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More healthcare VDI deployments in industry's future

The number of implementations of VDI in healthcare facilities is expected to keep growing in the coming years, thanks to recent strides made in the virtualization market.

Health IT departments have gone back and forth on their feelings about adopting virtual desktop infrastructures...

in recent years.

Those that decided to not make a move to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) may have encountered preliminary challenges around cost, licensing, security and infrastructure complexities. Despite all those concerns, today's healthcare VDI products have a lot to offer as a result of some of the advancements in hardware and software made necessary because of the demands of the mobile workforce.

There are still many healthcare VDI implementations to come. A VDI installation can help health IT departments deliver a variety of health applications to a multitude of end users operating different endpoint devices. Some of the new VDI capabilities available to IT will make it easier than ever to complete a large-scale healthcare VDI deployment.

The following is a list of a few reasons why VDI will be more popular in the future than in years past.

Hope for healthcare VDI's future

Hyper-converged infrastructures
Traditionally, VDI required a separation between servers, storage and networking. This three-tiered architecture created some infrastructure management complexities for IT departments. Those challenges can be eliminated by using hyper-converged infrastructures. VDI became a popular implementation in hyper-converged environments -- where servers and storage were consolidated into a unified platform -- due to VDI's ease of deployment and management.

Bundled VDI
The success of hyper-converged products has attracted more than hardware vendors to the marketplace. Software providers have decided to build software on top of generic hardware and offer a full VDI product, equipped with their software tools. Vendors such as Dell; Cisco; Citrix Systems, Inc.; Nexenta Systems, Inc.; and Nutanix, Inc. have all built "VDI in a box" products that offer scalability, ease of management and deployment to users.

New licensing options
In a move to help consolidate the different licenses that come with Microsoft products, the company has recently begun to offer a user licensing option that includes a few key products that most hospitals and other large health organizations are using. The Enterprise Cloud Suite licensing model includes the Windows user license that permits clients access to local resources and VDI. This provides a measure of relief for potential VDI buyers, as it lets them choose between new licensing models and software bundles that are more cost-effective than traditional VDI pricing models.

Improved hardware
For cases where some users need more capabilities and have traditionally been bound to using a physical desktop, they are now able to run through VDI platforms and have a much better experience thanks to continuing VDI improvements.

Increased cloud-based services
Though application virtualization is available with VDI, more users are doing their work through mobile  Web-based applications. This trend continues to increase in popularity, and a larger portion of users are spending significantly more time inside browsers than in other areas. This also means that users' virtual desktops require less processing and, in some cases, less application management than before.

Provider groups that have not yet adopted healthcare VDI are likely to revisit the platforms available in the marketplace. There are now more VDI options that can empower users with more flexibility and aid IT teams in fulfilling BYOD security requirements.

Next Steps

Hospital uses hyper-convergence nodes in VDI deployment

Desktop virtualization can help hospitals with mobile security

Virtualization in healthcare includes remote patient consultations

This was last published in February 2016

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