Update: See how you can move VDI to the cloud.
Many enterprise businesses have built Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) with mixed levels of success. Those implementations that are perceived to have fallen short of their promise can be attributed to one of the following:
• The VDI solution is poorly engineered and implemented
• There was no strong business case for VDI to begin with and the main drivers were IT drivers rather than real business drivers
• The underpinning technologies deployed are too expensive and there is simply not enough ‘bang for buck’
• Business expectations have not been clearly set. That is, there are the clear business benefits, but there are some trade-off’s (or trade-downs).
VDI solutions are best deployed because there are strong business drivers.
• It’s the best way to consolidate applications, services and data into central data centres and avoids the cost of distributed data centres
• The business has a working model and culture that truly needs people to move between desks frequently and this hot desk model is best served by a traditional VDI solution
• The business outsources back office services to one or more remote locations and VDI enables that capability
• The business wants to open up new offices quickly VDI happens to be their best way to achieve that.
Microsoft Cloud, Azure and RemoteApp
Consider an enterprise that uses Microsoft technologies extensively today (e.g. Active Directory, Windows Desktops, Windows Servers, SQL Server, and System Centre).
The capabilities that Microsoft has to integrate traditional on premise Microsoft technologies, with Microsoft cloud technologies is compelling now and becoming more interesting by the month.
Some of the legacy business drivers around data centre consolidation / aggregation are solved by Microsoft on behalf of your business. If you add to that the plethora of Windows 10 devices that are coming onto the market in laptop, tablet and smartphone, there is a great range of mobile device choices that solve the mobility problem.
Being able to carry a Windows 10 tablet around then dock it at a desk and have it drive multiple large screens provides a great alternative to VDI based thin clients. In fact, with the 950xl and 950 devices you can dock your Windows 10 smart phone and have that drive a large screen.
For those businesses that already have a strategy around Microsoft cloud services and still have genuine drivers for VDI type functionality, the Azure RemoteApp (ARA) solution is a viable choice.
The ARA solution emulates the capabilities of an enterprise remote desktop service architecture, with the added benefit of some of the “out the box” Azure capabilities around auto-scaling. Flexibility, agility and paying simply for what you use when you use it. Furthermore, the release of the Azure Files service means that many legacy applications that rely on the SMB protocol to mount drives, UNC shares etc. are also supported natively running in RemoteApp.
Any business that is a broad consumer of Microsoft services today and is considering a refresh of their legacy/traditional VDI “stacks”, should take a hard look at alternatives.
If like many businesses the environment is dominated by tablets and smart phones today and you have a strategy of moving more services to the cloud, especially if that’s the Microsoft Cloud, then stop and consider whether or not the requirements that your business had for traditional VDI in the past or even today will still exist in a near future that is dominated by mobile and cloud.