Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): The Roadblocks and Rewards

by | May 1, 2015 | Cloud, Data Center security, Professional Services

One of the greatest technology advancements of the last two decades has been virtualization. In the mid-2000s we saw server virtualization accelerate the power of data. Today it is the defacto standard for most corporate platforms and enterprises are now racing to apply the same benefits of virtualization to other aspects of the data center, such as networking architecture and storage platforms.

While many see the value in virtualizing these functions within the data center, virtualizing the corporate desktop or laptop is still very much up for debate. While there are some surveys out claiming CIOs are increasingly turning to virtualized desktops, my recent experience proves that enterprises are still very polarized on the topic. Given the mobility, security and speed benefits of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), I was curious to examine this further so I began keeping track of all the reasons given by businesses that claimed they did not want to adopt desktop virtualization.
From this exercise, I discovered that there are two main reasons why virtual desktops are not being adopted:


  • 1) “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is too expensive!”

Yes, it is true that virtualizing your physical desktops will not yield the same immediate ROI that virtualizing server infrastructure ten years ago offered. However, the advancements in purpose-built infrastructure for VDI has dramatically reduced the initial TCO of VDI projects so that it is at least break even with traditional desktops.
While the business value in a virtual desktop infrastructure is not an upfront TCO reduction, the agility and security it provides to the business offers significant value. By automating the management and provisioning of user workspaces a business has the ability to be much more agile. Arduous yet important tasks like rolling out new applications and upgrades are now done with the click of a button – making it almost effortless for businesses to provide its workforce with the technology necessary to successfully compete in the market.


  • 2) “We tried VDI and it failed.”

This one is becoming more and more common everyday. I believe the reason for these “failures” is that too many have tried to “go it alone.” Without the proper support and guidance, evaluating whether Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is a fit for an organization can be a daunting task that often results in long testing times, poor results and in the worst cases failed rollouts and sunk costs. With a closer look at why these initiatives failed I found that many enterprises had not done enough assessing and benchmarking of the organization prior to the beginning the project. Additionally, many did not focus on the processes and workflows that would change when you virtualize your desktops and corresponding applications.

So, where do we go from here?

There is no doubt that VDI initiatives present some challenges, but with the proper preparation and support, it can be the transformational competitive edge that will make the difference for your business. At Red8 we offer a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Pre-Assessment service that is designed to ensure that each VDI project is a success. We also focus on assisting our customers with all of the process improvements that a VDI initiative can bring to your organization. Our team of desktop and application virtualization experts are dedicated to solving the unique business challenges of today’s ever-evolving IT landscape. Talk to us about your Virtual Desktop Infrastructure concerns and business goals, and together we will find the solution that is right for your organization.
Todd Gaske
National Virtualization Practice Manager