Will the COVID-19 pandemic finally bring virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) into the mainstream?
It certainly looks that way. Many organizations have either scaled their existing VDI environment or implemented new VDI technology to support their work-from-home employees. There has also been a significant rise in the use of Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), in which a cloud service provider delivers VDI capabilities for a monthly subscription fee.
The value of VDI and DaaS in this “new normal” is clear. By centralizing the desktop environment in the data center or hosting it in the cloud, VDI and DaaS give remote workers access to the applications and data they need using virtually any device.
Benefits and Challenges of VDI
The benefits of VDI were proven long before the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to delivering a familiar desktop experience to remote and mobile users, VDI increases IT operational efficiency through centralized desktop management.
Nevertheless, VDI has not seen widespread uptake. According to digital workspace expert Mark Bowker, VDI was used in about 33 percent of organizations prior to the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic saw deployment jump to as high as 80 percent, but Bowker expects VDI usage to level off at around 50 percent as employees return to the office.
Why aren’t more organizations using VDI? Cost and complexity are significant factors, given that VDI requires careful planning, highly skilled expertise, and substantial investments in server, storage, and network infrastructure. However, the prevalence of user-owned devices that may not be compatible with the company’s VDI environment also poses a major stumbling block.
Simplicity and Security
IGEL offers an elegant solution to this problem. The IGEL UD (Universal Desktop) Pocket is a USB stick loaded with IGEL’s Workspace Edition software. Employees simply plug UD Pocket into their home PCs or other devices, reboot, and it automatically connects with IGEL’s management server in the cloud. The employee’s PC becomes a fully managed endpoint, providing secure access to corporate applications. When the workday is over, the user simply removes UD Pocket and reboots, reverting the PC back to the home environment.
IGEL Workspace Edition includes IGEL OS, a platform-independent operating system that’s optimized to work with leading VDI solutions. It also supports browser-based access to applications in the cloud. The read-only operating system can’t be tampered with, and users can’t load applications locally. That minimizes the threat of malware while eliminating the need for patch management on each endpoint.
Runs on Any Endpoint
Traditionally, IGEL has been a thin-client hardware company and still offers a full line of German-engineered endpoints for a wide range of use cases. Today, IGEL OS runs on any compatible 64-bit device, enabling organizations to preserve their existing hardware investments. In addition, IGEL works with an ecosystem of more than 90 vendors to ensure compatibility with a wide range of peripherals.
IGEL can push images out to thousands of machines, making deployment very easy. In addition, the company’s Universal Management Suite provides single-pane-of-glass management for up to tens of thousands of decentralized endpoints.
Rahi Systems is an IGEL partner with the expertise to help you implement VDI and take advantage of IGEL’s solutions. If you’re looking to leverage VDI and DaaS to support your remote workforce, let us show you how IGEL can help ensure a successful deployment.