Consideration of whether virtual desktops are right for your business must cover business objectives, budget and user experience impacts as well as the full gamut of technical considerations. The virtual desktops applicable to your business will vary with the technical and business model under consideration e.g. a subscription based model such as Desktops as a Service vs. a custom built in-house solution.
Considering virtual desktops is a golden moment in time where you can ask the question: what is truly the best fit for achieving our business goals and a happier, more productive team? Our clients have found that the process of considering all angles itself yields valuable insight into the opportunities for the whole business, not just the IT budget.
As a starting point to build your business case, here are our Top Twelve Pros and Cons of desktop virtualisation to help you put into perspective the risks and rewards for your business (and as an aide to prepare for the inevitable challenges of change).
- Flexibility to work anywhere on any connected device.
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership, flexible cost model.
- Increased business agility with fast scaling, provisioning and changes to personnel and locations.
- Embraces the wave of consumer devices without having to secure them individually.
- Increased security with no data on devices and “PCs” that remain permanently inside the corporate firewall.
- Increased performance for desktops and ability to ramp up with a click.
- Decreased management – centralised profile and change management.
- Control – lock down the desktop whilst still allowing user personalisation.
- Green – efficient hardware usage with longer life cycle and freedom to change hardware independent of desktop.
- Promotes business and IT integration through quite literal engagement through implementation.
- Enjoyable to use. Users love no longer lugging laptops around and being able to work anywhere on their own fast, performant desktops.
- Can reduce risk and time-line of Windows 7 or other critical software upgrade programmes.
- May not work offline.
- Not all virtual desktop models deliver significant cost savings.
- Vendor lock-in can occur in some cases with the proprietary nature and large initial investment of solutions.
- Data may be accessible from new locations. New models of security need to be considered.
- Location of the data centre may be a security or legal concern.
- Historically, some VDI performance has been slower and impersonal resulting in poor user experience (find a specialist, this can be fixed).
- Poor performance if solution (stack) not well designed to user need and for efficiency.
- Management of a heterogeneous desktop estate of virtual and physical desktops, virtualised application access.
- Newness and hype. Risk of immature products, supplier instability with limited proof of success.
- Support – skills can be expensive and rare, so you may be reliant on vendor support.
- Graphics intensive desktops / applications may require specific remoting protocols and increased expense. This also affects video collaboration tools.
- As it is a new way of working, requires change management activities to maximise business result from investment.
There are responses possible to all the Pros and Cons of virtual desktops. We believe the key is to understand first your business need, then prioritise the advantages and risks that virtual desktops deliver to address that need. For example, some organisations choose to forgo possible savings and increases in business agility for several years until there is a more demonstrable solution. For others, the immediate cost and business agility ‘pros’ are an important source of competitive advantage.