Traditional PCs have high acquisition and maintenance cost; this perhaps is a technology reality. Joseph Kariithi, Business Development Manager, Next Technologies says they might be affordable; but they consume more power and may not be that secure.

During a recent awareness event in Nairobi, with a team of Cisco Systems experts, Kariithi showcased how IT can deploy Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution with an end-to-end systems approach using Cisco VXC. He said like the PCs, traditional Virtual desktop environments are costly and complex coupled with multiple components, which act as security breath points.

Cisco VXC 6215 is a new thin client that unifies voice, video, and virtual desktop into one device.

Organizations' IT demands are growing, users are demanding tablets and mobile devices in the work environment. This environment is experiencing expensive 3 to 5 year desktop refresh cycles; Windows upgrades i.e. Windows 7 to 8 and costly ongoing maintenance. In this case, complexities have become barriers to adoption of new technologies; organizations will now need to think about how well the system contributes to the business group especially at different levels that require scalability.

Before deploying a VDI, organizations need to consider the following:


What are hard and soft costs involved with the deployment of a VDI environment? These are direct or indirect cost involved with system installation and training, as part of the upfront costs a company will have to incur. The management needs to decide whether they will start small and grow incrementally.

"The more the organization digs deeper into such issues, that's when the management realizes the process is becoming difficult, costly, complex and they get a feeling it's no longer reaching at the business needs", says Kariithi.


Simplicity entails time taken to roll out virtualized desktop environments, will the solution be complex compared to traditional VDIs which have various components for instance connection brokers. Kariithi says the IT team might not be comfortable having multiple points of failure and the management might not be able to afford training to deal with VDI for example the SaaS, and management servers.

The more complex a solution is, the greater its number of potential failure points, which decreases overall reliability; and the longer it will take to diagnose and debug any issues that arise.

Therefore organizations have to look at how simple is the virtual desktop infrastructure they want to deploy especially rolling them out in production.

Scalability and High availability

Scalability becomes of equally importance; will the solution relay on shared storage? What if the organization doesn't have shared storage, do they have built in availability or they will need to re-architect for scale to ensure redundancy.

Kariithi notes that the simplest and most predictable approach is a VDI solution that has high availability built-in. The VDI solution needs to scale in cost effective steps that will much the organization's needs.

End user experience

Before thinking about the VDI solution, the organization needs to clearly understand users' workloads and how a particular solution will fit their needs.

End user experience is important for it is a deliverable to every organization. The IT team must ensure end user space is there, if approached from another angle, the VDI solution should be able to adapt to traditional networks, because of the many end points facing organizations today for instance, connections to the black berry, iPads and phones.

All the networks over which users might connect have to be checked whether the protocol is mature and can support various end-point devices require.

Openness of the architecture

A good VDI environment has to allow for adoption of virtualization technology from different vendors. It should be open enough to offer the organization's system options and flexibility in protocols.