By Troy Massey, Director, Enterprise Engagements, Iron Bow
According to a recent survey conducted by 1105Media, 1/3 of the agencies surveyed have adopted a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), enabling their users a consistent experience and secure access.
VDI is virtualization technology that allows an organization to host a desktop operating system on a centralized server in a data center. Iron Bow partner VMware coined the term, and as the survey confirms this trend is being increasingly utilized in government today.
Currently, there are two main drivers of virtualization in the federal space: the Defense Department mandated move to Windows 10 and the need for an overall technology refresh in federal agencies.
A move to Windows 10 is government mandated, but agencies’ overwhelming reliance on legacy IT has made the switch both tricky and risky. And while a technology refresh is a positive move from an innovation and security standpoint for federal agencies, it can also be very costly.
Leveraging VDI is a way for agencies to overcome the cost barrier to meeting the government’s mandate. Instead of buying a new desktop in a costly tech refresh, an agency could instead deploy VDI on the server and keep their old computers in place. Virtualization enables the transition to move more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
VDI provides all of the necessary compute, networking and storage capacity, virtually. Using virtualization also allows for simple and easy set up for the next iteration of Windows and other application upgrades without necessitating another full-scale hardware refresh.
A move to VDI can also result in higher ROI. Virtualization allows an agency to postpone buying new equipment for a longer period of time, which results in major savings in the long-term thanks to their up-front investment.
Today’s desktop computer has CPU, RAM, a hard drive and Internet, but with VDI, instead of the desktop computer having to do all of the work, it’s outsourced to the server, which then creates virtual instances. These virtual instances encompass, for example, a session of Windows 10. That means a federal employee can log into their computer and can see a session, though it is technically beamed in from the server.
Saving money isn’t the only benefit to using VDI. The technology also allows for better IT control, security and management.
Localizing information to the server provides enhanced data security, making for a safer IT environment. And from an administrative perspective, VDI only requires the maintenance of a single image in the data center.
Both of those factors streamline IT services and free up government IT staff, giving them more time to focus on key agency missions. In the absence of VDI, IT professionals instead must deal with varying types of hardware and troubleshooting problems using mix-and-match methods.
Iron Bow is contributing to this move and its benefits. We have the past performance and expertise to guide clients seamlessly through a VDI implementation, from plan, design to implementation.
Our partners have the tools to analyze potential users on a total user experience. This means we can use records to track tasks like how long it takes to send an email. We also take into account what type of machine each end user has, to decide if it is it a VDI capable client. Analysis of the network speed between the user and data center can determine if an organization is capable of becoming a VDI client.
Since every federal agency is different, Iron Bow tweaked this code in order to check for more unique and specific needs. For example, the military has CAC-specific hardware. Our team of IT professionals can use software to make sure a VDI client works alongside a CAC reader.
By customizing the assessment to specific customers, Iron Bow can then better assist in an automated migration to virtualized IT platforms. This automated solution copies a customer’s profile and data to their server, creates a unique VDI image, makes a machine a VDI client and then can copy the customer’s profile back for the end user.
To learn more about how virtualization can help you in making seamless, automated transition to VDI, visit: https://ironbow.com/solutions_serv/virtualization