The Essential Elements of a Great VDI Environment

Posted on June 14, 2021 Backups & DR

We look at what makes a VDI environment great, whether it’s for visualizing the desktops of virtual machines for your team, or a client.

According to a survey conducted by 451 Research, 67 percent of organizations that implemented work-from-home policies in 2020 expect them to remain for the long-term.

The conversation around the best VDI environments will only intensify in 2021. Everything about cloud technology changed at the turn of the decade. Even with a vaccine, COVID-19 will change cloud strategy forever.

This guide will help you identify the essential elements of a VDI environment and how to achieve implementation.

Prepare to take notes, and don’t forget to bookmark this guide for future reference.

What Is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) refers to the architecture to host a cloud desktop for your business. Your provider provides virtual desktop environments on a central server and deploys them to end-users.

What’s the Difference Between VDI and VMs?

Virtual machines (VMs) provide technology that allows desktop images to run. The “machine” separates a server into multiple virtual servers. One of those servers provides your VDI environment.

What Are the Benefits of a VDI Environment?

VDI doesn’t provide the same return on investment for every type of organization. It’s critical to your success that you set your expectations for the service. Examine the benefits that convinced other professionals to implement.

Simpler Management of IT Resources

Think about what has to happen to deploy IT resources to your organization at this moment. Now imagine a world without the PCs in your vision. What tasks and responsibilities disappear when you don’t have to buy laptops and license the software?

A centralized management gives IT administrators the ability to manage everything from one data center. Everything from application upgrades to installing virus software doesn’t require manual updates to every laptop or workstation.

Improve User Experience

Any implementation of new technology brings Negative Nancies out of the woodwork, so prepare for skepticism. After users spend time with their virtual desktops, they won’t want to return to the old way of doing business.

Most users won’t notice a significant difference between the new experience and the old. If you’ve taken the time to do a proper implementation, their environments may already have their preferred settings. Employees now have the power to work from any device.

Save Money

What could you do with the time you no longer have to spend troubleshooting server issues? Have a project manager track the time and tell you the real-world impact on your business.

How would your plans for the future change without purchasing laptops in your annual budget? Talk to your accounting team or look at reports today to find out.

When you have desktop environments managed from a central point, you save money, time, and energy. The right plan will change how your IT budget impacts the organization.

Increase Productivity

Do you remember waiting a long time for IT to arrive and fix a problem with your laptop? When you have one environment to address, no one should lose productive time at work.

Your IT team will get excited when they realize they can focus on user experience instead of routine maintenance. If your team doesn’t focus on solving problems, they can get to work improving your customer experience and internal business process.

Control Access

You can use VDI management tools to establish levels of access for any user in your organization. Those people have access to their desktop from any hardware with internet access that meets minimum requirements.

Do you often have trouble passing larger files back and forth? Virtual desktop infrastructure gives everyone access to files like video content or CAD documents.

What Type of VDI Implementations Do You Need?

Most organizations choose from three different types of VDI solutions. You’ll need to choose between the following:

  • Remote Apps
  • Pooled Desktops
  • Session-Based Desktops
  • Dedicated Personal Desktops

Remote Apps

Do you have users who don’t need access to a full remote desktop? Remote Apps allow users to launch the applications they need from a laptop or desktop.

Pooled Desktops

Do you want any changes made to a desktop environment to disappear after a user logs off? Pooled desktops work well for employees who need a consistent environment each time they log in.

Session-Based Desktops

Session-based desktops provide access for multiple users to a master machine. There’s not much room for personalization, and your team won’t have access to anything other than the chosen applications.

Dedicated Personal Desktops

Do you want users to have a desktop environment that doesn’t reset? You can give employees like developers the classic desktop they need to keep control.

How Do You Implement VDI?

VDI shares similarities with implementing other solutions for your organization. A drastic change in how users access their desktops means that you need to prepare details and identify evangelists early.

1. Create Your Business Case

Every successful implementation begins with informing stakeholders about the support they need to lend to the project. Your leadership team must understand your challenges and how you will address them with a virtual machine desktop.

Breakdown the costs for current operations to investors and other stakeholders and include the following numbers to justify the plan:

  • The annual budget for your hardware refresh
  • The current estimate for deploying new laptops
  • The cost per minute, hour, and day for downtime

2. Know Your Existing Environment

Understand your existing environment by examining the following issues:

  • How much virtualization already exists
  • Hypervisor vendor mix and its distribution
  • Storage capacity for your current environment

It’s also good practice to evaluate the following technologies at the same time:

  • Fibre channel (FC)
  • Direct-attached storage (DAS)
  • Network-attached storage (NAS)
  • Internet small computer system interface (iSCSI)
  • Performance and capacity of current evaluation tools

3. Decide What Desktop Environment You Want for Users

Complete an application virtualization assessment to show you can analyze metrics like device drivers installed for each application, average loading time, the number of users, and executable size. If you take the time to virtualize applications you can lower your deployment time and simplify the migration.

You should also know the following about your current desktop management:

  • Single versus multiple desktop users
  • Granular universal serial bus (USB) redirection
  • Classify non-employees as task users or knowledge users
  • Requirements for printing, audio profiles, monitor support, etc.

4. Access Your Physical Desktop Environment

Now you need to analyze your current physical desktop environment for metrics like storage, memory, and the central processing unit (CPU).

Create a list of priorities for the implementation. After your assessment, you should have an understanding of how to prioritize users based on complexity.

Do you have confidence in the sizing factors? Don’t forget to review the following:

  • Peak time analysis
  • Performance evaluations for storage
  • Performance evaluations for desktops
  • Storage for a monolithic versus a linked clone approach

5. Map Your Solution

Take time to analyze options that give the flexibility to coordinate a mix of technologies for your requirements. Now that you have an analysis of user feedback, you can map the delivery options based on your architecture.

Don’t forget to include the advantages and disadvantages of expanding your scope for implementing VDI. Study the package options, delivery mechanisms, and ask questions to your provider.

6. Create the Framework for a Pilot

Identify subsets of users to test metrics for your chosen scenarios.

You may consider building an environment to test VDI solutions before committing to an investment. Build a framework that includes your organization’s project management resources, deployment architecture, milestones, and best practices.

7. Implement and Manage

When you decide that it’s time to implement a solution, do the following:

  1. Establish your project management resources
  2. Schedule your go-live date
  3. Set project timelines and milestones
  4. Select the ideal resources from your early planning

Encourage an open-door policy after your VDI rollout date. You’ll want constant feedback to measure your key performance indicators (KPIs). If you’ve prepped your organization for the change and made smart decisions, you’ll enjoy reading the reports.

What Should You Look For in a VDI Client?

Take your time evaluating the management software. Most vendors include this with their services, but you may consider a third-party solution. While your desktop’s managed with the VDI software, you’ll need to plan for configuring your hardware.

Have you considered the ideal form factor for devices? If you have employees in the field, you’ll want to consider Chromebooks or lighter laptops. If you’re dealing with workstations, you have the freedom to ignore form factors for the most cost-effective devices available.

Evaluate the vendors you’re considering for their trustworthiness. Have you asked for references? Calling existing customers gives you a better picture of the realities ahead of your organization.

While your annual hardware renewal budget will shrink, it doesn’t go down to zero. Your desktop may exist in the cloud, but you need to ensure that devices promote productivity.

Have you narrowed down a client type that meets your needs while reducing cost? Zero client options remain popular to provide a stripped-down machine with the bare necessities.

Do You Need to Know More About VDI?

Now that you understand the essential elements of a VDI environment and how to deploy one, what can you do with this new knowledge? Where should you go if you have more questions?

We’re happy to help you build desktop visualizations and architecture that change how you do business. Contact us today through our website or call us at 1-844-25-CLOUD today.

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