Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, Automic Blog, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

VDI: Balancing the Efficiencies and Challenges of the New Network

The factors enterprise IT departments must consider when evaluating if and when to bring on a VDI solution

Enterprise IT has experienced a rapid evolution over the past few years. Cloud has revolutionized storage and brought with it a host of new and emerging information security challenges. Consumer adoption of mobile technology has forced enterprise networks to operate in a multi-platform environment in which the technology is largely selected, procured, and controlled without the advice or consent of IT. Of the many lessons learned in recent years, perhaps the most crucial is that IT must take a proactive approach to adopting emerging technologies, rather than being forced to react to and mitigate the inevitable fire drills. Of the transformative technologies now gaining traction in the enterprise, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has stayed relatively under the radar, but is nonetheless poised to play an integral role in the ongoing IT evolution. This article will discuss the benefits of integrating VDI into the new data center, and the factors enterprise IT departments must consider when evaluating if and when to bring on a VDI solution.

While the origins of virtualization reside in the drive for server consolidation, VDI is fast becoming a staple in the new data center. Today's evolving network takes virtualization well beyond servers to a means of centralizing IT, beginning with desktop PCs and expanding to encompass the wireless computing devices proliferating throughout the enterprise, including smartphones and tablets. The expansive adoption is evident in the numbers. According to a report published in September 2012 by VisionGain titled "The Cloud-Based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Market 2012-2017,"the VDI market was expected to grow to $11.2 billion by the end of 2012.

The advantages of VDI, particularly for large enterprises, are clear. For one, VDI solutions reduce desktop support and management costs by bringing a wide array of devices and operating systems into a single control solution. For another, they also enable energy saving and green initiatives by lower overall energy requirements of virtual desktops. Moreover, VDI offers business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities as well as a means to secure data in the data center, which is paramount when meeting compliance and security regulations.

Progressive IT departments at colleges, law firms and retail establishments have quickly caught on to the potential of VDI to radically streamline enterprise networking. The business and technical efficiencies involved with VDI are relatively simple and straightforward in exchange for the significant improvements VDI can deliver to network manageability, security and energy efficiency.

Before an enterprise undertakes the transformation to VDI, however, data center managers must understand the potential network impact from a performance standpoint, while maintaining key criteria such as cost savings, delivery of multiple converged services, and power efficiency.

VDI Deployments and Network Security
Network security is of paramount importance in today's business environment, and the emergence of VDI in the network has enhanced today's security, namely network identity, by simplifying, centralizing and driving security within the network rather than the PC OS. Security for yesterday's network meant complex "application layer" elements of sign-on security such as LDAP directories, strong authentication, and Single Sign-On (SSO) systems. With the VDI network, traditional operating systems are eliminated, but IT must still require and implement user log on, secure policies, visibility and monitoring in order to ensure security across the network.

The Energy Efficient Network
The amount of energy consumed by data centers is enormous, and growing in tandem with the burgeoning amounts of electronic data being created and stored by enterprises the world over. At the same time, enterprises are increasingly called to task to demonstrate their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), one aspect of which is reducing their carbon footprint. The efficiency of the networking equipment deployed therefore directly impacts a data center's ‘green' credentials. As energy costs rise and CSR gains public and government mindshare, reducing energy consumption has become a focal point for many enterprises, and VDI plays an integral role in this process. By centralizing resources and bringing in much higher speeds at the port level, VDI significantly improves the energy efficiency of the network. Rather than deploying multiple tiers and distributed Gigabit Ethernet LANs, suddenly the horsepower is consolidated into a single core layer providing the bandwidth necessary for all VDI connections. This allows much higher density 10 Gigabit Ethernet port modules on chassis type switches to easily collapse all traffic into just a few network switches. VDI implementations also contribute to energy savings at the device level. By enabling IT to easily manage smartphones and tablets operating on multiple platforms, energy-gobbling desktops can be replaced with these smaller, more energy efficient mobile devices. In the end, VDI is highly efficient, more powerful and easier for IT to manage.

Converging Voice and Video for VDI Deployments
Once the considerations for bandwidth and system centralization have been addressed, the issue of carrying converged media (mixed voice, video and data) comes to the fore. Just like traditional networks, the VDI network backbone still must handle convergence flawlessly so that all users have a consistent, predictable experience. Critical activities such as IP phone calls and collaboration, e-learning activities using IP video, customer call centers, to name but a few, all depend on the network for a seamless, quality experience, and when implementing a VDI solution, IT must ensure that this remains and priority. In order to ensure this consistency and predictability, the network has to not only be equipped with 10 Gigabit and Gigabit to the edge, it also needs the intelligence, Quality of Service (QoS) and ultra-low latency switching, to seamlessly deliver voice and video traffic to users based on predetermined priorities.

Maintaining and Enhancing Security for Enterprise VDI Deployments
As enterprise networks increasingly adopt virtualization technology, there is a growing demand on IT to successfully meet the networking challenges posed by a highly dynamic virtual environment. On the one hand, VDI is a superior tool enabling users to access the network via multiple mobile and computing devices operating on multiple platforms and operating systems. On the other, this diversified access creates an environment in which policy and identity management are paramount network security considerations since users can connect to the data center from any location using a variety of devices. Just as old networks were unable to handle the growing number of connecting devices, the access management and lack of identity features with old networks won't be up to par in the new virtual landscape.

Recognizing this security challenge, more and more secure government facilities are using advanced identity management to ensure compliance and security when using VDI, setting the stage for similar deployments in the private sector with large mobile workforces. Identity-aware networking, defined by Enterprise Strategy Group as "a policy-based network architecture that understands and acts upon the identity and location of users and devices," will be the solution du jour for private sector business looking to securely deploy VDI.

Identity-aware networking is an integration effort where the network gathers information from multiple existing sources then enables IT managers to use this data to build and enforce access policies. The best-of-breed network has the intelligence to dynamically collect and update information about users, devices, and location as the users connect to the VDI infrastructure and just as important, enforce policies once they are on the network. The business, regulatory compliance, and security ROI benefits available with the identity-aware network become the new norm, carrying the burden away from those that had to maintain application-layer security.

Network-based identity for VDI is associated with things like IP and MAC addresses, VLAN tags, and subnets that play a role in device authentication, VPNs, and IPSEC. With VDI, network layer security takes over. It is based on a number of inputs, including the user-id and role of the user, specific device characteristics and capabilities, and user/device location. Identity-aware networking wants to know if the user is logging on from a trusted or untrusted network, or whether a user is accessing the network from a wired port or over Wi-Fi. Furthermore, network access policies may need to change from one location within a facility to the next.

With most deployments, the IT department will strive to meet the needs of varying mobile users and disparate devices. At the network level, more granular network access policies based upon user roles, device types, and physical locations are required. The network then has to scale bandwidth, handle converged communications appropriately and bring network layer security policy that is not tied to any single device or application.

There are significant advantages to VDI, including a more centralized streamlined, and energy efficient network, but before implementing VDI, enterprise IT must ensure that the necessary protocols are in place to preserve network security in this new virtual environment. VDI demands an identity approach and a more aware network in order to satisfy security and compliance requirements. Only when data center managers closely examine the network's role in meeting key criteria such as cost savings, power efficiency, user and device identity, and ease-of-use can VDI truly progress towards becoming a new norm in computing.

More Stories By Sameer Mohile

Sameer Mohile is a senior software product manager at Extreme Networks where he leads the product direction and strategic planning for Data Center and Mobile Backhaul markets. He has over 12+ years of expertise in the networking and collaboration industry and is certified Agile Product Owner with deep experience leading cross-functional teams. Prior to his position at Extreme Networks, Sameer held positions as marketing product manager and technical marketing engineer at Cisco Systems. He holds a Masters in Computer Networking from North Carolina State University and an MBA with a specialization in product marketing from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...