Delivering the right information at the right time to end users takes a flexible and secure IT infrastructure, which can include a desktop virtualization component.
Healthcare is one industry using virtualization to improve efficiency, and organizations in other industries trying to simplify management can look to it as an example. So I asked Frank Nydam, director of healthcare solutions at VMware (a Dell partner), to answer four key questions we've gotten from customers considering virtual desktop infrastructure.
Are there initial cost savings in VDI?
VDI can often simplify desktop management and make it possible to realize both capex and opex savings, but whether or not a company will see initial cost savings with a VDI deployment is very dependent upon their particular use case.
The number of desktops under management, the nominal cost of the hardware and many other factors determine whether there are immediate cost savings for a particular VDI deployment.
If there are no initial cost savings, why should customers consider VDI?
There can be a strong case for VDI deployments even when there are no immediate capex or opex savings. Deployments in the healthcare provider industry are a great example.
Among other things, virtualizing desktops in a hospital environment can streamline workflows and allow clinicians to focus on the patient rather than fumbling with the PC. It can also improve security, control and compliance ways that are extremely difficult to do with a traditional desktop.
Most importantly, all of these benefits can help to improve patient care by ensuring that there is an always-on access to critical patient care data.
From an IT standpoint, how is VDI deployment different from server virtualization?
Companies that have experience with server virtualization will find some things that are similar, but VDI deployments have many elements of end-user and customer interaction that come into play as well. VDI environments are much more dynamic in terms of IT and just about as customer facing as any asset IT will deploy to end users.
Desktop IT staff time will be shifted away from traditional break/fix activities, plugging and unplugging traditional desktops to administering builds, fix, and patches centrally.
How can a customer ensure end-user productivity in a virtual environment, when it seems companies are dependent on the Net?
What happens if the network is down is a somewhat paradoxical "scenario" these days. That is not to say it will not and does not happen though because we know it will.
Hospitals take great care in assuring network redundancy and health, as it has literally become the bloodstream of the hospitals IT infrastructure. This is one of the reasons we are seeing an explosion of mobile devices and mobile care applications. Caregivers demand and require access regardless of location, hospital network access, etc.
Modern VDI solutions in combination with smartphones and tablets really give the clinician always-on access to patient data, regardless of location.
And if you're interested in more issues related to end-user computing, Frank Nydam also shared his insights on the challenges and opportunities in healthcare IT today.
Are there other VDI questions you'd like answered? Let us know.
Follow me (@AnaCatDell) on Twitter for more technology news and commentary.