With workers becoming increasingly mobile, enterprises are turning to cloud-based VDI to improve access and save costs.
Futurists are predicting that the global workforce will become less centralised and more mobile and flexible by 2020. Already, employees expect the flexibility to access work from the road or from home without needing to physically go to an office.
This means businesses will need to virtualise their workplaces with the right tools that enable access to enterprise applications for anyone, anytime, and anywhere.
Being more mobile allows enterprises to increase productivity, communication, culture, collaboration, engagement and customer service. In fact, according to IDC, the mobile workforce is expected to be 105.4 million strong by 2020 and account for 72.3% of the workforce.
This increased focus on mobility has led to strong growth in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) market. Some analysts are predicting the VDI marketing will take off, growing 11.31% by 2020. According to Technavio, enterprises increasingly prefer the centralised management of desktop systems as it means managing one system as opposed to hundreds or thousands. Furthermore, VDI increases employee productivity, while reducing the per-seat cost of applications. It also improves security and reduces cost in both capex and opex.
Benefits of cloud-based VDI
VDI offers many benefits, including:
- Centralised management – control what is being installed and used on the desktops from a central management point.
- Rapid deployment – easily and quickly deploy hundreds of virtual desktops compared to traditional imaging approaches.
- Baked-in security – user data and images are stored in the cloud datacentres rather than on local machines, making it easier to secure and backup. Even if the device is stolen, the information is still protected.
- Shorter OS migrations – drastically reduce the time it takes to roll out new OS such as Windows 10.
- Device independence – end users can choose and work on any device. Thin clients, PCs, Mac, Linux, mobile devices, and even HTML5 browsers can be used to access virtual desktops and applications provided by VDI.
- Extend hardware lifespan – repurpose legacy workstations because the server takes care of computing, meaning you can continue using end user devices far longer.
- Elasticity of computing power – quickly expand or reduce compute, memory, and storage for maximum performance.
- Transformation catalyst – free up valuable resources in your on-premises environment for things like Windows 10 desktop transformation. Eg customers see benefits from freeing up resources in an on-premise environment to do Windows desktop transformations.
Why Citrix VDI on Azure is the smart choice
Citrix and Microsoft now deliver an integrated experience that simplifies onboarding for XenApp Essentials and Azure IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), providing a single interface to design, deploy and deliver virtualised Windows apps from Azure. Citrix' virtualisation offering is available directly from the Azure Marketplace.
However, there are key benefits to choosing Azure for a VDI environment. First, Azure not only has the largest global presence of any cloud vendor, the platform excels if you’re already a Microsoft shop. For example, Azure provides continuity and integration with the tools and applications you already use.
But more importantly, Azure provides a better hosted environment for graphics intensive applications used by engineers, designers, and others. These applications tend to be expensive, so installing them on a single workstation typically means they are underutilised. Some businesses get around this by installing them on a shared workstation, however these means remote users miss out.
By hosting applications in Azure, users benefit from anywhere access to a shared resource, which reduces hardware procurement costs.
Furthermore, Azure is the perfect platform to host Windows 10 operating systems. By supporting a Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business on Azure for qualified Microsoft Software Assurance/Enterprise Agreement customers, businesses can now host Windows 10 on Azure and build a VDI environment using any tool!
Reduce IT costs without sacrificing performance
According to IDC’s research paper “Assessing the Business Value of VDI in the Public Cloud”, organisations can benefit from reduced costs and improved user enablement by going with Citrix VDI on Microsoft Azure.
On the cost side, moving VDI to the public cloud minimises expenditures on server-related infrastructure and ongoing infrastructure-related costs. Meanwhile, IT teams benefit from not needing to maintain on-premises infrastructure, more reliable performance, and ease of delivering new features and applications.
In addition, a pay-as-you-go approach means that when VDI instances are powered down in the public cloud you no longer need to pay for that machine until it is booted up again. This has the potential for major cost savings where on-premises infrastructure has to be sized for the peak load and sits idle much of the time but this capacity still has to be paid for.
On the business side, VDI users benefit from improved reliability, faster delivery of new features, better access to applications, and improved performance, all of which generate operational efficiencies and opportunities to capture additional revenue. In total, as shown in Table 1, IDC’s research shows that organisations that are running VDI in the public cloud with solutions like Citrix on Microsoft Azure can realise $2,015 in additional value per-user per-year.
On average, IDC’s research shows that surveyed organisations run VDI workloads at a 55% lower cost per-user per-year than on a legacy on-premises environment due to:
- Infrastructure and operational cost savings – from hardware-related costs to lower ongoing costs related to power consumption.
- Lower opex and capex costs – by running VDI workloads in the public cloud, organisations can either retire or reallocate existing servers, or avoid buying new servers. In both cases, they avoid not only a potential Capex investment, but also software costs associated with building out and maintaining an on-premises server environment. Further, organisations can optimise licensing costs with public cloud solutions.
- IT staff and development efficiencies – organisations to free up time for their IT teams and make VDI-related development efforts more effective.
- User‐generated value – with a public cloud VDI solution, organisations can support their employees with agility, improved performance, and more functionality.
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