VDI: Basic Principles for Successful Implementation

VDI: Basic Principles for Successful Implementation

Gartner analysts predicted Desktop as a Service (DaaS) market growth of 95.4% by the end of 2020. Organizations across the world are faced with an unprecedented number of people working from home. Desktop-as-a-Service enables a rapid and smooth transition to remote working. Besides, it is a promising line of business for upgrading end-user computing and gaining operational flexibility. The challenge for IT teams is to identify the unique needs of their organization and then find a solution that meets them.

DaaS is the easiest way to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and apps from anywhere and on any device. In this article, we outline key considerations to help you identify your requirements and create a checklist for evaluating virtual desktop solutions.

Why VDI

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can bring significant benefits to organizations that are looking to be more flexible and reduce the cost and complexity of managing various employees’ devices.

With VDI you can benefit from a centralized desktop, which offers obvious advantages: rapid deployment, lower support costs, and improved security. However, a VDI project can fail due to poor implementation of the technology. This leads to performance issues and dissatisfied end users.

There are four operational approaches for virtual desktop implementations:

  • on-premises, in your own data center.

  • in the public cloud

  • outsource virtual desktops to a Managed Service Provider.

Steps for a successful VDI implementation

When you think of deploying VDI infrastructure, there are several best practices to bear in mind to ensure a successful implementation. Consider the following:

  1. Understanding end-user requirements 

  2. Proper network and storage design 

  3. Choosing the right type of virtual desktop 

  4. Ensuring high availability

 

Determining the user experience requirements

Deploying an effective virtual desktop solution involves determining the needs of the end-user. First, this requires an understanding of end-user applications. 

For example, the performance demands for users who perform complex 3D rendering will be higher than those who simply work with email, standard office, and web applications. GPU-accelerated VDI solution enables specialized applications for designers and architects.

Successful desktop deployments often depend on whether or not a full understanding of the end-user environment has been achieved. This also includes simple practical user requirements such as monitor support, profile persistence, USB redirection, printer peripheral needs, scanner, and two-factor authentication.

Network and storage design

Improperly designed network and storage can have dramatic consequences for VDI performance and end-user experience.

Since VDI architecture involves centralized virtual machines running in the data center, the VDI end-user desktop display depends on protocols such as PCoIP, ICA, RDP, or Blast Extreme (VMware) to handle the data between the end-user and the data center. This imposes a greater load on the underlying network.

Properly designed storage is crucial to a successful VDI deployment. Traditional workstations operate in a distributed way. Storage computation, memory, and performance are all contained on individual workstations. However, in a virtual desktop environment, you are accepting all of the compute, memory, and storage (disk IOPs) that in a traditional workstation environment must be distributed across all workstations centralizing these requirements to the external virtual desktop environment.

The storage subsystem must be able to handle all I/O performance requirements for all end-user virtual machines. I/O noise occurs during various events that can overwhelm the virtual desktop storage. These events include boot, login, and logout events from a large number of end-users. When a large number of VDI end users load, log in or log out their VDI desktop images in a short period, the VDI storage can become saturated and cause performance problems.

VDI implementation: persistent vs non-persistent VDI

There are two types of virtual desktops – persistent and non-persistent. What are the differences between them?

Persistent desktops are similar to physical devices – end-users can maintain their personalized settings, store data, and configure their instance. Their specific desktop is retrievable each time the end-user logs in. 

Non-persistent desktops are stateless where the environment cannot be personalized. End-user is unable to retain data and configure an instance as the desktop is destroyed at the end of the session. This type is suitable for businesses where the set of tasks and activities of employees is limited and repetitive. In this case, workplace customization is not required.

Ensuring high availability

In a traditional client/server infrastructure, if an end user's desktop is damaged, all other end users are still running. In contrast, using a VDI solution, all end-user desktops will rely on the availability of the VDI solution for the backend. With this in mind, make sure to create enough hosts in the VDI cluster with redundant data paths to the storage, network connections, and redundant power – this will help eliminate accessibility issues.