Not all types of desktop virtualization use host-based VMs as VDI does. In addition, VDI is not synonymous with desktop virtualization as a category. VDI is an alternative for other forms of virtual desktop delivery, including shared-host solutions, where PCs and thin clients are connected to a shared desktop, and local desktop virtualization, where the desktop environment runs directly on the client.
If the entire infrastructure is functioning correctly, a user accessing a VDI solution remotely from the endpoint device can manage the operating system, applications and stored data as if it were running locally. With such a setup, employees can securely access all necessary resources from virtually any device without specific hardware.
With the addition of solutions for convenient single sign-on (SSO) and secure remote access, virtual desktops can also run and manage in addition to the growing number of cloud, web and mobile applications that have become an integral part of modern workflows. Employees benefit from a unified experience for greater productivity, while IT avoids silos and minimizes the risk of unauthorized logins.
This means that, in the context of a digital workplace platform, VDI enables a better work environment without compromising security. But the exact benefits of VDI for users and IT depend on the specific deployment type.
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All VDI environments are characterized by the following features:
In today's digital workplace, where numerous applications must be available on demand, a VDI enables secure and convenient remote access for increased employee productivity. It also enables consistent work across devices.
VDI supports mobile and remote access because the standardized desktop can be accessed anywhere from almost any confirmed and compatible device. For employees who are frequently on the road but need a virtual desktop with diverse virtual applications and data, VDI is like an on-demand office. In this respect, VDI perfectly complements their digital workplace workflows, which already include similar cloud, web and mobile applications for different contexts, this is especially true for persistent VDI.
In addition to the benefits for users, VDI technology also has enormous savings potential for IT:
Most of the VDI processing is done via the server, so no expensive or state-of-the-art hardware is required.
VDI access can take place via an inexpensive thin client. For example, an old converted computer is suitable for this purpose, which means it can be put to good use for longer.
In this way, IT can get by with fewer new acquisitions and budget adjustments.
VDI offers several advantages in terms of security compared to using a local operating system and its components. All data from a VDI connection resides on the server and not on the end device. Should it ever be stolen, no confidential data can be retrieved from the local storage.
In addition, the VDI environment is completely and centrally controlled from a data center. Administrators can apply patches and updates, change configurations and enforce policies for all virtual desktops in the deployment. VDI thus enables precise control and secure isolation of operating system images via a central server, which is less complicated than managing multiple laptops with local operating systems.
But security is not a given, even for VDI. Operating system images must be properly managed and updated, and endpoint authentication must be rigorous. Digital workplace solutions can help in this regard with SSO, high endpoint security and strong encryption for transferred data.
Performance is another important aspect of VDI:
When VDI first became available to the general public in the noughties, its typical performance was well behind that of a local operating system.
Over time, this difference has narrowed significantly, but users may still sometimes feel they are not getting the best performance possible.
Occasional performance tuning and testing of the VDI deployment is recommended to address any resolvable technical issues.
VDI is an important technology for many workers in many different industries. Remote and mobile workers, contractors, kiosk and task workers, field technicians, medical professionals, teachers and many others regularly use VDI to share a reliable virtual desktop across one or more locations. The different deployment types of VDI technology are extremely versatile: users can use it to access a standardized non-persistent desktop or to transform their virtual desktop into a personalized digital workplace.
Digital workplaces are nothing without applications. They need to provide secure and easy access to different types of applications, including applications virtualized via VDI operating system image.
A reliable, economical VDI solution helps scale critical applications and services on demand for increasingly mobile and distributed teams. VDI delivers consistent user experience across devices such as PCs, tablets, smartphones and thin clients, giving employees and contractors a high degree of freedom in their work. This enables streamlined and consistent workflows.
VDI can also promote cybersecurity and reduce IT overhead. With security incidents becoming more expensive year after year, the isolation and centralization of a VDI can be the linchpin of a layered security strategy. It also eliminates the need for IT to secure sensitive data stored locally on customer devices.
Citrix has a diverse portfolio of desktop virtualization solutions for businesses of all sizes and types. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops makes VDI intuitive and cost-effective so that users have access to all the applications they need and can use current digital workstations productively. Along with Citrix Workspace, this solution optimizes VDI environments in the context of complex workflows with multiple devices and applications. Citrix Workspace gives employees comprehensive and secure access to all applications to work productively at any location.
With a persistent VDI, a user always logs on to the same desktop image and all changes to the applications and data are saved. The desktop can therefore be fully personalized. With a non-persistent VDI, on the other hand, no changes are saved.
Persistent VDIs work as follows:
Non-persistent VDIs, on the other hand, work as follows:
Since no data is saved when the connection is lost, IT does not have to maintain a large number of user-specific OS images, minimizing data center management and costs. Non-persistent VDI is ideal for kiosk and task workers who do not need to save changes.
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