According to a June 2011 study from ABI Research, the worldwide market for hosted virtual desktops is expected to grow to nearly $5 billion in 2016. Large enterprises are drawn to VDI because of its ability to reduce desktop support and management costs, as well as the lower overall energy requirements of virtual desktops. VDI also offers business continuity and disaster recovery benefits as well as a means to secure data in the data center, which is paramount when meeting compliance and security regulations.
Before an enterprise undertakes the transformation to VDI, data center managers must understand the impact it may have on the network from a performance standpoint, while maintaining key criteria such as cost savings, delivery of multiple converged services, and power efficiency.
While VDI is partially driven by using lighter-weight devices such as smartphones and tablet devices (rather than bulky desktops), the network plays a key role in further reducing energy consumption through the centralization of resources and by bringing much higher speeds at the port level. So, instead of deploying multiple tiers and distributed Gigabit Ethernet LANs, suddenly the horsepower is consolidated into a single core layer providing the bandwidth necessary for all VDI connections. This allows much higher-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet port modules on chassis type switches to easily collapse all traffic into just a few network switches. In the end, VDI is highly efficient, more powerful and easier for IT to manage.
Once considerations for bandwidth and system centralization have been addressed, the issue of carrying converged media (mixed voice, video and data) comes to the fore.
The network not only has to be equipped with 10 Gigabit and Gigabit to the edge, it also needs the intelligence, quality of service (QoS) and ultra-low latency switching to seamlessly deliver voice and video traffic to users based on predetermined priorities. Just like traditional networks, the VDI network backbone still must handle convergence flawlessly so all users have a consistent, predictable experience. Critical activities such as IP phone calls and collaboration, e-learning activities using IP video, customer call centers, to name but a few, all depend on the network for a seamless, quality experience.
How does the network support security of VDI deployments?