By Brad Peterson, vice president of marketing, Workspot
It’s been a decade since the first on-premises VDI solution came onto the market. It was difficult to manage, clunky, slow and incredibly expensive. Deploying it took nine months or more, and IT teams struggled with an overwhelming number of components to get it up and running, including Windows servers, SQL servers, desktop controllers, provisioning servers, storefronts, load balancers and more.
IT everywhere has vastly improved in the last decade in terms of efficiency, cost savings, user-friendliness and simplicity – from smartphones to wireless internet to robust cloud-native services. VDI and app publishing solutions are, for the most part, a major exception; they seem to be stuck in a time warp. VARs who know what’s available today can help their customers wade through the marketing hype to find the best solution.
To demonstrate just how backward an on-prem, legacy VDI deployment is in today’s world, imagine two neighboring families who are planning to go out to dinner. One family gets ready for their trip to the restaurant by calling a car manufacturer, which soon delivers a truckload of car parts to their driveway. At this point, they dutifully set to work assembling their car from scratch.
The other family orders an Uber, and within five minutes, they’re on the road. When they return from dinner, happy and satisfied, they wave to the other family, which is looking a bit frustrated and haggard but is still busily assembling all those car parts.
Now, of course no one would build a car from scratch like this – but that’s what your customers are doing when they choose an old-school VDI 1.0 solution over a cloud-native VDI solution.
Legacy VDI weighs organizations down with unnecessary expense and risk. It takes months to get up and running, and once it’s built, the challenges just keep on coming. There are IT teams who run and maintain hundreds of servers just to support their VDI deployment. Imagine keeping all those servers and VMs patched. Organizations are squandering precious time and resources just like Family #1 - don’t forget that after their car is built, they’re also fully responsible for all its repairs and ongoing maintenance.
Fortunately, your customers have another option— rideshare services —which not only provide the car but also provide a friendly, competent driver who takes them where they want to go. Similarly, the cloud is enabling a massive VDI paradigm shift. VDI 2.0 enables IT teams to move beyond clunky, on-prem VDI that never worked well.
It’s important to note that VDI 1.0 creates challenges beyond the IT department; they also directly impact users. Logins take forever, and sometimes users cannot connect at all. But it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. Instead, imagine taking a new approach to deploying VDI. Using a cloud-native control plane combined with either Microsoft Azure or hyper-converged infrastructure for the data center is the ticket.
Deployments may take as little as 60 minutes instead of months, which IT teams and the finance department will appreciate. And both the IT team and your customers’ users will enjoy greater productivity because they won’t be wasting time with daily troubleshooting.
Cloud-native VDI offers a control model that leverages a cloud connector to orchestrate on-prem or cloud-based resources for virtual desktops. All of the typical VDI components (brokers, licensing servers, gateways, profiles, etc.) are completely eliminated. Customers don't have to deal with setting them up, patching them, scaling them, planning for high availability and troubleshooting them.
All the VDI control functionality is infinitely scalable and running in the cloud. In addition, when new client features are available, IT no longer needs to update end users’ devices one by one. Instead, the client updates itself automatically from the app store. Users appreciate it because they can access desktops, apps and data from any device (PC, Mac, iOS, and Android) with a single unified experience – the interface looks exactly the same, every time.
Organizations are no longer tied down by on-prem infrastructure; they can simply sign up for a subscription-based experience which is automatically provisioned in the Azure infrastructure for the customer. When on-prem infrastructure in your datacenter is also required to host desktops and apps, VDI 2.0 provides hybrid support for both from a single management plane.
With the benefits of cloud architecture behind it, VDI is liberated from legacy technology. Providers have at last heard their customers’ pleas for help and created VDI 2.0. Organizations can now enjoy the benefits of cloud-native VDI: reduced cost and a better user experience. VARs that offer this next-generation solution will enjoy happy customers and repeat business.
About the author
Brad Peterson leads marketing strategy and operations for Workspot. He holds a Master of Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering degree from the University of Southern California.