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Multi-Cloud VDI: A Guide to Kickstart Success (Part One)

October 27, 2023

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) empowers employees to work remotely using company-supplied devices or their own devices according to an organization’s policies and access company resources to work from anywhere, anytime.

Since the global pandemic, VDI deployment has skyrocketed. One post-pandemic forecast anticipated the pandemic would influence 70 percent of VDI business cases by 2023.

In tandem, cloud computing is also rapidly evolving. Increasingly, organizations are moving away from outsourcing all computing to a single cloud provider, instead opting for a hybrid or multi-cloud arrangement. Whereas a hybrid environment involves some combination of public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises computing, multi-cloud uses multiple cloud services from more than one public cloud provider, like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.

According to a Microsoft survey, multi-cloud deployments increased faster over the pandemic than almost any other deployment model—second only to hybrid—and are expected to grow over the next two years.

Benefits of a Multi-Cloud Approach

A multi-cloud computing environment offers a range of compelling benefits. First and foremost, it enhances resilience and ensures high availability by spreading workloads across multiple cloud service providers, mitigating the risk of downtime due to a single provider’s outages.

Furthermore, it fosters cost optimization through flexibility, as organizations can select the most cost-effective cloud services for each specific application or workload. This approach also promotes vendor diversity, reducing the risk of vendor lock-in and providing greater negotiation leverage.

Multi-cloud environments enhance data sovereignty, allowing organizations to store data in different geographic regions to meet regulatory compliance requirements. Additionally, they boost agility by enabling the seamless integration of best-of-breed services from multiple cloud providers, offering more robust solutions, and supporting innovation.

A multi-cloud strategy can provide a host of enhancements to VDI operations, including:

  • Improved Redundancy and Reliability: By distributing VDI resources across multiple cloud providers or regions, you reduce the risk of downtime due to outages or failures in a single cloud, ensuring high availability for VDI users.
  • Scalability: Multi-cloud allows you to quickly scale VDI resources up or down based on demand, ensuring optimal performance during peak usage.
  • Geographic Optimization: You can strategically deploy VDI resources in cloud regions closest to your users, reducing latency and improving the overall user experience.
  • Cost Optimization: Multi-cloud strategies enable organizations to use competitive pricing and discounts from cloud providers. You can choose cost-effective options for various aspects of your VDI infrastructure.
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Multi-cloud redundancy provides a robust disaster recovery solution. If one cloud experiences a significant outage, our VDI services can fail over to another cloud provider, ensuring business continuity.
  • Security and Compliance: Cloud providers offer varying security features and certifications. You can select the cloud services that align best with your security and compliance requirements for different VDI use cases.
  • Innovation and Access to Services: Cloud providers offer various services and tools, allowing you to leverage the most innovative and suitable services for your VDI operations.

Creating a multi-cloud VDI blueprint

If your organization is considering moving to multi-cloud (or if you’re already operating in multi-cloud), there is a list of considerations to analyze and implement to optimize your VDI environment.

Choosing Public Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft® Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are the three major CSPs. Each CSP offers a wide range of services, including computing, storage, networking, databases, and analytics. They also provide various VDI solutions, including managed and unmanaged services.

AWS is the oldest and most mature CSP. It offers various VDI services, including Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Amazon VDI), and Amazon AppStream 2.0. AWS VDI is a managed service providing users with virtual desktops and applications. Amazon WorkSpaces is a self-service VDI solution allowing users to create and manage virtual desktops. Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a streaming application service that allows users to access applications without installing them on their devices.

Azure is another leading CSP. It offers various VDI services, including Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). AVD is a managed VDI service providing users with virtual desktops and applications. WVD is a self-service VDI solution allowing users to create and manage virtual desktops.

GCP is the newest of the three significant CSPs. It offers various VDI services, including Cloud Dataproc and Cloud Dataproc Metastore. Cloud Dataproc is a managed Hadoop and Spark service that can be used to run big data applications. Cloud Dataproc Metastore is a managed Hive metastore service.

When choosing CSPs for VDI, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • Features and functionality: Make sure the CSPs you choose offer the features and functionality you need, such as support for different operating systems, applications, and hardware platforms.
  • Performance and reliability: Choose CSPs that offer high-performance and reliable VDI services.
  • Pricing: Compare the pricing of different CSPs to find the best deal.
  • Security and compliance: Ensure the CSPs you choose to meet your security and compliance requirements.

Data Management and Storage

Data security is a top priority for any organization. When implementing a multi-cloud VDI solution, protecting your data from unauthorized access, theft, and loss is essential. Critical considerations for VDI include:

  • Data security considerations: Security is paramount regarding VDI in a multi-cloud environment. You should prioritize data security by implementing encryption, access controls, and other security measures to safeguard sensitive information. Moreover, ensure that your chosen CSPs adhere to the security and compliance standards.
  • Data redundancy and backup strategies: To mitigate the risk of data loss, robust redundancy and backup strategies are required. Leveraging data redundancy across multiple CSPs and implementing regular backups will help ensure data availability, even in unexpected outages or data corruption.

Network Infrastructure

  • Ensuring low-latency connections: Low-latency connections are vital for VDI to provide a smooth user experience. Utilize content delivery networks (CDNs), edge computing, and optimized network configurations to minimize latency, especially in a multi-cloud setup.
  • Load balancing and traffic optimization: Implement load balancing techniques and traffic optimization to distribute workloads evenly across the selected CSPs. This ensures efficient resource utilization, enhances performance, and provides high availability for your VDI services.

Load Balancing and Traffic Optimization

Load balancing and traffic optimization are essential for improving the performance and reliability of multi-cloud VDI deployments. Some best practices for load balancing and traffic optimization include:

  • Use a load balancer to distribute traffic across multiple clouds: This can help to improve performance and reliability for users in different parts of the world.
  • Use a CDN to deliver static content to users with low latency: This can help improve the performance of your VDI environment for users accessing it from remote locations.
  • Use a traffic optimization solution to reduce latency and improve bandwidth usage: This can be especially helpful for users accessing your VDI environment from over low-bandwidth connections.

Virtualization Technologies

VDI software, such as VMware Horizon, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, and others, form the backbone of your virtual desktop infrastructure. Understand the features and capabilities of these options to determine which aligns best with your multi-cloud environment’s needs.

  • Integration with Multi-Cloud Environment: Ensure the chosen VDI software seamlessly integrates with your multi-cloud setup. Compatibility, data migration tools, and API support are vital factors to consider when ensuring a harmonious integration.

Security Measures

  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): Implement robust IAM solutions to control access to your VDI resources. This includes multi-factor authentication, role-based access controls, and identity federation to maintain a strong security posture.
  • Encryption and compliance standards: Data encryption, both in transit and at rest, should be non-negotiable. Adhere to relevant compliance standards in your industry and location, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or SOC 2, to protect sensitive data and maintain regulatory compliance.

Security is top of mind with almost every organization member, and IT is its first line of defense. VDI environments have some crucial additional security considerations, including:

Unlocking the Power of Multi-Cloud VDI: Your Blueprint for Success

As organizations navigate the dynamic landscape of remote work and the evolving cloud computing arena, a well-executed multi-cloud VDI strategy can be a game-changer. The benefits of enhanced resilience, cost optimization, vendor diversity, data sovereignty, and innovation make it a compelling choice for VDI operations.

By carefully selecting the right public cloud service providers, implementing robust data management and storage practices, optimizing network infrastructure, and leveraging virtualization technologies, you can create a blueprint for VDI success in a multi-cloud environment.

As we move forward, the synergy between VDI and multi-cloud promises to empower organizations with the flexibility, scalability, and robustness needed for the challenges of the digital age.

Ready to implement a multi-cloud VDI blueprint? See how to strategize a successful transition and ensure next-level performance through proactive management.

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