Planning for business continuity can be a massive undertaking for the IT department as there are so many factors to consider – but there is one piece of low hanging fruit which can give even the most trench-weary IT managers some peace of mind: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Server virtualization has made the planning process for business continuity much easier. Whole racks of standby hardware have now been consolidated to one or less. Storage and Backup software vendors offer a mind numbing array of options for replicating your server infrastructure to a remote office, a colocation site, or even the cloud.
Often overlooked however is how people will access this infrastructure remotely when it comes online. Users will expect to have access to all of the same applications they use in the office on a daily basis –and this is where virtual desktops can be a lifesaver. With a few tweaks, the same master image that might be used to image individual workstations can be used to provision hundreds of virtual desktops – in minutes. Virtual desktops use the same hypervisor as your virtual servers so simply adding capacity to your existing servers and storage will allow all users to have the benefit of the identical experience they get in the office. Citrix XenDesktop allows for connections from just about any internet enabled device including iOS and Android devices giving users maximum flexibility when disaster strikes.
Mention business continuity aka disaster recovery to an IT manager and you’ll get a wide variety of reactions but the underlying sentiment common to all is: “Man I hope it works if we really need it.” With a healthy master image and some extra capacity in your datacenter, your users will be amazed at just how well it does work.