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|To VDI or not to VDI|
1. Any virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment consideration needs to start with a thorough return on investment (ROI) analysis that weighs desktop management and compliance benefits against the cost of deploying and maintaining a VDI infrastructure.
2. Because IT is more likely considered a necessity rather than an asset at small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), VDI may not be an option for these types of firms with their limited IT teams and modest data centers. As VDI service providers mature, outsourced virtual desktop infrastructure and VDI in the cloud will become viable options for smaller firms.
3. When evaluating a VDI platform, focus on advanced features, such as offline support, linked clone-type capabilities for efficient use of storage and simplified management, as well as application virtualization capabilities. These are the areas where you get the biggest bang, but it's also where products differ the most.
4. Keep your mind open to mixing hypervisors and VDI products. While there's a small benefit to having all components from a single vendor, mixing and matching different vendors to get best-of-breed products or the most cost-efficient combinations is a valid and prudent option.
5. Start with a small number of desktops and grow your VDI footprint from there. Because it's such a radical change, a gradual rollout that includes frequently reassessing the project and making adjustments will increase your likelihood of success.
This was first published in August 2009