Computer

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: The Pros and Cons

Many businesses are turning to a relatively new type of IT infrastructure – virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Desktop virtualisation is a relatively recent concept, whereby multiple people, using multiple PCs, can access desktop software, controlled from one main server or data centre.

Why Do People Choose VDI?

There are a number of reasons why a business would choose to do this. For example, if a company decided to upgrade the operating systems for every computer within the organisation, this could be extremely expensive and time consuming. This would mean either upgrading each individual PC or buying completely new hardware. With virtual desktops, only the main server or ‘image’ would need to be updated, and then everyone connected to that image would be running exactly the same system.

The Benefits

  • Each user connected to the main image will have exactly the same operating system and applications. This reduces the amount of time required to individually install applications on each PC. This could also reduce costs.
  • By updating the main image with the latest security updates, you can be sure that every attached PC will also be protected.
  • As there is only one main system, if a problem arises, only one system will have to be analysed and fixed, as apposed to analysing a number of different computers.
  • A VDI allows you to support a number of computers or mobile devices anywhere in the world from one main server or data centre. This means you don’t have to have all of your systems in one small area. You can even work remotely if necessary. Plus, you’ll have high bandwidth networking and high performance storage.

The Disadvantages

  • If an individual requires different applications from the other users, they will require a completely different image, without changing the applications for other users.
  • A substantial initial outlay is required for the main server hardware, storage and network infrastructure. This might no be feasible for some smaller businesses.
  • Administrators, savvy to the limitations, problem solving and installation of VDIs will either have to be brought in or existing IT staff given the relevant training.
  • If a problem occurs, this will generally affect all users, rather than being able to isolate problems if operating systems run off individual PCs.

For many businesses, opting for a VDI seems like a great option – and with good reason. VDIs allow you to streamline your whole IT infrastructure and essentially make your business more profitable.

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I'm a virtual desktop specialist from the UK and a total gadget geek!

16 Comments

  1. I never have tried to use Virtual desktop infrastructure and as I was reading all the benefits and disadvantages of the product I suddenly get interest about it. One reason is that I can never see that it cannot harm the desktop as long as you know the certain point where you can use it.

  2. The development of desktop virtualization has branched away from this setup, however. Virtual desktop infrastructure, or virtual desktop interface, is the software model that powers desktop virtualization.

  3. Really nice article, I’ve been using a virtual desktop for a while, but I’ve chosen it just because I needed an other OS installed on my computer. I am an OSX user but some of my apps that are necessary for my job are only available for windows, so I’ve chosen Parallels desktop. And it works fine.

  4. I still think the disadvantages are bigger than the advantages, at least for most companies.
    And just having to analyze one computer when problems occur doesn’t seem like an advantage. I would rephrase it to: if on one computer problems occur, everyone will have them.
    And normally when every employee has his/her own pc and they get a problem, then there will just be one pc with a problem thus still only one pc needs to be analyzed.

  5. Very Well written advantages & disadvantages!

    VDI is new but is picking up very fast due to the benefits it offers for reducing the cost and administration. We cannot expect to have anything exist without disadvantages, the biggest disadvantage is – if the main server goes down all my user will sit ideal, so a regular mirroring of the main server can reduce your downtime!

    Cheers to the advancing technologies!

  6. Virtual desktop infrastructure will be very useful to small businesses, who will be looking for cost effective means. This way you can integrate the computer operations in your business.

  7. I like the idea of this VDI business. I think it will benefit small businesses to a high degree and make small businesses flourish because they can use more money on their marketing expenses.

  8. I favour Virual desktop Infrastructure as Problems can generally be resolved from within the data center and there is no need to run out to the actual PCs. Since images can usually be accessed from any connected workstation, if incase a user experiences hardware trouble on their PC then they can simply go to another workstation and access their data and applications.

  9. I have switched to VDI as soon as possible and even if there are a few cons I believe the pros “outvalue” the cons by far and I have never regreted it so far. I do believe VDI is a very powerful tool for business, even more when some of your employees are working from home or abroad.

  10. VDI is at times underestimated. I use it all the time to run a windows environment on my Mac. It does work well in small industries for sure or those who just don’t have the resources to manage a large amount of servers and such.

    1. Glad to hear that jimmy, indeed I am a mac user(I also use windows but for work only) and was wondering about VDI mac/windows compatibilty. Has anyone got more feedbacks on this issue? cause I have often been disappointed in the past…

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