Story of the Week


Key Takeaways

  • The COVID-19-induced shift to remote work has piqued the interest in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and its cloud spin-off – Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).
  • With many schools and universities sticking to remote learning, VDI helps bridge the desktop divide and enhance outcomes.
  • Rising spending on public cloud infrastructure will augur well for VDI now and beyond the pandemic.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been around for a few decades. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put a big spotlight on VDI, and 2020 may well have been the game-changer for this technology to go across the board.

While the pandemic has impacted almost every industry around the globe, VDI and DaaS services have seen tremendous adoption as more and more businesses shift their entire process to remote working.

A recent report found that the global VDI market is likely to be worth around $13 Bn by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 14.4% from 2019 through 2027. Such staggering growth reflects the current disruptive impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

So, what’s driving this trend? Read on to know more.

Sudden Shift to Remote Work

Following the nationwide shutdowns to contain the coronavirus spread, several businesses have to swiftly adapt and execute compute groundwork to support remote employees. VDI has emerged as a logical fit, and businesses have employed VDI solutions at length.

Experts anticipate that the COVID-19 crisis will influence 70% of desktop virtualization business cases through 2023. Now, businesses are looking for technology that is mobile, scalable, more secure, and cost-efficient. They are switching to centralized virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, including both cloud-based and on-prem solutions, that are safer and leaner.

The COVID-19 crisis is expected to influence 70% of desktop virtualization business cases through 2023 and businesses are switching to virtual desktop infrastructure solutions for better mobility, security, scalability and cost savings.

As most of the processing for VDI is done on the centralized servers, businesses don’t have to bank on expensive hardware for workers to access resources. Also, this streamlines device management, security, and support.

None of the linked devices store any confidential information. This approach is highly secure for remote employees. Software patches and updates can be easily applied across all access device hardware securely and effectively, ensuring everybody is well on track.

Flexibility and Speed – Much-needed while Working from Home

Moving ahead, VDI allows businesses to provision and de-provision systems with typical application sets as needed within minutes instead of hours or days. This speed and flexibility of service delivery offer a terrific opportunity for VDI in the post-COVID-19 world. Properly leveraged, VDI can curb the hardware ownership and support personnel needed to support the remote employees.

VDI service providers will do well to comprehend their customers’ particular needs and their potential challenges in the future. Exploring the critical areas that stem from a sudden switch to remote work will, no doubt, result in sales.

Putting the Classroom in Cloud

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a great deal of pressure on educational institutions to swiftly turn to a virtual learning experience. Now, the remainder of 2021 won’t be business as usual for several school and university students. While some educational institutes have announced plans to resume in-class lectures, others are planning for continued online classes.

User experience is king in this context. It has to be on-par or better compared to in-person. VDI provides a means to bridge the gap by offering students streamlined, simple, straightforward options for remote access.

While remote learning remains a prerequisite, it’s not sufficient to simply enable limited IT access and provide canned lectures. The student experience and user-friendliness are critical to stepping up academic outcomes and bolster ongoing student enrolment. Executed smartly, VDI provides a potential way to achieve both.

Furthermore, as educational institutes embrace DaaS to set up new virtual education labs, the market growth opportunities for VDI are likely to boom.

Public Cloud – An Unsung Hero

In a way, the public-health crisis has served as a de facto catalyst for unfolding the flexibility and value of cloud infrastructure (once again) and triggered faster adoption. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the global end-user expenditure on public cloud services will surge 18.4% in 2021 to total $304.9 Bn, according to Gartner.

Earlier, businesses were reluctant to shift critical workloads to the cloud due to security worries. But with tech giants such as Microsoft alone investing over $1 Bn on public cloud security and roping in more than 3,500 worldwide cybersecurity professionals, the industry is almost accepting that public cloud is becoming safer versus conventional data centers.

(In this case study, we explain how even critical cyberattacks like ransomware can be contained promptly in a DaaS environment and how organizations can achieve seamless business continuity with zero downtime: Proactive System Protection by Anunta against Ransomware with DaaS)

We have already seen conventional on-site applications such as Microsoft Office shifting to the cloud with Microsoft 365. VDI looks set to follow along the same path. Moreover, with the rise of cloud service providers, the capability and pricing of VDI have improved a great deal.

A Shift to Non-persistent Desktops for a Persistent User Experience

Conventionally, cost and experience have been two of the biggest challenges to large-scale VDI employment. Businesses looking to ensure a continuous user experience to their customers had to invest in cost-prohibitive dedicated hardware to back each virtual machine (VM) – persistent desktops.

On the other hand, non-persistent desktops deliver considerable cost-cutting but do not save user preferences and set up a new machine every time a customer logs in to their virtual desktop.

VDI service providers, including Microsoft and Citrix, have addressed this hurdle by putting an additional personalization layer over non-persistent machines thus ensuring a persistent experience to non-persistent desktops. Furthermore, the adoption of non-persistent VDI will skyrocket 18% through 2026.

What Lies Ahead for VDI post-COVID-19?

People and industries are still bouncing back from the pandemic shockwaves, and it’s a little too early to make overly specific predictions about the future of VDI following the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, a post-COVID world promises to spur recovery as enterprises of all sizes facilitate their entire workforce with secure access to business-critical applications – irrespective of device, location, or browser.

Virtual desktop infrastructure solutions have matured, and the infrastructure that supports VDI has also matured. Now they are a bit cheaper, more stable, and no longer confined to use-cases in particular domains. The market is still evolving, with more potential developments in the virtualization space after the COVID-19 chapter ends.

Key Takeaways

  • Hosted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) establishes both infrastructure and workspace recovery and ensures business continuity for the end-user.
  • VDI enables better traceability, transparency, and control over application resource consumption.
  • Coupled with UC&C, VDI encourages businesses to have a unified, secure, and effective collaboration experience across the board.

Power outages. Cyber-attacks. Human error. Natural calamities. Any of these can be the fatal tipping point for potentially disastrous disruptions to the IT services on which businesses depend. And let’s not forget the COVID-19 pandemic, which has uncovered crucial business continuity downsides across every industry.

If anybody still believes that having a business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) plan shouldn’t be a top priority, you haven’t been catching sight of recent events. For instance, over 100,000 small-scale businesses in the US alone were forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis, due no doubt in part to their inability to maintain business continuity in the face of an unexpected crisis.

At present, the majority of the people have to work from home due to the prevailing public health crisis across continents. In these challenging times, businesses need to keep their business continuity plan up and running. Now is the time to consider migrating to smart cloud solutions like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which by its nature helps to optimize business continuity.

VDI is designed to support businesses in the modern era. Let’s understand how it helps companies maintain business continuity.

En Route to a Flexible Home Office

Remote work isn’t going anywhere, so businesses have to ensure a top-notch customer experience while reimagining their remote work strategies. Today’s hosted virtual desktop, which is one form of VDI, solutions scale up endpoint security while improving workforce fluidity and streamlining network access.

VDI runs a thin client on the end-user system, a virtual workspace instance, to offer the virtualized applications, desktop, or other resources. Solutions and tools typically contain on-site storage, servers, and network components. However, cloud-based deployments are becoming more prevalent owing to recent events.

What’s more, the value of VDI continues to increase significantly. The VDI industry is presently worth $4.8 Bn, with cloud deployment making up for around a tenth of the revenue. Considering the existing business environment, VDI is seeing a demand upsurge as businesses look for resilient, cost-efficient ways to deliver scalable, high-grade services to remote users.

VDI is seeing a demand upsurge as businesses look for resilient, cost-efficient ways to deliver scalable, high-grade services to remote users.

Nonetheless, VDI solutions are intricate service chains that bank on several other IT services. They’re subject to both server and client network bandwidth and cluster capacity, the number of hops, and distance. Businesses have to ensure that they are providing an optimum user experience. This, in turn, requires transparency across this complicated service chain to see the pattern across multiple silos.

Curbing Risks by Improving Transparency

Hosted VDI is not a set-it-and-forget-it technology. Like any business solution, it is highly susceptible to data packet loss and network latency. Also, lack of server cluster capacity is a primary reason behind a slow VDI connection because it can increase application response times and slow down resource-poor client devices. With a record-breaking number of synchronous users, the pressure to achieve high performance is paramount.

However, efficiency takes a hit when the user experience is below par, implying the system has little room for errors. Businesses require a smooth log-on experience and a highly responsive desktop session for each user. IT experts must stave off silos and boost efficiency by constantly optimizing performance and creating a robust VDI infrastructure.

The ideal way for hosted virtual desktop providers to spot the problems early is by monitoring the user experience while tracking key performance indicators (KPI) for all tiers of the service chain. This becomes possible only by adding vendor-neutral tracking capabilities to current native solutions. Only then can businesses enjoy the benefits of collaboration across all relevant IT components to curb operating expenses (OPEX) and provide excellent service.

Getting Businesses Ready for the Long Run

IT experts adopted VDI at an early stage of the pandemic-induced quarantine because it offered them the ability to deliver a secure computing climate to the remote workforce and lock applications and privileges. But for VDI solutions to remain efficient over hte long term, the IT crew needs to ensure a good user experience.

If VDI has emerged as one backbone of remote work technologies, another is unified communication and collaboration (UC&C). This technology can greatly simplify remote work, but, like VDI, it is highly susceptible to packet loss, network bandwidth problems, and jitter. Given that the VDI-driven workforce can access UC&C services from within VDI sessions, operators encounter the additional hurdle of monitoring delivery of a complicated service like UC&C across another complicated service like VDI — further highlighting the need for end-to-end transparency.

Profile and policy-based management, which is one of VDI’s strong suits, can also become one of its pitfalls amid frequent changes such as a pandemic. A policy devised for a regional branch office might not apply to another area across the country or the globe.

Furthermore, UC&C and VDI must go through meticulous capacity planning. The last capacity planning cycle did not contribute to the explosive growth in remote work in 2020.

As such, market leaders should handle risks by embracing a pre-emptive approach that enables the quick sorting of headwinds and long-run (capacity) metric accumulation across UC&C and VDI, and the services they depend on, including network infrastructure and servers.

Connecting the Dots

VDI solutions have helped businesses of all shapes and sizes by allowing them to realize their objectives without the large cash outlay required for conventional desktop infrastructure. But to extract full value from VDI, you have to invest in additional technologies and tools. While most technologies were primarily developed for on-site and bare metal deployment, they were later re-invented for VDI.

When properly implemented and managed, the benefits and value of VDI offset the additional investments needed in technologies and tools. But the key to successful VDI implementation is cashing in on the right expertise and implementing an efficient plan.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost benefit analysis of soft cost expenses is more difficult to ascertain than hard cost but the impact can affect the bottom line.
  • Cloud desktops enable businesses to eliminate server hardware and related licensing costs.
  • Fees for cloud desktops are generally based on the number of users and resources consumed each month.

CFO Viewpoint: How Do Cloud Desktops Help Save Costs?

Many businesses face dilemmas determining which services are best maintained in-house versus those that should be subcontracted. Some decisions, such as a yard maintenance service, are straightforward, whereas decisions related to technology require careful business and technical consideration.

Looking at IT-related decisions from the standpoint of the CFO, financial viability and service advantages are key considerations that should be addressed alongside technical feasibility. As such, we shall review the costs associated with in-house IT systems and compare those with cloud desktops.

In-House: Hard Costs and Soft Costs

Hard costs are the primary consideration for CFOs; these include items such as employee/management costs, consulting, server hardware, asset financing, and licensing. Soft costs secondarily impact financial decisions, including employee productivity, competitive advantage, and flexibility.

DaaS providers maintains all computing systems, all costs associated with procuring server hardware and related network equipment, including licensing, are eliminated.

Paying for the right people, systems, and equipment affects the bottom line. Where an in-house computing solution is deployed, paying the salaries of high-level IT staff, including security experts, may be financially prohibitive. Further, recruiting fees, employee benefits, and staff training must be factored into total costs. In addition, the costs associated with the computing systems, including server hardware, network equipment, service agreements, and data center space, power, and services, as well as operating system and application licensing, have a profound impact on the IT budget. Hard costs are straightforward and easy to calculate.

Although soft costs are more difficult to quantify, these items do indeed impact every business. Will an IT-related expenditure enable the business to compete more effectively or gain an advantage in the market? Will employee productivity increase due to a new application or a new computing process? Will system flexibility enable more employees to work from home, saving real estate space? The cost/benefit analysis of these items is more difficult to ascertain than hard cost expenditures, but the impact can indeed affect the bottom line.

Small businesses in particular struggle with maintaining end-user computing services. For example, hiring a security expert is cost prohibitive for a small business, but yet, leaving the IT systems vulnerable and falling prey to hackers could destroy the enterprise.

Cloud Desktops

Adopting cloud desktops is particularly appealing for small businesses; however, many medium-sized enterprises also find this technology advantageous. In addition to minimizing hard costs, engaging a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provider delivers additional functionality that would likely be otherwise out of reach for in-house systems.

Cloud desktops enable businesses to eliminate server hardware and related licensing costs entirely. Because the DaaS provider maintains all computing systems, all costs associated with procuring server hardware and related network equipment, including licensing, are eliminated. For example, if an in-house system is dependent upon large servers that support hypervisor functionality, these costs, as well as related network equipment, would no longer be necessary. In addition, the in-house staff needed to support cloud desktop administration is minimal. The savings related to hard costs alone is typically enough to justify cloud computing. And there are many additional benefits.

DaaS providers take responsibility for support desk associates, system maintenance, and security. This includes not only the IT staff, but also change control systems, help desk ticket applications, after-hours anti-virus updates, backup/restore processes, system reliability commitments, and more. The service level that DaaS providers offer is often far superior to that which a small- or medium-sized enterprise can provide in-house.

Fees for cloud desktops are generally based on the number of users and resources consumed each month. DaaS providers are able to offer services based on a mass scale, and the cost is thus more reasonable for each enterprise. For example, DaaS providers are able to employ security experts that oversee the resources of a large number of clients, thus the salaries, benefits, and training costs for this expert group are a fraction for each enterprise and built into the charges. Small and many medium-sized businesses cannot afford to have this breadth of staff expertise.

If a major issue were to arise, such as a security or application access issue, DaaS providers have sufficient staff to address an issue quickly. Once a Priority 1 (P1) status is declared–implying an emergency situation wherein many users cannot access resources–numerous individual with various areas of expertise s are assembled to focus on remediating the problem in short order, as well as communicating status with the client.

Compare that with an in-house system that relies on calling technical support or a consultant in order to determine where an issue lies and then working through remediation. The cost for these emergency services from the DaaS provider is included in the monthly fees and actually represents a cost savings because downtime is minimized. Because downtime equates to lost revenue within every enterprise, having a group of technical experts immediately available ensures that service impact is minimal.

How Do Cloud Desktops Save Costs?

While the exact numbers for each enterprise will vary, cloud desktops invariably represent a cost savings, especially for small businesses. Hard costs alone will likely justify the financial aspects of cloud desktops. Of course, each CFO should calculate the current hard and soft costs in order to determine specific savings that can be realized by adopting cloud desktops.

Key Takeaways

  • In order to move a VM from AWS to Azure, you have to migrate two main components – the virtual machine and configuration data
  • Three key tools that can assist in moving virtual desktops from AWS to Azure – Azure Migrate, FSLogix, Dynamic Environment Manager
  • If your virtual desktops contain complex configurations, expertise is necessary to implement the migration approaches

One of the many advantages of hosted virtual desktops in the cloud is that doing so maximizes the flexibility of your desktop infrastructure. Not only can you easily modify the configurations of the virtual machines that host your desktops, but you can even move the virtual desktops to a new cloud platform if desired — a change that may be advantageous if the other cloud offers lower costs or better performance, for example.

This article explains three approaches for efficiently migrating VMs that host virtual desktops from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Azure.

Basics of AWS-to-Azure VM migration

In order to move a VM from AWS to Azure, you have to migrate two main components:

  • The virtual machine, which includes an operating system and any applications that you’ve installed on it.
  • Configuration data for the virtual machine and any applications or user accounts associated with it. Most of this data is typically stored inside the virtual machine, although as we’ll see below, it’s possible to export it in order to simplify migration.

Three tools for VM migration

There are three key tools that can assist in moving virtual desktops from AWS to Azure. These tools are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Depending on your needs, you may choose to use just one tool, or more than one at the same time.

Three tools for AWS to Azure Migration

Three tools for AWS to Azure Migration

Azure Migrate

Microsoft provides a tool called Azure Migrate to help users move a variety of different workloads into the Azure cloud from other clouds (as well as from on-premises data centers). Azure Migrate automatically assesses virtual machines hosted on other platforms and builds equivalent VM configurations that can be deployed on Azure.

To prepare to migrate virtual machines from AWS, Azure Migrate requires that you first install a special appliance (called a replication appliance) in your AWS environment. You also have to install an agent on each AWS VM that you want to migrate. For full details, refer to Microsoft’s documentation on moving VMs from AWS to Azure using Azure Migrate.

Azure Migrate Architectural diagram

Azure Migrate Architectural components – Microsoft

Once these tools are set up, Azure Migrate will analyze your AWS VMs and make recommendations for setting up an equivalent set of VMs in Azure. It also attempts to detect the necessary network settings for the VMs based on the configuration you have in AWS.

After reviewing the tool’s configuration recommendations and making any desired changes, you can start the migration process. Azure Migrate will then automatically move your VM images and data from AWS.

Azure Migrate is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t always replicate every part of every VM perfectly. It is able to recreate persistent VMs perfectly, but in the case of non-persistent VMs, you will need to capture the profile data separately and apply it manually after the migration.

The 8 Key Challenges of Data Center Migration

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FSLogix, which was formerly an independent platform but was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, is a set of tools that make it possible to export user and configuration data from a Windows-based desktop environment to a file share (called a “container” by FSLogix) that is accessible from the network.

FSLogix Architecture diagram

FSLogix Architecture diagram – Microsoft

Teams performing a migration between one cloud and another can use FSLogix to convert a local profile from a given VM into an FSLogix container, then apply the profile to a different VM running in a different cloud. They would need to set up new VM instances in the target cloud separately (and for that, a solution like Azure Migrate is useful), but FSLogix makes the migration of user data a smooth process.

The major drawback of FSLogix is that it only supports Windows, not Linux — although given that most virtual desktops are Windows-based, this is unlikely to be an issue for most users.

Migrating virtual desktops between clouds requires some effort, but the process is easy to automate and scale.

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager

VMware’s Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM) tool, which was formerly called User Environment Manager (UEM), is similar to FSLogix in that it makes it possible to store configuration data independently from virtual machines and import it into VMs when desired.

That said, DEM is not an alternative to or replacement for FSLogix as much as it is a complement to it. DEM can handle a wider array of settings data than FSLogix, which is designed mostly for managing configuration data related to user accounts and certain major Microsoft applications.

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Infrastructure

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Infrastructure – VMware

Note that businesses need to purchase a separate license for DEM unless they are already using VMware Horizon (on which DEM is supported by default).

As a rule of thumb, FSLogix makes most sense as the basis for your migration if you don’t need extensive control over configuration options during the migration. On the other hand, DEM provides more configuration options, and is generally more dynamic and flexible.

Keep in mind that you can use FSLogix and DEM at the same time, relying on each tool to handle different parts of your configuration data migration.

DEM supports both Linux and Windows VMs.

Virtual desktop migration with Anunta

A variety of tools exist to help migrate virtual desktops from one cloud to another. But the tools can be complicated to use, especially if your virtual desktops contain complex configurations.

Anunta, which has been providing managed windows virtual desktop services for over a decade, has the expertise necessary to ensure a smooth and efficient migration process for virtual desktops between any cloud platforms. Anunta’s team can implement any of the migration approaches described above, as well as others that may make more sense if your virtual desktops are hosted on a specific platform (such as Citrix).

For expert help on planning and carrying out your virtual desktop migration, contact Anunta.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizations’ response to change by adopting digital technologies helped them stay relevant and productive.
  • Some top digital workplace trends:
    • Increased need for decentralized technology services
    • Need for on-demand workforce and virtual collaboration between the employees
    • Hybrid working model as new normal

The pandemic forced enterprises across the world to shut their doors and have employees work remotely. It was a monumental change, and transition to remote working took effort for most businesses. But, many organizations realized that their response to change is what will help them stay relevant, improve their bottom line, and remain productive in this digital era.

As a result of this, some very apparent digital workplace trends in 2021 have emerged – these trends have been on the rise for a while now, but the pandemic has no doubt increased their adoption and importance.

So, what are the trends that businesses should be taking into account with regard to the digital workplace, going forward? Let’s discuss.

Top Digital Workplace Trends in 2021

Need for decentralized technology services increases

Digital workplaces are a lot more democratized, which means going forward, businesses will be relying less and less on a centralized IT team to handle their digital requirements. Instead, the top businesses right now are shifting to an end user computing model, which helps employees connect to virtual desktops from anywhere in the world.

Switching to virtualization technologies like these helps businesses reduce their expenses and efforts. While in the past IT personnel would have had to manually install updates and new software applications in each device, with end user computing, the changes can be deployed just on a central server to reflect in every desktop image.

Automation of routine work

The pandemic has accelerated the usage of algorithms to automate several routine operational activities, and this trend is only expected to grow in the future. Many enterprises have recently made the switch from physical desktops to virtualization technologies, which helps automate disaster recovery, security, and updates. In the past, these tasks would have required a mammoth effort from a dedicated IT team within the organization.

Digital dexterity takes centerstage

One of the key digital workplace market trends this year (and possibly what we will see in the future) has been how artificial intelligence is helping the digital dexterity of employees.

Business users already know how to perform familiar tasks like sending emails, creating documents, and storing data on the local drive, among other things. But, given how fast new systems are being adopted by companies, not everyone can figure out how to best use these technologies, causing employees a lot of stress.

What this ultimately results in is employees resorting to outdated tools and systems to solve novel issues. It’s safe to say that you can’t compete in this digital era by working in this fashion. But, that’s where artificial intelligence steps in. AI can do a lot to improve the digital dexterity of your employees with on-the-job learning. This has an impact on productivity and, in turn, corporate returns.

The need for on-demand workforce

Circumstances have made it such that remote work is a necessity for almost all organizations. While not all businesses were prepared for it, they had to embrace the change. Fortunately, technologies like end user computing allow businesses to sustain a remote, distributed workforce that goes beyond the boundaries of a traditional office setup.

With virtualization technologies, companies can hire the right employees and assemble talented teams in a matter of days. Gone are the days of spending weeks and months trying to find employees with the right skills and competencies. As on-demand workforces become the norm, companies around the world will also increasingly move towards solutions like virtual desktops.

Working beyond physical boundaries will become the norm

Given the impact of the pandemic, it’s likely that we will never go back to our pre-COVID working ways. Remote working has become one of the top digital trends in workplaces, and both organizations and employees have adapted to it.

While some businesses will adopt a completely remote working model, many others will implement a hybrid working model. Fortunately, with virtualization technologies like end user computing, your business can support remote workers, without any hassle or security concerns.

Virtual collaboration becomes more significant

Virtual collaboration is a key trend that has increased in significance over the years. There are software solutions available now that can practically replace all in-person interactions.

Through things like social forums and virtual meetings, your employees will never feel the need to have a watercooler catch-up or in-person meeting, provided you’ve invested in the right tools. Solutions like file-based collaboration and screen sharing enable employees to have fruitful discussions, share inputs, and come up with innovative ideas, in real-time, without being in the same room as each other.


Adopting digital technologies to enable a mobile workforce that can improve your bottom line is key. Fortunately, with our virtualization technologies, like DaaS, Managed Virtual Desktops, Digital Workspaces, and Cloud Transformation, you can be at the forefront of the ever-changing digital workplace service trends.

As a partner to leading industry OEMs like Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, AWS, and Google. Anunta offers managed virtual desktop solutions and digital workspace solutions. Premier organizations, across the banking, healthcare, finance, and other industries, are already using our services to scale their business. To know more about our offerings and how you can deploy virtualization technologies in your workplace, reach out to our experts today.

At first glance, the manufacturing industry may not appear as well positioned as other sectors to take full advantage of cloud services such as virtual desktops. Manufacturers tend to have highly complex and customized IT infrastructures that — to a greater degree than those in other industries — are tightly connected to physical factory equipment.

That means manufacturers cannot simply lift-and-shift IT resources into the cloud in the way that companies might in industries where IT infrastructure is not so tightly coupled with factories and other physical infrastructure.

Nonetheless, manufacturers stand to benefit from cloud services just as much as companies that operate in other industries. Indeed, many manufacturers have already made the jump to cloud-centric IT strategies, and those that have not will find it challenging to keep scaling and optimizing their IT estates.

Desktop infrastructure challenges for manufacturers

The typical manufacturing company faces several special challenges related to desktop infrastructure.

One is the need for ultra-reliable and responsive applications on the factory floor. When a PC hosting application that detects defective items within an assembly line goes down for even just a few minutes or takes longer than a second or two to scan items, the consequences can be far-reaching. Allowing defective items to move down the chain places the entire manufacturing operation at risk. To avoid issues like these, manufacturers must achieve levels of uptime and performance that exceed the standards of many other industries.

Integrating data from disparate systems to drive collaboration between stakeholders is another key challenge for manufacturing. To optimize operations, product designers and engineers must have continuous visibility into the state of the shop floor. But given the distributed nature of teams and the desktop infrastructure on which they rely, it can be difficult to design systems that avoid silos and make it easy for all stakeholders to collaborate over a shared platform.

A final major challenge is security. Manufacturers must guarantee the physical security of their IT infrastructure, which can be difficult when that infrastructure is spread across multiple manufacturing sites and cannot be neatly tucked inside a data centre, as it would be in most other industries. At the same time, the highly distributed and heterogeneous nature of manufacturing infrastructure makes it hard to apply across-the-board compliance and security rules to all desktop systems.

How manufacturers are leveraging the cloud

Manufacturers are already turning to the cloud to help meet these and other challenges associated with their IT infrastructure. Worldwide, around two-thirds of enterprises in this industry have adopted public or private cloud platforms of some kind, according to IDC.

The number is lower in India, where cloud adoption within manufacturing stands at around 22 percent. Nonetheless, that figure is expected to more than double over the coming decade.

It is easy to see why manufacturers are turning the cloud in increasing numbers. With SLA promises that routinely exceed 99 percent — and in many cases reach 99.999 percent or higher — public cloud services promise rates of availability that are difficult to match when working with on-premises infrastructure.

Why and How Manufacturers Are Embracing Cloud Desktops

At the same time, the unlimited scalability of the cloud ensures that workloads always have the resources they need to work at peak performance and process data quickly, even during periods of unexpectedly high demand.

The cloud also provides a central point of collaboration where all stakeholders can store, view, and share data with each other. Instead of devoting a different IT infrastructure to each team and awkwardly linking them together, manufacturers can leverage the cloud as a single platform that accommodates all IT needs for the business.

Security, too, becomes simpler when companies move away from on-prem infrastructure in favour of cloud services that do not require physical security management, and that also deliver a higher degree of uniformity — thereby making it easier to apply standardized security rules across them.

Use case example: Virtual desktop infrastructure for manufacturing

As an example of the cloud at work within manufacturing, consider a client that Anunta helped to transition away from conventional desktops into hosted virtual desktops. The company, which manufactures consumer products and has hundreds of locations spread across India, was struggling with its previous desktop infrastructure, which suffered downtime rates as high as 10 percent, poor security enforcement and frequent data loss, among other issues.

By moving the manufacturer to virtual desktop infrastructure, Anunta was able to achieve a dramatic improvement in availability, which now exceeds 99 percent. The rate of IT incidents has also dropped by nearly a factor of ten, and security and compliance have been standardized across the company’s desktop infrastructure.

The result is faster and more reliable manufacturing operations, with a much lower risk that problems with desktop infrastructure will disrupt the company’s ability to ensure that all stakeholders in the manufacturing process have access to the applications and data they need, when they need it. Read the complete success story here.

Conclusion: Cloud and the future of manufacturing

It may be unrealistic to expect most manufacturers to move all their infrastructure to the cloud. They will always need some IT resources located at manufacturing sites (which is one reason why hybrid cloud architectures, which allow businesses to combine on-premises resources with cloud services, have grown popular in this sector).

Overall, however, the cloud offers enormous promise to help manufacturers overcome the reliability, performance, security, and other challenges they face from their existing IT systems. Going forward, the cloud is poised to play an ever-greater role in enabling agility and scalability for manufacturing, just as it has across other industries.

Are you wondering what end user computing is all about? Over the last decade, end user computing (EUC) has changed the face of IT infrastructure. EUC works by providing users access to business data and applications at any time, from anywhere in the world. This is done by connecting to a virtual desktop infrastructure, through the end-user’s own device.

End user computing offers support for a number of user devices including desktops and laptops, thin-client terminal devices, tablets, and even smartphones! These devices, of course, can be provided by the business to their employees or the business could implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, wherein employees can use their personal devices to connect to their virtual desktops. Regardless of the means that are used, the benefits for businesses are many, especially right now, given that the pandemic has forced many employees across the world to work remotely. Here’s all you need to know about this technology if you are considering making the switch to EUC.

Why Should Your Business Consider End User Computing?

If improving your bottom line, increasing business efficiency, and supporting mobility are goals for your business, you need to adopt EUC. From a security standpoint, it offers several benefits. For instance, you can be sure that sensitive data will never reside on your employee’s (or any other end user) device. Instead, the end user will need to connect to the application server to access their confidential data.

This means even if a device is damaged, stolen, or lost, you don’t have to worry about your data being compromised if you have deployed EUC.

EUC also frees up your employees, so they are able to work from anywhere and at any time. This solves a number of problems for businesses and for employees. Eventually, this will save your business time, effort, and money – resources that can be channeled elsewhere to improve your business profits.

Key Benefits of End User Computing

    1. Centralized Management: Managing a number of desktops is a daunting task for your IT personnel. Imagine having to update each workstation every time there is an OS update or new software application. It would take days, if not weeks, for a large, dedicated team of IT professionals to update multiple desktops. EUC solves this issue for you with centralized management. This makes it immeasurably easier for your IT personnel to manage your IT infrastructure. Not to mention EUC will also reduce the need for dedicated IT staff.


    1. Bring Your Own Device Support: Traditionally, organizations of all sizes and industries provide devices to employees. While this may have sufficed in the past, it is no longer the case in the digital era. Employees, today, want the freedom to use their own devices for business tasks, especially if that means they will have the opportunity to work from anywhere.


    1. Secure Environment: Another key benefit is the enhanced security offered by EUC. Anunta’s end user computing technology will allow your employees to access business data and applications, without storing anything on their devices. You can further control this access using authorization technologies and modern authentication. Given how important it is to avoid data breaches or intentional cyber attacks, it acts as a safeguard against security threats and malware.


  1. Supports Business Mobility: While the pandemic has now forced scores of companies across the globe to migrate to a remote working style, there has always been a need for mobility – that is for employees to be able to work from any location remotely. Given the current state of affairs, the need for mobility is only going to increase. If you go the traditional route, this puts a lot of pressure on your resources and IT personnel since you will have to support all your employees with company-owned laptops and other e-devices that they can access from remote locations. That’s why switching to end user computing right now is a wise choice. With EUC, you can ensure that your employees are able to use their own devices to connect to virtual desktops, irrespective of where they are or whether they have organization-provided devices to work from.


Now that you know what end user computing services are, you know this technology provides a range of benefits. It may, of course, require some operational changes along different stages, starting from design to deployment. But, given its long-term benefits and the fact that it may just be the default computing model in the very near future, it’s essential to make the switch.

That’s where we come in. With our EUC solutions, we help your employees collaborate in real-time, in the most secure manner, helping you scale your business and giving your employees the opportunity to thrive in this remote working era. Our partnerships with some of the largest OEMs including VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, AWS and Google cloud, and helps us offer solutions that will benefit businesses in all sectors, be it healthcare, banking, finance, or anything else. To know more about our offerings and how our end user computing solutions can help your business, schedule a consultation with our experts at Anunta Tech today.

Key Takeaways

  • Cloud has become an indispensable part of the DNA of education due to Covid-19.
  • Cloud desktops enable students to access courses and materials, as well as collaborate with teachers and peers with minimal bandwidth and data transfer requirements.
  • Virtual desktop provides an effective boundary for the device, better administrative control and maintenance of anti-virus, thereby enhancing the security.

How have the cloud and virtual desktops impacted student learning?

Education systems, ranging from primary schools to universities, struggle with how to best address student learning in a secure, consistent manner, with an eye for budgetary considerations. Cloud has played an increasingly important role addressing educational needs in response to Covid-19 and will likely continue to expand in the future.

Forced Learnings from Covid-19

Covid-19 radically forced major changes in student learning. Almost overnight, educators were required to transition all traditional classroom instruction to distance learning. Operational challenges that initially plagued education administrators ranged from lack of student computing devices, poor internet access, budgets, and cloud expertise. As those items were quickly addressed, the benefits of cloud-based virtual desktops and remote learning systems ultimately overcame those challenges and fostered success.

Covid-19 radically forced major changes in student learning. Almost overnight, educators were required to transition all traditional classroom instruction to distance learning.

Once students became accustomed to attending virtual classroom instruction, communicating virtually, and uploading homework assignments to cloud-based repositories, cloud become an indispensable part of the DNA of education. The education community realized some expected as well as some unexpected benefits that continue to drive cloud adoption in the education sector.

Cloud Benefits

Cloud provides immediate access to infrastructure, including resource bursts. Rather than invest heavily in hardware and infrastructure, cloud computing enables education entities to rent virtual desktop services. When Covid-19 struck, technical staff didn’t have the time or energy to create or expand physical on-premises data centers to address the new normal associated with highly demanding compute services. Having cloud infrastructure readily available expedited the transition to remote learning and virtual desktops while minimizing technical administration requirements.

While in-person learning will likely always be the gold standard, cloud computing enables students to access courses and materials, as well as collaborate with teachers and peers. The virtual desktop that is assigned to the student presents these resources centrally with minimal bandwidth and data transfer requirements. Of course, internet service is required, but students living in households with internet data caps or less than stellar service speeds can still access learning materials.

Education has become more dynamic due to the cloud. New or updated courseware can easily be made available to address student needs by adding these materials to the virtual desktop golden image and propagating it for access. The next time that the student logs in, the updates are automatically presented as part of the virtual desktop.

Cloud Adoption for Education
Cloud Adoption for Education

Resolving student computing issues is often as simple as logging off and logging in fresh, resulting in very minimal technical interruption to student learning. Educators have their hands full with teaching students, and assisting with technical support issues should not be part of their daily work. When issues arise, it is often unnecessary to delve into what the student may have done within the virtual desktop or why or asking the student to contact technical support. Instead, a quick logoff/login addresses the majority of issues because a fresh virtual desktop is presented to the student within the new session.

Virtual desktops are instrumental in creating a standard computing platform and thus levelling the playing field for students because the physical device is largely irrelevant. Students with basic devices, such as a Google Chromebook, access the same virtual desktop as students with more robust Windows or Mac devices. Once the student accesses the virtual desktop, the resources allocated to that virtual desktop uniformly manage the user experience.

Securing Student Resources

The virtual desktop should be easy for the student to use, and it must be a secure resource. Virtual desktops provide students with access to educational resources without the need to install applications on the student computer; the student only needs to access the virtual desktop by means of a browser or inherent Remote Desktop functionality. Further, an SSL/TLS connection is initiated prior to login and for the duration of the session, and thus the virtual desktop is securely presented to the student.

The virtual desktop itself is administratively controlled and protected. Many students don’t understand system security and haphazardly access malicious web sites and/or download unsafe content to their personal devices. Consequently, viruses, trojans, or malware may infiltrate the physical device, but this does not impact the virtual desktop. This is because in addition to administrative control and maintenance of anti-virus, the virtual desktop provides an effective boundary from the student device and thus greatly enhances security.

The Future of Cloud Adoption for Education

As in-person classroom instruction resumes, usage of the cloud within the education sector will have a significant presence. Education entities will further appreciate that they can offer students better learning services by means of virtual desktops, and a blend of traditional learning with cloud-based services will become the new normal. Especially as the library of education material increases, desktops–whether due to necessity or preference–will continue to be a valid solution for many students.

If you hadn’t heard of cloud desktops before the pandemic, you probably have by now. Cloud desktop services are among the fastest-growing niches within cloud computing, and analysts believe that more and more workers will rely on cloud desktops to do their jobs going forward.

But what will the actual adoption process look like as more organizations embrace cloud desktops? Will it take months or years for most businesses to get cloud desktops fully up and rolling, as it does with many other types of cloud services?

The answer may surprise you. In many ways, the cloud desktop adoption lifecycle is simpler and more flexible than the adoption lifecycle for conventional cloud services. Businesses can move their employees to cloud desktops in days or weeks, not months or years. Just as important, they can scale cloud desktop infrastructure back down almost instantaneously if their needs change.

If your business wants to take advantage of cloud desktops, but you are worried about a slow and complicated adoption process, read on. As this article explains, cloud desktop adoption is much simpler than you may think.

What is the cloud adoption lifecycle?

The cloud adoption lifecycle is a concept that describes the phases organizations go through as they migrate to most types of cloud-based technologies. Those phases include:

  • Evaluation of cloud services.
  • Implementation of a small-scale proof-of-concept.
  • The planning of a broader cloud strategy.
  • Implementation of the broader strategy.
  • Ongoing expansion of cloud environments, including possibly the extension to include other cloud platforms.
  • Cloud maturity, which happens when the organization has fully achieved the benefits it sought from the cloud.

Fig. 1: A representation of the phases in a cloud adoption lifecycle.

Every organization’s cloud adoption path is different, of course, so you should think of the cloud adoption lifecycle as a basic outline of the steps that companies typically take rather than a strict script. Still, it’s a useful concept for thinking through the ways that companies actually go about taking advantage of the cloud once they have set their minds to it.

The adoption lifecycle for cloud desktops

Traditionally, the cloud adoption lifecycle centered around simple cloud computing services, like storage and virtual machines. Companies moving to those technologies generally follow a cloud adoption lifecycle similar to the one described above.

When it comes to cloud desktops, however, the adoption lifecycle can look very different, in two keyways:

  • Speed: Because companies can launch fully managed and professionally supported cloud desktops in a matter of hours, they can complete the adoption lifecycle in days, not months.
  • Flexibility: One of the powerful advantages of cloud desktops is that businesses only need to use them (and, by extension, pay for them) when they need them. They can scale up or down, vertically, or horizontally, with ease. This is not so much the case with other types of cloud services, where it’s hard to move VMs back on-prem, for instance.

Both of these features mean that companies can quickly adopt cloud desktops when they need to scale their desktop infrastructure quickly — as many did during the Covid-19 crisis, for example — without the long planning and proof-of-concept phases that form part of the conventional cloud adoption lifecycle.

Crisis and cloud desktop adoption

Indeed, part of the reason cloud desktops are currently experiencing explosive growth is that their easy adoption cycle makes them an ideal solution for companies struggling to maintain continuity in difficult times.

The Covid pandemic is one obvious example of a situation in which rapid cloud desktop adoption enabled companies to cope with the situation by extending their desktop infrastructure very quickly to support a remote workforce. Not only did cloud desktops allow businesses to keep their employees productive when they could no longer work on-site, but cloud desktop services also ensured the security of business data and applications. Rather than asking employees to work from personal devices that are difficult to secure, businesses were able to turn to cloud desktop platforms that are centrally monitored and managed to ensure security.

Beyond Covid, cloud desktops are also a safeguard against more mundane disruptions, such as data center failure that could be caused by monsoons or other extreme weather events. When desktops run in a public cloud like Azure, they can be hosted in data centers located anywhere in the world. If one region — like northwest India, for example — is impacted by severe weather, cloud desktops can be moved almost instantaneously to a different data center that exists in a separate cloud region to protect business continuity.

Businesses may choose to gain even greater levels of continuity by taking a multi cloud approach to cloud desktops. A company could choose to leverage cloud desktops from both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure or any public cloud platform, for instance, in order to maintain desktop availability in the event that one of those providers experiences a disruption.

Rapid adoption with minimal investment

Adding to the agility of cloud desktop adoption is the fact that cloud desktop services like Anunta’s Cloud Desktops are priced using a pay-as-you-go model. This means companies pay only for the desktops they need, when they need them. There is no fixed term or upfront investment required.

Thus, for businesses that want the option of scaling their desktop infrastructure up rapidly, when necessary, but don’t want to tie up enormous capital to guarantee that scalability, cloud desktops offer a compelling solution.

Conclusion: Why cloud desktops are here to stay

It’s easy to see how the easy and flexible adoption process described above makes cloud desktops an obvious choice for businesses seeking to navigate the ongoing uncertainty that they face at present.

By making it possible to scale desktop infrastructure up with the flip of a virtual switch, while at the same time avoiding major capital investments or long-term contracts, cloud desktop solutions such as Anunta’s Cloud Desktops offer a fresh take on the meaning of cloud adoption.

For companies in the financial services industry, taking advantage of cloud desktops has not typically been easy. Although a variety of cloud desktop and Desktop-as-a-Service solutions are available from vendors like VMware, Citrix and Amazon, most don’t deliver the compliance and security benefits that financial services companies often require.

Yet there is one cloud desktop platform that addresses this challenge: Azure Virtual Desktop, or AVD. Delivered as a hosted service in the Azure cloud, AVD, which debuted in 2019, is one of the newest offerings in the Desktop-as-a-Service market. It’s also a solution that provides the security and compliance features that are often missing from other cloud desktop services.

What financial services companies need in cloud desktops

For the financial services industry, replacing expensive, hard-to-maintain physical desktops with cloud-based alternatives has not always been an obvious proposition due primarily to the fact that cloud desktops required businesses to move sensitive desktop workloads into the cloud. In turn, they made it difficult to meet regulatory compliance requirements and high security standards.

In other words, it can be difficult to run applications that interact with customers’ personal financial data on cloud-based desktops because doing so means moving the data to remote environments that your company no longer controls. Some cloud desktops are also harder to isolate from Internet-borne attacks because the services that host them can’t be securely protected behind a firewall, due to the design of cloud networking configurations.

In order to address these challenges, then, businesses in the financial services sector need cloud desktops that allow them to meet regulatory rules regarding data security and compliance, while also maintaining the same standards of desktop security that on-premises workstations provide.

AVD’s compliance and security model

AVD was designed from the start to address these requirements.

Cloud desktops stay behind the firewall

When you host cloud desktops in Azure Virtual Desktop, desktop instances and applications are securely segmented from the public Internet by Azure Firewall. This means that security vulnerabilities that may exist within desktop environments (such as unpatched applications or insecure open ports) cannot be discovered and exploited by attackers on the Internet.

Physical security

In fact, cloud desktops running on AVD are in one respect even more secure than on-premises workstations because in addition to being protected against attacks that originate on the Internet, they are also physically secured.

With a service like AVD, you don’t need to worry about malicious parties gaining unauthorized physical access to your desktops, as you would with traditional workstations that are hosted in office buildings or other locations that may not be as secure as you need.

Compliant by default

On top of this, because the Microsoft Azure cloud has achieved more than 90 compliance certifications with regulatory agencies spread across the globe, its cloud services very likely meet whichever compliance rules your business faces without extra effort on your part.

Put another way, AVD is compliant by default with most regulatory rules that impact financial services and other industries.

Data sovereignty controls

Relatedly, if you need to keep data in a specific geographic region in order to meet data sovereignty requirements, AVD makes it easy to do so by allowing you to choose which cloud region hosts your data. This flexibility enables companies to minimize their compliance exposures by restricting data storage to certain jurisdictions.

Minimal third-party exposure

Finally, because Azure Virtual Desktop is an all-in-one cloud desktop platform that runs entirely in the Azure cloud, it doesn’t depend on integrations with third-party tools or services that could lead to unnecessary data or compliance exposure. From configuring firewall rules to adding new users, everything that you need to do in a AVD environment can be achieved from within Azure itself.

Getting started with AVD

Perhaps the only major drawback of Azure Virtual Desktop is that it’s a complex solution that can be difficult for IT departments to implement and manage if they lack extensive experience with Microsoft tooling and the Azure cloud.

That’s why companies across the globe have turned to Anunta to help them transition from traditional desktops to cloud desktops running on AVD. Although AVD has been available for under two years, Anunta has already deployed AVD-based desktops for tens of thousands of users. Anunta’s AVD experts not only know what it takes to manage AVD, but can also provide guidance to smooth the transition of workloads from physical desktops to cloud desktops and make recommendations to ensure the most secure, cost-effective and reliable desktop experience possible. Contact Anunta to learn more.


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