Subscribe
Tag

Story of the Week

Browsing

Businesses want employees to be productive and happy, which is part of the reason why organizations across the world have embraced remote and hybrid work.

But businesses also want to protect against cybersecurity risks. And unfortunately, that goal is often at odds with remote and hybrid work.

How can companies square this circle? In other words, how can they ensure that employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere, while also enforcing strong cybersecurity postures?

The answer is desktop virtualization. Virtual desktops deliver the flexibility that businesses need to operationalize remote and hybrid work, while also making it easy for IT teams to protect against the security threats that plague distributed workforces.

Why remote work breeds cybercrime

To understand why, let’s first examine how remote and hybrid work increase the security challenges that businesses face.

According to Verizon’s 2022 Mobile Security Index, nearly 80 percent of respondents report that recent changes to working practices – which include the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid work models – have adversely affected their organizations’ cybersecurity postures.

The main reasons why include:

  • Remote work makes it hard to guarantee the physical security of devices that may store sensitive business data. Attackers could steal the devices themselves to exfiltrate private information from the business.
  • Remote devices can’t be protected behind firewalls and VPNs in the same way as devices that are located on-site.
  • IT teams can’t easily monitor, patch and update remote devices in order to stay on top of security threats.
  • Remote devices often connect to business systems through insecure home networks.
  • Employees may inadvertently install malware or vulnerable applications on devices that they use when working remotely, especially if they use the devices for personal reasons in addition to working.

In short, when workers are off-site some or all of the time, it’s simply not possible to deploy the same security protections that work for on-site employees and devices.

How desktop virtualization secures modern workforces

Faced with challenges like these, some business leaders may be tempted to pull the plug on remote work policies and force everyone back in the office.

But that’s not practical in many cases. As the Harvard Business Review points out, businesses gain a variety of benefits from allowing remote and hybrid work – such as reduced real estate costs, higher employee retention rates and even increased profits.

So, instead of abandoning remote work, companies need to find ways to embrace the “new normal” of working without compromising on security. And the obvious solution is desktop virtualization.

Desktop virtualization means replacing conventional desktop computers with virtual desktop sessions hosted on servers inside a business’s data center or a public cloud. Employees can connect to these sessions from anywhere, at any time, so they get all of the flexibility that they need to work remotely.

At the same time, however, desktop virtualization plugs the most serious security gaps associated with remote work. Virtual desktops can be protected with firewalls and operated in such a way that sensitive data never leaves the virtual desktop infrastructure – so it is never at risk of physical security breaches.

In addition, desktop virtualization allows for rigid isolation between employees’ personal computing resources and business resources. Instead of mixing personal apps with business apps, virtual desktops keep business applications isolated inside the virtual desktop environment, so that malware or other threats present on local devices are essentially a non-issue from a business security perspective.

The fact that IT teams can continuously monitor virtual desktops and patch them in real time to address security threats adds yet another layer of protection for remote workers. Businesses don’t need to worry that attackers will take advantage of unmonitored, un-updated remote PCs to gain a beachhead from which they can launch further attacks against a business.

Protecting traditional PCs as well as mobile devices

The security advantages of desktop virtualization apply, by the way, regardless of which types of devices employees use when working remotely. Whether they log in from their own PCs, company-supplied laptops, or even mobile phones, they connect to secure virtual desktop environments.

That means that desktop virtualization gives employees the freedom to connect from any device they choose, while still allowing employers to enforce strong security policies.

Access controls like multifactor authentication, geofencing, and whitelisting of devices secure devices in a hybrid work environment while enforcing network controls like firewall with IPS & IDS protection further secure corporate data from bad actors.

Desktop virtualization also allows setting of desktop-level controls like Active Directory integration of authentication and Group Policy Objects (GPO)-based restrictions on virtual desktops.

Conclusion

In short, desktop virtualization provides the best of both worlds: The flexibility that employees expect from the “new way of working” and the cybersecurity protections that businesses need to keep critical applications and data secure. For many companies, there’s no going back to the old days of having everyone in the office, all of the time, which is why desktop virtualization has assumed an absolutely vital role in business success.

The 2020-2021 timeline witnessed Desktop as a Service (DaaS) ascending from a linear evolution to an exponential one as the business economy went virtual. With companies embracing remote and hybrid workplaces, data-native strategies, and global supply chains, the appetite for DaaS-based solutions is only becoming stronger and ever-growing.

These cloud computing technologies are now a cornerstone for organizations looking to work smarter, focus on their core operations, and complete projects faster. From banks’ C-suite shepherding the development of innovative digital banking applications to warehouse managers striving to strip complexity from their transportation and logistics, the use cases for DaaS are limitless.

With highly scalable platforms, on-command computing power, and a more resilient approach to IT expenditure, the cloud has climbed from a budding technology to an integral IT asset. As such, more companies are shifting toward a cloud-first strategy, and as they do, we are likely to observe the following DaaS trends very shortly.

The AI-Cloud Synergy

The confluence of cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and its subset, machine learning (ML), will soon gather center stage. AI/ML-enabled platforms consume massive data bandwidth and processing power to process and analyze data. Well-engineered cloud computing technologies make these capabilities considerably more cost-effective than other solutions.

Conversely, AI and ML help organizations glean additional value from the ever-increasing data chunks. From e-commerce brands testing their websites’ performance in real-time to logistics companies assessing their transportation networks’ efficacy, AI/ML enables organizations to make the most of the data and operate better.

Common AI applications, from social media filters to Google searches, happen through the cloud. Additionally, the technology that redirects traffic from data centers to end-user devices and controls storage runs on ML.

What is more, cloud solutions help democratize AI and ML, thus expanding the user base. Consequently, even budget-constraint businesses can leverage the potential of these oft-cited technologies to develop innovative offerings.

Serverless Cloud to Go Mainstream

Serverless computing, also called function-as-a-service (FaaS), takes the burden of infrastructure management and server provisioning off users’ shoulders. Instead, the cloud vendor dynamically manages the underlying infrastructure and allocates computing resources as per the needs of running applications.

A subset of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), serverless cloud particularly benefits companies requiring colossal processing power but in short bursts. Case in point, compiling and running software code.

Serverless computing is a pay-per-use system; companies need not have to squander their money on storage and bandwidth upfront. As such, they can build new applications and utilize greater computing power at a fair price and in less time. Also, old-line organizations can launch new digital services without overwhelming their already-stretched IT crews.

Besides, a serverless cloud helps remove the risk of back-end failures and offers safe sandboxes for coding and innovating. Indeed, the deployment of serverless architecture will soar by about 22% CAGR during 2022-2027.

Hybrid and Multi-cloud to Become the De Facto Strategies

Previously, businesses have had two options while shifting their workloads to the cloud – public or private models. The former was easily accessible and offered pay-as-you-go services, while the latter was more flexible and provided better security for data storage.

Fortunately, hybrid cloud models combine the best of both experiences. According to a report, 8 out of 10 business owners are taking the hybrid approach – melding the potential of both private and public clouds.
Public servers can store a fraction of easily and frequently accessed data through dashboards, tools, and applications. At the same time, private servers can safeguard more confidential or mission-critical assets, which IT admins can track and process using patented applications.

With that considered, organizations are looking to distribute internal processing and storage requirements across multiple cloud platforms, often from numerous providers, based on the use cases. Hence, they are flocking to the multi-cloud environments to use a slew of solutions from different vendors. Empirical evidence suggests that about 90% of companies implement a multi-cloud model.

Cloud Security to Climb up in Businesses’ Agenda

Cybercrimes are already on the rise. On average, a data breach costs US$ 4.35 Mn, a 2.6% increment from the 2021 number. In response, cloud providers are infusing their services with best-in-breed data defenses to address existing issues, including bandwidth constraints and repercussions of sharing data from untrusted devices.

In 2022 and ahead, we will see surging adoption of:

Cloud disaster recovery (Cloud DR): Cloud DR backs up an organization’s critical data on an external cloud server in the event of human-made or natural catastrophes. The cloud-based service creates a standby IT setting that can take charge if the primary infrastructure collapses. It is cost- and time-efficient, benefitting from third-party management – Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Moreover, organizations can change, add, and eliminate data from these external servers when needed without having to scale their IT fabric. Cloud DR is the go-to solution for compute-heavy applications and servers such as massive databases and ERPs.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE): SASE is an emerging cybersecurity concept that empowers companies to manage access and connectivity between cloud services, cloud applications, and end-user devices. Businesses armed with SASE benefit from IT security features – firewalls, web filtering, zero-trust architecture (ZTA), and credential theft prevention – all cloud-enabled. In addition, SASE offers users a single sign-on experience across multiple corporate cloud applications while maintaining the most stringent levels of security compliance.

Deploying Applications at the Edge

Edge computing is a novel approach to data processing wherein operations do not occur within a centralized cloud. Instead, it involves creating localized devices or data centers for computation and storage or within the network’s periphery.

This decentralized computing infrastructure reduces latency and boosts application performance. As the enterprise resources and data reside closer to the end user’s device, they can be processed locally, thus saving money as well.

Edge computing is the driving force behind cutting-edge devices, including smartwatches, smartphones, and smart cars, and the interrelation of all the data produced by these solutions.

Nevertheless, most people misunderstand edge computing as a threat to cloud computing even though the technologies complement each other. Organizations utilizing both edge and cloud experience reduced bandwidth usage, near-instant data processing, and decreased volumes of transferred data.

Edge computing is presently one of the hottest topics in boardroom discussions, and its market will only expand going forward. Cloud technology will be an excellent fit for businesses interested in increasing operational efficiency.

Kubernetes-powered Blockchain Networks

Existing public blockchain infrastructure does not deliver adequate data storage and management; hence, incorporating blockchain systems for big data applications becomes challenging.

Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source engine that streamlines the deployment and management of container-based applications. Moreover, the software monitors the performance of new services, enabling organizations to deal with loopholes proactively.

Using K8s for blockchain helps swiftly scale environments and ensures at-length availability with several containers operating for essential services. In addition, the combination promotes service interoperability between companies that are designed differently.

Positioning blockchain networks and their constituents via Kubernetes clusters could soon be the adoption standard. The reason being they address two key obstacles blockchain encounters – its innate intricacy and integration into the current infrastructure.

Massive Outbreak of Cloud Gaming on the Cards

Cloud gaming enables users to stream endless options of video games on remote servers for a fixed monthly charge. Players can play the games on any web-browsing device without having to invest in a costly console. In addition, remote gaming provides a lag-proof experience and hardened security and keeps users from cleaning up their device storage space.

Equipping game streaming technology with cloud computing propels the demand and engagement of multi-players for various games and eliminates existing platform hurdles.

Cloud gaming services, including Google’s Stadia and Amazon Luna, will shape the industry’s course in 2022. Additionally, the onset of Cloud Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) has made headsets more cost-effective and accessible while promoting cloud gaming across multiple verticals. Also, cloud-driven AR and VR will find usage in areas like data visualization and product design engineering.

While e-gaming is yet to achieve its optimal capacity, its fusion with the cloud will ensure the continuous evolution of cloud gaming.

Tracing the Path Forward

The years ahead are an exciting time to work in the IT realm. With DaaS innovation advancing, businesses will have immeasurable opportunities to reinvent their tactics for optimum results.

About 9 of 10 organizations will implement a cloud-native regimen by 2025. Proper execution of digital strategies is not feasible without leveraging cloud-driven architectures. DaaS is the backbone of every digital service and delivery pipeline, including connected automobiles, social media, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Besides, upcoming ultra-fast networks, such as Wi-Fi 6E and 5G, mean more data will be streamed from the cloud, welcoming new sorts of data streaming. From an end-user standpoint, Desktop as a Service effectively makes interconnected technology faster, lighter, and more accessible. It will be a critical driving force in migrating more enterprise workloads to cloud platforms.

MSPs and resellers want to build new revenue streams within what has become an extremely competitive managed services market. Yet, many remain unaware of one of the most obvious opportunities for creating a profitable new type of offering based on VDI and DaaS – which is good news for those MSPs and resellers who are seeking to differentiate themselves by capitalizing on managed VDI and DaaS services before their competitors can launch their own offerings.

That’s one of the takeaways from our experience at ChannelCon 2022, where the Anunta team spent several days talking to MSPs and resellers from across the world. We came away from the event with an even deeper understanding of what MSPs and resellers need to be successful in today’s ultra-competitive business environment, and how VDI and DaaS can help them do it.

Hybrid work breeds opportunity for MSPs and resellers

One topic that was constantly on the lips of ChannelCon attendees was hybrid work. MSPs and resellers are keenly aware that the workplace is changing dramatically as businesses embrace work models that involve employees based off-site.

What MSPs and resellers didn’t always recognize, however, was how they can leverage hybrid work as an opportunity for creating new revenue streams by moving their customers to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).

That’s why we enjoyed talking to ChannelCon attendees about how VDI and DaaS allow businesses to solve the challenges of hybrid work. As we explained, by replacing conventional PCs with virtual desktop sessions that can be hosted either in on-premises data centers or the cloud, VDI and DaaS make it easy to deliver desktop computing resources to workers based in any location.

At the same time, VDI and DaaS technologies offer strong access controls and encryption to ensure that desktop infrastructure remains secure. They also allow businesses to pay for their desktops on a monthly basis, rather than having to make large upfront capital investments. That’s a particularly attractive advantage for companies worried about today’s uncertain economic climate.

These benefits prompted Mark Evans, Anunta’s Manager for Pre-Sales, to note, “With the popularity of hybrid and remote work and the pressing need for secure and scalable digital workplaces, it is critical that resellers and MSPs take advantage of DaaS and its evergreen profitability potential.”

The challenge of managed VDI and DaaS services

Although hybrid work has created strong demand for VDI and DaaS, we found that many MSPs and resellers whom we talked with remained a bit hesitant to capitalize on this opportunity at first.

The problem wasn’t that they don’t think their customers would benefit from VDI or DaaS. Instead, it’s that they worry that DaaS is too hard for MSPs and resellers to set up and manage on their own.

That’s a valid concern. Designing, deploying and supporting VDI and DaaS environments requires expertise in technologies that not all MSPs and resellers have mastered. They may also be unsure how to sell and market managed VDI and DaaS services.

The easy approach to managed VDI and DaaS: Partnering with Anunta

But as we explained to the prospective partners we talked with, that shouldn’t be a barrier for MSPs and resellers who want to take advantage of the massive opportunity surrounding hybrid work by building managed VDI and DaaS services.

By partnering with Anunta, any MSP or reseller can create managed VDI or DaaS services for their customers without having to spend months learning new technologies and building out new infrastructure.

Through Anunta’s VDI and DaaS partner program, MSPs and resellers get end-to-end services that cover every aspect of managed VDI and DaaS. From design and implementation, to day 2 client support, Anunta does it all. We even offer sales and marketing services to help our MSP and reseller partners communicate the value of VDI and DaaS to their clients and prospects.

Get ahead of the pack

The MSPs and resellers we spoke with at ChannelCon already know all of the above. But we want to get the message out to the broader community because the opportunity surrounding hybrid work won’t last forever. If you want to build managed VDI and DaaS offerings, you need to do it now, before your competitors beat you to it.

After all, most segments of the MSP and reseller market have a history of becoming saturated relatively quickly. Services like managed backup or managed networking were novel once, too, but it’s now hard to sell them with good profit margins because so many other firms have built competing offerings.

For now, managed VDI and DaaS remain an exception. Our experience at ChannelCon shows that MSPs and resellers are still becoming acquainted with this type of service and the opportunity surrounding it at present.

If you want to get ahead of the pack, contact us to learn more about our VDI and DaaS partner programs. We’ll explain how Anunta can help you launch managed VDI and DaaS that you can have up and running in a matter of weeks, even if you have no background in desktop virtualization or management.

Over the years, overall IT infrastructure across organizations has transformed, and the recent global health event has only spurred the trend. The era of working in office cubicles – via company-issued systems – is fading away. Now, the near omnipresence of digital technologies and the availability of newer, more portable devices enable work from almost any location.

However, deploying and maintaining all end-user devices at scale while catering to the fast-changing workforce needs is challenging. So, to be resilient, agile, and efficient in this context, businesses are gravitating toward virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to encourage remote data access to their workforces.

This article briefly discusses Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) in general, its working, types, and benefits.

What is Windows Virtual Desktop?

Windows Virtual Desktop is a cloud-based app and desktop virtualization platform from Microsoft that offers a native Windows 10/11 experience on demand. While each virtual desktop mimics real standalone computers, the processing/computing occurs on the central server. Besides, all these are managed centrally by an organization’s dedicated IT staff or outsourced to a cloud service provider.

Now rebranded as Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), WVD enables a company’s employees to access their business resources quickly and securely from anywhere and any device – PC, tablet, or smartphone. As such, organizations no longer need to provide their workforces with physical machines, let alone manage, repair, and maintain them.

How Do Azure VDI Platforms Work?

VDI platforms such as Azure Virtual Desktops work using a hypervisor, a software that creates, runs, and manages virtual machines (VM) on enterprise system servers. Also known as virtual machine monitors (VMM), hypervisors categorize servers into pools of identical VMs that further host virtual desktop operating systems (OS). Each such virtual desktop contains an instant of the OS. Further, the IT administrators supervise these VMs using centralized management software and configure them for specific tasks and functions.

Employees can access these virtual desktops from any location or device, and all the processing happens on the host server. They can log in to their AVD instances and establish a connection via a connection broker – a software-enabled gateway that acts as an intermediary between users and VDI servers. The connection broker assigns the session to an Azure Virtual Desktop from the appropriate pool.

Types of Azure VDI Platforms

Businesses can deploy Azure virtual desktop infrastructure solutions in two environments:

Persistent VDI

Persistent VDI functions are similar to legacy systems where end-users can personalize their devices and retain their work progress and settings from the previous sessions. Thanks to the capabilities of VMs, persistent virtual desktops act like true physical systems – from a remote device. The end-users log in to the same VM every time, even if the connection is reset. This is tremendously beneficial for several educational and work settings.

Non-persistent VDI

Non-persistent VDI platforms, on the other hand, offer a slew of generic desktops that end-users connect to whenever necessary. The desktops allocated to the users start anew in each session. Hence, whatever changes users make on their desktops in their previous sessions are lost once they log out. Besides, non-persistent virtual desktops are cheaper and simpler to use as the organizations’ IT teams need not have to maintain customized desktop instances between sessions.

Non-persistent VDI is commonplace in companies brimming with multiple-task workers or employees performing a limited set of repetitive tasks. Case in point, call centers, computer labs, public libraries, and retail kiosks. In these environments, neither users require personalization nor want their personal data to be stored.

Benefits of Azure VDI Platforms

With the worldwide shifts in work patterns, more organizations are turning to AVD. Following are some of the benefits of leveraging VDI platforms, especially in a hybrid workplace environment:

Long-term Cost-savings

As computing is done on servers, Azure virtual desktop infrastructure helps scale down hardware, maintenance, and software licensing expenses significantly. Employees can access their virtual desktops from traditional devices, thin clients, or even tablets, thus avoiding purchasing new (and expensive) hardware.

Also, end clients can cut down on infrastructure costs by right-sizing VMs and optimize their usage with Windows 11 and Windows 10 multi-session. Companies with heavy and highly unpredictable workloads can opt for pay-as-you-go billing.

Remote Accessibility

Azure VDI users can log in to their virtual desktops from any endpoint. In addition, they can utilize any web-browsing device – smartphones, tablets, and computers – to access the same application and data. Therefore, setting up hybrid workplaces for new joinees becomes unbelievably easy with AVD, particularly if they are working remotely.

Besides, integration with FSLogix Profile Containers helps end-users switch comfortably between VMs. The multi-session capability of AVD enables employees to experience the feature-rich capabilities of Windows 10/11 and assemble numerous users on a single system.

High-level Security

In Azure virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, data and applications live on centralized servers instead of end-client devices. As such, businesses’ digital resources will no longer remain at stake, even if an endpoint device is compromised or stolen. Moreover, fewer workstations equate to reduced chances of cyber criminals intruding into a company’s IT fabric.

Azure VDI services boast intelligent security capabilities that proactively detect and tackle threats to keep critical assets secure and compliant. Further, they come with a reverse connect transport to create remote sessions, providing a considerably more secure mechanism.

On-the-fly Scalability

With Azure VDI platforms, companies can launch or pare back on resources based on their corporate requisites. Also, they can deploy system apps, configure settings, and adjust the number of users. This agility and flexibility help trim overall costs while ensuring that businesses always have the resources they need to operate at peak efficiency.

Apart from that, Azure VDI platforms automatically scale session hosts to balance loads to deliver a better user experience, especially during computing-heavy tasks, while optimizing session host costs.

How will hybrid work fuel the demand for VDI?

The past few months have witnessed an explosive discussion on the “future of work,” and certain critical themes have dominated such commentaries. Case in point, several companies are nodding for hybrid work cultures, thanks to COVID-19-triggered shifts. As the dust settles and people return to normalcy, hybrid work will remain highly preferred among employers and employees alike.

However, supporting hybrid work arrangements creates new speed bumps for chief information officers (CIO)s. With tablets, smartphones, and laptops underpinning most of the mission-critical operations, C-level executives are contemplating what technology proposition they should have for their workforces – both at homes and offices.

Luckily, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is the answer to that query. Desktop virtualization technology serves as the antidote to the apparent challenges organizations face while endorsing a more flexible future of work. Moreover, the much-discussed pros of VDI are ringing in the ears of CIOs when pandemic-induced lockdowns have pushed enterprises into the remote working arena.

Having an entire virtual desktop – single and/or shared – housing corporate workflows and assets accessible anywhere, anytime, and from any device makes more sense. This is especially true when VDI simultaneously ticks the boxes of performance, mobility, security, and cost-efficiency.

Going forward, even as the remote working fad wanes, companies will promote hybrid work settings. In addition, initiatives, including scaling down office footprints and implementing hot desking, could become par for the course. Virtual desktop infrastructure solutions truly shine when it comes to managing hybrid workforces. As the work culture continues to cement its position, businesses investing in failsafe VDI to support each employee’s needs (irrespective of location) are well-placed for lucrative returns.

Conclusion

Azure virtual desktop infrastructure is a natural fit for the modern digital economy, serving various use cases across industries. Reputed for its robust scalability, security, and flexibility, the leading-edge desktop virtualization service offers umpteen benefits to organizations with relevant use cases.

Additionally, remote and hybrid workplaces have dug their heels in the labor market. As these pervasive work models gain more steam, the adoption of Azure VDI platforms will only see an uptick.

FAQs

What is the future of VDI?

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been experiencing a demand uptick over the past few years. The new hybrid working paradigm will stimulate this trend as businesses have to facilitate their entire workforce with secure access to mission-critical resources – irrespective of device or location.

The latest technologies, such as hyperconvergence, will be of enormous importance in shaping VDI. This will empower IT teams to focus more on business-centered tasks and spend less time fretting about the infrastructure.

Virtual desktop services have matured, and so have the technology and infrastructure underpinning them. With further advances, their future will nearly mimic that of the cloud: hybrid alongside multiple deployment models serving various purposes.

What is hybrid VDI?

Hybrid VDI fuses the layered, single-image management attributes of on-site/cloud VDI with local image execution on endpoints. All this with fast planning and setup, low implementation cost, and minimal IT skills. Hybrid VDI offers the centralized management benefits of its legacy version while still delivering the best possible experience for end-users.

This layered approach to virtual desktop management tremendously streamlines administration. The IT staff manages only one golden image of applications and operating systems (OS) rather than managing tons of independent endpoints in the fleet of devices.

However, unlike VDI, end-users leverage all the local computing power of endpoints, including on-board graphics processing and high-end processors. Further, they can work even while offline.

Is VDI still relevant?

Virtual desktops have gained immense popularity and for the right reasons. They offer loads of robust features. They help businesses cut down on the total cost of ownership (TCO). They are flexible and agile. Installing software updates and patches is unbelievably easy with virtual desktop infrastructure.

That being considered, VDI’s numero-uno selling point is its ability to enable remote work culture. It allows workforces to connect to corporate networks anywhere and on any device securely. However, even though conventional work models regain momentum, forward-thinking organizations acknowledge the urgency to accommodate employees in a hybrid setting as people rethink work-life balance.

So, yes, virtual desktop services do hold relevance in the current (and future) business economy.

Why is a virtual desktop important?

More than ever, the performance of businesses rests upon data collection and sharing. They benefit from working with flexible, reliable, and highly secure computer systems. This is where virtual desktop infrastructure yields substantial business gains.

VDI empowers companies to operate fully functional virtual desktops, allowing employees to access desktops, data, and applications from any device, location, and anytime. Some of its key attractions include business mobility, device friendliness, reduced operational expenses (OPEX), and the pay-as-you-go subscription model.

Not only are virtual desktop services becoming more prevalent in corporate and home environments, but even governments are quickly realizing their benefits.

What are the benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure?

Virtual desktops offer a multitude of benefits, some of which are as follows:

  • VDI empowers businesses to quickly modify their resource usage, for instance, virtual desktops, as per their evolving needs
  • Better data security with MFA, encryption, OS patching, and access control
  • Cost savings due to reduced on-site workstations and their maintenance costs
  • Allows employees to work on their own devices (also called BYOD)
  • Centralized management helps IT professionals monitor all devices, servers, and networks in real-time and proactively respond to cyber threats.

Is a virtual desktop good for work?

Virtual desktops hold the reins on the future of workplaces. As remote and/or hybrid work climbs from “good to have” to “must have,” organizations are hunting for technologies enabling workforces to conveniently access critical resources without being in a physical workplace.

Thanks to virtual desktop services, employees can work from anywhere, be it their homes, nearby cafes, or a thousand miles away. Moreover, end-users need not worry about system version, configuration, or technical complexities. In a nutshell, employees get to enjoy the same experience as on-site desktops as long as they have a stable internet connection and a compatible device.

For IT teams, giving workforces the resources they need to thrive has never been harder than it is today. The pivot toward hybrid and remote work – which more than three-quarters of businesses have embraced, according to Gallup – is only part of the reason. Pervasive cybersecurity threats and ongoing economic uncertainty have also contributed to the pressure that IT organizations face in delivering secure, cost-effective solutions that workforces can access from anywhere.

Fortunately, there’s an offering that can meet all these challenges: Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS. We’re excited to showcase Anunta’s fully managed DaaS offering at VMware Explore 2022, focused on supercharging the digital workforce transformations that businesses across the world are currently undergoing.

The Age of Workplace Uncertainty

To understand why DaaS has become so crucial to business success, you must understand just how radically the workplace has changed in a relatively short period of time. Several key disruptors have emerged in recent years:

  • The adoption of remote and hybrid work models, in which employees operate off-site on a routine basis.
  • A massive surge in cybersecurity attacks and risks, which have never been as prevalent as they are today.
  • Economic instability due to high inflation rates, rising borrowing costs and limited capital.

On their own, each of these trends might not lead to major upheaval for the way businesses manage their workforces. But the fact that all these disruptions are taking place at the same time has led to massive challenges for IT organizations.

Being able to provide IT services to remote and hybrid workers is hard enough. But it’s even worse when those resources need to be hardened against the ever-increasing risk of cyberattack.

At the same time, many organizations need to support remote and hybrid workforces in a resource-constrained environment, which means they must make smart financial decisions about where and how they deploy IT resources. They can’t just toss money at modern workplace challenges until they disappear, because there’s not as much money to toss around as there was before the current economic downturn.

The Role of DaaS in Workplace Transformation Success

At VMware Explore, Anunta experts will come together to showcase how Desktop-as-a-Service can help businesses meet each of the above challenges in order to achieve successful workplace transformation.

By allowing businesses to replace traditional PCs with cloud-based virtual desktops, DaaS makes it easy to build desktop infrastructure for the modern digital workplace. With DaaS, it doesn’t matter where your workers are physically located or when they choose to work. They can access cloud-based desktop sessions from anywhere, using any local device.

From a security perspective, too, DaaS not only meets, but surpasses, the security standards of traditional, in-office PCs. DaaS provides robust access controls and encryption for network traffic. It also virtually eliminates the risk that physical security breaches (such as the theft of laptops) could place business data at risk, because data always remains inside the data centers that host DaaS sessions.

As for cost, DaaS allows companies to deploy flexible desktop infrastructure for modern workforces at a low cost. The monthly cost for fully managed DaaS services is as low as $40 per user – much less than the TCO of purchasing traditional PCs and paying IT staff to manage and support them on an ongoing basis.

Plus, because DaaS platforms offer pay-as-you-go pricing, there is no need for businesses to invest precious capital in purchasing PC infrastructure upfront. They can use an OpEx model instead – an especially valuable benefit in the context of today’s economic uncertainty.

Managed and Packaged DaaS: The Easy Way to Run Cloud Desktops

You may be thinking: “DaaS sounds great, but isn’t it a lot of work to deploy and manage it? I can’t replace my traditional desktop infrastructure overnight!”

That’s a fair point. Designing, configuring, and supporting DaaS environments can be challenging. Not only does DaaS require mastery of technologies like desktop virtualization services, but you must also tailor your DaaS environment for your use cases if you want to achieve the best performance, cost, and security.

That’s why, at Anunta, we do all of this work for our customers as part of our fully managed customized DaaS and packaged DaaS offerings. We design DaaS environments based on each customer’s unique needs, then implement and manage those environments on an ongoing basis. In exchange for predictable, transparent pay-as-you-go pricing, our clients get turnkey DaaS services that keep their workforces productive and happy while minimizing the burden on IT departments.

Learn More at VMware Explore

For full details on how the workplace is changing and how managed DaaS helps businesses rise to the challenge of digital workplace transformation, come see us at VMware Explore from Aug. 29-Sept. 1 at booth #1818. Don’t forget to catch our session, “Demystifying DaaS: Easily Enable a Hybrid Workforce,” which takes the audience through the benefits of DaaS and the freedom and flexibility it provides to the digital workplace.

We hope to see you later this month in San Francisco!

There’s no denying it. From a security perspective, hybrid work can be a nightmare. From the physical security threats that arise when employees store sensitive data on off-site devices that could be stolen, to the risk of passing data over insecure home networks, businesses with hybrid workforces face a whole host of security challenges that simply didn’t apply when everyone worked from the office.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS, can shore up many of the security issues associated with hybrid work. By replacing traditional desktop computers with cloud-based virtual desktops, DaaS removes one of the core risks of hybrid work – insecure PCs – while simultaneously delivering benefits like higher productivity and enhanced workforce scalability.

It’s unsurprising, then, that 64 percent of IT leaders who responded to a recent Citrix survey agreed that DaaS is a “key factor” in their organizations’ approaches to securing hybrid work. The survey also found that improving security for hybrid workforces was the top business benefit that respondents associated with DaaS. Advantages like cost savings and improved business continuity were on the list, too, but they took a back seat to security.

To understand why so many IT leaders see DaaS a pillar of hybrid work security, let’s look at the major security challenges of hybrid work, and how DaaS addresses them.

Top Security Challenges of Hybrid Work

When businesses embrace hybrid work models – meaning ones in which employees work partly from the office, and partly from remote locations – they inevitably subject themselves to new types of cybersecurity risks.

The specific security challenges of hybrid work will vary depending on factors like which types of systems a business uses and where remote workers are based, but the risks generally fall into three main categories:

  • Data security: It’s harder to secure sensitive information when the information is stored on devices that are not located in the office. The risk of physical security breaches is higher. So is the risk that malware running on a remote worker’s PC could access sensitive business data stored on the PC.
  • Network security: Hybrid workforces can’t be protected with corporate firewalls in the same way that businesses secure traditional workforces. Firewalls simply don’t work when employees need to connect from anywhere and the IP addresses of remote endpoints are constantly changing. Solutions like VPNs can help by encrypting data, but as Forbes notes, they are “not a magic solution that prevents all security threats.” For example, malware running on a compromised remote PC could potentially intercept sensitive network traffic even if the PC connects to business systems over a VPN.
  • Software security: IT teams can’t efficiently enforce security controls through frameworks like Active Directory if devices aren’t constantly connected to the corporate network. As a result, hybrid workers may be able to install applications that introduce malware or other vulnerabilities to the systems they use when working remotely. Compromised applications could, in turn, access sensitive data that passes through employees’ devices.

The list of hybrid work security challenges could go on, but these points capture the essentials.

How DaaS Protects Hybrid Workforces

When businesses ditch conventional desktops and replace them with DaaS, many of the hybrid work security issues described above go out the window. The main reason why is that when employees no longer rely on insecure desktop computers to work remotely, the data, networking and software security issues associated with desktop computers cease to apply.

In a DaaS-based desktop environment, data never physically leaves the data center where virtual desktops are hosted. That means that physical security risks disappear. In addition, because DaaS separates virtual desktop sessions from the systems that employees use to log in, any malware or other vulnerabilities present on remote workers’ local devices remains isolated from the virtual desktop environments that they use for work.

Network security is much stronger under DaaS, too, because all data passing into and out of virtual desktop environments can be encrypted – even if hybrid workers aren’t connected to a VPN. Network data can also be subjected to firewall filters because virtual desktops can have fixed IP addresses, making it possible to deploy many of the same network-level security controls that would be in place on a traditional corporate network.

As for software security, modern DaaS platforms allow IT teams to establish whichever security rules they need to govern which software is allowed to run inside corporate desktop environments. Virtual desktops remain constantly connected to central software security and monitoring systems, regardless of whether employees are logged in or not, or where they connect from.

DaaS – A Pillar of Hybrid Workforce Security

To be sure, stronger end-user security is only one of the many benefits that DaaS delivers. Virtual desktops also provide business advantages like the ability to add desktop sessions quickly when new employees are hired, predictable monthly pricing and a significant reduction in the amount of time and effort required to administer desktop systems.
An added advantage that comes with DaaS is the flexibility it brings to employers and employees alike. While employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere – home or office – it gives employers the flexibility to hire employees even in locations where the organization has no physical presence. Unburdened by geographical limitations, DaaS also helps organizations in optimizing their office space. As for employee experience, with less time spent in commute and proper work-life balance, DaaS results in enhancing it, resulting in higher productivity.

Arguably, however, DaaS’s ability to secure hybrid workforces is one of the very most important reasons why businesses today should embrace cloud-based virtual desktops. In a world where nearly three-quarters of businesses in the U.S. have already pivoted to hybrid work or expect to do so, the security risks associated with hybrid workers who rely on traditional desktops are not going to go away on their own.

But they will disappear for companies that embrace DaaS, which provides a fundamentally more secure means of giving hybrid workers the desktop computing infrastructure and applications they need to be both productive and secure, no matter where they are based.

The latest Gartner report mentioning Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is out, and we love it for two reasons.

One is that the report, titled “Hype Cycle™ for Digital Workplace Infrastructure and Operations, 2022,” identifies DaaS as one of new innovations that businesses need to thrive in the age of distributed workforces and economic uncertainty.* (We’ll also modestly point out that the report named Anunta as a “Sample Vendor for DaaS,” but that’s beside the point.) We think, DaaS is indeed critical in an age when businesses need to provide secure, scalable desktop environments to remote workers.

The second reason we love the report is that it points to several key “obstacles” to DaaS adoption – including cost, management complexity and software licensing challenges – that we believe Anunta’s DaaS offerings are uniquely suited to solve. While we agree that problems like these may present issues for the DaaS ecosystem as a whole, we are confident that we stand apart because we offer solutions to these challenges as part of our core DaaS products.

Let us explain by providing what Gartner says about DaaS and describing how Anunta stands apart in the world of cloud desktops and virtual desktop infrastructure.

Gartner’s Take on DaaS in 2022

In July 2020, Gartner estimated that DaaS will have the most significant growth that year, identifying it as the fastest-growing segment of the cloud computing ecosystem.**

We consider, the latest Gartner report to include detailed study on DaaS confirms that that growth was not a short-lived trend. The report found that DaaS “revenue grew by 68% in 2021, compared to 2020, and 98% in 2020, compared to 2019 as clients adopted DaaS to secure distributed work”. It also said that DaaS remains critical in the post-pandemic economy because it “enables business continuity and anywhere operations for home-based and hybrid home-office operations.”

In short, we believe, there’s a lot of momentum surrounding DaaS at the present moment, as well as a bright future for DaaS going forward. Businesses that have already shifted some operations to cloud-based desktops will likely be looking to expand their DaaS footprints further, while those not yet taking advantage of DaaS will be increasingly likely to do so.

Challenges to DaaS Adoption

That said, as per the report, Gartner does believe that businesses must overcome a number of obstacles in order to leverage DaaS effectively. The largest obstacles include:

  • Cost: Usually the business case turns positive only when security, business and user costs are included.
  • Organizations struggling with changes to move financial models from capex to opex.
  • GPU use cases can be extremely expensive, preventing migration of some workloads that are highly graphical.
  • Multimedia streaming, web meetings and video call performance in DaaS are not equivalent to that of a physical endpoint.
  • Performance issues that occur in DaaS because application architectures introduce network-related issues (i.e., latency and hairpinning).
  • Some DaaS solutions require complex configuration, which, although simpler than VDI, can in some cases require careful configuration and selection of appropriate storage services to ensure a performant DaaS experience.
  • Complex desktop management requirements may not be completely fulfilled by DaaS providers.
  • Microsoft license terms that prevent the installation of Microsoft 365 applications on DaaS running on Alibaba, Amazon, or Google clouds.

Even with these challenges, Gartner says, “DaaS will continue to mature and increase in adoption through 2025.”

How Anunta Solves DaaS Obstacles

We’re happy to say that the DaaS obstacles that Gartner identifies in this report are non-issues for Anunta DaaS customers.

When it comes to cost, Anunta keeps DaaS expenses low by allowing businesses to share a single virtual desktop environment among multiple users. Customers can also pick and choose from a variety of different configuration options and service add-ons, so they get exactly what they need, without paying for what they don’t. In this way, Anunta’s DaaS and virtual desktop offerings deliver highly cost-effective solutions.

From a performance standpoint, the fact that Anunta can set up and manage DaaS environments running on virtually any type of infrastructure ensures that our customers can run whichever workloads they need. Unlike some DaaS providers, we don’t restrict customers to a particular cloud or certain types of servers. Instead, we determine which workloads our clients need to run on their cloud desktops, then decide which types of infrastructure are best for hosting the desktops. This means our customers never have to compromise on performance in order to gain the convenience of DaaS.

That flexibility also allows us to overcome the licensing restrictions that apply to DaaS. Because we can set up DaaS anywhere, our customers never need to worry that they won’t be able to use certain software in their DaaS environments due to software licensing.

Finally, as for management, Anunta offers complete “day 2” DaaS support operations in addition to DaaS design and implementation. We assume full responsibility for DaaS monitoring, software patching, change management, incident troubleshooting and more. Our can focus on using their desktop infrastructure, not trying to manage its complexity.

Conclusion: Sustaining the DaaS Momentum

While we agree that the DaaS market as a whole faces challenges related to DaaS cost, performance and management, we also know from experience that all of these obstacles can be overcome. We solve them every day for our customers, and we look forward to continuing to do so as more and more businesses turn to DaaS to enable help optimize their digital workplace infrastructure.

*Gartner, “Hype Cycle for Digital Workplace Infrastructure and Operations, 2022”, Autumn Stanish, Pankil Sheth, Stuart Downes, July 21, 2022.

**Gartner Press Release, “Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 6.3% in 2020”, June 2020. This press release is more than 12 months old and the Gartner stat is mentioned does not reflect the current market position. It is only added for historical reference.

GARTNER and HYPE CYCLE are registered trademarks and service marks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s Research & Advisory organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

In today’s unpredictable business world, ensuring a cost-efficient, secure, and effective way to support remote/hybrid workforces has become the need of the hour for every organization. Fortunately, Microsoft has helped negotiate some complexities with its year-old offering = Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Whether letting employees work from home, managing several flex spaces pan-region, or onboarding people across continents, AVD offers businesses the same desktop experience as in the offices without using multiple apps and log-ins.

We have data that cement AVD’s credibility in today’s workplace transformation. A Forrester Consulting study (commissioned by Intel and Microsoft) finds that businesses can:

  • Trim Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) licensing and infrastructure expenses by almost a third.
  • Cut down their IT expenses for installation, maintenance, and management by 59%.
  • Boost productivity by around 22 human hours through better connectivity, security response, and staff hiring.

In this article, we will explain how AVD is making inroads into various industries.

Manufacturing Industry – AVD Helps Shrink Hardware Costs

In manufacturing, production costs consume the bulk of the budget. Higher costs translate to lesser profit margin and eventually lesser market share. Besides, the industry houses a high volume of workers, unlike typical office-based jobs. These workers barely need to turn to IT devices at the same time.

In such circumstances, AVD can help manufacturing businesses boost their profits and bottom line. The virtualization tech enables employees to log into their persistent virtual desktops from the same machine when they need to get started. This means that manufacturing firms can operate with fewer devices with AVD. This significantly caps software and hardware costs without keeping enterprises’ security posture at stake.

BFSI Industry – AVD Adds Muscle to IT Security

Banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) firms are always security-conscious, and for a valid reason, as digital intrusions into financial institutions can cost millions (or at times billions) of dollars. Worse, even a single cyber-attack weakens consumers’ trust over the long run and compels potential customers to look for other financial service companies.

Azure Virtual Desktop protects financial institutions from costly breaches by securing all confidential employee and customer data. Case in point, AVD enables IT crews to deploy PCI-DSS-approved (Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard) devices. These virtual devices are accessible from any remote system securing data transfer and operations even if contract-based workers are performing them. Furthermore, BFSI companies can restrict user activity on a virtual machine (VM) in order to prevent unauthorized access to or transfer of information.

Legal Industry – AVD Keeps a Check on Cyberattacks

Like BFSI service providers, law firms are also soft targets for threat actors, given the amount of cash and classified data they preserve. As such, legal companies are always in dire need of secure, high-throughput systems that can access and store data reliably. Thanks to AVD’s multi-layered security features, law firms can strengthen their cybersecurity walls, thus slashing the odds of enduring cyberattacks. At the same time, employees can access critical documents no matter where they are or what device they are using and keep up with the ever-changing work demands.

Education – AVD Facilitates BYOD Experiences

Technology has become indispensable to educational institutions, particularly in the post-COVID economy. Particularly in schools, assigning devices and systems to each student is challenging as updating the hardware is a cost-intensive affair.

Moreover, effective learning demands high-end machines. Unfortunately, not all educational establishments can afford computers with the latest features. Although some schools allow students to learn from their devices, also called bring your own device (BYOD), this can pose serious security threats.

AVD helps colleges and schools install and run VMs with up-to-the-minute software without squandering on hardware. And they can achieve this with reduced computing power as the processing power sprouts from the VDI. Likewise, in the case of BYOD programs, AVD offers teachers and professors an eagle-eye view of students’ activities, regardless of the device in use. Further, these end-user devices receive the same optimized security as an institution-issued system.

Healthcare Industry – AVD Helps Remain Compliant

Data confidentiality is a pillar of all industries, and healthcare is no exception. Strict norms, like the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), mandate healthcare institutions to preserve patient and staff records. As such, keeping this information in insecure systems is a ticking time bomb. If any data leak occurs, the healthcare organization will have to bear hefty penalties while losing its authenticity.

With Azure Virtual Desktop, healthcare businesses can define permissions and rules, giving access to classified data to only specific stakeholders. Moreover, no data resides in the devices but instead on Azure cloud. Microsoft Azure boasts some of the most reliable data repositories, further complemented by multi-factor authentication and comprehensive threat management to ensure all relevant records are in safe places.

Given the feature-rich stack, AVD helps make devices and systems in healthcare organizations compliant, thus freeing up IT admins from worrying about local data storage and security practices.

Bring Sea Changes in the IT Fabric with AVD

Looking to power up remote or hybrid work? Azure Virtual Desktop can come to the rescue. Enterprises, irrespective of the sector, deploying AVD is well-placed to enjoy umpteen benefits in the form of flexibility, security, scalability, and cost savings.

Companies should examine their existing needs to decide whether AVD can be the missing piece of their IT infrastructure puzzle. A better option: connect with a managed service provider (MSP) like Anunta.

Anunta is a leading and credible Managed Desktop as a Service provider that offers a wide range of solutions and services related to Enterprise DaaS, Packaged DaaS, and Digital Workspace technology. Anunta’s team has over 10 years of experience in this field and has successfully migrated over 500,000 remote desktop users to the cloud. To learn more about AVD, its benefits, and our services, consult with our industry experts.

Remote working technologies are one of the many things that gained popularity during the coronavirus pandemic but have remained popular even after the pandemic has passed.

During this spell, the business world, particularly the IT sector, invested in and experimented with various novel technology solutions to keep the business running. One example of such a technology is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI.

The demand for VDI is growing rapidly as more IT organizations are embracing this novel technology. But what are the reasons behind VDI’s growing popularity, or what benefits does VDI provide?

This blog lists the 6 benefits of VDI workspace. But first, let’s take a quick look at the VDI definition.

What is (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) VDI?

VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, is a type of desktop virtualization in which desktop environments are hosted centrally on a server. In layman’s terms, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a technology that creates a simulated work environment using a company’s on-premise servers. This can be accessed by users working in the office or remotely via a network connection.

6 Key Benefits of VDI Workspace

VDI benefits organizations and users in several ways, from improving user mobility to lowering maintenance costs. Let’s take a closer look at each of the 6 advantages of the VDI workspace.

1. Enhanced User Mobility

As more and more IT organizations are shifting to a hybrid work model or remote working, the need for technology that allows end-users or employees to easily access resources (applications) or helps them stay connected with the rest of the team is increasing simultaneously.

Fortunately, VDI can help you achieve this requirement since it is hosted virtually.

Thanks to VDI, remote workers can easily access their systems from anywhere, at any time, regardless of time or location. End users do not need to worry about configuration, system version, or other technical issues.

Simply put, as long as you have a stable internet connection and a device (laptop, PC, tablet, or mobile phone), you can access your system and have the same experience as your local PC.

2. On-demand Scalability

Another significant advantage that VDI workspaces enjoy by embracing VDI technology is easy scalability.

Assume you’ve just started your company and have a staff of about 15 people. After a while, say 6 months, your company grows, and you hire 10 more workers to manage projects. So, you also purchased 10 more systems. Unfortunately, due to the recession, you will have to lay off 5 employees after 6 months. What about the systems you’ve purchased? You will have to keep them idle as they are now of no use.

However, if you have been using VDI from the beginning, you will not be in this situation. VDI enables organizations to quickly scale up or scale down resources, i.e., virtual machines, as per the changing needs.

Furthermore, you will be required to pay only for the license/subscription you are currently using. This will not only allow you to meet infrastructure needs instantly, but it will also save you money.

3. Improved Data Security

Data security is becoming a pressing issue for organizations from all industries with every passing day. As hackers and cyber-attackers are becoming more sophisticated, it is more important than ever to stay one step ahead of them in order to protect your data and brand reputation.

In traditional IT architecture, there are multiple endpoints. This also means a greater number of entry gates for cyber intruders. With VDI, however, you can reduce the number of entry points to one — only the server.

Not to mention that the server is often protected by several security protocols that are difficult to violate.

Besides that, VDI allows you to configure each virtual machine exactly how you want it. Furthermore, Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is protected by several advanced security protocols, which further increases the safety of remote systems.

4. Centralized Management

It is always beneficial to have centralized control over an organization’s entire infrastructure since it allows for better visibility and management. In VDI, the administrator will have complete control over the infrastructure and each virtual machine.

This will enable them to manage everything from their end. For example, they can schedule updates for all devices after working hours so that there is minimal downtime and no individual or team’s productivity suffers.

At the same time, if a cyberattack attempt is made, the administrator will be notified immediately. This will allow them to take immediate precautionary measures to safeguard the system.

In addition to that, the centralized structure of VDI allows the IT team to easily patch, update, or configure the virtual machines at the same time. This will significantly reduce the IT team’s workload and maintenance costs.

5. Cost Efficiency

The fifth major benefit that VDI workspaces enjoy is cost savings. VDI helps companies save money in different ways. For example, companies who have adopted VDI technology can save money on:

  • Hardware configuration
  • IT staff
  • System maintenance
  • Operational expenses
  • Subscription fees

Virtual desktop infrastructure empowers you to reduce IT infrastructure costs by right-sizing virtual machines and to unplug them when not in use.

Moreover, since all processing is done on the server, you will not need to invest heavily in end-point hardware. Instead, users can access the system via inexpensive thin clients or older devices. This is how you can save money on expensive hardware.

In the case of a traditional system, you will need a team of IT professionals to manage the IT infrastructure because there are multiple systems, hardware, and applications, each with its own set of requirements.

In contrast, in the case of VDI, there is only one system that requires attention – the server. Keeping it up to date and secure will ensure the smooth function of all other linked virtual machines.

6. Fast On-boarding

Traditionally, new recruits receive a paper dossier on their first working day – an “information treasury” packed with company policies and educational insights. However, what if the newly appointed staff receive this knowledge as soon as they join, more efficiently, and at a reduced cost?

That is exactly what virtual desktop infrastructure helps businesses achieve. The desktop virtualization solution trims the onboarding time in the following ways:

  • Easily updatable: Managers can immediately distribute updated materials and best practices
  • Lower cost: Only a single system requires patches and updates compared to the expensive alternative of updating several independent devices
  • No investments in hardware: New joinees can work from their own Internet-enabled devices, saving organizations tons of cash.

Most companies outsource a major fraction of their work to contingent workers – freelancers, part-timers, and independent contractors. Others are focusing more on seasonal recruitment. Moreover, for many, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) incite the need to bring teams across various locations together. The outcome is the same in each of these themes – employers must onboard loads of new users fast without the luxury of doing it face-to-face.

Virtual desktop infrastructure helps tackle these hurdles. Recruiters can offer complete access to virtual desktops and apps which they can commission (and decommission) as necessary. In addition, they can dump their existing virtual private network (VPN) over zero trust network access (ZTNA) to enable temporary workforces to get started in a jiffy.

All business leaders have to do is rope in the most suitable VDI service provider. Then deploy relevant resources through online corporate portals to every user and device, no matter where they reside.

These are the six major advantages of VDI that make it popular among IT institutions. In addition to these advantages, VDI provides several other benefits, such as quick setup, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), increased productivity, reduced license costs, and more.

Bottom Line: There is no denying that Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is one of the principal technologies that can significantly benefit remote working teams or hybrid workplaces. From lowering hardware and maintenance costs to improving mobility and data security to providing centralized infrastructure control, it benefits end-users and organizations in various ways. However, you will only be able to reap all of the benefits of VDI if it is properly deployed.

FAQs

What is one advantage offered by VDI?

While virtual desktop services boast a slew of advantages, the one area where they stand out is the ability to promote adjustable workplaces. As hybrid work and BYOD become a part of the corporate agenda, businesses are looking for the right tools to experience that flexibility. VDI offers accessibility, which is beneficial for employees who desire to work from anywhere.

With the near ubiquity of super-fast Internet connections across continents, employers no longer instruct their colleagues to sit next to them in the same office cubicle. Additionally, they want to hire the best people for the job, whenever and wherever they work. VDI setups provide organizations with such flexibility.

What are the benefits of VDI?

Virtual desktop infrastructure comes with multiple benefits, some of which include:

  • Cost-efficiency: Enterprises avoid expenses due to managing many individual user licenses. Additionally, they can utilize a data center’s storage and computing capabilities instead of purchasing costly hardware and servers.
  • Streamlined management: The IT pros can patch updated versions of any OS and application to all the relevant workstations from a central station. This frees them to focus on more important matters.
  • Lesser security threats: All the critical resources are stored in centralized servers, keeping them more secure. Incidents of employees unintentionally transferring viruses while sharing or downloading classified materials, thus, decline.
  • Remote work friendly: Employees can access enterprise data and applications via virtual workstations from any location and a compatible device.
  • Geo-replication: In a VDI setting, data exists in numerous locations. Hence, if one location’s hardware crashes due to outages or natural disasters, users can access data from another.

 

What are the pros and cons of VDI?

The pros of VDI include:

  • Borderless access: Employees can log into virtual desktops and access corporate resources from anywhere – at home, at a nearby café, or someplace else.
  • Difficult to compromise: Transferring files on virtual desktop infrastructure is highly secure as employees use a company-issued security framework instead of an external network. Moreover, the content on virtual desktop screens is read-only; users cannot install/update any (suspicious) applications or manipulate any configurations.
  • Scalable: Companies can deploy additional resources and storage in advance and increase/decrease them as required. Moreover, the IT staff can manage groups of end-users and apply an image in a few minutes.

VDI comes with the following cons:

  • Endpoint security: While virtual desktops offer optimum protection, monitoring every security measure separately is time- and effort-intensive.
  • High installation costs: Deploying a virtual desktop infrastructure is cost-prohibitive, both in terms of human resources and technologies. A VDI journey persists for several weeks, or even months, thus translating to radical changes for the entire workforce.
  • Latency issues: Running compute-heavy applications, including videoconferencing tools or high-definition graphics, can create latency, hampering the user experience.

 

What are the 3 major benefits of using virtualization?

Virtualization boasts the following key benefits:

  • Minimal downtime: Provisioning and deploying are straightforward in virtualized environments, allowing for replicating the compromised virtual machine (VM).
  • Lower expenses: Companies save fortunes as they need limited hardware and, subsequently, lesser personnel to manage systems and troubleshoot user issues. Moreover, maintaining virtual servers is easier than physical ones.
  • Faster back-ups: By cloning the existing servers in the IT infrastructure, businesses can create a readily available backup and deploy it whenever a problem occurs in the data center.

 

What is the purpose of a virtual desktop?

The primary objective of virtual desktop services is to help organizations better handle their workloads in a more efficient, scalable, and economical manner. VDI is basically a digital copy of physical workstations residing in a server. Hence, users can access and share business-critical data and apps from the centralized servers from any endpoint device. Furthermore, VDI is seeing an adoption uptick as it eliminates the need for expensive hardware and the staff needed to maintain and manage them.

Anunta is a leading and credible Managed Desktop as a Service provider that offers a wide range of solutions and services related to Enterprise DaaS, Packaged DaaS, and Digital Workspace technology. Anunta’s team has over 10 years of experience in this field and has successfully migrated over 500,000 remote desktop users to the cloud. To learn more about VDI technology, its benefits, and our services, consult with our industry experts.

Virtualization technology came into being about two decades ago. However, with numerous IT advances in the tech realm, the desktop virtualization journey only got better. Besides, the dramatic changes in work cultures, accentuated by the global health event, have pointed to more obvious cloud-based solutions: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) and Remote Desktop Service (RDS).

These virtualization technologies have played wonderfully in supporting the overnight shift to remote and hybrid work environments. Pioneered by Microsoft, both Windows Virtual Desktop and Windows Remote Desktop Services offer pretty similar functionalities. However, the differences between the two experiences lie internally, as each has a different licensing model, back end, and user base.

This article is a head-to-head comparison between WVD and RDS, complemented by a verdict toward the end.

The Basics

Windows Virtual Desktop is an all-encompassing cloud service running in Azure for virtualizing desktops and applications. More precisely, it is a stack of Microsoft technologies to develop virtual desktops for end-users. WVD comes with a single virtualized instance of the Windows Client operating system (OS), provided via Azure or directly to an organization’s network and domain. Furthermore, the desktop virtualization solution optimizes Office 365 ProPlus, multi-session Windows 10, and support for RDS environments.

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) link end-user devices (remote or onsite) – the terminals – with the host system or server over a network connection. Earlier called terminal services, RDS enables users to log into a device from any location and run and access databases, apps, files, and network resources. Hence, it is regarded as shared computing. Further, only those remote user devices supporting Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) can be a part of this nexus.

Operating System

Windows Remote Desktop is limited to a single server OS wherein end-users access the OS on their devices, akin to the server OS. It is a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) model, allowing users to pick storage, server type, and security groups. With RDS, businesses can ensure secure remote desktop access for their employees where OS and infrastructure might depend on a remote server machine. However, this entire setup triggers issues around user experience and application compatibility.

Unlike RDS, Windows Virtual Desktop is not limited to a single OS or application architecture. As such, end-users’ devices can run on different OSs like iOS and Android. WVD functions on a desktop-based OS – multi-user Windows 10. The virtualization tech delivers an integrated public cloud for hosting companies’ applications and systems. Moreover, the scalable OS enables multiple Windows 10 users to connect on a single virtual machine (VM).

WVD is both infrastructure and platform services (IaaS and PaaS), where VM is the host, and the remainder of the service is PaaS. With significantly fewer devices to look after, WVD is a more specific setting than RDS for organizations’ IT teams.

Licensing

To deploy RDS, organizations need to buy server OS licensing, Client Access License (CAL), and Subscriber Access License (SAL) for desktop deployment in Azure. Not to mention the additional VMs to operate and manage. Putting all these elements together is expensive and complicated, and maintaining a virtual desktop setting properly licensed with time further adds to the problem.

There is no need for CAL for Windows Virtual Desktop. Users can continue with their existing Microsoft 365 (Business, A3, A5, E3, or E5) or a standalone Windows 10 subscribership. The only additional costs include Azure storage, computing, and networking related to the VMs used. In a nutshell, organizations enjoy all Office 365 functionalities, Edge, OneDrive, and Azure Marketplace.

Also, as enterprises increasingly turn to Microsoft 365 anyway, WVD becomes a zero-fee add-on to an already existing subscribership, saving end-users money each month.

IT Management

In RDS, enterprises have complete control of the ecosystem. That said, they can outsource some infrastructure roles, such as RD Gateway, RD connection broker, and RD web access, to Managed Service Providers (MSP) offering DaaS or IaaS. These roles receive a user’s connection request, determine its appropriate destination, and place it on the relevant desktop VM. However, this required additional server equipment and ongoing administration, for instance, monitoring and Windows patching.

As WVD is PaaS, the service provider (Microsoft) takes care of these infrastructure roles, alongside software updates, installation, and monitoring. So, when end clients connect, they land at Microsoft’s control plane first and are later verified and redirected to the relevant desktop based on their permissions. This not only trims the cost of infrastructure required to support virtual devices but also saves on ongoing administration labor.

Security Framework

As RDS is entirely server-based, IT teams can run any corporate application, even the older versions. The desktop virtualization experience offers more data security as it is deployed on a private cloud or on-prem by MSPs. Additionally, all security measures, including firewalls, antivirus, or OS patching, are only dedicated to a specific end client.

Windows Virtual Desktop, on the flip side, operates on a public cloud network. Therefore, the Internet, firewalls, or patching is shared among multiple users. Also, IT pros cannot run third-party apps but the existing desktop apps with suitable configurations. Finally, as WVD does not run on servers, it has to connect with other servers in the Azure setting to become functional for end-users. So, making it bank-grade secure could become challenging.

Migration: Which one is easier?

Desktop virtualization technologies have attracted organizations worldwide with their enormous benefits, with employees, especially, enjoying the flexibility of accessing work resources from any region. As companies press the digital transformation lever harder, some are analyzing WVD and remote desktops as potential answers to hybrid/remote working.

That said, decision-makers must be diligent about the user-friendliness of both these desktop virtualization solutions. Remote desktops are easy to install as they require fewer components. End-users utilize shared critical resources functioning on a common OS instance, enabling the commissioning of workstations in a flash. In addition, RDS is a great choice for enterprises looking for mutual servers with group policies, profiling options, and IT administrators who manage access controls. However, users cannot customize their desktops and applications as needed since everybody accesses OS during their desktop sessions and is confined within the same configuration. Besides, if many users distribute the server’s resources simultaneously, companies can endure contention and performance issues.

Conversely, WVD is more suitable for enterprises desiring the near-accurate experience of physical systems from remote desktops, along with at-scale personalization. The flip side of all this flexibility, however, is its complexity. Companies must have competent IT personnel to deploy and maintain WVD.

Nonetheless, WVD’s impeccable adaptability makes it ideal for businesses employing diverse workforces for multiple use cases. In addition, the technology does not have compatibility issues as every user is allotted a dedicated VM operating an independent OS. Consequently, employees do not confront performance issues as IT professionals can allocate more power to those who actually need it.

The Bottom Line

So, which desktop virtualization solution ranks the highest? There is no fixed answer as it banks on organizations’ various factors, preferences, and needs.

Businesses with many employees using the same resources and applications would find RDS better. On the other hand, WVD is a better pick for more sophisticated and customizable user configurations.

Eventually, it all squares down to the IT teams to decide which virtual experience is best in times when companies are increasingly taking their devices and applications to the cloud.

FAQs

Does Windows virtual desktop use RDP?

Windows Virtual Desktop leverages remote desktop protocol (RDP) to fine-tune the delivery of servers’ remote graphics to client workstations over corporate networks. RDP modifies different parameters in real-time to offer the optimal user experience based on the availability of computing resources, use cases, and network bandwidth.

Microsoft initially rolled out RDP with Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition (codenamed Hydra). Since then, the business-centric OS has been continuously evolving with every Windows Server and Microsoft Windows launch. Today, RDP supports numerous types of transport stacks.

Is VDI and RDC the same?

While both VDC and RDC are desktop virtualization technologies, they differ when it comes to technological setup and delivering remote desktop experiences.

Remote desktops run on the server-based OS. A single server can host multiple active user sessions. However, RDC does not provide individual OS instances to end-users. Instead, users access shared desktop environments operating on remote servers to use the same computing power, OS, and applications.

Virtual desktops run on desktop-based OS hosted by the hypervisor server(s). Every user maintains their own VM instances, which are accessible from their personal devices, irrespective of their location. Further, VDI offers a centralized public cloud network for hosting applications and desktops.

How does Windows virtual desktop compare to the classical RDS environment?

Both WVD and traditional RDS are remote desktop protocols; however, they have various technical differences.

For instance, WVD delivers a pre-engineered image of applications or OS – separate from devices used to access them. RDS, on the other hand, enables users to access systems stationed in another location and connect to them as if they are actually working on them.

Further, companies can set up RDS on-site or on a private cloud managed by third parties, while WVD operates on a public cloud network. As such, firewalls, patching, and the Internet is distributed among multiple users.

Is VDI faster than RDP?

Virtual desktops have the edge over remote desktops as they compartmentalize the resources, offering a smoother user experience. Moreover, VDI delivers performance equivalent to standalone desktops with dedicated resources for every VM, including GPU power, for heavy graphics and media.

Thus, virtual desktops find use in graphic-reliant software, such as AutoCAD, that consume excessive processing power.

On the flip side, RDP users access desktop sessions via the Windows Server OS, which falls well short for latency-intensive workloads, including video/audio conferencing. Also, RDP’s performance takes a toll when organizations have to facilitate a diverse set of users.

What is Windows virtual desktop used for?

WVD offers an easy-to-use and secure virtual desktop setup for a company’s workforce. It takes care of the remote work demands by delivering a foolproof platform for cloud VDI. End-users can log into Windows desktop servers and hosts remotely, hence, remain productive without keeping IT security at stake.

With Windows virtual desktops, businesses can focus on image management and user access control while deploying virtual workstations and applications. Microsoft looks after all the remaining services. This considerably slashes the amount of administration and overhead needed to support a VDI setting.
Furthermore, the Windows 10 enterprise multi-session feature enables several end-users to connect to remote desktops simultaneously. This provides them with an experience they witness while using physical systems.

Is Microsoft remote desktop a VDI?

Microsoft remote desktop solutions mimic VDI when it comes to managing remote workstations or virtual machines over a secure network connection. That said, virtual desktop solutions offer users a single virtualized instance of the Windows Client OS, delivered via Azure or straight to the company’s network. On the contrary, Microsoft remote desktops enable multiple users to log into virtual machines or OS. Users can join a remote desktop session and share the servers’ applications, OS, and hardware resources.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.