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Connecting Tomorrow’s Virtual Desktop

Author: John Burke, CIO & Principal Research Analyst

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has been “the next big thing” for more than a decade now. Most organizations of any size deploy at least some VDI. While a few have made it the basis of a whole new model of endpoint service delivery, all too often, enterprises conduct a proof of concept and then stop, or deploy VDI to a few users then stop.

The problems cover both politics and performance. Most political problems have been countered by demonstrating that the shift delivers improved security, flexibility, resilience, and support for mobile user populations. The thorny question of completely centralizing desktop control has been rendered moot in many places because local management of desktops has been eliminated anyway.

For a long time, the biggest performance challenges were in the data center, but those have largely been resolved with modern infrastructure and architectures. However, network challenges remain. VDI (and Desktops as a Service, by extension) consume a lot more network capacity than they did 10 years ago, as the desktop environment has shifted, and VDI is intolerant of packet loss, latency, and jitter.

SD-WAN makes the WAN ready for VDI. It not only vastly simplifies WAN management, IT can use it to add lower-cost network links to a branch, combining multiple links to make the pooled connectivity high-performing and ultra-reliable. Coupled with direct-to-Internet branches, direct cloud connections, and cloud exchanges, to optimize performance for DaaS offerings, SD-WAN makes the WAN what VDI needs: always-on, fast, and tuned to optimize VDI delivery.

IT professionals should

  • Scope the specific remote desktop use cases they want to address
  • Evaluate hosting options based on use cases: does it need to be in-house VDI, or can it or should it be Desktops as a Service (DaaS)
  • Assess WAN readiness for their specific VDI/DaaS use cases
  • Plan for redundant, active-active connectivity in every VDI-powered branch
  • Evaluate SD-WAN solutions for overall WAN management and resilience improvements, and specifically for optimizing VDI/DaaS delivery and monitoring performance
  • If going the DaaS route, evaluate Internet egress architecture options, including direct-to-branch, regional Internet hubs, direct cloud connects, and WAN-cloud exchanges.

Table of Contents
  • COMPASS DIRECTION POINTS
  • TABLE OF FIGURES
  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • THE ISSUE: ALWAYS THE NEXT BIG THING?
    • POLITICS OF VDI
    • PERFORMANCE
  • VDI NEEDS A GOOD NETWORK TO BREAK OUT
    • VDI LIKES BANDWIDTH
    • VDI HATES LOSS, LATENCY, AND JITTER
  • DESKTOPS AS A SERVICE: OUTSOURCING THE “I”
    • DAAS LIKES ALL THE SAME THINGS FROM THE NETWORK…BUT FROM THE CLOUD
  • SD-WAN: VDI’S NEW BEST FRIEND
    • DAAS AND SD-WAN
  • DAAS OFF THE WAN: DIRECT TO CLOUD FOR CLOUD DESKTOPS
    • DAAS AND SD-WAN, REDUX
  • CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
  • SD-WAN: VDI’S NEW BEST FRIEND


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