Does deploying VDI affect other systems?

VDI can affect areas of a company network, such as internet bandwidth. IT can mitigate the effects of VDI users by allocating resources and monitoring system performance.

Deploying VDI should not negatively affect most company systems, but the technology can have consequences in some areas.

An application server, for example, behaves the same whether the desktop is physical or virtual. The server should send and receive the same amount of network traffic for either type of desktop. Likewise, switching to virtual desktops should not place an increased workload on back-end infrastructure systems such as domain controllers, domain name servers or management servers.

Where IT will see changes is in areas such as IP address allocation and internet bandwidth consumption.

IP address allocation issues

Deploying VDI can adversely affect the IP address allocation process. In the case of thick clients, each desktop PC normally consumes a single IP address. When a desktop is hosted on VDI, however, a thin client device consumes an IP address and the virtual desktop consumes an IP address. In other words, if users work from a single device, desktop IP address consumption doubles with VDI.

The more devices users access their virtual desktops from, the more users consume IP addresses. Desktop host configuration protocol servers lease IP addresses to devices for a period of time, so even if a device connects and then immediately disconnects from the network, the IP address lease will remain in effect until it eventually expires.

Bandwidth consumption

Deploying VDI may also alter internet bandwidth usage. If users access their corporate desktops from outside the organization's firewall, each active session consumes internet bandwidth.

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Unfortunately, there is no easy way to predict how much of an effect VDI use will have on the available bandwidth. Internet bandwidth consumption will depend on the user's remote display protocol client settings and what tasks the user is performing. Playing a YouTube video within a remote desktop, for example, will consume more bandwidth than working on a spreadsheet.

IT can use network monitoring software to determine the average amount of traffic that each remote display protocol session generates and estimate the total number of people who are likely to be working remotely at a given moment. Doing so can give the organization a rough idea of the effect that remote users will have on available internet bandwidth, after deploying VDI.

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