Now more than ever, companies need responsive solutions that will allow employees, along with other interested parties such as business partners or contractors, to have access to their workspaces in a mobile environment.
This post will discuss three different types of technologies designed to do just that. We will examine the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, otherwise known as VDI, RAS which stands for Remote Access Server, and the newer WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) all of which provide support for a virtual workforce.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
VDI refers to a type of technology that provides for the support and management of desktop environments through the use of virtual machines residing on a centralized server. Some of the advantages of this type of infrastructure include:
- Heightened Security — Since data lives on a centralized server rather than on end client devices, VDI offers companies greater protection of their corporate data if an end user device is ever compromised or stolen.
- Efficient Desktop Management — Since a VDI employs a centralized server environment, it allows for greater efficiencies when IT personnel apply patches and updates, or when they need to modify desktop configurations. Even a corrupt desktop can be easily rebuilt in minutes as opposed to hours or days.
- Convenient Remote Access — With VDI in place, all the remote user needs to connect to their desktop is a device with a browser and an internet connection. This means users can have access to everything on their desktop from virtually any location in the world.
- Cost Savings — Since all data processing is accomplished by way of a centralized server, companies will experience a cost savings as users will have access to corporate data from existing or older devices. This will reduce the frequency of replacing end user devices and result in reduced hardware expenditures. You can also create VDI desktop pools allowing a single desktop to be shared among multiple users, reducing the number of corporate desktops that need to be purchased.
Remote Access Server
A RAS server acts as a gateway for end users. It allows remote users to gain access to their organization's applications or a shared desktop on their on-premises or cloud network. Similar to a VDI solution, users can connect to a RAS server using almost any device with a browser and internet connection.
Once connected, users are presented with all the applications or shared desktop they are authorized to use.
The most common RAS server is Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services (RDS). This solution uses a Microsoft Server Operating System which allows for multiple sessions on a single server.
Windows Virtual Desktop
Last but not least, is Windows Virtual Desktop. This is Microsoft's newer remote access service that operates on the cloud. Microsoft's WVD is gaining in popularity for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include:
- Improved User Experience — WVD employs a native desktop operating system that can provide both an authentic Windows 10 experience, as well as Windows 7 for those organizations who still need access to legacy applications.
- Improved Management — The WVD services are fully managed and controlled by Microsoft Azure, which provides IT personnel with a unified management experience. Allowing administrators to virtualize and manage Windows Servers, Windows 10 desktops, Windows 7 desktops and Windows 10 apps within a single cloud environment.
- Advanced User Profile Technology — The Windows virtual desktop services employs the use of FSLogix, a set of solutions designed to enhance computing environments. Through the use of FSLogix, users are able to maintain their personalized configuration.
- OneDrive and Outlook Indexing — A virtualized desktop implemented by WVD supports OneDrive and Outlook search indexing, thus providing users with the powerful search experience they need to quickly locate files and information.
While many organizations are pursuing the same goal of increasing the mobile access of their workforce, they often have different needs when it comes to finding a remote solution that will work best for their current configuration.