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Virtual desktop infrastructure: A fast, affordable way to enable employees to work from home

HPE Small Business Solutions for Remote Workers bring this powerful technology within the reach of small and midsized businesses.

Michael Meek Headshot.pngBy Michael Meek, SBM/MM Solutions Product Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

In the past six months or so, we’ve all become very familiar with calls for people to work from home if at all possible. Not everybody can, of course. But the fact that we’re hearing it so often is a tribute to the success that businesses have achieved in building out remote capabilities in recent years. Just ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been a widespread, realistic option.

HPE Small Business Solutions for Remote Workers.jpgAmong the key technologies that companies rely on to enable employees to work remotely, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a standout. VDI has been around for more than a decade – it definitely falls into the “tested, tried and true” category – but if you haven’t looked into it for a while, you may be surprised at how far the technology has come and how affordable it is. VDI solutions now fall well within the reach of many small and midsize businesses, even in tough financial times.

VDI in a nutshell

Here’s a quick overview of how the technology works. VDI provides a virtualized desktop experience to local and remote users that can be accessed over the network from anywhere, on any device. Users can access the operating system and their apps and documents just as they would on a PC at the office. However, the desktops are hosted in virtual machines (VMs) residing on a centralized server. Workloads are processed at the server, so they don’t tie up compute resources on your employees’ laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

For users, VDI means they’re no longer tethered to physical desktop locations; they can access their data wherever and whenever they need it. From IT’s point of view, VDI brings additional significant advantages. If an endpoint device is lost or stolen, the risk of data exposure is mitigated. Provisioning additional desktops – for example, for new employees – is much easier, since it’s all done at the server level.

Though the basic concepts are straightforward, there are a couple of important point to keep in mind when you’re considering VDI. The first is the difference between persistent and non-persistent desktops.

  • Persistent environments provide a single VM for each user – or store the user profile in a User Environment Manager – so each desktop experience is unique. For example, when you make a change to a document in your desktop or download an app, you’ll see that same document and screen when you return, because the desktop is unique to you.
  • Non-persistent environments share a single instance of the operating system. Every time you log in, you see the same desktop, but it’s not unique to you; it’s actually being shared across the users in the organization. It’s a bit like staying in a specific hotel brand when you’re traveling – it’s the same experience, but never the exact same room. For example, if you create a desktop shortcut in one session, it won’t be there the next time you log on.

Another point to keep in mind is that you’ll need to place employees into user profiles depending on their job function and the compute horsepower they need. Basically, you’ll categorize them as:

  • Task workers. These employees need compute resources for basic tasks such as data entry, email and simple office applications.
  • Knowledge workers. This group needs access to more sophisticated office applications such as data analysis tools, video conferencing, and productivity suites. These workers are often the majority of people in an organization’s work-from-home segment.
  • Power workers. These employees use the same apps as knowledge workers, but they also need more specialized tools – for example, applications for software engineering, content creation, or advanced data analysis.

Your one-stop for VDI success

While VDI does involve some complexities and some initial planning, the good news is there’s a fast route to VDI success for your small or midsized business. HPE Small Business Solutions for Remote Workers are complete, ready-to-go solution packages that include all of the hardware, software and services you need, sized right for your business. These solutions feature:

HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers, delivering the high level of system and application uptime that’s crucial for your business continuity, as well as silicon root of trust security for deep defense against cyberattacks.

Your choice of VDI platform. Choose either:

  • VMware Horizon: a persistent environment that integrates with your current VMware infrastructure and makes management a breeze. Based on the HPE ProLiant DL 360/380 or ML350, this configuration can support up to 88 users.
  • Teradici: PCoIP remote display technology delivers a high-performance experience for all users, but is especially effective for power users and employees working with graphics-intensive applications. Supports up to 30 users.

Hybrid cloud capabilities. You can easily evolve to a hybrid IT strategy; our solutions are tested and validated for both Microsoft Windows Server 2019 and Microsoft Azure Cloud Services – very useful options when you want to build out your disaster recovery capabilities.

HPE Small Business Solutions for Remote Workers are right-sized and affordable for smaller businesses. HPE Financial Services makes it even easier for SMBs to access VDI technology through innovative financing programs, including HPE Subscription, deferred payment models, and other flexible financing options.

Ready for the return

There’s much more to the VDI story than remote capabilities. The technology hugely increases collaboration and productivity in the physical workplace, too. When the time comes – and it will – for your employees to return to in-presence collaboration and all the synergies that flow from that, your VDI solution will be ready to support and enable those interactions. You’ll be well equipped and prepared to handle an explosion of creative energy and a new level of engagement with your markets.

We’re here to help. In these times when we’re all looking for answers, let us know if you’d like to talk to an HPE expert, or if there’s any other way we can help you.

Check out this infographic to learn more about how you can boost remote productivity with HPE Small Business Solutions for Remote Workers.

Learn more about HPE small business IT solutions.


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