January 19, 2016

We love Virtual Desktop Infrastructures. They can liberate your staff and streamline your workflows. But what is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI for short? Well, we put together this super simple guide to tell you what a Virtual Desktop (also known as a Hosted Desktop) is and how it can benefit your business.

What is a virtual desktop?

A virtual desktop takes everything about a traditional computer (the hardware, the data, the operating system and the processing power) and puts it in the cloud. Desktop Virtualisation separates the physical machine from the software – much like the way VoIP separates the phone number from the phone line.

Everything is stored remotely, rather than locally, making it safer and easier to manage. Then, a user can access this from anywhere in the world, on almost any device.

What are the benefits of a Virtual Desktop?

The benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure (or VDI for short) include:

  • Security: Nearly all Virtual Desktops operate on a non-persistent system, the slate wipes clean every time you log-off. Meaning any nasty malware doesn’t get the chance to stick around.
  • Efficiency: Redirect resources where necessary, like during high-usage time periods.
  • Manageable: With a centralised administration system, you can make important changes to every computer (or just those that require it) in a matter of seconds.
  • Compatible: Everything is consistent across the board, you encounter fewer compatibility issues, and can fix them more easily when you do.
  • Cheaper: Only use the resources you need, when you need it. By consuming processing power as a resource, you can have a battle-station during intense periods and a rowing boat when things get quieter.

Nature Laptop Outside Macbook

Is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure really cheaper?

In a nutshell, it can be. You just need a provider that is in tune with your business needs and knows how to tailor the infrastructure to give you exactly what you need. You’re best selecting a company that tailors solutions to fit your IT problems, rather than those offering ‘off the shelf’ solution.

Another way that VDI saves you money is that it provides an easy way for multiple users to effectively share an operating system. Now, this doesn’t mean you can buy one version of Windows for everyone to use. Instead, it means you can create a template that can go on every PC. All you have to do is manage one version. This means that no matter how much your staff, contractors or consultants mess things up you can quickly get them back on track.

An even easier way to think of it is in terms of what’s cheaper and less time consuming to maintain: one desktop or one hundred?

How can I use a virtual desktop?

You can use a virtual desktop in numerous ways, but the most common would be to unify a workforce into one consistent, cohesive unit, meaning IT managers spend less time keeping everything in line and more time on what’s important: helping the company grow.

Alternatively, you could use a virtual desktop infrastructure to unshackle your staff from their desks. They can move freely between rooms, between offices, they can even move between countries and still have access to their important work files. VDI is a great solution for companies that always have staff on the go.

With VDI, you can also take remote working to the next level. By having your staff based out of their homes, you can remove one of the biggest expenditures every company has: the office. In fact, it’s proven that your staff will be 19% more productive thanks to remote working. And imagine how much more motivated they will be once you’ve passed the savings onto them.

Are virtual desktops safer?

If they are maintained properly, yes they are – dramatically so, in fact. Our Virtual Desktops not only have industry-grade anti-virus and anti-malware software installed, but they are also hosted on servers that have the highest security credentials attainable. Then, they are protected by a powerful firewall and hidden from public Internet access. And, to top it all off, they are proactively monitored around the clock to handle any threats that try to cause trouble.

The most important thing to remember is; any PCs that have been repurposed and converted will require security software outside of the virtual desktop environment. That’s why all PCs (fat or thin) should come with strict guidelines and usage policies, to prevent anyone from wandering onto the wrong website by accident.

Synextra are Hosted Desktop specialists.

If you have any more questions or want to talk to one of the team about installing a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in your office, get in touch today. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through the options, to see if a VDI is the right option for you.