In recent years, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions have seen relatively steady growth, and more businesses are noticing the key benefits that it offers to those who wish to move desktop management to virtual. Lately, this growth is being further driven by the rapid transition to remote workforces.
VDI showed great promise when it first hit the market, as it allowed for streamlining of the management, deployment, and maintenance of endpoints. It also provided the ability to reduce hardware spend and cut the three-year refresh cycle. All of this made it a great choice from a technological standpoint. But VDI also brought with it many benefits that made it a logical option from a user experience perspective, including the fact that the end user could now obtain the same desktop experience from anywhere (regardless of hardware device), as well as increased backup, security and greater productivity rates.
However, there were downsides to VDI. One was its large licensing fees. This was due to the bulky, complicated and costly backend infrastructure it required. VDI also required lock-in to vendor hardware, which added with the licensing fees, drove up acquisition prices. As a result, VDI was not adopted in large enterprises at the rate predicted.
Introduction of HCI and Edge
The future of VDI looked bleak. But then came edge computing and hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI). These innovations made deploying VDI easy and practical, eliminating the need for highly specialized skills and allowing for tasks such as software and anti-virus updates for each user to be managed and maintained remotely.
This centralization of mundane tasks meant that IT teams were more equipped and had more time to handle crises. The addition of edge computing systems meant that integrated and automated disaster recovery (DR) capabilities became available, and replication, snapshot scheduling, and file-level recovery could easily be implemented to help with data recovery.
The benefit that these innovations brought to end users included easy log-in between different machines; the ability to secure data on the edge of the network; easy recoverability; rapid configuration of a substitute machine; higher availability; and reduced downtime risks. Edge computing also eliminated latency and bottleneck issues due to the fact that the machines store and process data at the point of creation.
Virtual desktop infrastructure reaches its full potential
Thanks to IT innovation, VDI is now affordable to deploy and has the ability to improve workforce agility. It offers a cost-effective and secure method to extend network access beyond the office building. While the initial flaws of VDI (such as high-cost, complicated software licensing and weak network connections) once made the exciting solution seem like nothing more than a pipe-dream, the introduction of edge computing and HCI have allowed for companies to truly benefit from it.
As this year sees more businesses hiring or transforming their current staff into remote workers, we have also seen a spike in the popularity of VDI. In fact, the VDI industry is now predicted to grow from a position of $7.08 Billion in 2016 to $13.45 billion by 2022.
Clearly, VDI has come a long way — and it’s only getting started.