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Virtual Desktop Infrastructure for Hedge Funds: The Pros and Cons

By Kaleigh Brousseau | Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Last week, we introduced you to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and gave you an overview of how it works. Now that you know what VDI is, let’s talk about why it may or may not be right for your hedge fund.

According to Gartner, the market for VDI is expected to grow to 49 million units by 2013, up from just 500,000 in 2009. With such an enormous jump in virtual desktop infrastructure users, it’s important that hedge funds and investment management firms who are thinking about adopting this technology understand both the potential benefits as well as the potential concerns of VDI. We’ve outlined some of them here:

The Pros

Recoverability & Disaster Recovery

  • With VDI, there is the option for local recovery if a desktop fails; you can easily swap out the thin client with little to no disruption and significantly less downtime than if desktops were not virtualized.

  • Many internal and custom applications may be updated frequently, so replicating your virtual desktop will ensure that the disaster recovery version is identical to the user's desktop.

Green Benefits

  • Without additional physical desktops utilizing resources, firms can leave a smaller carbon footprint by using less power and cooling.

  • Physical PCs only last so long. Refreshes are needed every 2-3 years. Virtual machines allow for a longer refresh cycle for technology hardware, which has green benefits in more ways than one.


  • Speaking of green benefits, VDI can save hedge funds money in the long run, but it is typically only a cost-saving practice if it’s a large-scale deployment. Smaller firms with few users may have a harder time justifying the cost, since the break-even level will be much higher.

  • In many cases, good candidates for VDI are hedge funds and investment firms that have already invested in virtualization technology as they have the foundation already in place, which means no building from scratch, and their team is comfortable with the "virtual world."

Application Performance Cloud computing ebook

  • When a hedge fund runs their production infrastructure off-site (either in a cloud or in a data center), many applications require the use of Citrix to utilize land-based speed. With VDI, users can run their desktop out of the same physical location, therefore performance issues are typically mitigated.

Data Security

  • With VDI, data and applications are stored separately from the physical device, adding an additional layer of protection during a time when data security concerns are at an all-time high.

The Cons

Upfront Costs Can Be HighCloud Computing for Hedge Funds eBookCloud Computing Pros & Cons

  • While VDI can offer great cost-savings to firms looking to complete large-scale deployments, on the flip side, it is not necessarily cost-effective to transition to VDI on a smaller scale. Thin clients can get expensive, particularly as you expect more functionality (e.g. four monitors on the client side).

  • In accordance with costs, deployment and management of VDI can be complex for smaller firms.

User Experience is Tricky

  • Currently, VDI users sometimes experience poor quality, particularly from an audio and video perspective. If your firm doesn’t require much in the way of A/V needs or graphic design capabilities, this may not be a significant factor for you.

  • One interesting fact: Bloomberg Fingerprint can be challenging to set up through VDI. You may need to utilize an expert service provider who understands how to set up this technology. Once it’s been set up, deployment for other users is significantly easier to manage.

So do the pros outweigh the cons? Or vice versa? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, unfortunately. You’ll need to work with your internal IT department or your outsourced IT provider to determine if VDI is a good fit for your hedge fund or investment firm.

If you’d like to speak with an expert at Eze Castle about VDI, please contact us -- we've helped numerous clients evaluate and design virtual desktop infrastructures.

Contact an Eze Castle Representative

Photo Source: GetElastic

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