May 25, 2016
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions, such as VMware Horizon View, allow IT administers to spin up virtual instances of computer desktop operating systems and disseminate them to the rest of the workforce. Among other benefits, VDI saves an enormous amount of time on the IT side. Admins no longer need to update endpoints one at a time. Instead, they can centrally manage and troubleshoot each virtual machine (VM).
However, VDI solutions require connection to the main network in order to access a particular virtual machine. Without that connection, the employee is without access to their desktop. VMware’s solution to this persistent problem is called VMware Horizon FLEX, and it serves as a powerful supplement to the VDI VMware Horizon View deployment or as its own standalone solution.
What is VMWare Horizon FLEX?
VMware Horizon FLEX is a VDI software that operates very much like VMware Horizon View. Both technologies create a virtual machine to power an instance of a desktop operating system, which is accessed and used by the physical endpoint. The key difference between these two involves where the virtual machine is housed.
In a standard VMware Horizon View deployment, the virtual machine is hosted within the on-prem or colocated data center—users must access it remotely through a network connection. Horizon FLEX is different. With Horizon FLEX, the virtual machine is actually installed within the device itself, so the user can work with their virtual desktop anywhere, anytime, and both on or offline.
VMWare Horizon FLEX Use Cases
- Traveling Employees: Connection to the corporate network at all times is not realistic for an employee who is always on the road. When the VM is housed within the endpoint itself, traveling employees can still get their work done offline.
- Macs: More and more these days, workers are bringing Mac computers into the corporate environment. An entirely different operating system to manage creates another layer of complexity for IT. With Horizon FLEX, IT can standardize the operating system across all devices.
- Contractors / Temporary Employees: Many companies make use of contract workers as a recurring part of their business. These new 3rd party employees often have short stints with the company. Their brief involvement in a project may not justify the full purchase of a laptop endpoint. Horizon FLEX can be installed on their own personal laptop with unique security measures to protect company data.
- BYOD Environment: VDI also lends itself to bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives. Users can bring in their own tablets and laptops, and IT can create virtual desktops for them with unique security measures to protect the company’s data. This is especially valuable when using contract workers.
Despite the fact that the virtual desktop is installed on the user’s endpoint, it can still be managed centrally by the IT team. From the main office, IT administrators can leverage several powerful features to maintain security.
- Expiration: When a contracting company completes its assignment, it would be easy to simply walk away with the virtual desktop and retain an entry point to your environment. An administrator can program a particular instance of the desktop to expire on a certain date to ensure that when a project is over, the virtual desktop is no longer accessible.
- Lock-Down: If an employee’s laptop, whether permanent or temporary, is stolen or lost, the IT team can lock down the VDI instance remotely and make it so that whoever recovers the device will not be able to use the virtual desktop.
Horizon FLEX Expands Upon the Work of Horizon View
Both Horizon FLEX and Horizon View bring their own value to an organization, but together, they can create a robust VDI program that truly covers all the bases. BYOD, remote, traveling, and in-office workers will all have access to a virtual desktop that is centrally managed by the IT team. If VDI is in your crosshairs for 2016, consider completing the deployment with VMware Horizon FLEX.
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