Inside Track: Virtually there?

Virtual desktop
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10 April 2015 | 0

While the virtual desktop market is at a relatively mature stage, industry experts still feel there are some outstanding gaps which are “holding back widespread deployment”.

“They’re not really gaps in the services available,” Vincent McHugh, senior technical architect in Comsys told TechPro. “It’s really more an issue of costs and technical considerations.”

McHugh said that there is still a concern among a lot of customers that a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution could be “unreliable and too complex to manage,” despite this not being “a fair reflection on VDI anymore”.

McHugh continued, “Technically, the demands that VDI places on the storage environment leads to storage performance issues if the environment hasn’t been designed properly. So getting it right at the planning stage is critical. There are also human factors which are putting some customers off VDI. It’s still considered a risky undertaking and for many people, it’s simpler and cheaper in the short-term to maintain the status-quo.

Vincent McHugh - Senior Technical Architect_web

Technically, the demands that VDI places on the storage environment leads to storage performance issues if the environment hasn’t been designed properly. So getting it right at the planning stage is critical. There are also human factors which are putting some customers off VDI. It’s still considered a risky undertaking and for many people, it’s simpler and cheaper in the short-term to maintain the status-quo, Vincent McHugh, Comsys

“There is also a perceived threat in some cases for job security — the fear being that VDI eliminates the need for many IT staff members. In some environments, this issue — whether real or imagined — can cause the VDI idea to be shelved in the short to medium-term.”

Time and effort
General manager for service delivery with Datapac Karen O’Connor said that the “time and effort” involved in migrating from traditional desktop to VDI can be quite significant, “though it’s generally worth it”. O’Connor said the process “requires a whole new approach to desktop deployment where the different elements are separated out and re-integrated according to a set of rules and policies.” As such, for those wary of what this change will bring, “application preparation” will often be the most time consuming element, “particularly for bespoke or uncommon applications.”

For technology and strategy director with Data Solutions, Francis O’Haire one challenge for many companies in implementing VDI has been “the unpredictable and often high cost of the required server” and storage area network (SAN) infrastructure. Though this, he said is something which is being tackled with the aid of “hyper-converged solutions” which can “promise” to make these costs much lower and predictable in nature as the infrastructure scales.

Putting people off
Speaking to TechPro, CTO of Savenet Lorcan Cunningham pointed to a number of issues that “are putting people off VDI services”. The complexity of managing a VDI solution over a traditional desktop solution is a major issue for one thing, he said. “For VDI, a different and more expensive skill set is required from an administration perspective. This is not easy to find in abundance in the current market where skilled IT staff are hard to find and labour costs are still high for skilled staff.”

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