Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Why Your Next Desktop Will Be Virtual

There's a lot of buzz about virtual desktop infrastructure and what it can offer companies in terms of productivity, cost savings and data security. So much buzz, in fact, that you might wonder if the desktop, notebook or tablet you're reading this on is about to become extinct. As Knowledge Center contributor Jeff Nessen explains here, the answer is maybe.


There will always be a need for conventional desktops and notebooks for specific users, but desktop virtualization has matured today. In fact, it's time to take a hard look, not just a passing glance, at what it can provide.

The magic that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can provide is in taking a fairly inexpensive thin-client device, giving it access to your data center from anywhere, and allowing that device to take on the image of a typical desktop. VDI provides the device with all the data and applications you need throughout your day, and then reverts to the proverbial tabula rasa when you shut it down. Because no data is stored on the device, you never have to worry about proprietary data falling into the wrong hands if the device itself-desktop, laptop or tablet-is lost or stolen.

VDI should change the way you think about the desktop. For your users who fit the bill, there are significant reasons why VDI makes sense right now.

Five reasons to examine VDI now

Reason No. 1: Hard cost savings

Thin clients cost less and they last longer (six to seven years versus four years for a notebook). They also consume a fraction of the energy of a desktop PC (as low as six to seven watts for thin clients versus 150 watts for PCs).

Reason No. 2: Ease of management

Thin clients are easier to patch and upgrade. They have slower generational changes than PCs so you're not swapping out newer versions all the time.

Reason No. 3: Centralized backups

When using virtual desktops, everything is backed up centrally, which is easier on data center operations and eliminates local drive issues. This makes sense for tablets as well since they are not a traditional client device and their backups most certainly are not handled by most enterprise backup applications.

Reason No. 4: Regulatory compliance

Since all the data and applications are centralized, VDI makes it vastly easier to enable and enforce processes and procedures to ensure security, privacy and other best practices.

Reason No. 5: Productivity gains

VDI encourages telecommuting or remote working, which can contribute to higher productivity, better morale and lower office space expenses while decreasing demands on help desks. If there are problems, it's easier to troubleshoot standard images and integrate applications with standard hardware. Plus, users need less training with standard images.

While these reasons to examine VDI now are substantial and worth considering, VDI isn't for everyone-at least not yet. To be successful, you need to be very selective with the users you choose to bring into the VDI model. But for those users that can take advantage of VDI, the benefits they reap may feel a bit like magic.

Jeff Nessen is the Practice Director for Platform Virtualization Solutions at Logicalis. He can be reached at