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SDN Journal Authors: Lori MacVittie, Roger Strukhoff, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Virtualization, MICROSERVICES, Open Source, Cloud Expo, Security, SDN Journal

Virtualization: Article

Embracing the New Enterprise IT: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Businesses turn to virtual desktop infrastructure for effective BYOD policies

During the recent bout of intense winter weather throughout the Midwest, many folks were able to receive the news on office closings by receiving work email messages through their personal laptops and smartphones. Access available anywhere is becoming a given for many people who can receive updates on their personal devices no matter where they are. For the typical enterprise IT department, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy has become a standard, and it’s not uncommon to see different brands and models of laptops throughout the office.

This is all the latest evidence of the new consumerization of IT in which people’s laptops, tablets and smartphones are part of their work-day tech arsenal. Although this may save a company some money in hardware expenses and allow greater flexibility for employees, it brings with it a host of concerns, with security at the top of the list. Additionally, as companies produce an ever-increasing amount of data that’s pushing network and bandwidth capacity to its extremes, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is becoming a popular solution to these concerns and as an effective platform for a BYOD policy.

VDI’s background and advantages
For any enterprise, IT concerns are a challenge. Robust storage space, strong security, quick access and a reliable network are what employees expect and need to do their jobs. When a business grows, IT responsibilities grow as well, and scaling up means increasing pressure on what may be an already stressed system.

Desktop virtualization has emerged as a way of solving these concerns in a dependable and flexible way. Its structure allows users to log into a centralized database that provides a virtual desktop to employees where data is accessed and stored. VDI also allows a greater potential for collaboration and productivity among employees since everyone has access to the same data and can keep it up to date continually. This is particularly effective for large-scale operations such as hospitals or universities where many people may be accessing the same data to review or edit.

Also, in this kind of system, if a laptop or device is lost or stolen, security won’t be compromised since no data is stored on the device itself. As long as an organization is large enough to gain a benefit from VDI, and has the budget to support hiring a dependable VDI vendor, such an implementation can provide a significant boost to overall IT network performance.

BYOD accelerating VDI adoption
With BYOD becoming so widespread, enterprise companies have had to look at the negatives as well as the positives. This means that in addition to seeing what it could do to improve its efficiency, companies have to face the security weaknesses that BYOD presents. Hundreds of employees with various unprotected devices all accessing sensitive information is a full-blown IT nightmare.

As mentioned above, VDI combats this problem by preventing any data from being saved to an actual device, and allowing the device itself to serve as a gateway to the data, not a storage spot. VDI adoption is also gradually being implemented as more success stories of real-world use come about in health care, education and urban planning.

Innovation through virtualization
When a company hires a new employee, it may be hiring that person’s technology as well. This may lead to saving costs and increasing productivity, since the employee will be using a device and operating system she’s already well acquainted with. Any security concerns can be alleviated with a VDI implementation, which can also provide a variety of other advantages as well. The IT field is undergoing constant evolution as new strategies are devised, and VDI is just one of these innovations, so taking an assessment of your company’s network is the first step in understanding how VDI could improve data access, storage and security throughout your organization.

More Stories By Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop works in marketing and digital strategy for a technology startup. Her previous experience has included five years in enterprise and agency environments. She specializes in helping businesses learn about ways rapidly changing enterprise solutions, business strategies and technologies can refine organizational communication, improve customer experience and maximize co-created value with converged marketing strategies.

Connect with Amy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest.

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