Whitepaper: A Business Case For Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Deployments

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1 Whitepaper: A Business Case For Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Deployments VISIT TELEPHONE OFFICES Washington, DC Chicago Philadelphia Baltimore New York 1 1

2 Introduction Now more than ever, the typical employee is no longer tied to their desk and are constantly moving between their home office, client sites and satellite offices. This mobile trend is requiring employees access to their applications and data from any device anywhere. While this requirement is a necessity to increase a mobile users productivity, it is causing new challenges for IT departments. The question then is, How can IT provide a mobile solution that is scalable, has increased security without huge associated costs? Companies are increasingly turning to the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution to address this requirement. VDI is a technology that allows multiple desktop instances or operating systems to run on a single piece of server hardware using virtualization technology. VDI has many benefits to both users and system administrators; such as allowing companies to save money on hardware, simplifying desktop management, increasing security, and deploying new desktops in minutes rather than hours. The purpose of this white paper is to define the VDI technology, explain its use in the industry, discuss how companies are using it to achieve their technology goals, and demonstrate the value of icore s VDI solution. VDI Defined VDI is based on virtualization technology which is made possible by a small piece of software called a hypervisor. The hypervisor runs at the lowest layer or level on a server. The hypervisor is also what allows multiple desktop operating systems, also referred to as virtual machines (VMs), to run on the same physical server. VDI utilizes virtualization technology and it s hypervisor to run 100 or more virtual desktops at the same time on one physical server. Users can log into their virtual desktops from anywhere using clients such as smart phones, tablets, desktops, laptops, or thin clients. Before virtualization technology was used to create the infrastructure we know as VDI, a desktop was needed for every operating system and vice versa. Traditional Desktop Network Traditional Desktops VDI Network Thin Client Zero Client Tablet Laptop 1 1

3 Industry Value Companies are migrating to a virtual desktop infrastructure for two ultimate reasons; security and cost savings. It has always been a challenge for IT departments to manage and secure desktop operating systems. Different operating systems, application software versions, and configuration settings makes securing the desktop a constant challenge. VDI brings a simple solution to this dilemma. All the virtual desktops are created and maintained off of one master image. That means that all the users are running on the same operating system, using the same version of software applications, and all have the same configuration settings. If a security risk is found then the master desktop image is updated. Subsequently all the virtual desktops are updated automatically. If needed multiple master images can be created for different teams or departments that have different application and performance needs. Virtual desktops facilitate faster patching of security risks and simplified desktop management. Ultimately the enterprise has more secure desktops and an overall higher level of security across the entire network. Security is also increased by data never leaving the network, even when users save files in their local virtual desktop folders. Imagine that a user logs into their virtual desktop from a tablet device that gets lost or stolen. None of the company information resides on losses and breaches. The tablet device even though they access their virtual desktop from it. This centralization of data along with secure remote access is another significant way to increase security and protect the enterprise from data. By having to manage just a few desktop master images it takes significantly less time and effort than hundreds or thousands of user desktops all with different configurations and software profiles. Less time and effort equals cost savings. The value of VDI and its cost savings are also found in a reduction of hardware costs. With VDI each user doesn t need a full desktop or expensive laptop. This technology is designed to allow secure access from many different client devices such as thin clients, zero clients, tablets, laptops, and desktops. In addition, users don t need a hard drive or lots of RAM and processing power. All the workload is performed by the virtual desktop which runs on the server. Thin and zero clients cost 25 50% of traditional desktops and laptops. Yet they give users the same or better desktop experience and performance. Cost savings is also found by extending the useful life of older desktops and laptops. If these machines are locked down and only used as a portal into their virtual desktop then their performance is more than fast enough to support a VDI session. 2 2

4 Lastly, cost savings are achieved because mobile users or field staff who, in the past needed a company laptop, may only need a tablet, smart phone, or home computer to access company resources via their virtual desktop. 3 3

5 History & Trends The concept of server side processing or computing is not a new one. In the 1980 s when computers became a regular part of business technology, mainframes were dominant. Thin clients were often referred to back then as dumb terminals and users accessed the programs that way by running on the mainframe. As the cost of technology and desktops dropped there was a partial migration of computing from the server side to the desktop. For many years the basic premise of distributing the processing and workload between the servers and the desktop has not changed. Improvements to processors, ram, and hard drives have consistently increased the processing power, (number of programs that can be run simultaneously, and amount of data that can be stored on servers and workstations). But again the basic structure of where the processing takes place has not deviated from the distributed workload model. Vast improvements to the processing and capacities computers can handle and virtualization technologies have been game changers in the way we distribute the workload. These two changes have facilitated a migration of processing and computing back to a server side model. Hundreds of virtual machines, in this case virtual desktops, can be run off of one physical server in a data center. The difference is now users can get the rich, individualized computing experience they ve come to expect with virtual desktops even though they run primarily on the server. Client devices such as smart phones and tablets act as the window or portal into the virtual desktop running in the data center. Challenges VDI is an innovative solution that has many appealing benefits to enterprises, but it doesn t come without its own unique set of challenges. Internet outages, printing, bandwidth and compliance are just four challenging areas related to VDI. icore s core competencies in network architecture, IT management, helpdesk support, and cloud solutions are keys to our success providing stable virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. We eliminate single points of failure in both our network and our customer premise network. This virtually eliminates the chance of an outage due to circuits or networking equipment. In the event this happens our robust solution supports access from many different clients over a 4G or Wi-Fi connection. Your virtual desktop can be accessed from an ipad, Android, Surface or iphone, even if your company s office goes down. For larger offices we also deploy an appliance-based solution that lets users continue working on their virtual desktops even if there is a complete internet outage. When the connection comes back up, the premise based VDI resynchronizes itself with the cloud central VDI repository seamlessly. 4 4

6 One of the other benefits to this appliance is that it significantly reduces the amount of bandwidth needed for each VDI session. The value of the cloud is its centralization of management and data. We combine the best aspects of an on-premise and cloud solution with our unique way of pushing VDI processing out to the customer site while maintaining the master copy in the cloud real time. Printing has always been a challenge when the internet or WANs are involved. We are Microsoft and VMware partners and we bring best of breed solutions to our VDI platform printing. We ensure printing is seamless and fast using the latest VDI technology innovations from these two companies. Thin print and RDS Easy Print are changing the notion that printing is a show stopper to VDI. What about security and compliance in a hosted VDI environment? Can customers be truly isolated from each other in their VDI environments? With icore s solution the answer is a definitive yes. We use state of-the art firewalling technology in our virtualization platform to not just hide or VLAN virtual desktops from other customers. Our virtual desktops and private clouds are by default completely isolated. So even in automated provisioning scenarios, the environments are entirely isolated all the way down to the hypervisor level. This is a key differentiator to our VDI solution. Many companies use less robust solutions that can allow cross awareness between VDI environments if a series of manual steps aren t taken to isolate virtual desktops in each private cloud. Security and compliance has become an essential part of our cloud solutions with the advent of PCI, HIPAA,, SSAE, and other required compliance standards. 5 5

7 Our Solution icore Networks, a leading provider of cloud solutions in the industry, is pioneering the way with its VDI offering. icore was established in 2001, and is the premier provider of integrated solutions that unfailingly meet customer demand now and well into the future. icores unique ICore all-in-one solution unifies communications (UC) to seamlessly virtualize office in the cloud solutions that provide world-class end user capabilities at a fraction of the cost of maintaining in house systems. Fully managed & integrated hosted Microsoft Exchange, Sharepoint & Lync; BroadSoft (BroadWorks) virtual hosted communications, video & contact center platform services along with virtualized desktop (VDI), Secure Private Network (SPN) capabilities and a complete end to end professional services support system that racks, stacks & flawlessly virtualizes & maintains end user data center infrastructure both here in the United States & around the globe. The combination of 'all in one' world-class virtualization & ongoing maintenance services creates a compelling suite of outsourced services for customers to choose from in an applications on demand environment that provides state of the art voice, data, video & workforce collaboration tools when & where customers want them on a global scale. icore s fully secure & scalable network platform that utilizes best in breed providers such as Cisco, Juniper, Oracle, IBM, Polycom and other highly specialized platform components fused into a 'Strong Cloud' of services places icore Networks 'ICore all-in-one' as the preeminent platform for office in the cloud solutions for businesses worldwide. 6 6

8 Our solution gives us the ability to host our customer s virtual desktops in the cloud without sacrificing security or speed. The industry is changing. Enterprises are migrating their IT infrastructure into the cloud. It started with applications and now the entire server infrastructure is being migrated. Only the network and workstations remain on-premise. VDI technology has allowed desktops to move into the cloud as well. The challenge is maintaining the rich user experience provided by an on-premise solution. Virtual Desktop technologies consume large amounts of bandwidth; in some cases more bandwidth than a particular office location has. icore has solved this challenge. We use best of breed technologies to run an enterprise s virtual desktop infrastructure in our cloud. Our private networks and clouds mean that our customers can run thousands of virtual desktops from one office location. 7 7

9 For smaller offices adding additional bandwidth from one of our inexpensive offerings is the solution. As the number of users at a specific location increases we use our Wide Area Network (WAN) optimization and on premise solutions. VDI appliances to maintain the virtual desktop performance. Our unique solution allows our customers to have a rich desktop experience from anywhere while still centralizing the management and controlling the security on the server side in the cloud. Our Value icore s VDI solution is stable, secure, and saves our client s money. Our state-of-the art data center facility allows us to reach the highest levels of virtual server and desktop density in the industry. This equates to cost savings that we can pass on to our clients. icore has been a cloud service provider since 2001 when we launched our hosted voice platform. At the time the term cloud didn t even exist, but that didn t stop us from building an unrivaled hosted voice solution. This paved the way for us to build the network and infrastructure needed to provide one of the most robust solutions in the industry. We have thousands of unique companies in our cloud voice, virtual server/desktop, and application platforms. Virtual desktops are the latest technology to be delivered as a service, also referred to as Desktop As A Service (DAAS). We provide QoS over our managed circuits. The icore VDI solution gives our customers virtual desktops in the cloud with unparalleled quality. 8 8

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