Nearly 100% of companies using a cloud provider currently have or plan to switch to a multi-cloud approach, not a shocker considering the convenience and flexibility of the environment. Each cloud provider, such as AWS, Google, and Azure, offers different strengths which, if combined, can serve as the architecture powerhouse organizations are trying to build. 

But with the unique benefits come inherent challenges. While multi-cloud computing is becoming a widely adopted approach among modern organizations, using the wrong end-user computing and security tools can significantly reduce its advantages. For example, many companies still rely on legacy virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platforms for end-user computing, something that in today’s world is simply not viable for companies like financial services or manufacturing, which could lose billions of dollars for only a few minutes of downtime. Desktop workloads are critical to the business and if employees cannot access them, competitiveness, production, and the business as a whole are at risk. In fact, loss in productivity often has a more serious impact on organizations than the cost of the actual service. 

Companies considering adopting a multi-cloud approach, or having difficulty with their current multi-cloud environment, must rethink their strategies. 

Obsolete systems are no match for multi-cloud 

Integrating VDI is often a core challenge when moving to a multi-cloud environment. Most VDI environments were built on hardware systems designed for the days of the on-premises enterprise when employee desktops largely remained in the office. Now, work is no longer a single location. Some employees follow a hybrid work schedule where they only commute to the office a few times a week, while others are entirely remote. Add to that, the employees that often travel for work, and we have ourselves a very complex and fluid “office” situation. Today’s employees need flexibility to work from anywhere at any time, and consistent desktop availability to ensure their productivity and work satisfaction are not jeopardized.

Companies have spent years losing money and time deploying and managing on-premises VDI – without even knowing other options were available. It can be extremely difficult to implement complex legacy VDI systems. IT teams must conduct the full deployment themselves, unless the organization hires expensive consultants who need time to ramp up to manage the project.

Anyone conducting or overseeing the project must understand its full scope – starting with architecting and procuring servers, networking, software, and storage for the predicted number of users. If the number of users isn’t properly forecasted, IT teams could severely overestimate, resulting in significant overspend. Conversely, underestimating resources can severely impact productivity and end-user satisfaction. After IT teams or their hired consultants are finished with the planning phase, they usually spend another several months integrating the VDI system into the stack and testing it with a subset of pilot users. In total, it could take an entire year before the virtual desktop project is seen all the way through. 

Unfortunately, the result of all this money and effort spent is VDI that is commonly deployed only on a single data center or cloud platform. IT must then spend even more resources and time integrating across multiple cloud providers and data centers, while continuing to test, patch, and upgrade numerous different software and hardware parts forever. And at the end of the day, the VDI is still not providing the 100% reliability, scalability, and security that the hybrid multi-cloud workforce demands.

Legacy systems prevent timely ransomware recovery

The cost of a ransomware attack averaged out to $5.13 million in 2023–a 13% increase from 2022. While the number is significant, the harsh truth is that it doesn’t even account for the total loss of productivity during remediation, which is arguably the most financially harmful result. Companies typically use a metric called recovery time objective (RTO) in disaster recovery to determine how long it will take their business to start running again post-disruption. When businesses operated on-premises, they measured RTO in days–an unsustainable and costly approach, as end-user computing workloads must recover quickly to prevent both financial and brand damages. 

In the multi-cloud era, businesses can kickstart operations again in a matter of minutes with the right tools in place. Now, they can leave their unreliable legacy end-user computing platforms in the past. Unlike obsolete technologies, cloud-native VDI can span multiple clouds and cloud regions to speed up mitigation and recovery after an attack – oftentimes within seconds or minutes instead of days or weeks.

Cloud-native VDI saves the day 

Cloud-native VDI architectures are born in the cloud, meaning they forego the costs and complexity required to deploy and manage hardware in a cloud environment or in different data centers. Unlike the do-it-yourself approach of obsolete architecture, cloud-native VDI allows IT teams to deploy cloud desktops to users in different clouds and/or cloud regions around the world, and manage everything through a single, unified pane of glass.  

With streamlined implementation and management, all users are set up in only a few days, rather than months spent wasting valuable resources. We can think of cloud-native VDI as the Netflix of virtual desktops, where organizations can stream workloads, applications, and more through one platform – at anytime and anywhere. Moreover, the ease of use for both the end-user and the IT team mitigates all the productivity challenges they may have seen with traditional approaches. Performance and scalability shine through this implementation while mitigating the long-term costs of business disruption. Users will be consistently delighted with optimal performance, IT will rest easier with security and simplicity, while the business will benefit from greater agility and flexibility. With cloud-native VDI, highly resilient organizations can easily respond to market shifts and pursue growth opportunities that were once impossible with on-premises VDI or fully contained physical PCs. 

The future of multi-cloud is modern VDI 

Gone are the days when IT teams spent all their energy working on legacy systems that just don’t work, with the dour conclusion that businesses simply can’t afford to continue on this way. Cloud-native VDI is the answer, far more sustainable and cost-effective for organizations and their employees.  

To thrive in this hybrid multi-cloud era, it’s time to let go of technologies of the past – the future of enterprise business depends on it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amitabh Sinha

Amitabh Sinha, CEO of Workspot, has more than 20 years of experience across enterprise software, end user computing, mobile, and database software. He co-founded Workspot with Puneet Chawla and Ty Wang in August 2012. Prior to Workspot, Sinha was the general manager for enterprise desktops and apps at Citrix Systems. In his five years at Citrix, Sinha was VP product management for XenDesktop and VP engineering for the Advanced Solutions Group. Sinha has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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