June 8, 2015 – Upon arriving to the office this morning, I had a sudden realization that my laptop was not with me. After working on it late last night, I forgot to put it in my bag, and was faced with a dilemma. Drive home two and a half hours roundtrip to retrieve it, (Yeah I live downtown Chicago, and we’re out here in Naperville) or MacGyver some sort of solution. The latter option won as I wandered around the office to locate an unused PC tower. I eventually found one, brought it back to my desk, connected the wires, and had something I could get by for the day with. However the computer wasn’t configured for every specific application I needed and the network drives were disconnected. All I had was the internet and therefore a way to web in to my email. Let me tell you it wasn’t one of my most productive days.
Well that fateful day above was about 6 months ago, and since then our office has started to implement a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, (VDI) that will all but eliminate that conundrum and fix many other remote worker situations.
Here’s a quick overview on how VDI works. Your company files and applications are hosted in the cloud in secure, georedundant data centers, and you access them via a web browser/internet connection for a monthly per user cost. It’s really that simple.
Company Files/Applications = MS Office, CRM, Email/Exchange, Virus Protection, Citrix, QuickBooks, etc…
Internet Connection = Any Smart Device (Cell Phones, Tablets, Laptops, Desktops, TVs)
Let’s rewind and see how this situation would play out now with VDI. Get to the office, no laptop. Obtain the unused PC tower, (Use my iPad, or ask IT for a spare laptop for the day) connect to the internet, login into the VDI portal and voila, my internet browser now looks just like my desktop. Here I can access my secure company files, and utilize my specific programs to get my work done.
Now if this service was only to save forgetful people like myself, it’s worth rolling the dice. However just think about some other real world applications where VDI would come in handy.
- Weather prevents your employees from coming into the office, rather than a day off they can log in from their home computers to access files and apps. You can also direct all calls to your cell, or even put your phone system in the cloud
- Computer/Laptop upgrades in your near future for all employees? Rather than spend 1k+ per employee, get them Chromebooks for 1/5th the cost. Since all you need is an internet connection that’ll more than suffice, as all the processing is done in the cloud.
- Upgrading software or licensing? Your VDI hosting provider can take care of all that for you under your current monthly plan
Setting up a virtual desktop infrastructure may be right for a handful of people at the office or for everyone; it’s just a new way of looking at things.