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The Truth About Remote Working

Remote Working Success Factors:

According to a 2016 survey of American remote workers, about 91 percent of people who work from home feel they’re more productive than when they’re in an office.  Forbes Magazine and Harvard Business Review have both written extensively about the productivity gains from remote working.

I have worked remote for the past 6 years.  I think working remotely is great for productivity and work-life balance but it might not be for everyone.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of remote working.

Remote work can be good or bad, it depends on you, your job and employer

What kind of a job do you have? Studies show Knowledge and Creative workers will benefit most from remote working.  Obviously, if you have a job that requires face to face meetings or special equipment then working remotely is not going to work for you.  There is no way a Starbucks Barista is going to work remotely. The exceptions might be phone or chat-based customer service jobs, they are tailor-made for remote workers.

Remote working flexibility is great.  It allows you to schedule life around work.  You can take a 15-minute break to pick up the kids from school or meet the plumber.  These little conveniences improve work/life balance.

Commute time is eliminated.  People don’t realize how much time (and money) is spent commuting.  I live in a large urban city and my wife spends 3 hours and $15 a day using public transportation.  That is a big expense and time commitment.  My commute is one minute to my home office.

If you spend a lot of time working in teams, remote working can still be very productive.  There are many factors that determine if remote work works for you. Let’s look at those that can make you a successful remote worker.

To work remotely, you need appropriate technology

Remote working requires the ability to work from anywhere, ideally, you need complete mobility.

Depending on your exact situation, you need a laptop (or desktop PC), mobile phone and some kind of screen sharing or online meeting tool.  You might also use a chat client or an online project management tool.  There are many solutions out there, you need to investigate which tools work best in your situation and with your employer.

I use Google Voice.  Google Voice allows one number to ring in many places at the same time,  my desk phone, my mobile phone and my Skype number all ring together. I can be anywhere and you can reach me by phone.  Many telephony systems allow you to forward your calls to another number or to your mobile phone.  There are phone features like Find me / Follow me that ring at multiple locations, one after another until you pick up or it goes to voicemail.

If you work in teams, you need technology to support teamwork.  Technologies like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or VDIs (Virtual Desktop Interface) give you complete access to your work computer and all your office files and programs from anywhere you have Internet connectivity.

If your company does not use VDI or allow remote access, then you are going to have a harder time collaborating with colleagues and access the programs and data you need.  Most companies, even if they do not use VDI, have some way to securely access company infrastructure.  This is typically done using Virtual Private Network (VPN) and some kind of secure authentication.

I am fortunate my company, Advance2000, provides technologies to enable our entire staff to be 100% mobile.  We also help other companies become 100% mobile and work remotely.  We can provide an “office in the cloud” and supply servers, desktops and phones all completely hosted in our private cloud and accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection.  Some of our clients don’t even have physical offices any longer.

Dedicated Workspace

You need a comfortable place to work.  Companies provide a comfortable productive place for their employees to work.  Working remote, you need that too.

When setting up a home office, keep these things in mind.

  • Door – I find having a door on my office, especially when my kids were younger, was a necessity. If the door is closed, no kids or cats are allowed in.
  • Full-size desk – Get a full-size desk for your computer and two monitors. Dual monitors have been shown to boost productivity.  Spend some money on quality monitors, keyboards and mice.  You spend 8 hours a day on these tools, make sure they are high quality. You want to minimize the chance of eye strain and RSI and you need reliable technology that will last.
  • Network/Internet – a wired Internet connection is faster and more reliable than using WiFi.  If needed, have an electrician run wiring from your Internet Router to your home office.  If you have multiple devices using the Internet, you can invest in a small switch to share your Internet connection.
  • Hotspot/phone fallback – I recommend you have a cellular backup in case your home Internet service goes down. You can use a mobile phone or tablet with cellular data to create a mobile hotspot to use in case your primary Internet goes out.  Or you can just pack up and head to the nearest coffee shop to work.
  • Good desk chair – Get a good office chair.  Do not buy a cheap box store chair.  You are going to spend 8-10 hours a day in your chair.  There is a reason office chairs are so expensive, they are designed for all-day comfort.  Don’t scrimp here, if you can’t afford to spend a lot, check out office equipment resellers.  They have lightly used office chairs by all the major office furniture providers.  Go and sit in the chair, make sure it is right before you spend hundreds of dollars.
  • Private space – I recommend a private office space not shared with the rest of the family.  You need to separate from the family distractions.
  • Windows / fresh air – it is a bonus if you have natural light and operating windows in your office.
  • Monitor/keyboard/headset – These are the tools you use all day. Along with a good chair, get a good keyboard and mouse and monitors.  Ergonomic tools are a plus.  If you spend a lot of time on the phone, consider using a lightweight high-quality headset.
  • Office in a wardrobe – Tight on space? You can house an entire office in a piece of furniture.  There are also desks that hide the office equipment from sight.

Photo: Bowery Hill Computer Armoire

  • Build an office? – Depending on your local building codes, you might be able to build an office in your backyard. This gives you the mental and physical separation from the home.  You leave your house but still have all the amenities of home just a few steps away.

Photo courtesy Will Leger

Office parks/coworking spaces – Finally, if you can’t stand working alone, there are many coworking spaces available everywhere.  For a very small monthly investment, you have access to a shared desk and workspace.  Coworking spaces offer Wifi, refreshments, shared desks and team/conference rooms.  You just bring your laptop and work.  Some people find the social activity stimulating to work.

Photo: WeWork – Chicago

Staying Focused

Successful remote working ultimately depends on you.  It requires discipline and organization.  If you are the type of person whose attention wanders you might not be a good candidate.  Here are some things you can do to improve concentration and reduce distractions.

  • Music – some people use music to provide “white noise” to help them focus on tasks at hand.
  • Minimize interruptions – Be careful of distractions / Internet / social media. Stay away from distractions online.  Consider using browser extensions to block all websites for a period of time.  (RescueTime)
  • Pomodoro technique – Work 25 minutes without stopping and then take a 5-minute break. Specialized Pomodoro apps and websites can help you use this technique to stay focused.
  • Set time for lunch and breaks – every 20 minutes look away from the computer screen for 20 seconds. Plan a regular time for lunch and get away from the computer.
  • Face time – Plan regular trips to the company’s office. You need face time occasionally.  This makes working remote more successful.  Once you meet someone in person, it is much easier to work with them remotely.
  • Demographics – Surprisingly, younger people prefer working in an office for the “social” aspects.

Tips for remote workers

  • Keep a professional attitude – When remote working, it is tempting to not get dressed or shave or get out of your pajamas. Resist these behaviors, they affect your thinking.  Maintaining professional behaviors will help you be more productive.  Don’t take conference calls in bed.
  • Turn off social media – Use organizational technology to keep on track, create lists. If you know what to do next, it will help you resist the temptation to waste time.
  • Schedule all your time – Schedule your todo tasks as well as your meetings and appointments. When you have free time, refer to your to-do list and move to the next item on your list. Stay busy and your mind will not wander.
  • Use fill-in tasks – I have a list of projects to do right now, to do in the future and to do someday. Having those lists prepared keeps you from wasting time by not knowing what to do.
  • Establish regular hours – Keep regular hours. I start work at 8 AM and take lunch 11-11:30 and end my day at 5.  Beware of the trap of working all the time.  It is tempting to answer email and phone calls 24/7/365.  Unless you are required to do this, working remotely is not an excuse to work 12 hour days.  Working remote can improve work/life balance.  Working all the time increases stress and is unproductive.
  • Take regular breaks – Take time away from the computer screen, rest your eyes every hour. Take lunch every day, I take a shorter lunch (30 minutes) since I don’t have to get food or go anywhere to eat.

Pulling it all together

Positives

  • No commute
  • Flexibility
  • Fewer distractions / interruptions
  • Lower employee attrition (higher retention)
  • Better home/work balance
  • Self Management (responsibility)
  • Save money – no commuting costs = instant raise, eat at home
  • No office space required/create a virtual company for startups

Negatives

  • No face time / alone / isolation
  • Lose “social” aspect of the office
  • Time management harder / requires more discipline
  • No physical presence in the office – out of sight …
  • Need to over communicate to be heard – you are not seen
  • Must be a good time manager

Convincing the Boss

So how do you convince your company to allow you to work remote?  In the studies on remote work, middle management seems to be the most resistant to allowing staff to work remote.  This might be because they can no longer see their staff working in front of them.  There is a certain amount of trust required on the part of managers to let go.

One suggestion might be to rotate the days you work remote.  Maybe you go to the office on Monday and Friday and work remote Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?  Or maybe part of your department works remotely while the rest are in the office and then you switch.  Companies using remote workers need less office space.  Fewer offices/cubicles and less office furniture reduce costs for a company.  It is a win-win for employees and their companies.

Try It

Remote working is not for everyone or for every company.  Set up a remote working trial and see how it goes.  I think you will be surprised how it can improve productivity, create happier employees and save money.

For more information on setting up a virtual office and working remote, contact us today.  Click here and we can get you started.

How to Plan a Successful VDI Implementation

Implementing a New Technology

Implementing VDI, whether hosted (Desktop as a Service) or on-premise is big undertaking involving a lot of change.  Managing that change is crucial to the success of the initiative. When implementing any new technology for the first time, there are several things to consider.
VDI Implementation

Evaluate: First, evaluate your current processes, procedures, and practices.  What’s working well, what isn’t?  Where can you improve? Decide where technology will make the biggest impact in the way you work.  Target the areas that will have the biggest payoff on your investment dollar – the best ROI.

Strategize: Next, think about your optimal business situation. What are your goals? Where is your company headed – ideally? How will you get there? What are the gaps between where you are today and where you want to be?  Identify the technologies that will take you to the next level.

Plan & Implement: Once you’ve identified the areas of improvement and decided on a technology solution to close the gap, you need to form an implementation plan. Identify and prioritize your “quick wins” to build momentum and buy-in from staff and management.

Educate, Communicate and Document: With any new technology or way of working there will be questions, concerns, and skepticism. Staff development, training, and good communication are essential to the success of any new initiative. Bring everyone up to speed and keep them informed, and the change will be much easier to manage.

Continuous Improvement: Once your implementation is completed you’re certainly not finished. Look for other opportunities to build on your success. Uncover ways to continually improve (Kaizen). Especially when it comes to technology, you can’t stand still or you’ll be left behind.

Getting Started

We take a Crawl – Walk – Run approach to VDI implementation.

Crawl
Start with a demo. This is your proof of concept. Does this technology really work? If it does work, will it provide me the performance that I need? At Advance2000, demo accounts are free and a good way to vet the solution without spending any money – just a little time.

Walk
The next step I’d recommend is a pilot. By a pilot, I mean a small implementation for a project or the office. This is a real test. You should set up goals and metrics for the pilot; you can measure uptime and test support. Then verify the actual performance: does it meet or exceed your expectations? What questions and problems do you encounter? Is it easy to use? And what training is needed?

Run
Finally, once you are satisfied and believe that all is good and this new endeavor will save you time and money, plan a full implementation that can be a single project or involve your entire company.

Migrating to a Hosted VDI Solution

There are 7 steps to a successful VDI implementation:

  1. Decide on an approach
  2. Infrastructure plan – hardware
  3. Software integration
  4. Communication plan
  5. Training plan
  6. Wrap up
  7. Measure success

Decide on an Approach

How are you going to implement VDI?  There are three approaches that we see used frequently: by project, by department, or by office. (Or you might use some combination of these three.)

Some firms start with a single project as a pilot and then once that project is running well, move a second project to the cloud. They continue to migrate to VDIs – project by project – until most of the work is being done on VDI. At that point, you will have most of the firm in the cloud. You can then migrate the rest of the company using one of the methods described below.

One option is migrating by department. Sometimes it’s easier to move entire departments to the cloud. Departments like HR, accounting, and other independent departments can move to VDI without disrupting the rest of the firm. This approach is usually less disruptive to the projects, as well.

For a multi-office company, you can migrate to VDI office by office by cutting over their desktops and storage one office at a time. You can even space it out and do one office per month. This approach can be difficult if you collaborate a lot between offices, but if each office is independent it works well. Make sure you don’t make the migration longer than necessary. If VDIs provide a measurable benefit, you want to take advantage as quickly as possible.

Infrastructure Plan

The next step is to identify and formulate an infrastructure plan. You need to determine which assets are going to be virtualized and run from the data center. Conduct an inventory of the types and quantities of desktops and servers you operate so you can determine what you need in the data center to support your staff.  What kind of bandwidth and firewalls do you need to connect to your VDIs? Keep in mind that data circuits can be one of the longest lead time items on your implementation schedule.

Next, build the VDI Infrastructure in the data center, migrate your data, set a date, and plan the cutover on a weekend.  The following Monday morning everyone should be prepared to use the new technology.

Lastly, determine what to do with older desktops and laptops. You can keep them and run them until the wheels fall off, sell them, trash them, or give them away to employees or charity.

Don’t forget to follow up and make sure that everything is working well.

Infrastructure Plan Overview:

  • Circuit upgrades (long lead time)
  • Server inventory
  • Desktop inventory
  • Set up virtual infrastructure in data center
  • Copy all data to the data center
  • Verify data is synchronized
  • Complete WAN upgrade
  • Set cutover date
  • Deactivate local servers
  • Do the final data sync to the cloud
  • Setup cutover – usually over a weekend
  • Test all systems – printers, scanners, etc.
  • Go live!
  • Follow up: uncover issues / develop a punch list / troubleshoot

Software Integration

Make sure all your software works well on a VDI. Verify that your software can legally run on a VDI.  Some software manufacturers strictly forbid use on a VDI or in a virtualized environment. Test all programs to make sure that the performance is good. If you have any software that requires special hardware (dongles, card readers, cameras, etc.), verify it works on a VDI and that you have any necessary interface hardware needed.

Communication Plan

Good communication can make or break any technology initiative. Take time to tell staff what to expect, keep them informed throughout the process, and follow up after the completion of the initiative.

What exactly should you communicate to your staff?

Here are some ideas:

  • What is a VDI?
  • Why are we using VDIs?
  • What is the plan to migrate to VDI?
  • What can you expect, how will we work differently?
  • Share your migration plan and milestones
  • Conduct a post cutover Q&A
  • How will you get help / support?

Good communication will ensure your success.

For some extra help communicating about your new initiative and answering staff questions, click here to check out our comprehensive post on VDI FAQs.

Training

Conduct training to help staff use their new tools. Make sure to document all the training in either written or video formats so people can review the material on their own time.

Ideas for training:

  • Login procedures
  • Access VDI from outside office
  • How do I get support / help?
  • New procedures or processes – how will you work differently
  • Troubleshooting problems

Webinars and screen capture are easy ways to conduct training and document the new information.  During the presentation, record the webinar and save it to the network so that others that missed or want to review the information can access it.

Wrap up

Have you covered your bases? Make sure that you’ve addressed all the questions and concerns of your users. Start a list of questions or issues and address them before project closeout. Are there any unforeseen items or changes that need to be addressed? Maybe there are special security concerns or integration with another office system that was overlooked. Take the time during your training and communication to discuss problems and concerns and resolve each one.

Measuring success

Once you’ve completed the implementation, how do you measure success? Go back to your original implementation plan and review the goals and objectives you had for the VDI initiative.

What business problem were you trying to solve?

  • Improved mobility?
  • Reduced cost or maintenance expense?
  • Improved collaboration?
  • Reduced capital expense?
  • Rapid deployment?

Did you meet your expectations? Are your users happy?

All technology initiatives must align with and support the company’s business goals. Did you accomplish that? If you did, congratulations on a successful VDI deployment. If not, where did you fall short?

Getting Started

Are you ready to get crawling with VDIs?  Contact us today and we’ll set up a free demo for you.

Moving to a Private Cloud Ebook

Virtual Desktops (VDI) FAQs

If you’re seeking to solve a business problem and think that VDI may be the answer (but aren’t sure), you’ve come to the right place. You’re not alone on your quest to enhance your business’ IT strategy; but – as you know – there is certainly no shortage of questions that arise along the way. To help simplify a sometimes complex technology such as VDI, I’ve developed a comprehensive guide to the most frequently asked questions I’ve come across in my years as an IT professional.

What is a VDI?

A VDI is a virtual desktop computer. A VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) runs a desktop operating system, like Windows, on a virtual machine sitting in a datacenter. A VDI is created by taking a single server-class computer and slicing it into virtual standalone independent desktop computers. The software, or hypervisor (also known as a virtual machine monitor or VMM), shares the physical resources, the memory, drive space and processors of a single large server and allocates them to multiple virtual desktops or VDIs. The hypervisor balances the demand for resources on that single shared server and ensures that each VDI has adequate resources and performance. A VDI is accessed using client software or an appliance.

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Why should I use virtual desktops?

VDI or virtual desktops should be part of an overall IT strategy. As an IT leader for your company, you must identify the business problem you’re trying to solve with VDIs.

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Advance2000 IT Strategy Assessment

 

Common business needs satisfied with VDIs:

  • Collaboration
    • You have a large project and need several firms to work together in real time on a single network.
      • Solution: Project Cloud
  • Infrastructure Virtualization
    • You want to eliminate or reduce the physical hardware you use to run your business.
      • Solution: All-In Virtualization
  • Disaster Recovery
    • You need disaster recovery on demand at a failover site.
      • Solution: DR in the Cloud
  • Security
    • You want increased security. Increased mobility has led to increased vulnerability. Sensitive company data is stored on laptops and tablets and can be lost or stolen very easily. With VDIs, the data is stored in a secure environment: the datacenter. Antivirus and Malware software updates are easier to do and easier to track with VDIs. Endpoint and firewall protection is easier to implement. And finally, backups are centralized, georedundant, and easier to manage.
      • VDI Benefit: Improved Security
  • BYOD
    • You want to implement Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). With BYOD, staff supplies their own computers or other device used to access a VDI. BYOD and desktop virtualization allows desktop access and relieves the IT staff from having to support the endpoint devices themselves. Some firms will even subsidize the costs for users who choose to bring their own devices. This can reduce the expense of buying user laptops and desktops.
      • VDI Benefit: Reduce Hardware Cost
  • Reduce IT Management and Maintenance Costs
    • Reducing IT cost is a goal for most companies. Supporting users using VDI and reducing or eliminating desktop and laptop management costs can save significant money. Many tools and applications are used to manage desktops and laptops, like those for software deployment, inventory, OS patch management and antivirus protection. Virtualization consolidates your IT infrastructure and makes it easier to centrally manage and support users’ desktops.
      • VDI Benefit: Reduce IT costs
  • Mobility
    • Many firms need anytime, anywhere access to business computers and data. VDI provides complete mobility; the only thing needed is a data connection.
      • VDI Benefit: Work From Anywhere
  • Software Portability
    • Using VDI, you can make special software used to run your business available anywhere you have an internet connection. You can run compute intensive applications from low-powered laptops or even a tablet since all the “heavy lifting” is done on the VDI in the datacenter. The only things that travels across the data connection are screen updates, mouse clicks, and keystrokes.
      • VDI Benefit: Application Mobility
  • Finally, Lower Costs
    • Running five offices of IT equipment is more expensive than operating a single office of IT. By consolidating your IT infrastructure into a single datacenter location, you reduce your capital expenses (buy less) or convert them into operating expenses (DaaS) which creates a more favorable tax situation.
      • VDI Benefit: Reduce IT Costs

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How do I connect to a VDI? Aren’t the graphics on a VDI poor?

You connect to a VDI using a remote display protocol. Current display protocols have eliminated poor VDI graphics performance. There are many different protocols available to use. Some of the most common remote display protocols are:

  • PC Over IP (Teradici)
  • RemoteFX (Microsoft)
  • Blast Extreme (VMware)
  • High Definition Experience (Citrix HDX)
  • Remote Graphics Software (HP – RGS)

These protocols have special graphics capabilities to optimize your remote desktop experience. With sufficient bandwidth, the screen painting and mouse lag that once plagued VDIs has been eliminated.

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If I personalize the VDI, will my changes be saved?

All VDI users can connect to their own desktops and applications, like they would sitting at a local workstation. There are two types of VDIs.

  • Persistent VDIs: Users can personalize their desktops and the changes are saved and stored with the VDI. All personalization is saved.
  • Non-Persistent VDIs: The user is accessing a random virtual desktop from a pool of shared resources. All personalization is lost.

For certain uses – training rooms for example – you might want a clean, fresh desktop each time the user connects. For that, a non-persistent VDI makes sense since it is wiped clean each time the user connects.

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What do I use to connect to a VDI?

You can connect to a VDI in a variety of ways.

Thin Client: A thin client is a hardware device running a lightweight operating system. Thin clients are popular because they need less maintenance, are easier to manage, are less prone to virus and malware attacks, and have a longer life. Thin clients use less power and are less expensive than a traditional PC.

Zero Client: The zero client is basically a smaller, cheaper thin client. It needs very little configuration, uses less power and has no operating system.

Thick clients or old PCs: Old PCs can be repurposed to connect to VDIs. Using your old PCs to connect to VDI does not reduce the premise based hardware you need to maintain and troubleshoot. Old PCs also still need a local operating system and anti-virus and other local software, with on-going associated costs. Using traditional PCs to connect to virtual desktops, you lose some of the benefits of VDI, such as reduced power consumption, central management, and increased security. Reusing old PCs is a green choice, but be careful; you may end up using more power and spending more time maintaining them as they age. There are special operating systems you can load on an old PC that will effectively convert it into a thin client. This might be a good compromise.

Laptops and docking stations: Chromebooks or other laptops with docking stations can be used to connect to your VDIs. The same arguments apply to these devices as to thick clients above. Be careful of additional power usage and maintenance. Also support for multi-monitors may be limited.

Tablets and Phones: Tablets and phones can be used to access your VDI. Some tablets are equivalent to full-blown desktop PCs, but others may have limited output capability and may even lack simple mouse support, so beware. You can work from a phone, but this is a last resort; you would not want to work on it for an extended period of time.

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Why would I do this now?

  1. VDIs are easier to manage and maintain than full desktop and laptop PCs.
  2. The current generation of VDIs have better graphics and equal performance to a desktop PC.
  3. Bandwidth, required to connect to a VDI, has dropped in price. Buying a lot of bandwidth is not going to bankrupt any company. Even very small firms can afford the bandwidth needed to successfully deploy VDIs.
  4. VDI is a mature technology. In the past, using VDIs meant giving up performance and graphics capabilities. Those issues have been largely eliminated. A well-designed VDI can perform (or outperform) as well as a similarly specified physical desktop PC.

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Who are the leading VDI vendors?

Hyper-V is Microsoft’s virtualization platform running on a Windows Server. Multiple virtual desktop sessions can be created using Hyper-V. It supports the Windows OS as well as Linux and Windows Server OS.

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is part of Microsoft Windows Server and allow users to remotely access graphical desktops and Windows applications.

Citrix XenDesktop (XenApp) is an enterprise-class VDI platform that delivers virtual desktops and virtualized applications. It uses the Citrix HDX protocol or NVIDIA GRID vGPU technologies to support virtualized graphics.

VMware Horizon offers virtual desktops, apps and other online services. The platform supports virtual machines running Windows, and connects with devices running Windows, Mac OS or Linux. It supports a number of different graphics protocols such as PCOIP, Blast, and RDS.

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How do I choose a VDI Vendor?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a VDI product. You take into account features, setup and maintenance, as well as licensing and ongoing support. You also determine which technologies your organization needs.

Consider the following questions when choosing a VDI vendor:

  • Which operating system do you need? E.g., MacOS is not available as a VDI.
  • Do you plan to provide persistent or non-persistent desktops?
  • Are you going to deliver entire desktops with applications or just deliver applications using a virtualization tool?
  • Do your users have high-performance graphics needs?
  • If a data circuit goes down, how will downtime or slow performance impact your company?
  • What types of users do you have? What kinds of VDIs do they need? Do they have special computing or graphics needs?
  • Do you have an implementation plan?
  • Will your staff need special training to use VDIs?
  • Who will support and maintain your VDIs – in-house staff or will you outsource?
  • Will specialized training or certifications be needed for your IT staff to support this environment?

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Should I outsource VDI (Desktops as a Service) or do it myself?

You can outsource the entire VDI experience to a company like Advance2000. Advance2000 provides Desktops as a Service (DaaS).  We host and maintain the back-end infrastructure to provide VDIs. Some DaaS providers, like Advance2000, can provide an entire virtual hosted IT infrastructure in addition to virtual desktops (VDI). Your servers as well as your desktops can be hosted and provided as a monthly service.

Pros: Users can access hosted desktops from any device, location, or network. Provider manages all the infrastructure. DaaS lowers the upfront and on-going costs.

Cons: Licensing can be complicated. Some software will not run on a VDI. In addition to software compatibility, you need to choose a stable, experienced desktop provider. You are relying on another company to keep your business running. Using DaaS requires higher external bandwidth requirements than an on-premise deployment since you are accessing your VDI over the internet or a dedicated data circuit.

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How do I deploy VDI?

Once you’ve assessed your organization’s needs, planned a strategy to meet your requirements, and you are ready to deploy VDI, how do you start?

At Advance2000, we recommend a Crawl, Walk, Run approach. Implementation begins with a demo. A demo allows you to try the solution for yourself and make sure that it really works as promised. The next step would be to do a single project on a small number of VDIs, a project cloud. This is the true test to measure and experience the real cost and productivity savings. Once you are satisfied that this works, you can create additional project clouds or proceed to an ALL-IN solution to replace all your onsite infrastructure with the Advance2000 cloud (ALL-IN).

When considering an ALL-IN approach, there are many ways to move your whole company to the cloud. You can do it by department, by project or by office. Depending on your needs, each approach can be easily work to get your business 100% in the cloud. Advance2000 can work with you to determine the best way to handle the migration to the cloud.

Any software that runs on a standard Windows OS will run on a VDI. There is no learning curve or training needed and the performance is equal to or better than a physical desktop PC. Some software may have licensing restrictions about running on a VDI; check your EULA to make sure you are in compliance.

When moving your IT infrastructure to the cloud, you will need more bandwidth than you typically need for internet-only access. Our VDIs require 1.5 MBPS for each cloud desktop running. For example, a 50-person office would need 75 MBPS of bandwidth.

Finally, you need to plan how you will migrate your data to the cloud. For smaller data requirements, less than 1 TB, we can upload your data over your internet connection after regular work hours. For large amounts of data, or to migrate faster, we can send you a storage appliance to copy your data and then ship it to us to load. Once we have your data and have built your servers and virtual desktops, you are ready to go live. We usually plan the final migration cutover on a weekend. On Monday morning your staff logs into their new desktops in the cloud and continues to work as usual.

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How do I calculate my VDI ROI? Is it worth doing?

Virtual desktop infrastructure can reduce costs, increase productivity, support mobility, and provide more flexibility for applications. But is it worth the investment? How can you determine the potential return on investment (ROI)? Many factors go into calculating VDI ROI: there are hard costs, like hardware, and soft costs, like training and increased productivity. You need to identify and quantify the costs and then compare that to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Implementing virtual desktops won’t necessarily save you a lot of money, but if the implementation of virtual desktops is the same or similar to the cost of physical hardware, and you get all the benefits of VDI, this will help you identify your VDI ROI. There are many factors to consider before moving to VDI. You need to identify the types of users and VDIs you will need. You need to pick a vendor and platform and then start to define your costs. These are some of the typical areas of costs and savings when using VDI.

  • CAPEX – Capital purchases
  • OPEX – Operational expenses
  • Lower maintenance cost
  • Increased productivity
  • Lower power usage
  • Improved mobility
  • Better security
  • Built in DR
  • Built in backup
  • Improved collaboration
  • Support costs

For a more in depth look at Cloud ROI.

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What is the business problem you are trying to solve by moving to VDI?

There are many benefits to deploying virtual desktops, but it always returns to the question, “What business problem are you trying to solve with VDI?” Whether that is improved staff mobility, lowering IT expenses, or reducing your hardware maintenance, determine if VDI aligns with your corporate goals and meets your needs.

  1. Are you supporting remote users?
  2. Do you want to reduce hardware maintenance costs?
  3. Will you replace your current hardware with thin or zero clients as it goes end-of-life?
  4. Are you trying to virtualize an application and make it available to your staff?
  5. Are you consolidating and reducing the quantity of hardware?
  6. Do you need to collaborate better?
  7. Are you trying to allow your IT staff the time to be more strategic?
  8. Do you need your staff to be more mobile or are you looking to hire remote staff?

Identify your business challenge to see if VDI is the solution. If moving to a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure makes sense for your company, contact us and we can get you in the cloud.

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