Best Practices for Managing VDI by@zacamos

Best Practices for Managing VDI

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Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a type of virtualization technology that hosts a virtual desktop. VDI allows users to access the same applications and operating systems as they would if they accessed a desktop locally. There are two types of VDIs — persistent and nonpersistent VDI. Proper VDI management includes troubleshooting user issues, performing software updates, managing the operating system and more. VDI benefits include flexibility, efficiency, simplicity and scalability. Cybersecurity is always an important consideration, and VDI includes a host of security factors, like OS hardening, data encryption, MFA and more.
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Zac Amos

Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a type of virtualization technology that hosts a virtual desktop. VDI operates almost identically to a physical desktop system because users can access the same applications and operating systems as they would if they accessed a desktop locally.


COVID-19 had an incredible impact on the world, and the emerging workforce is seeking solutions that combine security with flexibility. In response to the increased need for telework solutions, the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) industry has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4%.


VDI falls under the umbrella of end-user computing (EUC) because it provides virtualized applications and desktops to users. A centralized server hosts the desktop operating system so users can access the desktop from anywhere, even on their personal devices like laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Types of Virtual Desktops

There are two types of VDIs — persistent and nonpersistent VDIs.

Persistent

With a persistent VDI, users can customize their own desktops according to their needs. They connect to the same desktop each time they log in and it saves their progress for future use, just like an ordinary desktop.


Persistent VDIs are popular in both work and school environments, where users need to save their progress and information on the desktop. They also offer simple desktop management for IT professionals because they operate the same as physical desktops.


The downsides to persistent VDIs are that IT professionals might find image management more challenging, as they’ll have to deal with a large number of individual images and profiles. Persistent VDI also has higher storage requirements, which can drive up the overall costs.

Nonpersistent

With a nonpersistent VDI, users can access a uniform pool of desktops when they need it. Whenever a user logs out, a nonpersistent desktop will revert to its original state because it does not save personal information. These kinds of VDIs are popular in places like computer labs and public libraries.


In contrast to a persistent VDI, nonpersistent VDI requires less storage because the operating system is kept separate from the user’s data. Additionally, IT professionals will have a simpler time managing this type of VDI because there are fewer master images to maintain.


The most significant drawback of a nonpersistent VDI is the lack of available customization and flexibility.

How to Manage a VDI

Having a VDI requires upkeep and ongoing maintenance. The kinds of tasks users need to do to manage their VDI include:

  • Troubleshooting user issues.
  • Performing software updates.
  • Managing the operating system.
  • Pushing registry keys.
  • Updating hardware.

There are two basic options for managing VDI – do it yourself (DIY) or employ a third-party desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) provider.

1. Deploying VDI

If a business wants to deploy its own VDI, it will need significant time and resources to dedicate to the project. Deploying VDI rather than choosing a service provider to manage it means companies have complete control over every step of the process. To deploy VDI, businesses need to:

  • Choose the scope: VDI can replace the full desktop for all employees at a company or organization or it can replace certain apps and functions. It might also be a good option for remote teams.
  • Select a VDI server: The VDI server is what runs the app or desktop on a user’s device. Businesses can run the servers themselves or use the cloud. If a company uses on-premises servers, they’ll need to decide on a hypervisor with the correct capacity.
  • Build security in: Because logging into the VDI brings users into the network, companies need to think about their security needs before implementation.

While deploying a VDI might seem overwhelming, it is possible to do without a DaaS provider.

2. Using DaaS

DaaS is a growing option for many businesses that want to take advantage of all the benefits of VDI without sacrificing their own resources. So many businesses are turning to DaaS that the industry will likely grow to $11.06 billion by 2026.


If a business chooses to use DaaS, its provider will take care of provisioning desktops for new employees and managing necessary installations and system updates. DaaS is a great option for companies that don’t have the infrastructure to manage a VDI on their own.


Using DaaS will also result in significant cost savings for many businesses and organizations. Different DaaS providers all have different offerings, but most will provide services like hardware maintenance and upgrades so companies don’t need an IT team to manage their VDI deployment.

Benefits of VDI

Beyond remote desktop access, VDI offers many benefits for companies and organizations:

  • Flexibility: VDI allows users to get remote access to their work desktops, meaning essential tasks can happen from anywhere. VDIs can change the game for companies that are trying to implement remote work.
  • Efficiency: With a VDI, the IT team will be able to dedicate more time to solving issues with systems and combatting virus attacks.
  • Simplicity: A VDI is easy to use because it resembles the desktop users are more familiar with. On the IT side of things, VDI is easy to manage because IT professionals can perform maintenance and other tasks from the central station.
  • Scalability: If companies have growing or shrinking workforces, VDI is a great option. Businesses can seamlessly and quickly add new users and scale back as needed.

How Secure Is VDI?

Data security will always be a concern for businesses and organizations. In 2021, corporations experienced a 50% increase in weekly cyberattacks compared to 2020. However, a VDI can help secure data because it doesn’t “live” on the device that hosts it.


If a person uses their VDI desktop on an unsecured server, they’re still protected due to the security factors of VDI. These factors include:

  • OS hardening
  • Data encryption
  • Simple backups
  • Multi-factor authentication

VDIs Are the Future of Computing

VDIs represent a growing presence in computing, especially in the corporate world. As remote work and hybrid workplaces increase in popularity, VDIs will be there to present a secure, simple, and straightforward virtual desktop option.

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by Zac Amos @zacamos.Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.
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