VDI as a Service: Here’s All You Need to Know

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI, has been a game-changer during the pandemic, providing businesses with a secure, cost-effective, and easy-to-manage method of delivering applications to remote workers. Unfortunately, not all organizations have the financial resources and technical expertise to deploy and administer a VDI environment. If these limitations bind you, you might want to consider looking into VDI as a Service.

VDI as a Service is a solution that allows businesses to enjoy the benefits of VDI without the prohibitive upfront costs and administrative requirements. In this post, we’ll explain what VDI as a Service is and why it can be a good fit for your business, and we’ll enlighten you about factors to consider before picking a provider.

Learn about VDI and How You Can Use VDI as a Service

Before we talk about VDI as a Service, let’s go over what VDI is and the challenges some businesses face when attempting to adopt a VDI solution.

In a nutshell, VDI is a virtualization technology that enables you to host digital resources such as virtual applications, virtual desktops, and data in a central location. That central location can be an on-premises datacenter or a public cloud. The VDI solution then enables users to access those resources from various endpoint devices (e.g., PCs, laptops, phones, tablets, thin clients) from any location with an internet connection.

Check out our webpage “What is VDI?” for a more detailed explanation.

VDI and the Challenges Some Businesses Encounter with It

Not all organizations can afford a VDI solution. That’s because, aside from the VDI software license, you still need to worry about other upfront costs. If you deploy that solution on-premises, you’ll need to purchase one or more physical servers, load balancers, hypervisor licenses, and Windows licenses. And depending on the VDI solution, you’ll probably also need licenses for databases, Active Directory, and other related software. That’s just the capital expenditures (CAPEX) side of things.

Most VDI solutions are extremely complex, requiring highly experienced and certified VDI administrators. Usually, these professionals command expensive hourly rates, an issue that’s been aggravated by the IT talent shortage. Many organizations are competing for top talent from a very limited talent pool. This results in high administrative overheads and operating expenditures (OPEX).

That’s not all. The inherent complexity of most VDI solutions and the lack of experienced administrators increase the risk of downtime, regulatory violations, and cyber incidents. VDI is perfect for enterprises that already have the IT infrastructure, staffing, and other resources to support a VDI solution. For the rest, it might be more practical to go for a VDI as a Service solution instead of a self-managed one.

VDI as a Service and Why This Version of VDI May Be Right for You

Also known as Desktop as a Service or DaaS, VDI as a Service is basically VDI managed by a third party. That third party or VDI as a Service provider absorbs a substantial portion of administrative responsibilities as well as practically all upfront costs—basically all the CAPEX side of things.

In addition, while you’ll be responsible for the VDI environment’s control plane (managing virtual desktops, applications, data, etc.), the provider will take charge of managing and maintaining the underlying infrastructure.

VDI as a Service is the ideal solution for small and medium businesses and just about any organization that can’t afford to deal with the upfront costs and complexities of a self-managed VDI environment. However, there are a couple of things to consider before choosing a specific VDI as a Service offering.

Analyze Your Current Infrastructure and Resources

Before you ultimately decide to go for VDI as a Service, it would be wise to assess your current infrastructure and resources to determine if it is, in fact, the right solution for your business. Although VDI as a Service will allow you to avoid a large capital outlay, it could end up being more expensive in the long run. Those monthly or annual payments can add up faster than you think.

When you do your assessment, examine the capacity and utilization of your current IT infrastructure. See if it can accommodate a VDI environment readily. Storage is one particular resource that VDI consumes very quickly, so you’ll need to have lots of storage. Assess the size and capability of your IT team as well. Who knows? You might have team members who have the aptitude, bandwidth, and willingness to learn VDI.

If it turns out that you actually have the capacity to manage a VDI environment yourself, you might want to choose that option instead. Not only will it come out cheaper in the long run, but it will also enable you to have full control of your entire infrastructure. Besides, if you already have the infrastructure, the CAPEX savings of VDI as a Service already becomes a non-factor.

However, if your assessment reveals that you don’t have the infrastructure and resources for a self-managed VDI solution, you’re at least 100% sure VDI as a Service is your best choice, and you can proceed confidently.

Know Your Business Goals and Objectives

Different VDI as a Service providers have different strengths and weaknesses. Make sure the strengths of the provider you choose align with your business goals and objectives.

For example, if you operate in a highly regulated industry, you need to ensure that your provider has adequate security and compliance competencies. As much as possible, your provider should make it easy for you to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or other data privacy/protection laws and regulations relevant to your business.

Similarly, your service provider’s infrastructure should be scalable enough to expand and contract easily with demand if you’re doing business in a seasonal market. Providers that leverage cloud infrastructures would be your best bet in this regard.

How geographically dispersed are your business units? Do they span multiple cities? Multiple countries? Do you operate globally? Your provider should have ample geographic reach to serve your workforce.

Again, the idea is to work with a provider that aligns with your business goals and objectives to ensure success.

Choose the Best VDI Provider for Your Business

Aside from alignment with business goals and objectives, there are also other factors to consider:

Parallels RAS: A Simplified VDI Solution

While most VDI solutions are inherently expensive and excessively complex, a few exceptions exist. One of them is Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS). Parallels RAS is a simplified VDI solution that does away with the unnecessary costs and complexities inherent in most VDI products. Thus, compared to other VDI solutions, it has a much lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

This has profound implications for any organization looking for a VDI solution.

For Businesses Looking for a Self-Managed VDI Solution

Businesses that prefer to have greater control and have the financial and technical capabilities to manage their own VDI solution won’t need VDI as a Service. However, they’ll certainly need a VDI solution that’s more affordable from a TCO standpoint and significantly easier to administer. Parallels RAS meets those requirements easily.

Parallels RAS comes with a simplified licensing model and architecture that substantially reduces both upfront and operating costs. It’s so easy to deploy, manage, and maintain that even your existing IT staff can handle the job.

For Service Providers Looking to Offer a High-Margin VDI as a Service

MSPs and other service providers who are looking to offer VDI as a Service as part of their suite of services can enjoy a profitable business with Parallels RAS. With its low TCO, Parallels RAS guarantees high-profit margins.

Moreover, Parallels RAS is already built to support service provider scenarios with features and services such as multi-tenancy, white labeling, representational state transfer application programming interface (REST API)/PowerShell support, and Azure Virtual Desktop integration.

Parallels RAS offers a powerful service provider program.

Want to see for yourself if Parallels RAS is right for your business?

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