Secure support for remote workers was a high priority for many companies as the year began. Now it is a global imperative.
Three months into the pandemic-driven work-from-home experiment, organizations are now looking to beef up support for their remote workers. They recognize that the consumer-grade solutions they hastily deployed back in March are not secure enough or dependable enough for long-term usage.
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions running on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) provide a good way forward.
VDI is a desktop virtualization solution that separates the traditional desktop environment from a particular system. Virtual machine images are built and stored in the data center and delivered to users on demand. These images can be customized with the operating system, applications, security settings and other personalization features required by specific users.
A VDI Resurgence
VDI has been around for more than a decade, but the pandemic is driving renewed interest in the technology. In a new Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) study conducted in February, some 40 percent of IT professionals in the U.S. and Canada reported they were using VDI before the pandemic hit, but the technology was rarely used company-wide.
Now, those respondents say they are planning to expand their VDI usage aggressively. Additionally, 80 percent of those not using VDI today say they intend to launch VDI initiatives in the very near future.
Still, many organizations have reservations about the cost and complexity of VDI. It requires significant server, storage and networking resources, and many organizations report higher-than-anticipated costs. That’s where HCI can make a difference.
Reducing Complexity and Risk
HCI systems evolved to address the growing complexity of IT infrastructure. HCI essentially collapses the traditional three-tier data center architecture of compute, networking and storage into a single platform running on industry-standard hardware, with hypervisor software to create and run virtual machines.
This “solution in a box” approach makes HCI faster and easier to deploy, with reduced cabling, power and cooling requirements. The various components have already been integrated and tested by the vendor, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility. Additionally, HCI has a scale-out architecture that makes it easy to increase capacity simply by adding nodes. That’s an important consideration given the ever-increasing storage demands of VDI deployments.
Benefits of HPE SimpliVity
HCI isn’t just for large, enterprise organizations, either. There are several HCI solutions that are tailored for small and midsized businesses (SMBs). For example, HPE’s SimpliVity is an uncomplicated and efficient HCI platform with a variety built-in features including data protection and backup/recovery.
Built on either HPE ProLiant or HPE Synergy servers, a single SimpliVity box can support up to 80 VDI users — but can scale to more than 2,000 remote workers by adding more nodes. Customers have reported doubling their concurrent VDI user count overnight due to the pandemic, with no measurable impact on performance.
Running VDI on SimpliVity also boosts remote security by eliminating the need to push out patches and updates to individual workstations and troubleshoot any problems that arise. All of that can be done in the data center with the installation of desktop images. Centralized management also ensures that remote resources are properly backup up inside the data center.
Verteks has extensive experience with designing, deploying and managing VDI solutions and HCI platforms. To learn more about using these technologies to support your remote workforce, give us a call.