in a central data center or cloud.
In this post we’ll introduce you to the basic concepts behind cloud hosted virtual desktop infrastructure deployments and why they are becoming a popular choice when sharing resources between users. But we’ll only scratch the surface here. For a full understanding of the technology behind using cloud resources to run VDI, plus how Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help make those deployments more effective and cost-efficient, you’ll want to download our complete guidebook on VDI Technology in the cloud.
What is VDI?
In a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment, end-user devices securely connect to backend infrastructure of file, app, and content servers, becoming personalized virtual workstations that behave as though the apps and data are installed and stored locally. When the session terminates, files and other persistent data are stored so that, at the next logon, the workstation can be restored seamlessly.
When the workstation logs off, the infrastructure resources return to the centralized pool to serve the needs of other users. It’s a situation that in many ways resembles shared storage, only it’s not just the storage that is being shared by a pool of users, it’s any number of different services.
Like cloud file sharing, VDI allows easy access to always-synced shared files from any connected device. Centralization of these shared files also makes it easier to protect data through backup and disaster recovery processes. However, VDI goes beyond cloud file sharing to also provide a complete desktop user interface environment.
The connection can be through either a public or private network. Similarly, the virtual desktop infrastructure can be either self-hosted in a on-premises data center or it can be hosted in the cloud.
VDI Technology in Practice
More and more workplaces depend on the bring-your-own device (BYOD) paradigm, meaning that all of their employees are bringing different hardware into the office that all need access to the same applications and stored data. Using VDI, this problem can be addressed because it allows for each of those devices to access a centralized pool of resources. This is also a technology that can benefit geographically dispersed companies that have teams working concurrently in countries all over the world.
VDIs can rely on cloud infrastructure from companies like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, or they can opt to self-host the entire VDI structure on their own.
Using the self-hosted model, companies retain greater control over the infrastructure resources in play, though this comes with its own pain points. While the company owns all of the physical hardware, data center space, and carries out the installation and maintenance of the VDI hypervisor software in a self-hosted VDI, the costs can become a major concern. The company must also provision and maintain the network resources required to uphold performance SLAs as well as the redundant resources required for high availability, backups, and disaster recovery. There is a lot to orchestrate here, and the benefits of using VDI may be lost in the process.
These challenges can make using a self-hosted VDI unfeasible for enterprise-level deployments.
To find out more about what can hinder VDI deployment in the cloud and how Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help you run your VDI environment on cloud resources, download our new guidebook on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in the Cloud. You’ll read about case studies of major companies who turned to Cloud Volumes ONTAP to make their VDI deployments cost-effective, highly available, and easy to orchestrate with the flagship NetApp cloud solution.