Remote desktops for power graphics: untethering your most demanding users

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can streamline the deployment and management of Windows desktops with everyday office applications. Implemented well, it offers greater flexibility and quality of service, plus reductions in risk and operational overhead.

But what about power users with more demanding software requirements, such as engineers running 3D design software or artists working on media productions? The applications they run typically require the performance and functionality of a workstation-class machine, and may not work optimally in a virtualized, shared resource environment.

The usual way to satisfy their needs is, therefore, a workstation with dedicated CPU and memory, as well as a discrete graphics card and fast local storage. Traditionally this was a job for a tower-class workstation sitting under the desk.

From the user’s perspective, this has often restricted them to a single physical location to run the applications they need – not ideal, but something that power users have learned to live with. IT teams, meanwhile, have been stuck with all of the operational and management challenges and inefficiencies associated with Windows running locally on physical desktops.

So do you have to just accept this? The short answer is no. Recent developments in rack-mounted workstations and remote-access technologies make it possible to deliver workstation performance from the data center to almost anywhere else with good network connectivity, without compromising either application performance or user experience.

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A key difference to VDI is that the user gets access to dedicated hardware, with its own graphics card, memory, and fast local storage, rather than a virtualized and shared system. Putting your workstations into the data center can also simplify the operational management and security of this high-end hardware and data, while remote-access can provide many of the same security benefits as VDI.

So if you are ready both to release your 3D artists, engineers and other power-users from the shackles of their dependency on a single physical location, and to reduce the workload on your system managers, it’s probably time to take a look at rack-mounted workstations.

If you want to know more about this approach to dealing with power-user needs, you can find more details on the benefits and practicalities in our paper “Advantage: Rack Workstation”. You can get your copy here (Registration required).

This guest post was contributed by Dale Vile of Freeform Dynamics.