Going Virtual: An Understanding of Virtual Desktops and What they can Offer your Business

How do you want employees to access your business network? An increasing number of businesses are switching partially or even fully to a virtual desktop model. Doing so comes with a lot of different benefits, but you also need to be aware of all the potential issues that you might face. When it comes time for you to make the decision about switching to a virtual model, you should consider the following logistical issues, which should help make sure you get set up right.

Going Virtual An Understanding Of Virtual Desktops And What They Can Offer Your Business

What is a Virtual Desktop?

The term “virtual desktop” gets its name from the fact that when a user logs in, they aren’t accessing the desktop that is local to their own computer. Instead, all users in a group or organization access a remotely stored desktop interface. This means that everybody’s desktop experience is the same and that resources are shared. For small companies or groups that work off-site, this can be a great way of getting the software needs that a specific job requires without having to individually purchase, download, and install that software for each machine. There is also a shared desktop experience in this model, so every employee knows exactly how the core system works.

Benefits of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Utilizing a virtual desktop has several benefits that some users find appealing. Using a desktop virtualization system ensures that every user can see the same image, which creates a common language through your business. This also moves processing from an individual workstation to the virtual server, which reducing the cost required to upgrade hardware. When troubles come up, an IT professional only has to worry about fixing one central system. Because all other satellite computers draw from the one virtual desktop source, it means less in terms of overall costs, fewer hardware incompatibility issues, and a business-wide uniformity when it comes to software configuration.

Things to be Aware Of

The same things that some people view as the strengths of desktop virtualization are viewed as weaknesses by others. For example, having everybody access one main image can be a problem if many employees have different software needs. In this situation, you either need to create multiple virtual desktops or provide a lot of software that only a few employees will utilize. The cheaper cost of hardware and the easier tech support can be a boon as well, but can also be a hindrance if you experience a lot of network downtime or hardware issues. Because everybody is drawing from one central system, they can’t get anything done on that system when it is down for maintenance or repairs.

Consider Company Size

One of the factors that you should consider when thinking about a virtual desktop business model is the size of your company. For very small companies with less than 10 employees or so, this system doesn’t make as much sense as it would for a larger company. At that size, it’s less expensive to just buy the network supplies and update hardware as needed for all employees. As a company gets larger, however, going to a virtual desktop becomes a better way to save money. The exception to this is if you have a very large business wh ere everybody does a significantly different job. If the sheer number of unique software needs is too much, you might want to look into a different option.

Mobile Access

The other reason you might want to use a virtual desktop for your business is if you have employees who travel often or who telecommute. For mobile access to a network, a virtual desktop is one of the most efficient ways to make sure your employees remain on task and productive even at a distance. There is no need to worry about compatible software or hardware, and employees can even check their work computers using a smartphone or tablet. If you have a large business with many employees working off-site or a smaller business that has a decentralized location, this option might fit your business model better than most other traditional companies.

As a whole, the biggest things to consider when it comes to desktop virtualization are a matter of cost effectiveness, technical needs, and the location of your employees. Setting up a virtual desktop system is relatively easy, especially if you collaborate with a third party company who can provide you with support. Take a long look at your company and decide if a virtual desktop might work better for you. If it does, consider the advice above when exploring logistics.

Oct 23, 2013 antony-hayes virtualization
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