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A Look at Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

By Mary Beth Hamilton | Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a topic discussed regularly by IT departments at large enterprises where desktop management, data security and remote branch management are expensive and complex undertakings. A 2010 InformationWeek survey found that of the 430 respondents, 42% were either actively using or testing VDI and another 35% were assessing the benefits of VDI.

This said, “smaller” organizations certainly don’t have it easy either, but in the past VDI was often an overly complex solution for smaller firms. Today, VDI is increasingly moving into the conversations of mid-size financial services firms, including hedge funds and other alternative investment firms.

In this article we’ll help define Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and explore, at a high level, how it works. Next week we’ll look at the pros and cons of VDI focusing on use at hedge fund and investment firms.

How VDI Works

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure works by decoupling user data, applications and the operating system (OS) from the end-point device (i.e. laptop, desktop or thin client). This decoupling allows for the centralization of user data, settings and applications in the datacenter where they can be centrally managed and accessed by end-users from virtually anywhere.

Having everything within the datacenter provides considerable benefits around disaster recovery, but we’ll cover that next week in our pros and cons article!

The user experience starts by accessing user virtual desktops via an end-point device that runs special software. The software interfaces with the virtual desktop by delivering screen updates, keystrokes and mouse movements to the virtual desktop in the datacenter – these transfers are unnoticeable to the end-user. VMware’s View and Citrix’s XenDesktop are two commonly used VDI products.

Below is an image (compliments of VMware) of how VDI works:

VMware VDI

The Experts

Eze Castle Integration has deep experience in implementing Virtual Desktop Infrastructures for hedge funds and alternative investment firms. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about this topic.

Alternatively, come back next week for our VDI pros and cons article.

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