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What are the benefits of a virtualised desktop?

Atlantis Computing, a Silicon Valley startup, is dedicated to deploying VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solutions to its customers and ITProPortal was in San Francisco last week to visit the firm at its Mountain View HQ.

So what is a virtual desktop? It is essentially the storage of a user’s desktop environment in a remote server rather than on a local PC. In a nutshell, desktop virtualisation is the process of separating your desktop operating system, applications, icons, wallpaper, folders, toolbars and data from a hardware client and onto a virtual server.

The point of the process is that you can access your personal desktop remotely via the Internet from any device on-demand. It means if somehow you leave your business laptop at home on the kitchen counter, you can still access all your work as long as you have access to another device with Internet connection.

It’s clearly a profitable idea too. Atlantis has pulled in $35 million (£21.4 million) since being founded in 2007, and has doubled its revenue, employee and business for every year that follows. It’s a success that Bernard Harguindeguy, the company’s CEO, attributes to the fact that Atlantis has not only “acquired customers fast” but also has “great solutions”.

These solutions include the fact that, from an IT perspective, virtual desktops help decrease desktop management and support costs for businesses. Since everything is managed, stored and secured centrally, a VDI solution eliminates the need to install, update and patch applications, to back up files and to scan for viruses on individual devices. The Atlantis computing virtual desktop also claims to run faster than a PC, providing better performance, a simpler design and “on-demand” fast provisioning to its users.

A key benefit of virtual desktops is also the increased security that they provide. Employees using a VDI keep all company data in a secure online space and not on a personal device that can be lost or compromised.

Take healthcare, for example. Here, virtual desktops give medical professionals access to patient records without concerns about confidential information being downloaded. For this reason, the University Hospitals of Leicester, one of the UK’s biggest NHS trusts, deployed one of Atlantis’s integrated desktop virtualisation solutions. Doing so helped to increase the performance of its centralised desktops for the 14,000 nurses, doctors and staff working on its wards.

Essentially then, desktop virtualisation is an excellent way for businesses to streamline management of software assets. Reducing costs, increasing productivity and bolstering security, it’s a solution that for the right business can be a worthwhile investment.