Desktop virtualization technologies are undoubtedly here to stay and are a flourishing trend of measurable outcomes. Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), two prominent solutions in the industry, have cemented their place as the go-to IT solution for workplaces of all sorts.
The steps involved in VDI implementation are the same as those in any large-scale tech project: understanding needs, setting objectives and milestones, researching, choosing vendors, and planning and strategy.
That being considered, organizations must take necessary measures throughout the VDI implementation process to optimize their working efficiency. This article explains seven common VDI/DaaS issues that most (if not all) companies often make.
Cost-effectiveness at the Cost of User Experience
Keeping users at the center of End User Computing (EUC) efforts should be a no-brainer for organizations. Unfortunately, most of them turn a blind eye to this aspect of their VDI implementation process. While business leaders have budget limitations, emphasizing only cost-cutting and neglecting user experience will lead to net loss down the line due to sub-par productivity.
Case in point, a company picks a public cloud-based multi-user model to reduce its capital expenses (CAPEX). Such a framework enables numerous users to share the resources and costs of a particular virtual machine (VM). However, if the cloud environment is not appropriately sized, these cost reduction tactics can later shape into performance issues that eventually annoy end-users.
Purchasing the best VDI service is all about squaring end-user experience with CAPEX. Besides, organizations must invest in monitoring tools that allow them to gauge UX and make necessary tweaks when things go south. These tools help them assure they are delivering a splendid end-user experience by capturing what is flashing on their employees’ physical monitors.
The total costs of ownership (TCO) for desktop virtualization solutions can outshine that of traditional physical desktops. Hence, companies should realize the benefits these technologies will come with and ensure they ink a valuable deal.
Seeing all Service Providers through the Same Lens
All DaaS/VDI vendors appear identical from a worm’s-eye perspective. They offer packages with similar functionalities at varying price tags.
Desktop virtualization services by public cloud hyperscalers allow users to work only in a single – “Mono Cloud” – setting. On the flip side, multi-cloud DaaS solutions equip companies with the flexibility to switch between various public clouds. As such, they can change their EUC environments – by transferring some data from one public cloud to another, for example, without hampering their VDI implementation strategies.
By dint of the circumstance, businesses must consider the following factors while comparing different service providers:
- Security: Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), data backup, and anti-malware software
- Mobility: Access to critical resources anywhere, anytime
- Uptime: At least 95% (Industry standard is 99.99%)
- After-sales support: Resolving queries quickly and accurately
- Scalability: Easy to scale when required
Case in point, a VDI service package bundled with 90% uptime and no resting data encryption can cost more money even if the upfront expenses are low. Conversely, a VDI solution offering 99% uptime with transport layer security (TLS) 1.3 and 256-bit encryption would be an excellent buy. While the initial costs could be high, the overall return on investment (ROI) will be impressive.
Inadequate Resource Planning
Before kick-starting VDI implementation, organizations have the opportunity to lay out a map for resource allocation. VMs will consume tremendous network bandwidth, storage, and memory to function optimally. If companies cut back on these computing requirements early on, their operation efficacy will take a hard hit.
As such, organizations must avoid planning out resources based on current or near-future needs to stitch an IT fabric, they will utilize in coming years. With that in mind, they should assess the resources they need and their status before, during, and after deploying the VDI solution.
Case in point, monitoring RAM, network bandwidth, and storage usage of every computing device. This alongside the requirements of mission-critical applications to determine the final resource requirement. Moreover, taking some additional units beforehand can help prevent system freeze or outages.
Understanding the difference between what those modules should be doing and how they actually operate is essential. Besides, businesses should be deeply acquainted with the hosts or applications in use to avoid guesswork, which could lead to inaccuracies.
Not Educating Staff about VDI Implementation
Nabbing new VDI/DaaS solutions is just one part of the entire story. Users must be aware of their entire feature sets and how to unfold their full potential. Organizations should inform about the tech-based changes in the workplaces across the board in advance. They need to provide their employees with adequate training on virtual desktops.
That includes how to run virtual desktops – whether on a virtual private network (VPN) or own web-browsing devices – what login credentials to use, and how to access and save data. Training employees will help prevent future troubles.
For this, businesses must perceive their employees as stakeholders and shadow their activities to determine how they can map them into their VDI implementation. In addition, companies must communicate any downside so that employees can inform the concerned authority on issues, including long login times, device lag, and video streaming difficulties.
When deploying DaaS/VDI, organizations should work in phases and follow up with their employees after each phase to check on them and receive feedback. They need to learn their preferences and needs to ensure fluid adoption.
Not Managing VM Sprawl
Virtualization or VM sprawl has been a longstanding challenge and can be particularly detrimental in a DaaS/VDI environment. IT teams should standardize graphics and images as much as possible to slash the degree of cleaning and maintenance each of them requires.
If a department, for instance, needs certain programs, the company should move them out through the configuration manager option (or virtualizing the apps completely) after the user logs in. This offers a single image for all users instead of a different image incorporating those essential programs.
Companies using multiple files should oversee user expectations and organize the images by the task in a distributed desktop environment. Case in point, a salesperson who will communicate via VPN and requires rapid response times, a web developer who consumes a lot of RAM, and a newbie who should be denied permission to access those applications or use USB drives.
Henceforward, IT teams should preserve the documents and disable inactive virtual desktops as employees update or leave the company.
Purchasing New Set of Equipment (Unnecessarily)
Some service providers convince end-users to replace their entire existing infrastructure with new hardware to migrate to desktop virtualization. Not to mention a string of thin clients. However, that is not the case. Businesses must never be frugal on spending sufficient capital but efficiently utilize traditional IT assets.
With desktop virtualization platforms, companies no longer have to spend on hardware and its maintenance. The office computers and laptops they already have will work absolutely fine unless they do not support internet connectivity.
Besides, VMs need not be wired to a thin client or server. Employees can also use tablets and handheld devices (based on remote access and network capabilities). That is where the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) software comes to the rescue.
Companies should avoid wasting bandwidth on their hardware during VDI implementation and rather stick to existing servers if possible. Moreover, they should not squander money by allocating a thin line/virtual desktop for each employee. Instead, they should check whether they can share these if feasible, for instance, part-time employees who work alternating shifts.
As such, organizations must use their current IT equipment until they wear out before buying new ones. If they need additional devices, they can allow BYOD for a while to understand the effect of this decision.
Taking Security Lightly
With desktop virtualization services, all the data reside in a centralized location and are off-limits to everybody unless authenticated and authorized. Organizations can disable access by decommissioning their employees’ virtual desktops in a few clicks. With all these facilities, several organizations cease thinking about their security infrastructure.
However, VDI implementation does not mean the C-suite can relax, as digital intrusions could still occur via disgruntled employees, rogue system admins, social engineering, and network sniffing.
While choosing desktop virtualization services, businesses must enquire about the security features, load balancing, and security upgrades and patching. Following is the checklist:
- Firewalls: To authorize users to access business-critical data and applications
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS): To monitor and mitigate cyberattack(s)
- MFA: To authenticate every employee and stakeholder entering the cloud network
- Regular backup: For disaster recovery and business continuity
- TLS 1.3 and 256-bit encryption: To safeguard resting and in-transit data
Prepare Now to Prevent Glitches in Future
While this summary underscores some critical pitfalls to avoid during VDI implementation, the list can extend further as DaaS/VDI adoption increases. As such, companies must not live under the impression that migrating to desktop virtualization is a smooth process.
Mistakes occur, and more of them are unexpected. Therefore, companies should log and learn from their mistakes before including them in their VDI implementation.