Many experts have made the case for the virtual desktop quite successfully. But to the novice, who may still be trying to get a grasp of cloud computing, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is an understandably elusive concept. So, let’s break this down. 1.) What is desktop virtualization, and 2.) How does it compare to cloud computing?
What is Desktop Virtualization?
Desktop virtualization involves using virtual machines to allow multiple network subscribers to maintain individualized desktops on a single, centrally located computer or server (in a data center). No matter where the users are located (they could be geographically scattered all over the country), they are connected to the central machine that is virtualizing their data, powered by a proprietary local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), or the Internet.
Is VDI Cloud Computing?
If VDI sounds a lot like cloud computing, that is because cloud computing is one approach for the delivery of virtualization services. VDI can be delivered by other mechanisms than cloud computing, but the cloud is the most common virtualization delivery technology in use today. Because they are distinct services, though, the two terms should probably not be used interchangeably.
Why Does Hosted VDI Make More Sense?
From a business standpoint, VDI just makes sense. The total cost of ownership benefits are irrefutable when paired with all the other efficiencies that desktop virtualization makes possible. But it is important to understand the difference between taking advantage of hosted virtualization (where the entire infrastructure is already in place), and building your own virtualization infrastructure (we’ll call it “DIY VDI”). A VDI host will have all the features, functions and resources in place to store your data virtually, while DIY VDI (that’s really a mouthful, isn’t it?) requires you to expand upon your already costly traditional data storage environment.
If you do your own virtualization, you’ll need to keep the physical machine that cost a fortune, rely on a single operating system and applications that are tied to that physical machine, and your applications that are also tied to that single operating system and machine. Everything, from end-user experience to performance, will depend on that machine. In other words, your entire business depends on it. Sound like a good idea? We didn’t think so.
A business can experience far more benefits from taking advantage of a hosted VDI service. Call it the cloud if you like, but the bottom line is that you don’t have to maintain a frightening data center of your own. It’s all taken care of for you – virtually.