Desktop virtualization, also known as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), as a technology born out of the hypervisor revolution of the past 10–15 years, has moved from cutting edge to mainstream, and today is regarded as a highly mature solution for delivering secure, reliable, centrally managed desktops with many advantages over traditional PCs and laptops. The features and benefits of VDI are well-known in the industry and include:
- Lower cost
- More reliable end-point devices
- Consistent user experience
- Ease of access to user desktop from any device or location
- Ease of administration
- Simplified patch and OS management
- Faster application performance
- Shorter login times and quicker restarts
Additionally, VDI has dramatically improved over the years in terms of support for more exotic use-cases such as graphic intensive workloads, physical devices, printing, and offline access.
All these advantages and enhancements have paved the way for mainstream VDI adoption in recent years; however, several other factors have been driving new evolution and innovation in workforce productivity overall. These factors are two of the key elements of the 3rd Platform in information technology, namely mobile computing and cloud computing. The proliferation of mobile devices, delivery of various types of services, applications, and content from sources both private/internal and public/external, and workforce demands for always-on, instant access to the productivity systems they need to support the organization – all these things have driven the concept of VDI forward into a new model called End-user Computing or EUC.
EUC incorporates the concept of traditional VDI but layers a more holistic approach to end-user productivity along with the needs of the organization to create an experience that is simultaneously richer for the workforce, more productive for the business, and critically, more secure. Within an EUC environment, users have access to virtual desktops, seamless applications, cloud-based applications, and content from any device or web browser. Additionally, EUC strategies typically include persona (user profile and data) management and mobile device management to help the organization keep control of security risks from shadow IT and leakage of intellectual property. The result is more productive, more flexible, and more satisfied workforce, combined with all the advantages of centralization and security that we typically associate with VDI.