In the past, cost and complexity were often high hurdles to the adoption of VDI in the enterprise. In addition to a general maturing of the technology, widespread use of the cloud has been instrumental in lowering or even eliminating these obstacles for companies using VDI on a broad scale, but not necessarily for small and midsize businesses—until now. Why?
Here are five reasons why VDI makes sense for SMBs.
1. ‘Thin Client’ Can Mean Many Things
Traditional thin clients can be costly, but the cost in the enterprise is often offset by a reduction in the level of support and service this type of hardware requires compared to traditional desktop or laptop systems. Today, there’s still a place for dedicated thin clients, but it’s not the only choice. VDI solutions are available that enable any client—including smartphones, tablets and low-cost Chromebooks—to act as a thin client. SMBs can save money upfront by setting up corporate-issued or user-owned mobile devices as VDI clients, and money over time in reduced maintenance and support costs.
2. VDI Provides Anytime, Anyplace, from (almost) Anything Access
By leveraging a cloud-based VDI solution, SMBs can provide their users with access to not just an application here or there (as in the SaaS model), but to their entire desktops and everything they need to do their jobs (Office 365, Exchange, personal settings and bookmarks, and so on). This makes users more productive–and SMBs more profitable.
3. VDI Eases / Boosts Security
Security is one of SMBs’ biggest concerns, especially since they often lack internal expertise in this area. With VDI data residing centrally, it’s much easier to detect and isolate threats. Some providers also offer a level of security and privacy that most SMBs could never achieve on their own, with features such as military- and government-grade encryption, access management, and security protocols.
4. VDI Offers an SMB Safety Net
As with security, adequate levels of backup and disaster recovery are often out of SMBs’ reach. They may not have the in-house expertise or resources to develop, implement, and maintain BDR, but they are no safer than a large company from disaster—natural or otherwise. Look for VDI providers that build redundancy, co-location, and frequent backups into their offerings.
5. VDI Provides Flexibility—and Competitive Advantage
In today’s dynamic, customer-driven business environment, companies must be able to respond quickly to new and changing demands–or else lose business to the competition. That goes for SMBs just as much as it does for the largest enterprises, but it’s a lot more challenging for smaller companies to procure, provision and implement new hardware and software to meet new business needs. VDI makes it possible for SMBs to easily and relatively inexpensively add new desktops and users, as well as increase resources such as memory and storage, as needed.
Which brings us to cost. We’re not including it as one of our discrete “reasons” because it’s so relative and because it figures in (no pun intended) to all aspects of VDI.
But consider this: Back in the day, VDI was often pitched as a way to save money. However, costly, dedicated hardware and complicated setup and maintenance usually wiped out any potential savings. If there were any savings to be had, they were only for enterprise-level organizations.
Fast-forward to today, and things look very different. Working with the right providers, SMBs don’t have to do all of the heavy lifting of configuration and maintenance, and they certainly don’t have to go out and purchase costly ‘thin-client’ systems. They also don’t have to dedicate/purchase loads of network bandwidth to support VDI.
It’s still true that companies with super-simple desktop needs and few, mostly stationary users aren’t the best candidates for VDI. But SMBs whose users need quick and always-available access to a variety of applications and services—in order to rise above the competition—should take a look (or a fresh look) at VDI.