The Cloud Experience Everywhere

Time to Refresh Your VDI? How to Sidestep the Upfront Expense

By Saadat Malik, HPE Vice President for IoT and Intelligent Edge Services

Virtual desktop infrastructure is rapidly becoming not just mainstream, but a standard solution for enterprises. A report a couple of years back from Technavio predicted worldwide market penetration for virtual desktops and virtual applications at more than 40 percent by 2020.[1] It’s certainly already higher than that in the United States. My own informal estimate, based on what I hear from IT leaders, is that close to three-quarters of large enterprises already run virtual desktops and virtual apps in some form. That’s bound to continue on a growth trajectory; the benefits of secure remote access and simplified management and troubleshooting are just too big to ignore.


As virtual application and desktop initiatives mature, companies are looking for ways to build on their success and deliver even more of the innovative functionality that these solutions are constantly generating, and to deliver it to a wider section of users. They’re investigating alternative ways of providing the infrastructure that underpins high-performance virtual desktops and virtual apps.

Public cloud is an option, but it’s unlikely to be the sole choice for most organizations. In VDI, as in IT at large, we’re living in a hybrid cloud world, and that will be the case for many years to come. Take VDI’s security benefits, for example. Ring-fencing data is often a driver for virtual desktop and virtual application initiatives, as well as a motivator for keeping workloads on-premises. A financial services firm, for example, might leverage VDI technology to ensure maximum protection for its customer data. Or a car manufacturer may want to provide access for off-shore resources to work on a design, but without allowing the design to be stored locally. So the question becomes, how do we bring the flexibility and agility of public cloud to on-premises datacenters, including those serving highly regulated industries or requiring maximum security standards?

In general, what we’re seeing is that businesses want to keep their on-premises virtual desktop and virtual application infrastructure while extending it and increasing user adoption, for example by making legacy applications available in a more mobile-friendly, client-agnostic environment.

While on-premises is a preferred strategy, not all businesses can easily finance the costs associated with recurring upfront expenses or longer implementation cycles.

The best of both worlds with HPE GreenLake

Is there a way to get the best of both worlds for the virtual desktop? There is: It’s called HPE GreenLake VDI lighthouse program. It’s a turnkey solution that combines the security and performance of on-prem infrastructure with the flexibility and simplicity of cloud. HPE GreenLake VDI lighthouse program provides:

  1. Streamlined, cloud-like economics. The solution combines HPE hardware, software, and HPE Pointnext Services in a straightforward per-named-user, per-month billing model. We deploy the infrastructure at your data center, close to your applications and users, but ownership remains with HPE. It’s a simplified, cloud-like solution that lets you sidestep the need for big chunks of CapEx.
  2. Massive scalability. HPE GreenLake VDI lighthouse program is a flexible model that can grow and expand as your needs change. Sizing VDI rollouts can be challenging. Companies’ estimates don’t always match the actual user demand once the project goes live, which results in provisioning too many users on too few machines, and a less-than-ideal user experience. With HPE GreenLake VDI lighthouse program, scale is no longer an issue; when the user demand presents itself, you can quickly expand the virtual desktop and virtual app solution.

One way to think of it is as a kind of modular infrastructure. You would simply say “OK, I want to add another 200 of this type of user.” HPE would have planned the capacity, so that it’s ready as a “buffer” – you just turn it on, and away you go. As Jordan Whitmarsh put it in a recent post, “Your VDI environment can seamlessly scale ahead of your demand, so you can always respond quickly to the needs of the business.”

  1. Simplified migration and management. HPE GreenLake VDI lighthouse program is a huge timesaver when it comes to upgrading to the latest virtual desktop infrastructure platform. That’s usually work that you have to do in-house, and it doesn't necessarily get prioritized. Many businesses are eager to access the latest features and capabilities of a new virtual desktop infrastructure platform. However, they must balance the availability of the IT staff to execute the upgrade against all of their ongoing IT projects, as well as the availability of the required infrastructure to support a build-out of the new release alongside the existing production deployment.

With HPE Pointnext Services deep virtual desktop infrastructure expertise and experience, together with our preexisting designs, we can reduce it all to just three questions: How many users do you want on the platform? Where do you want the solution located, i.e. which data center does it need to live in? And which virtual desktop vendor do you want to use? Then we can give you a price, design it and install it for you.

HPE GreenLake VDI lighthouse program also removes some of the complexity of day-to-day management of your virtual estate. If you use a Citrix solution, for example, your admins would see exactly the same console that they’ve used in the past and would manage your images in the same way. But some elements of the console would be restricted, because they’re managed by HPE. The monitoring, maintenance, and operation of the underlying hardware platform is performed by HPE, so that’s a layer of environment that your admins don't have to deal with. In addition, we help you keep your underlying virtual desktop and virtual application systems current and the software up-to-date and ready for any future upgrades.

Building the complete story around VDI

One of the advantages of working with HPE is the breadth of services we offer customers around the virtual desktop solution. Whether it’s creating an optimized network communication fabric that can meet the needs of the virtual solution, or a security offering that manages risk through AI and ML techniques, or augmenting the virtual desktop offering with customized public cloud solutions, HPE brings all the tools and expertise to our customers so they can sit back and watch their vision for a workplace of the future unfold before their eyes.

Organizational change management is a key factor in the successful adoption of any workplace-related offering. HPE provides a rich change management offering tailored to making your people, processes and technology all work together like clockwork.

A partnership for the future of the workplace

We at HPE see virtual desktops and virtual applications as a vital component of the intelligent, fully digital workplace of the future. We’re continuing to build our strategic partnership with Citrix in this area – in secure workplace solutions, for example. Our goal is to help our customers execute on this crucial digital transformation agenda and meet their needs with real solutions from Citrix and other leading providers in the smart workplace ecosystem.

“The HPE GreenLake Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Lighthouse Program with Citrix is an innovative, turnkey solution for our Citrix Workspace hybrid cloud customers.  Citrix and HPE Pointnext are making it easier for organizations to leverage the on-demand scaling and per-user, per-month consumption model of cloud infrastructure within their private cloud deployment. This is just one way Citrix and HPE offer customers innovative solutions for a better way to work as we work together to transform the future of work.” -Sridhar Mullapudi, senior vice president of Product Management at Citrix.

I’ll be talking about HPE GreenLake VDI lighthouse program at Citrix Synergy 2019, coming up May 21-23 in Atlanta. I’ll be at the HPE booth, #304, together with our solution architects and other members of our team. We’d love to chat with you, whether it’s about the technical nitty-gritty of our solution, the business case you have in mind, or any other aspect of virtual desktops and virtual apps.

I hope to see you there!


Come see us at HPE Discover in Las Vegas and attend our session T8537: Get cloud-like economics delivered on-premises with HPE GreenLake VDI.

Learn more about the HPE GreenLake VDI Lighthouse Program 

Read about HPE Greenlake VDI lighthouse with Citrix: Simple to buy and scale


[1] See the London-based research firm’s press release here.


Saadat Malik is HPE’s Vice President for IoT and Intelligent Edge Services. He leads an organization focused on developing solutions and services for customers that are looking to transform their businesses by leveraging IoT and Intelligent Edge capabilities. Saadat is an accomplished digitization services executive. He has worked hand-in-glove with customers, delivering some of the largest IoT projects globally at the junction of IT and OT (operations) for a large portion of his 20-year-long career in the technology industry.

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