December 16, 2009, 7:44 PM — VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is a growing trend. The idea is to stream a standard boot image from a central storage repository so you can save on desktop support and maintenance costs. You avoid having to run endpoint protection products, or patching individual desktops, and you can distribute your desktops around the world as long as you have a reasonably fast Internet connection and a Web browser to kick things off.
But VDI is fraught with complexities. There isn't a single VDI solution to fit all circumstances, and each solution is composed of a multitude of products that have to fit together in very precise ways. There are several strategies to consider before plunging into these waters, and we'll consider several of them so you can figure out the right collection of products for your own particular circumstances.
First, before you assume VDI is right for you, consider the following circumstances:
- Bi-directional audio applications across your network
- Synchronizing PDAs and smartphones from your desktops
- Applications that depend on low-latency network connections
- Heavy graphics users such as CAD and desktop publishing
- Other oddball peripherals attached to your desktops such as scanners and specialty printers
If any of these apply, then stop right here because you aren't cut out for VDI. The more of these situations that you have, the more problems you will find with deploying VDI to these specific users. That isn't to say that eventually the VDI vendors will figure out solutions eventually, but for the time being, stick with more vanilla use cases to deploy your first collection of virtual desktops.
1. Start small. Many full-blown VDI implementations require storage area networks (SANs), deep experience with hypervisors such as VMware's ESX, and high-speed multigigabit networks to handle the increase in network traffic patterns. But if you just want to get started, start small with a bundled product from one of these vendors that include management and desktop deployment (and in HP's case the actual thin clients) as part of the package: