Business of Engineering

Utilizing VDI and cloud technology for pandemic preparedness

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many employees to work from home, which can be an issue for companies that require high-end graphic design.

By Israel Sumano May 19, 2020
Courtesy: Southland Industries

With the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home is now essential for most companies. In many cases, this is not a problem – however, when dealing with companies that use software requiring high-end hardware to run graphic design (i.e., engineering and architecture firms) there can be more of a challenge.

Many companies have relied on replication, network acceleration, and caching technologies to collaborate from their offices. That said, these technologies do not enable users to work from just anywhere, including working from home.

In the past few years, cloud technologies have matured enough to become a feasible alternative to housing data in on-premise data centers. Recent cloud maturity now includes virtual desktops (VDI) with graphic processing capabilities (GPU). With this combination of VDI and GPU, data can be centralized in a way where users can access and work on the same data from any location with connectivity capabilities.

VDI with GPU support has made it possible for design work to be performed at home with no loss of productivity. This enhancement has enabled companies to continue operations with little to no disruption.

VDI benefits

VDI helps reduce long-term infrastructure (e.g., equipment and support) costs, centralize desktop management, improves data security, enable better user access, and increases desktop performance. It provides a more seamless experience across job sites and remote locations, including the ability to utilize remote designers on a job without having to replicate large files. VDI breaks down boundaries between geographically dispersed teams, particularly in work sharing, resulting in a more collaborative environment. During times of hardship as we are experiencing today with COVID-19, VDI enables users to work from home seamlessly.

Accessibility

VDI enables flexible resource opportunities, including remote hires from any location. It reduces new office and job site delivery time and cost. It can be accessed from any device, including mobile devices such as phones and tablets. VDI moves all data to a single location and brings the user to the data rather than the data to the user.

Security, stability and sustainability

When it comes to security, VDI reduces the points of intrusion and removes complexities of VPN network setup. Replication of data is reduced to a minimum for disaster recovery purposes; this reduces replication errors and replication costs. User machines can be deployed in seconds rather than days, allowing for a better onboarding experience. One single image can be used for all users reducing troubleshooting complexity.

In a recent interview about VDI, I said we had planned on being 100% Azure-based by December 2020. We’re well on track for doing that. Most of our data is already on Azure, so it’s a very sustainable model going forward as long as the users have access to the internet.


This article originally appeared on Southland’s blog, In the Big RoomSouthland is a CFE Media content partner. 


Israel Sumano
Author Bio: Israel Sumano, senior director of infrastructure services, Southland Industries