Imagine that you’re an engineer working for an aircraft manufacturer. The main portion of your job revolves around designing. You use software and hardware to help you do this; A computer, laptop or tablet and the applications necessary for creating 3D models. When you travel it is difficult to do work because you need powerful hardware to run your applications. Laptops might suffice, but tablets fast becoming another great way to be efficient while “on the go”. Installing high-level graphics cards, however, on every tablet – for every worker – is expensive.
Now imagine if each mobile device could efficiently render a 3D image of an aircraft by using centralized power from servers. Users are able to access this power from any device, even those without a powerful graphics cards. This is exactly what European company, Airbus, is doing through VDI. This is a great article to read.
Even if we’re in Maine, it’s important to acknowledge the attempts other companies are making to be more efficient. Airbus is currently going through a restructuring of its business and during this process they will probably research heavily new technologies that could boost efficiency. Businesses in Maine that are also looking to implement 21st century technology can observe these trends by larger corporations and take note.
The main reason that Airbus is implementing VDI is because it saves them time. I welcome comments from other perspectives, but I would say that time is the biggest reason in this situation. Getting users up and running quickly creates a culture of adaptation and flexibility. This type of flexibility makes the company leaner because it streamlines a process that once was rigid. For example, the typical way of doing things would have been to purchase extremely high end devices and have employees use them. Now, employees can use any device, regardless of its power, and be guaranteed the rendering needed to work on processor-intensive applications.
Users also become unfazed by software updates. In fact, “unfazed” might be too lite a term. The only thing a user does is log into their interface on whichever device and patches are done automatically on the server. This means that each user is given (or not “given”, but has access to) this update and the IT department isn’t scrambling around to each device to ensure the update was successful.
Arnaud Albinet, Project Manager at Airbus, describes this perfectly:
The desktop is just a clone of the master desktop which is constantly updated. When you want to deploy an application, you don’t need to deploy it on each desktop, you deploy it on the master desktop and then you replicate.
This has also created mobility for employees. The term mobility has been used since we moved from horses to cars. It has also been a popular term for cell phones – which we now simply call “mobile devices”. But VDI is the true “holy grail”, so to speak, of the mobility movement known as BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) because it frees users from being pigeonholed to one device.
I know what Albinet means when he says that VDI was appealing, not because of the cost savings, but rather because of flexibility in the tool. Economically, however, flexibility ends up resulting in a lot of cost savings. As we move forward with progress in VDI technology I’m sure the ability to audit its efficiency will only improve.