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Solutions | 4 min read

Top 5 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure FAQs for Business

Peter Niebler
Written by Peter Niebler

Among workers whose jobs are conducive to working from home, nearly six in 10 (59%) choose to do so. Providing a seamless and unified virtual desktop experience for all workers, no matter where they are, helps them to remain connected and productive. 

While the flexibility of remote work has numerous benefits, it does come with some risks. Maintaining secure connections with a company’s IT infrastructure is a major concern for more than half (54%) of IT professionals. In fact, more than two-thirds (36%) of organizations experienced a security incident because of a remote worker’s actions, according to OpenVPN.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) allows workers to access critical systems and information from anywhere. What is VDI? Let’s dive into that and other VDI FAQs.

1. What is VDI?

VDI stands for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. It is a software technology that allows remote users to securely access a company’s server, files, apps and computer systems through the cloud using an internet connection. VDI helps companies create the same user experience and accessibility remotely just as they would have if they came into the office and used their regular desktop computer. 

2. What is the Best VDI Platform?

Most IT experts agree that Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop is the best VDI, not only for its native integration with Office 365, but because it was built from the ground up as a virtual desktop solution.

Most modern VDI systems are simply evolutions of decades-old technologies whose origins stem from a time when virtual working environments were almost unheard of. Through the years, those companies cobbled together add-on features and third-party apps in an effort to provide remote support for users. But the foundations and security of those technologies were weak and they fall short of today’s robust remote work environments.

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) was intentionally designed to serve virtual environments, meaning it doesn’t experience the annoying glitches and security shortfalls that most other providers have. AVD natively integrates with Office 365 solutions and mirrors the experience that a worker would have in the office.

Discover the latest advancements in virtual desktop infrastructure.

3. Is There a Difference Between VDI and Remote Desktop?

VDI and remote desktop services (RDS) may not seem very different on the surface, and some people use the terms virtual desktops and remote desktops interchangeably. While there are similarities when it comes to user experiences, there are also distinct differences, especially for IT professionals who need to maintain or service each.

RDS is more limited in the devices it supports, but it is supported on both Windows and Mac Desktops and laptops. RDS's main limitation versus VDI is that it is a shared resource environment, meaning that if one user hangs or freezes an application, it will impact all users on that RDS application. RDS is also based on technology from the early 2000s which takes a server operating system and emulates it on a desktop. Azure uses Windows 10/11 Multi-User Edition and is the first multi-user native desktop operating system built for this exact use case over the last two years.

Azure virtual desktop has much broader client device support and includes a browser-based HTML5 option which works on almost anything. In our experience, the best experience is on a Windows 10 IoT device or thin client, or an iPad Pro.

Microsoft Azure is not limited by a single platform or operating system. It supports Windows, Windows 10 IoT Edition, Windows 10 IoT Thin, MacOS, iOS, Android, Google Chrome and others. If your company needs to maintain multiple systems, Azure VDI makes more sense than RDS.

4. What are the Benefits of VDI?

Flexibility. Users are not limited to only using their work computers or accessing data by coming into the office. VDI and Azure support mobile devices, tablets, bring-your-own devices (BYODs) and a host of other options. 

Infrastructure. IT departments may be able to extend the life of their company’s devices or opt to purchase less expensive computers since the working power of VDI is kept in the cloud. Companies can minimize repairs and replacement of their hardware.

Continuity. Workers can have the same user experience from anywhere there is an internet connection and can access the same critical apps and data. Even keyboard, mouse and other interactions can simulate the responsiveness you might experience while working at an office computer.

Scalability. As the need arises, a VDI environment can expand quickly or be reduced. For example, if a company experiences seasonal capacity surges, additional VDI capacity can be added or reduced as needed.

Security and Compliance. All data is stored and backed up at a highly secure data center rather than on computers or in-house servers. Azure allows for quick and easy downloads of compliance documents. And, in the event a worker’s laptop is stolen, a thief would not be able to gain access to a company’s data since it isn’t stored on the device. 

Optimal Uptime. VDI technology provides numerous failsafes and is considerably more resilient and reliable than remote desktops, which have higher likelihoods of network outages. In particular, Azure Virtual Desktop reports 99.9% uptime.

Cost of Ownership. With the aid of a qualified VDI partner, companies can reduce the need for additional IT staff or technical support, bringing down the total cost of ownership. 

5. What is the ROI of Virtual Desktop?

Calculating the return on investment (ROI) of AVD deployment needs to take several factors into consideration, not just the cost of the platform or accompanying services. 

As an example, the International Data Corporation (IDC) conducted a study among highly regulated industries like government, healthcare and finance. They found that by leveraging Azure capabilities, study participants received a payback on their investments within six months, a nearly 50% reduction in unplanned downtime and a 35% reduction in penalties for compliance-related issues. Their compliance teams also saw a 24% increase in productivity. Calculating all these factors over time, the companies that participated in the study estimated that their five-year ROI averaged an astounding 465%

AVD allows organizations to reduce their labor, licensing costs, security risks and downtime. It also simplifies a company's IT infrastructure, making it easier for teams to manage their systems and dedicate more time to other critical functions.

Consider an Azure Virtual Desktop solution from Elevity. We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner that provides a strategic and holistic approach to technology management and goes beyond traditional managed IT. Connect with us today to request a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss whether Azure is a fit for your organization.

Discover the latest advancements in virtual desktop infrastructure.

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