VDI – Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Sounds completely cutting edge, doesn’t it? Yet it’s been around a while. And now some are questioning its safety and usefulness.

One vendor describes VDI as “a computing model that adds a layer of virtualization between the server and the desktop PCs.” All the marketing speak aside, VDI is simply your desktop operating system now hosted inside a virtual machine running on a centralized server. You’re on the cloud, and you’re accessing it just by turning on your computer.

A recent eWeek article claimed VDI was the new “it” technology, with sales climbing and the technology still evolving. Alas, not all are thrilled with the newfound glory that has become VDI. Vendors — chiefly cloud computing providers — are doing their best to downplay the capabilities of VDI, pointing out slower workflow, higher costs, added limitations, and increased complexities.

OS33 president Jacob Kazakevich writes this about VDI: “In the world of today’s technology, it’s a bit of a yawn.” Expected, since Kazakevich’s company is a “cloud computing IT delivery platform” but it does raise the question — why is VDI technology, an “older” technology by IT standards, now in vogue?

The advantages are clear to VDI proponents: easy implementation, reduced cost of software deployment, fewer instances of downtime, better data security, and secure remote access. However, these advantages assume one critical factor: proper management of the VDI.

For those who intend the implement-and-forget method of VDI, the security risks could be significant. There are limitations, too. Set up isn’t always seamless, nor is using multimedia and other memory-heavy applications. And it’s not cheap to launch or maintain. Plus with the need to be connected to public or corporate networks, security issues will continue to plague VDI technology.

Has your company employed VDI? If so, have you encountered any additional costs or security issues?

If not, are you intending to? Why or why not?

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