For many SMEs the question as to whether they should go with a hosted desktop is one that can give the decision makers many a sleepless night. Will the initial outlay be recovered in terms of overall efficiency and long-term savings? What will the impact be on the day to day running of the business? Do we need a subscription based service, or should we plump for a custom in-house solution?
These kinds of questions run in circuits around your mind, so it is obvious that there are a lot of considerations that need to be understood and taken into account before any final decision is made. Hopefully this simple breakdown of some of the pros and cos, based on accounts of those who have first-hand experience of using a hosted desktop, will give some answers to these questions and push you in the right direction, one way or another!
Flexibility: The ability to be able to work from anywhere in the world from any connected device to the cloud is obviously one of the main advantages that this system allows. For those then whose business involves a lot of work on the go, this is the kind of benefit that is as close to essential as it gets.
On the other hand, is your cloud provider one that allows you to work offline, and does your business really involve so much out of the office based work anyway? The plot thickens.
Cost: In the long-term the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) should drop, especially if you understand your needs and tailor your system to one that provides you with exactly the kind of service you need.
As with all things, however, if you don’t do your research properly, both into the provider and your own real needs, then it is likely that you would end up spending more and be left with a service that is a long way from maximising your business needs.
Security and Performance: As all of your data is now stored by an external provider there is no need to leave sensitive data lying around on computers that remain ring-fenced within the company’s personal firewall. The freeing up of space through the ability to store information externally often leads to a better performance from hardware.
It’s good to know your data is being taken care of and protected by a third party but the location of that new centre may lead to concerns in terms of the security of the location and connecting legal issues that can arise in relation to this. Performance has also often been reported as poor on VDI, with lack of speed and impersonality having been reported as a key bugbear.
Adaptability and Freedom: As long as you select the correct provider, on a sensible and flexible programme, your company should be able to benefit automatically from the latest software and industry updates, meaning that you no longer need to worry about playing catch up yourself. Staff also love the fact that they no longer need to lug around heavy work PCs as they can work from their own machines when not in the office.
Changes is systems used by VDI may impact on your way of working. This is most keenly felt at the outset when whole new schemas need to be imparted to staff. It is also likely that not all PCs will be compatible with programmes of the new system, leading to further adaptation costs.
The key then is to first fully understand your own business needs. Once you have done this, it is then essential to find the provider that will provide you with the bespoke system that will take you forward in quantifiable terms, and which will be flexible to any changes that may arise. Check these boxes, and it looks like a hosted desktop is probably the right way to go for you.
If you have been convinced that now might be the time for you to put your business in the hands of the professionals, here are a couple of the most important companies within the VDI field that you could check out to see how they are able to meet your business needs.
VMware: Founded in 1998 this is one of the biggest organisations in the game. VMware’s desktop software runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, while VMware’s enterprise software hypervisors for servers, VMware ESX and VMware ESXi, are bare-metal embedded hypervisors that run directly on server hardware without requiring an additional underlying operating system. http://www.vmware.com
XenApp: This service offered by the Citrix group is used by over 100 million people worldwide, so you know you are in good company, or at least a lot of company! XenApp enables on-demand self-service, by delivering applications instantly to users anywhere, from any device running any of over 30 operating systems. http://www.citrix.com/products/xenapp/overview.html
Both of these organisations offer services to huge multinationals but don’t let this out you off as they are also set up to offer solutions to small and midsize businesses.
- License: Creative Commons image source
By Alisha Webb. Alisha is a British writer/blogger working our of Barcelona. She is a keen traveller, moviergoer and gadget lover. She recently bought some google apps from Conosco.