With server-hosted virtual desktops (VDI), you take something that used to be a few centimeters from someone's fingertips – their Windows desktop – and move it sometimes thousands of miles away, and you expect them to be okay with that. It’s possible, but choose your technology vendor wisely, because the project’s success will hinge on the end user experience.
It’s not easy to give users an equal or better Windows desktop experience with VDI than they have with their local PC. If they rely on videoconferencing to collaborate with their colleagues, the VDI system has to work with their local webcam and it has to handle the video stream properly so they don’t get choppy voice and video. If they use a tablet, your VDI vendor’s tablet client has to be good, with intuitive touch gestures. There may need to be a way for them to install software, and they may need to use the system over a 4G/LTE network link while traveling.
To do all of these things and more across a wide range of work styles, devices, applications and networks requires sophisticated, expensive capabilities. If you choose your vendor primarily on cost, the solution you get may not have what you need to deliver an acceptable user experience – especially if your business needs change.
In Forrester’s 26-criteria evaluation of VDI we researched, analyzed, and scored seven of the most significant vendors. We gave extra attention to the capabilities you need to deliver a good user experience, including endpoint client software, graphics performance, user environment management, identity and access, and proper support for communication and collaboration software, to name just a few. We also looked at things that I&O pros care about most, like the management consoles, performance monitoring, and security features.
Like all other Forrester Wave reports, we encourage you to download the vendor scorecards and customize the weightings to reflect your own needs. Check out the report.