The idea of the virtual desktop has been around for a while, but widespread adoption has been slow to materialize. That may change, as Microsoft has recently released its promised Windows Virtual Desktop. What advantages does a virtual desktop bring – and why might your organization consider taking the plunge?
What’s a Virtual Desktop?
Here’s the idea:
Every few years, your computer goes out of date. The CPU and RAM are outstripped by newer models, the hard drive becomes obsolete, and current-generation programs start to chug on your last-generation desktop. For you, this is annoying, but for businesses, it’s infuriating. After all, they paid anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars for your computer just a few years ago – and now they have to do it again.
Unfortunately, as much as it costs to continually upgrade and replace old machines, it can cost even more to simply keep old machines running. Older machines break more often, so they cost more to maintain. They’re also slower, as we’ve mentioned, which represents a drain on productivity. Lastly, they’re more vulnerable to cyberattacks, which now cost $4.6 million USD per incident on average.
Companies Benefit from Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
With the virtual desktop, companies can take the stress out of the continual upgrade cycle. Instead of hosting an operating system and file structure on a desktop, the virtual desktop gets primarily hosted in the cloud. This has many advantages.
- As long as your chosen device has a screen and a fast internet connection, it can run the virtual desktop and any applications you need. This means that organizations can save money by keeping older computers running, purchasing used hardware, or acquiring cheaper computers known as “thin clients” which are designed specifically to host virtual desktops.
- Not only do virtual desktops help companies save money on desktop infrastructure, they also let users work remotely with more effectiveness. Instead of constantly transferring files between different devices, they can access all their files and applications on the same operating system image using any device
- Lastly, the process of maintaining and updating a virtual desktop is quite different and in theory more streamlined. In fact, if you consume the virtual desktop as a service, patching and updating might not even be something that you have to worry about.
In spite of all these advantages, it’s not likely that your company has switched to virtual desktops. As of 2017, only about 35 percent of companies have adopted virtual desktops, even though those who have adopted the technology are very happy with it. This may be due to general unfamiliarity with the technology, or it may simply be that up until now, no official Microsoft support has existed for virtual desktops. As of September 30th, 2019, however, that’s all changed.
How Will Microsoft Change the Game for the Virtual Desktop?
Throughout decades of technological dominance, it’s fair to say that Microsoft tends not to throw its influence behind a technology unless the time is right. Although companies such as Citrix and VMware have had virtual desktop products in place for years, Microsoft’s promotion of the technology could do for virtual desktops what Apple’s promotion of the iPhone did for smartphones in general.
Microsoft’s own flavor of virtual desktop piggybacks on the popularity of its Azure cloud in order to deliver a more seamless and user-friendly version of the technology than anything else currently out there. Most notably, Microsoft has changed its own licensing policies, introducing a new multi-user version of Windows 10 that lets companies add virtual desktops to their organization at no extra charge if they already use products such as Office 365. The Redmond giant also offers a platform-as-a-service version that reduces the maintenance overhead for inexperienced administrators.
Finally, Microsoft has sprung a final coup with its Windows Virtual Desktop offering. Due to the recent end-of-life date for Windows 7, many companies have been forced to either update their PCs or keep their older computers running past their date of obsolescence. With WVD, however, Microsoft offers a third way. Any company that uses WVD to migrate their existing Windows 7 implementation to Azure and then deliver it from the cloud is automatically enrolled in the Extended Support Update program that will keep Windows 7 current and secure for the next three years. In other words, Microsoft just created a vast market for WVD who will migrate because they have no other choice.
Migrate to Cloud-Based Virtual Desktops with Nexxtep
If you’re interested in changing the endless cycle of technology refreshes, Nexxtep can help. As an experienced managed services provider with deep experience in Microsoft products and architectures, we can help you create a desktop infrastructure that will eliminate obsolete hardware while creating a peerless user experience. From cloud to security to communications, we can help you do it all – contact Nexxtep today!