Virtual Desktops Infrastructure (VDI) is the one of the hottest trends in the enterprise computing space.
By replacing physical machines with virtual desktops, you greatly reduce maintenance costs and security risks, while also extending the useful life of existing hardware and enabling employees to access their workplace desktop from home or from any device. And in the event that a laptop is stolen, a Virtual Desktop will help ensure that no critical data is lost or leaked. And finally, a Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure can help lower the increasingly costly electric bills associated with running computers.
Unfortunately, VDI is only accessible to larger companies with large IT budgets. The costs associated with network infrastructure, server hardware, and licensing are still too high for budget-sensitive businesses. But these costs will surely drop in the future.
Of course, we all know what the solution is. The market is currently waiting for the introduction of cost-effective cloud-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure services to emerge. Although a few managed service providers have begun offering VDI, the costs can still be significant due to the same infrastructure and licensing challenges that made it expensive to implement in-house.
However, another important trend has emerged within the past few years which may effectively cut down cost-effective cloud VDI before it ever gets a chance to take off.
Mobile computing and tablets have taken off in popularity in recent years. And – on a lesser note – so has the popularity of Linux. It’s expected that 5% of all PCs sold will ship with Linux within the next year, and this doesn’t include the millions of Linux-based consumer electronics sold every year. So now, we’re seeing the emergence of mobile workers wanting to access their data on Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and other operating systems.
As a result, demand for platform-independence has emerged as consumers and workers are increasingly become accustomed to web-based interfaces which can access and manipulate their information from any location.
- Project Management
- Databases and Software Development
- Word Processing
- Photo Editing
- Video Editing
All of these are examples of applications which used to run as installed desktop applications, but now also offer an in-browser web-based option.
Although the quality of these applications can’t yet match the performance and functionality of the established software leaders, developers are hard at work in a race to catch up. And as Internet bandwidth becomes more accessible and RAM continues to become cheaper, we’ll begin to see web-based apps overtake installed software.
In addition to this, these cloud-based applications will benefit from added functionality which can only exist in a cloud-based delivery model.
And I’m not the only one that thinks this Microsoft is currently moving in this direction with Office 365. And in the future, most custom business applications will be designed with web-based interfaces in mind.
So this brings up an interesting question. Once employees can access all proprietary systems, collaboration and communication systems, and productivity applications through a web-based interface, what else would you need a Virtual Desktop for? It really doesn’t leave much else.