Seamless Business Productivity Part 1: Desktop Virtualization or how we’re working from our TV’s

  • On September 5, 2018

I am writing this text in a ski hut next to the slope in a mountain area with ridiculously poor internet connection and if someone told me three years ago I would be able to access all my desktop documents and company data from here I would tell him he was nuts. I Vasil and I am the CTO and co-founder of Melon – the parent company behind the C-wise brand, with 170 employees in 3 countries and this story is about VDI migration and how it changed the way we work and live. Yes, as corny as it sounds – our daily routines have changed so much I can easily say we live differently. But bear with me as I will walk you through the best and worst aspect of the whole thing.

One of the immediate results is that we solved our desktop/laptop lifecycle problem and yes – it suddenly became possible to work anytime, anywhere. The whole game changed entirely for us because our personal laptops, smartphones and tablets, and even a kiosk at the library became an endpoint good enough to do our job. We could access our desktops and all applications we needed instantly. Some may argue as to the benefits of a relentless work-cycle but imagine you’re unchained from your desk and can deliver from home, from Bali, from the ski-slopes, from anywhere. And without changing significantly the same experience you would have at your own desk. And if that is not liberating, I don’t know what is.

In many cases when a colleague would lose data on their personal laptop, or damaged the machine – that could result in a downtime for days. Now this issue is irrelevant. In our post-VDI world the endpoint can be any device at hand. And I mean any – even a TV with an internet connection would. I know, I’ve tried this myself.

When I talk about seamless productivity I still get that benefit of the doubt type of look – but hear this. Last night in the local bar I was chatting with a gentleman who has been considering wealth management alternatives for couple of years but postponing it for one reason or another. He had concrete questions and needed figures and examples that obviously I didn’t have handy at my ski vacation. But not after the VDI – now with my mobile I got some presentations and tables as we were ordering the second beer, asked for his email and clicked send in less than a minute. Now that is a seamless workflow that allows us to capture any opportunity on the fly.

If this story was written by my IT department folks, it would have even more examples but to name a few changes for them – uniformity across desktops, troubleshooting and issue resolution for helpdesk staff became much easier.

It didn’t go without hiccups of course but, but now looking back at it I wouldn’t go to my desktop system.

One of our mistakes was to assume that our cyber security concerns were magically solved. We took for granted that there were no need to worry about stolen secrets or missing laptops. After a pen-test, we realised that data breaches can still take place. So we learned the easy way that the same rules like strong passwords, encryption, screen locking, disconnecting idle sessions etc. are to be applied to VDI as well. And regarding confidential documents nothing really changed – all the ISO-27001 & GDPR standards are to be followed.

Despite all cost-saving benefits that you will hear VDI has, don’t bet that it is going to be the cheapest effort in your company history. You will see dramatic improvement in administrative capabilities and yes you will save from hardware costs on a per-user basis, you may also see a reduction in power costs but this could be offset by increased network bandwidth, resulting in slower response times. VDI transition requires a lot of software, hardware, network capacity and time so it is not coming for free but certainly and quickly pays off.

So this is pretty much our VDI experience so far. Don’t overthink it and over-read it – jump for it and you will thank me later. Also, depending on your current challenges, I’d recommend taking a look at the Аmazon Workspaces Desktop-as-a-Service as well.