Go digital How virtual desktop infrastructure projects succeed

Personal computing brought with it a revolution and shifted computing capacities from room-filling computer cabinets under desks. But with it came new problems. From then on, companies had to manage a large number of devices. This hardware wanted to be constantly maintained and updated.

After various approaches to the central provision of applications and desktops through virtualization, the emergence of VDI, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, was decisive and groundbreaking in the mid-2010s. Anyone who is currently planning or currently carrying out a VDI project should pay particular attention to the following aspects in order to make the project really sustainable and successful.

My home office is my VDI castle

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is the hosting of desktop environments on a central server. But the term is also commonly used for hosting and centralized provisioning of applications. In fact, virtual desktops and applications can be made available to users centrally, securely and quickly via a network on a wide variety of end devices. Providers such as Citrix, VMware or Microsoft, who have been dealing with virtualization technology since the end of the 2000s, initially concentrated mainly on use in industries in which solutions are required to be as efficient and available as possible with high cost pressure.

Now, however, further technical development and the increasing trend towards decentralized work have made VDI socially acceptable on a large scale. The opportunities that VDI jobs open up became very clear under the pressure of the Corona crisis. Whether for a quick implementation of home office workstations or the implementation of longer-term business continuity strategies – the need for VDI has increased enormously again due to the crisis.

EXTRA: How the coronavirus is forcing digitization

VDI does it

In contrast to most of the previous virtualization solutions, VDI relies entirely on outsourcing the computing power, which completely relieves the end point. Users still have the freedom to use the device of their choice, but all resources, applications and files can be managed centrally. Everything stays up to date and within the secure company network. For example, companies can use hardware longer, which means a clear benefit for the company’s and environmental balance sheet. New investments are many times lower, since end devices hardly need (have to) any power. Legacy applications can also continue to be operated much more easily and securely.

Patches on Patches

With the ever shorter update cycles, the administration of VDI becomes a real challenge. More than 75 percent of companies would like to use the semi-annual update mode recommended by Microsoft in order to take security and functional aspects into account. In addition, there are updates and security patches for the applications used, which also usually means an update per quarter and app. According to surveys, however, over 60 percent of companies need more than six months for an update due to this complexity in order to be able to guarantee the stability and availability of the VDI environment.

In today’s IT world, it is more important than ever to automate update processes and proactively display performance problems so that they can be resolved promptly. It is essential to test under realistic conditions with real workloads that reflect actual day-to-day business.

This is how it works for sure!

It makes most sense to mirror the productive environment and test it with synthetic users who behave like real users. The problems that arise in the simulation can thus be eliminated before they arise. The patches to be implemented are only rolled out after the test results meet the service level specifications. This is only possible reactively with the “classic” methods that manufacturers of various VDI solutions include.

Effects on production operations due to planned changes, updates or new applications cannot be simulated with it!

The smallest changes can have far-reaching consequences in complex virtualized environments due to butterfly effects. In the worst case, a supposedly small update can result in the failure of the entire system. Current monitoring solutions such as LoginVSI enable administrators to keep track of the operational status of the solution at all times. Such solutions, for example, proactively report problems on the user side, including screenshots of the incident, to the administrator and show the most important parameters at a glance via dashboard views, so that administrators do not have to laboriously recreate the error in dialog with the user.

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