During the past decade, server virtualization has become a mainstream way for businesses to gain more efficiency from existing physical infrastructure.
Desktop virtualization takes this further, offering independence from the traditional work station. This technology is still in its infancy and is limited to certain use cases – and one such case for desktop virtualization is in the healthcare industry, which can benefit greatly from the security and isolation desktop virtualization offers.
Managing a distributed environment of client machines — all containing sensitive information — calls for a rethink of how we manage multi-user, client-server architecture. Desktop virtualization is the most significant opportunity for healthcare organizations to better centrally manage their desktops without losing control of applications, locally stored data and data security.
Let’s consider some of the uses for desktop virtualization in healthcare:
Workspaces over profiles
The concept of a user or group profile is not new and there are many tools that allow staff to roam around an office or campus network while maintaining access to their files and applications.
Desktop virtualization goes beyond multi-user profiles and offers a fully customizable — and controllable — desktop environment that can be managed and deployed centrally, by offering:
- A fully contained workspace with set security controls
- A standard operating environment (SOE) for different roles
- Access to the same environment in any approved location, like a hospital or clinic
- The ability to secure the data in the virtual desktop
The other significant advantage virtualization offers over profiles is good support for different types of client machines, including different versions of Windows. Virtual desktops and applications can be deployed to most end-points.
Getting VDI right
Desktop virtualization offers many benefits; however, it is not without its challenges.
The biggest challenge is getting the infrastructure right to host the desktops so they can be accessed over the network on demand. This virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) usually consists of a high-performance server and storage equipment designed to offer low-latency and high I/O.
The business benefit of VDI is a high-performance cloud that can be used to host desktops and servers, even if in recent years the trend has been to keep VDI separate from server applications. With a VDI cloud in place, as a healthcare CIO you have a modern “fabric” for an operating system and application management.
Desktop virtualization is best for healthcare staff
VDI can help employees securely access specialized applications on the go, and reduces downtime in an environment – like healthcare – where time is of utmost importance.
Virtual desktops can also be deployed on demand to meet changing staff requirements, which is common in healthcare workplaces.
Now is a definitely good time to investigate the benefits of desktop virtualization – contact your IT vendors and see what they can offer.