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In 2018, VDI Changed Forever. Time to Think Big!

In any given year there will be ups and downs, both personally and professionally; that’s just life. I hope as you look back on your 2018, as we all do this time of year, that you were able to find joy in many things, big and small. At Workspot, we’re taking stock of our year too, and the best part about that is our achievements in 2018 are measured in the success of our customers. That brings our team joy, because it’s how we know that our services are having a real impact. When we look back over the year, here’s what stands out for us in the way of customer success.

VDI is Forever Changed

That’s a good thing! The days-of-old when IT teams struggled with complex VDI deployments, poor performance, and complicated maintenance and troubleshooting are over – at least they can be. It’s up to you. There are two primary forces at work that have moved us beyond traditional VDI to cloud desktops and workstations. Our CEO, Amitabh Sinha, discussed them in previous blogs you really should read if you have not already because they are the underpinnings of the paradigm shift to cloud desktops that accelerated in 2018: “The New Math of VDI Performance” and “PC in the Cloud = Planet-Scale, Turnkey VDI.” The “new math” is all about performance; after all, user experience is everything. Traditional VDI has a long history of delivering poor performance – way worse than a physical PC – to end users who are then not only unhappy but less productive. That’s a lose-lose situation for sure. Our customer, Mead and Hunt, an architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firm tried pretty much every flavor of VDI over the years and ended up with performance that made their CAD engineers 15-20% less productive. Those are some expensive people, and the last thing you want to do is slow them down. Mead and Hunt’s CIO, Andy Knauf, quickly recognized that virtual workstations were not going to work if the solution inhibited productivity; his intent was exactly the opposite! Now for the win-win-win… Andy and his team implemented Workspot Workstation Cloud, experienced “ridiculous speed” with GPU cloud workstations on Azure (often better than local workstations deliver!), reduced costs by buying fewer servers and physical workstations, and gained the ability to hire talent and pursue projects regardless of geography. That’s three big wins for Mead and Hunt that are transforming the firm, and one happy Workspot team because we’ve set a new standard for VDI performance that creates new opportunities for our customers!

The second VDI game-changer, “planet-scale VDI”  is about scale and availability, and those translate to business agility. What makes planet-scale VDI possible is unique to Workspot; it’s our globally distributed architecture, built from the ground up for the cloud. It’s the only planet-scale VDI solution, and whether your organization spans a region, a country or the globe, VDI that quickly and easily scales across cloud regions is important to your business. When you move beyond physical PCs, workstations and legacy VDI, you’re better positioned for growth and you’ve dramatically simplified your IT infrastructure, so you can put IT resources to much better use. Whereas legacy VDI was built for a single data center, our globally distributed, turnkey, PC in the cloud service on Azure is built to run across cloud regions – how many will you need to accommodate growth? One? Ten? Fifty? 2018 was the year to start thinking big – because with Workspot, you can!

AEC is Set Free!

There’s no tougher group of end users to satisfy than CAD engineers and people who work with Building Information Modeling (BIM) applications. Project teams collaborating on complex, 3D designs is a cornerstone of the AEC industry. These firms have long been limited because of their reliance on deskside workstations – they have just not had any other viable choices that deliver the same performance, so power users are forced to go to the office to work. Whereas on-premises VDI can be adequate for some use cases, it just doesn’t work for AEC use cases. Now, Workspot’s planet-scale, cloud workstation service on Azure is changing everything in the AEC industry. The proof is in the performance! Once IT leaders in these firms can take performance concerns off the table, knowing they can keep their power users happy and more productive, they begin to realize the significance of the business opportunities cloud workstations present. Having the ability to quickly respond and adapt to changing project needs is an essential ingredient for business growth. Our AEC customers tell us that they need to win bigger projects in any location, launch those projects faster, participate in more joint ventures, and hire talent anywhere in the world.  Cloud workstations enable pursuit of projects anywhere without the need to fund and configure a physical office. Instead, the right talent can be hired anywhere, and they simply access their cloud workstation from the Azure region closest to them, wherever they are – using any device. Workstations can be spun up in minutes, so launching new projects happens fast, and adding people to existing projects is insanely simple. During Autodesk University 2018, Southland Industries, one of the nation’s largest mechanical, electric & plumbing (MEP) firms, discussed why they chose cloud workstations and their experience rolling them out. You can access the presentation from their AU session here to help with your 2019 IT strategy, and you can read the story of their journey to cloud workstations in this case study produced by Microsoft.  Now, imagine the implications for joint venture projects! Firms large and small participate in them, and they want more JV projects, but there are many pain points surrounding the operation of these partnerships that need to be addressed. What if you didn’t have to spend weeks figuring out how to share files and collaborate across disparate technology platforms? What if you could just spin up a pool of cloud workstations for all the partners in each distinct JV project and have each partner access their own design app license servers?  What if you could add more workstations in minutes, then quickly shut them all down when the project is complete? What if all the compute costs associated with the project could be easily allocated to each partner? In these ways and more, our AEC customers are looking forward to radically modernizing and simplifying their joint venture operations. The icing on the cake? Now CAD engineers can work anywhere, which can be life-changing for someone who has a multi-hour commute to the office. Now they have the flexibility to attend to both personal and professional obligations. Freedom!

CIOs Turn Away from the Data Center

Cloud adoption rates in 2018 left little doubt that CIOs largely believe that maintaining on-premises data centers cannot take them into the future. In a report from May, Gartner Research Director Tiny Haynes stated, “By 2025, 80% of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data center, versus 10% today.”1 It seems like a bold statement, but we are watching it happen!  IDG’s 2018 Cloud Computing Survey found that “nine out of ten companies will have some part of their applications or infrastructure in the cloud by 2019, and the rest expect to follow by 2021.” The reasons for moving away from on-premises data center infrastructure goes well beyond mitigating cost and complexity.  Even more compelling are reasons having to do with business growth: the ability to hire talent anywhere in the world and pursue new business regardless of geography. This opens up revenue opportunities that were just not addressable previously. Looking ahead, CIOs are also positioning their organizations to take advantage of emerging technologies enabled by the cloud, such as AI and machine learning, that can revolutionize their industries. As companies of all sizes migrate to the cloud, Workspot is there to make that journey easier. Our innovative, cloud-native control plane for deploying and managing virtual desktops and workstations, combined with the compute power of Microsoft Azure, means you can move away from physical desktops and legacy VDI with confidence. When you lose your on-prem data center, you gain 50+ (and counting!) data centers around the world with Azure, they manage it all for you, and we take care of your virtual desktops in the cloud. Suddenly, IT teams are free to pursue projects that are far more strategic to the business. In recognition of the work we’ve done to help our customers move their desktops and workstations to Azure, Microsoft awarded us the 2018 MSUS Partner Award – Partner Seller. We’re proud of the award, but we’re even more proud of the business outcomes we’ve helped our customers achieve in 2018!

Cheers to thinking big in 2019!

Engineering Firm Mead & Hunt Discovers the Workspot Difference




1 Gartner, Prepare for the Death of the Datacenter as We Know It, Tiny Haynes, Research Director, 22 May 2018