How can VDI or Desktop As a Service help me solve remote work

Welcome to another installment of Design Under Influence—a show dedicated to helping architecture and design firms use technology as their competitive advantage.  

People in business circles are buzzing about VDI services. In this episode, we’re going to unpack this as a potential solution to remote work.  

Solving problems related to remote work is on the mind of nearly every business right now.  

So what is Desktop As a Service?  

At the high level, Desktop As a Service is a form of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).  

For about fifteen years, we’ve had the technology to virtualize the servers. Within the last five years, we’ve begun to virtualize the desktops themselves.  

In the last year, Desktop As a Service has become especially mainstream due to its cost-effectiveness.  

Desktop As a Service means that you have a big box in your office or in the cloud that houses virtual workstations.  

This enables your businesses employees to use cheaper technologies like iPads, mobile phones, and low-end computers to access virtual desktops and complete their work.  

But can heavy-duty architecture and design firm software really run on an iPad through VDI?  

In the last year, technological advancements have allowed not only for the virtualization of processors but also virtual technologies and heavy graphics components required by architecture and design software.  

You have to remember that all the processing is taking place via virtual infrastructure. You are sending the clicks to the machine, and the machine returns output back to you.  

Remote access technology is incredibly efficient. But is it cost-effective?  

We know that you run a business and your resources are limited.  

At the end of the day, you have to look at the cost-benefit analysis of using VDI for your business.  

For example, if you work in an architecture and design firm with 70+ architects, you’re running heavy graphic applications on workstations that cost anywhere from three to four grand per employee.  That makes for $280,000+ worth of equipment.  

Additionally, these workstations tend to go out of date within three to four years, making for expensive and frequent replacements.  

VDI products allow for the virtualization of these costly workstations, as well as individual applications. Immediately, you will save a ton on hardware costs alone.  

VDI allows businesses to control who has access to certain applications and programs. When your employee logs on, they can see their assigned applications and workstations. This minimizes excess processing for applications they don’t need and controls access to company resources.  

Remote work also provides additional security opportunities, as your employees won’t be connecting to the office’s network. Clicks are being sent back and forth from the virtual infrastructure machine without the threat of interference.  

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is helpful when it comes to fighting off phishing attacks. Instead of having to install programming on each individual desktop computer, IT services can roll out the programming automatically through the virtual centralization of technology.  

There are implementation costs that come with the transition to Desktop As a Service from your physical systems.  

However, for larger firms (think 80+ employees), making the switch makes a ton of sense. If you’re a smaller company, you’ll have to do more scrutinizing cost-benefit analysis to see if this is truly right for you.  

The pay-offs are enormous in terms of:  

  • Ease of use and management
  • Easy of access for remote employees 
  • Mitigation of security risks 

However, you are likely going to pay a little bit more than what you are currently spending on hardware.  

Implementation of VDI technology itself usually takes about three weeks. However, we recommend doing a pilot program as part of your financial feasibility study. This pilot program pinpoints different employees across your business for use and feedback so that we can properly tune the technology to meet your business’s needs.  

Everybody is a different use case. Your own business needs are unique, and it’s important that your IT person recognizes that for maximum performance capabilities.  

At ArchIT, we can do this very quickly because we’ve worked with so many architecture and design firms. We know the technology and have a wealth of experience in the industry.  

In total, you can expect the pilot program and implementation to take anywhere from 6-8 weeks. We also recommend having professionals monitor your system after installment.  

One of the most exciting benefits of VDI technology is that you can use existing machines. If you already have the hardware, its life can be extended up to twice as long by serving your company as a remote access device.  

Desktop As a Service, a branch of VDI, allows us to move files and applications to a virtual cloud platform rather than storing them on company premises. The cloud runs your virtual workstations and allows for remote access to files.  

You don’t pay rent in a cloud. Not only does remote virtual access eliminate security and productivity concerns around being in a physical building, but it also saves you money on rent costs.  

Access to files, workstations, and applications is integral to your business.  

If you have questions or need help please reach out to us.  ArchIT specializes in providing IT services for architecture, design, and engineering firms