ARN: Virtual desktops: User tips from the trenches

By Tim Greene

The lure of virtual desktop infrastructure - less costs for endpoints, reduced power requirements, lower management costs, better security - is compelling but mastering the environment is tricky, say users that have embraced the technology. VDI is not for everybody, customers agree, but despite its pricey initial costs and the need to tweak in order to keep performance high, interest in the technology is growing, says IDC, with sales of virtual client computing to grow from an actual $2.3 billion in 2011 to a projected $3 billion-plus by 2015, a third of that specifically VDI. For instance, Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina, deployed VDI to executives about a year and a half ago, and it reaped security benefits. Rather than hundreds of hard drives distributed on workstations around the hospital that contained patient information, all that data was stored centrally. None of them was stored on the workstations themselves, says Ed Ricks, vice president of information systems and CIO at the hospital.