Virtual desktop infrastructure became a topic for discussion at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities a little over a year ago. At that time, the agency realized that the majority of its computers were more than four years old. These would need to be replaced within a relatively short timeline unless a more efficient solution could be found.
IT consulting firms are familiar with the solution chosen at the DoDD: virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Brian Brothers, who worked as the network administration manager for the agency investigated the matter and discovered that VDI was the preferred solution. Not only would it cost less overall than purchasing multiple replacement desktop computers, but it also provided a more robust computing environment that, over time, would reduce ongoing maintenance and equipment costs. “As a cost savings measure, it was actually more affordable to switch to VDI and buy $200 thin clients instead of $500 to $600 PCs,” commented Brothers, who chose to use VMware as a virtualization solution. He chose what he calls the 'high end' of available systems because he would “rather have the speed and not use it than not have the speed and need it.”
In effect, Brothers was functioning as an IT consultant for the department, comparing viable solutions and providing expert advice about which one to adopt and how to implement it. Unlike state agencies, however, most small and medium sized businesses cannot afford to have such a person permanently on staff. Instead, they work with IT consulting companies on an as-needed basis to guide them when they need to revise their current IT solutions.