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Key Criteria for Evaluating Virtual Desktop Infrastructurev1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. VDI Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take

1. Summary

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is of particular interest today, as working from home has become the new normal during (and most likely after) the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the ability to serve a set of applications or a fully deployed desktop image in a streaming model, with all the functionality of a local installation, has presented challenges since the first attempts to achieve this. This Key Criteria report will consider some of those challenges and suggest how to go about choosing the correct VDI solution for your business. The choice will depend on the size of the organization and how virtual desktops are to be deployed (persistent or non-persistent). This will be addressed here and in the Radar report as well.

This report discusses the technology that enables VDI solutions and identifies the relevant key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting an on-premises or cloud-based architecture. The companion Radar report identifies the vendors and products that excel in this area.

Key requirements for VDI solutions include:

  • Support for end-user computing via remote access, allowing users to work from anywhere on any device.
  • Fully actualized remote access to all applications and data, securely and with a comfortable user experience.
  • The ability to use virtual desktops for remote access to internal systems as well as for internal access to internal systems.

Part of the power of VDI is that it offers manageability across (potentially complex) deployments and operations. For example, if a non-persistent desktop becomes infected with a virus, all that’s required is a reboot of that virtual machine, which will “recompose” the desktop, effectively purging the offending malware from that instance. Moreover, applications can be updated, deleted, or rolled back with minimal effort. Imagine a 5,000-desktop infrastructure that requires a new version of a digital office product. An organization could hire a roving band of engineers to handle all the upgrades, or create a single master image. Clearly, that’s a lot of time and money saved. Typically, larger companies had to use desktop management systems to roll out applications, but remote upgrades still took a lot more time than simply updating the image on a VDI system.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.