Greater business agility is the foundation of competitive advantage, and that’s why IT leaders must carefully consider the different approaches to app and desktop virtualization. In any organization, there are multiple use cases that can be successfully addressed, and there are multiple technologies available to address them. Getting the right fit for every enterprise use case so everyone is more productive is the goal. In this blog, I’ll explore the three virtualization technologies and why one is a better fit than others for certain use cases, plus we’ll take a look at how new technology such as Windows Virtual Desktop from Microsoft and cloud desktop innovation from Workspot are addressing use cases that have never before been solvable. Working in concert with each other, these modern virtualization technologies are now positioning enterprises for accelerated growth in many industries, including life sciences, healthcare, legal services, manufacturing, engineering, construction and many more.
Virtualization Technologies Overview
There are three different technologies used to virtualize applications and data:
(1) Session-Based: Introduced back in the 1990s, a single Windows server is carved into multiple sessions, and can be delivered to the user either as an application running in the session or as a Windows desktop itself. Many companies have successfully deployed this technology to solve application delivery problems over the last two decades. The most common use cases have been in call centers, hospitals, schools, and financial services. Because of app compatibility issues, there have been significant limitations to the application of session-based virtualization. More recently, a new approach has been introduced – Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), which offers Windows 10 Enterprise Multi-Session; a session-based solution based on the Windows 10 desktop.
(2) Non-persistent VDI: When VDI was introduced in 2009, it was too expensive to run 1-1 VDI – a dedicated virtual desktop for every user. So most companies deployed non-persistent VDI. In this scenario, users got a full Windows 7/Windows 10 image, but the image was created fresh after every log-off. Various app layering and profile management technologies were used in an attempt to retain state between logins, but none of these technologies have been deployed at scale because of performance problems and challenges when either the operating system or applications are updated. Non-persistent VDI did not greatly expand the use cases for VDI, but since there are far fewer application compatibility issues with this approach, non-persistent virtual desktops are a great option for use-cases that would otherwise have been addressed by session-based virtualization.
(3) Persistent VDI: With the advent of hyper-converged infrastructure and de-duplication with SSD storage, the cost of 1-1 persistent desktops came in line with the cost of a physical PC. and gained new popularity. Persistent virtual desktops can be applied to the broadest set of use cases because they should function exactly like a Windows PC – all applications should work, IT should be able to use their existing tools to manage them, and the full PC security stack should also work.
Figure 1: Comparison of Virtualization Technologies
Since most organizations have a variety of use cases to address, they will require more than one virtualization technology to properly address them. In our experience, however, less than 10% of use cases are satisfied with session-based or non-persistent VDI. In Figure 2 below, we can see that the vast majority of business use cases need to have persistent desktops. However, our customers are solving many different use cases based on the different kinds of technologies. For accessing a few applications or for call centers, we see session-based technologies being deployed. For call centers and disaster recovery scenarios, our customers are deploying non-persistent Windows 10 desktops. And finally, for the majority of knowledge worker use cases, including high-performance computing use cases such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), our customers are deploying persistent 1-1 Windows 10 desktops. BIM/CAD is a great example of a new use case that can now be implemented very successfully.
Figure 2: Use Cases Mapped to Virtualization Technologies
The importance of innovative, cloud-native architectures, such as the Workspot Cloud Desktop Fabric™ cannot be overstated. For example, although organizations have attempted to support their remote workers with virtual desktops over the years, we’re all familiar with the performance, complexity and cost problems associated with traditional approaches to VDI. Today all that has changed. Here’s how customers are putting cloud-native desktops as a turnkey, enterprise-ready service to work for them for both old and new use cases, and how the newfound business agility it’s creating is fueling growth.
New & Improved Use Case Coverage
Instant Productivity for Remote Workers
Adding a new virtual desktop for a new employee or contractor used to be a complex and time-consuming process. Today our customers can provision new cloud desktops for developers, contract workers, and employees in branch offices – anywhere in the world – in minutes. We have customers who are using their ITSM solutions, such as ServiceNow, to make provisioning a new cloud desktop part of that automated workflow. From end-user request to productivity takes as little as 10 minutes. That insanely fast time-to-productivity is money in the bank!
One-Click Disaster Recovery
Users who already have virtual desktops have a form of built-in disaster recovery because they can access their desktop, apps, and data from their device of choice no matter where they are working; this concept is not new. However, there’s been a big hole in many business continuity plans because many people still use a physical PC at work. But what if they can’t reach the office because of a storm? Or if there is a fire or a flood that destroys the office PCs? How can you get them back to productivity fast? Where will all those replacement PCs come from in a disaster? A business does not have to be shut down for very long for it to be catastrophic. Now, that hole in the plan can be filled with “standby” cloud desktops, which are activated by the IT team with a single click. This way, those PC users can stay safe, use a device they keep at home and get back to work as soon as possible.
Freedom for CAD Power Users
Power users who rely on graphics-intensive apps have largely been tethered to their workstations to create the 3D designs required in many industries – while the rest of the mobile world can work from anywhere. It’s not just about working from home; there is tremendous value in being able to make changes to a complex design at the job site or to visit a client in their offices and create then and there. At the same time, it truly is life-changing for people to be able to work from home, and now these power users can, without compromising one bit on performance. Now, real-time collaboration is easy, & power users can work from anywhere.
The Right Technology for Each Use Case; Workspot Makes it Easy
It’s clear that end-users have a variety of unique requirements, and accommodating that uniqueness can create complexity for the IT teams having to manage the VDI infrastructure. Yet the ability to precisely apply the right technology – session-based apps and desktops, non-persistent desktops and persistent desktops – to the appropriate use cases is key to maximizing productivity and achieving an attractive total cost of ownership. This is why a turnkey cloud service that simplifies deployment and management of all three approaches to virtual apps and desktops is so important. You could take a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) approach to implementing Windows Virtual Desktops and Windows 10 Enterprise Multi-Session, but why make it harder on yourself than you need to? When you compare a “do-it-yourself” approach with a turnkey cloud desktop service, the difference in cost and complexity will become very clear.
When you’re ready to discuss your organization’s unique requirements, schedule a demo and we’ll show you the Workspot difference!