The Great Debate- Local Desktop vs. Hosted Virtual Desktop


There is a lot of discussions these days about whether to choose hosted virtual desktops as a replacement for the age-old local desktops. But to have a clear perspective, there is should a clear understanding of the basic concepts of both the desktop environments and the features they bring to the table.

The local desktop environment, as you might be well aware of, is the physical PCs we use in our offices on a daily basis. The deployment of the desktops begins with purchasing the hardware, which then have to be configured as per the requirement of the users and the process they are working on.

This desktop environment has been adopted for decades, due to lack of a better option. However, the use of physical desktops in a local setting brings with it all the restrictions of a hardware setup.

For quite some time now, businesses were in search of an alternative for local desktops. The evolution of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) completely changed the perception of desktops.

Desktops can now be hosted in a virtualised environment on the cloud servers, also known as hosted virtual desktops. It can be accessed from smartphones with an Internet connection. It is a welcome introduction to business planning, and the budget consideration of a company as VDI offers flexible operations at low cost.

There is a wide range of cloud providers that offer hosted virtual desktop to the businesses of every sale. The virtual desktop hosting can be profitable for the companies that have a limited budget, and a large chunk of it goes to the hardware setup.

Let us look at some of the features that give hosted virtual desktop preference over local desktops.

1. Freedom from Desktop Life-cycle

The local physical desktops have a fixed life-cycle after which they need to be replaced. A local desktop goes through four main phases – Procurement, Deployment, Management, and Replacement.

The first step is to purchase the desktops from a vendor. The specifications of the desktops have to be in accordance with the requirement of the business. The next step is the deployment of desktops for the users. Then. The desktops have to be managed on a regular basis on the increase its performance and durability. Lastly, after a certain period, the desktops have to be replacement due to the malfunction of hardware or the lack of performance.

The desktop lifecycle is a recurring process and demands a constant share from the budget. A better option is hosted virtual desktops. As the desktops do not have a physical presence, there is no question of a hardware malfunction. The hosted virtual desktops do not have any fixed life-cycle. Hence, all the hassles of going through the desktop life-cycle, again and again, are avoided.

2. Ultimate Mobility

How can you access the local PCs at your office? You would go to the office and turn ON your PC. Then you would login to your desktop with the username and password.

What if you are sick and can’t come to the office? You are helpless to access the status of your tasks and can’t do a thing about it. This is the problem with local desktops – The lack of mobility. It binds your entire work and data to a physical machine, and you have to sit in front of it the entire day.

However, this is not the case with hosted virtual desktops. Due to the capabilities of cloud technology, you can access the hosted virtual desktops from any place at any time of the day. The hosted desktops are created on the remote cloud servers of the hosting provider, and you can access the desktops with the help of Internet-connected end-point devices like smartphones and tablets.

This gives employees the ability to work remotely and enhance their productivity by better utilisation of time. Remote work helps in reducing the mental stress of individuals and maintain a work-life balance.

3. Avoid Expenses

The businesses are reluctant to adopt any technology if it is putting a dent in the budget, and rightly so. The conventional local desktop environment involves multiple costs that you easily avoid by adopting hosted virtual desktops.

Firstly, the costs of the hardware itself. The local PCs are expensive to purchase and setup. They need a considerable amount of office space with power, cooling, and network equipment. As the virtual desktops are hosted in a third-party data center, all the hardware, as well as, infrastructure is provided by the hosting provider.

Secondly, the local desktop setup needs an IT team for the maintenance and upgrade of desktops. Hence, a well-skilled IT team needs to employed adding to the budget. With virtual desktop hosting, all the setup, maintenance, and upgrade are taken care of by the support team of the hosting provider.

Hence, both the capital and operational expenses are cut down to a minimum with hosted desktop services.

4. Enhanced Security

When it comes to local desktops, security is a major concern. The local infrastructure contains many loopholes which the cyber criminals can leverage very easily to launch a cyber attack. This could be a lack of advanced firewalls, anti-virus, or account authentication.

However, in the case of hosted virtual desktops, all the competent service providers deploy various security safeguards such as multi-factor authentication, data encryption, Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDS & IPS), enterprise-grade firewalls, among others to ensure high-level of security.

Moreover, since the data is stored in remote data centers, even if your hardware gets damaged, your data is still secure. All you have to do is pick up another device and log in to your hosted virtual desktop.

5. Easy Provisioning and Management

In the local desktop environment, the desktops are added as per the employee population. However, if the number of employees fluctuates, the provisioning of desktops become a tedious job. New desktops have to be purchased and configured as per the process of each employee. Moreover, if the employee count decreases, the desktops are of no use.

With hosted virtual desktops, you don’t need to worry about the provisioning and management of desktops. The virtual desktops can be added or subtracted just with the click of a button. Hence, if you want to add 50 desktops or remove 10 desktops, the process is instantaneous.

Moreover, with hosted virtual desktops, you can create desktop pools with each pool containing desktops of similar configuration. Hence, the tasks of configuring individual desktops can be eliminated saving a lot of time and effort.

Hosted Virtual Desktops Are the Future!

After analysing all the benefits that the hosted virtual desktops offer, suffice to say that it is the desktop environment to go with in the future. Hosted virtual desktops overcomes all the bottlenecks that is a part of the local desktop environment.

The ability to access the desktop from anywhere, preventing IT hassles, reducing costs, offering a secure environment, and instant provisioning of desktops are only some of the benefits that can help the businesses flourish.

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