You’ve probably read a lot about the advantages of virtual desktop interfaces, but there are many good reasons plenty of tech-savvy companies haven’t switched to VDI. Like every piece of new technology, VDI isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to all of your problems. So before you decide to adopt VDI solution, consider these possible drawbacks.
1. High Implementation Costs
If your primary objective is to save money, skip VDI. The cost of implementing VDI, which requires significant upgrades in network equipment, server hardware and storage, is comparable to buying a new computer for every employee in your company. And unlike upgrading computers, you can’t stagger the purchases over several months; you’ll need to find room in the budget to purchase all the equipment at once. Plus, Network World states that the nine-month return-on-investment estimates are highly inaccurate–you should expect to wait three to five years just to break even on the investment.
2. Greater Chance of System-Wide Errors
While VDI can make troubleshooting easier because technicians often don’t need access to a specific piece of hardware, server-side problems can create complications that affect everyone using the server or that specific image. To minimize this downside, you must have the budget and technical knowledge to set up and maintain redundant servers. That way, a problem with your VDI won’t cause your workplace to come to a screeching halt.
3. VDI Images Create Unique Management Issues
One substantial advantage of VDI is the ability to install drivers, applications and other programs onto a single image that all employees can use. Unfortunately, your workplace may need to accommodate some employees who need greater autonomy when installing applications or creating personalized settings. For every employee that needs the ability to save his own settings or needs specialized applications, your IT department will need to create a separate image. Multiply the specialized image by the number of employees who will need one, and you could be looking at substantial storage requirements even if you work to prevent virtualization sprawl. Also, every time you need to make an update to the VDI, you’ll need to update each image, which can eliminate some of the convenience of the system.
4. Increased Network Requirements
For offices composed of workers who spend most of their time using word processing or spreadsheet applications, VDI network requirements are minimal. However, if a large percentage of your workforce needs graphics rendering capabilities or video streaming, you’ll need to know that your server can handle the traffic. The source of this problem often exists at the server level, because server manufacturers cap the number of graphic slots available. Once again, the right server can handle this problem, but the solution could be cost prohibitive.
Some people, when estimating hardware needs, are overly optimistic or fail to account for peak usage times. As an example, Tech Target notes that the average Windows machine uses 50 to 80 IOPS on average. To decide if this is a problem for your workplace, be sure to crunch the numbers to determine if your hardware budget can meet the performance benchmark.
VDI is a cost-effective, time-saving solution for many companies, but only you can evaluate if VDI will eliminate or add to your tech worries. Before committing to a VDI, take some time to evaluate the various needs of the entire workforce. Use that information to size your theoretical servers and determine the other hardware requirements necessary to switch to VDI. Then take a look at your budget, factoring in any changes in man hours needed to maintain a VDI. Now that you have a clear picture of the pros and cons of VDI, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your company.