Virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) has entered a new era. It’s been a long evolution, but VDI is cool again! Instead of getting overrun by emerging technologies as some predicted, virtualized environments have adapted to their new world. Today’s article will review “new generation” VDI, and how Global 2000 enterprises can leverage their enterprise video platforms to extend the power of video to all employees, regardless of their desktop and connectivity configuration.

What are the Benefits of Virtualized Environments?

Virtualized environments give mobile and thin client devices (less powerful but more affordable desktop setups) a standardized, centrally controlled set of applications. Today, VDI is not only viable but often the only practical way for an enterprise to serve large numbers—even tens of thousands—of globally dispersed users. Virtual desktop environments have some other very tangible benefits, including:

  1. Hardware Savings—thin clients can be purchased at a much lower cost.
  2. Software and Support Savings—application software in a virtual environment is centralized, and therefore easier to deploy and monitor.
  3. Increased Security—everything within a virtualized environment is under IT’s direct and immediate control.

How Are New Technologies Increasing the Value of VDI?

New technologies like cloud and mobile computing have energized VDI, increasing connectivity and bringing the virtual desktop experience to mobile devices. In “The Other Virtual Reality,” Tamsin Oxford discusses how VDI has shifted from clunky to connected.

Thanks to mobility and cloud and cost, VDI has become a powerful tool for the organization in search of thin clients, increased mobility and greater control over computing environments. This change is being driven by more than just cloud; it is also powered by people and the ways in which businesses are engaging with technologies and solutions.1

—Tamsin Oxford, ITWeb Virtualisation

Speaking of how people are engaging through technology, Unified Communications is also impacting VDI. In today’s business, UC tools like Skype for Business or WebEx are how meetings happen, allowing global teams to connect face-to-face. It its State of the VDI and SBC Union report, VDI Like A Pro notes a dramatic increase—from 13.4% in 2014 to 30.6% in 2017—among companies planning for unified communications in their VDI environments.2

Can VDI Actually Handle Enterprise Video?

Even with advances in technology opening new possibilities for VDI users to share in an organization’s digital transformation, a major problem persists: bringing video and other forms of rich media to these environments has historically been difficult. VDI processing is handled by a server in a data center, which is how the thin client devices only need minimal processing ability. They simply aren’t built to handle video, resulting in a poor user experience or no access at all. This often leaves a large employee population on an island—unable to participate in true Social Business and UC activities.

Of course, in today’s enterprise people connect and collaborate in a big way using video: individuals with their peers, trainers with learners and teams with leaders. For any organization to remain competitive, employees need to engage in live, streaming and on-demand video, such as executive broadcasts, town hall meetings, video-based training and internal social video. Video is a vital necessity, not only for productivity, but for employee engagement.

How Do You Ensure VDI Users Are Video-Enabled?

As their virtualized environments have become increasingly sophisticated and video grows exponentially, many large organizations now incorporate an enterprise video platform as a vital component of their virtualized desktop infrastructure. What makes this approach especially powerful is that it is entirely consistent with the fundamental goals of a VDI strategy: centralized control, security, efficient use of network resources and a great user experience. Acting as a video hub, your enterprise video platform wraps each video asset in security and metadata in a standardized way. Back-end management is handled in one place, making it easier for IT to provide the video services and performance needed to all employees over your existing network. Plus, it integrates seamlessly—behind the scenes—with your existing VDI software and hardware so that users simply work in their existing applications.

Another major user experience boost comes from intelligent delivery: when a video platform is aware of—and adapts dynamically to—available bandwidth and the capabilities of the end devices. The right enterprise video platform can offload video streaming/processing from VDI end points and thin clients, not to mention your existing networks. The result: no outages or buffering so that all video users can have the same quality experience across the enterprise.

What About the Future?

You can expect that VDI will be around for years to come for the simple reason that it gives companies the best of two worlds: IT cost savings and control, plus a viable way to extend the digital workplace to all employees.

One way to maximize your VDI investment is by ensuring that your enterprise video platform does more than just the heavy lifting for video management and delivery. It must also be extensible. Extensibility is what makes your video platform future-proof. In other words, it should be built upon an open, service-based architecture, making it integration-ready for other product platforms, such as thin client developers (like Dell) and virtualized software providers (like Citrix, IGEL and Microsoft). That way, you’re ready to take advantage of future advances as technology and your organization evolves.

If you’re interested in video-enabling your VDI environment, be sure to Contact Qumu any time, or Sign Up for Our Free 30-Day Trial of Qumu Cloud and try it yourself. We’d love to share how our large enterprise clients are bringing high performance video to their VDI users.

1 ITWeb Virtualisation (May 2016)

2 VDI Like A Pro (June 2017)

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