Virtualization News

Healthcare Virtual Desktop Deployments On the Rise

A recent survey found that the healthcare industry stands to gain more from virtual desktop deployments than any other vertical.

Healthcare virtual desktop deployments are on the rise.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is steadily rising in popularity because of its centralized management and cost reduction.

The interest in VDI has grown significantly in the past several years. According to a report by Login VSI, the number of IT professionals interested in or already utilizing some kind of desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) has increased from 18 percent to 55 percent over the past two years.

The survey polled over 500 IT professionals, the vast majority in technical positions such as engineers, administrators, or architects.

Healthcare was recognized as the top vertical for VDI and SBC usage, the survey found. The adoption of VDI in healthcare rose significantly from last year’s survey, overtaking finance for the top spot.

“Providing DaaS, anywhere access, centralized management and flexible working are the key drivers for VDI usage,” report authors stated.

There are many advantages to VDI, but the survey pointed out several challenges organizations struggle with during and after deployment.

Overall cost reduction is the top challenge. While virtualization generally saves money over time, initial implementation can be costly.

Organizations are also hindered by making the user experience smooth, especially in WAN and high latency environments. VDI solutions that are not user friendly can be counterproductive and slow down workflow instead of streamlining it. Respondents also found that user experience can suffer with performance rich media, such as audio and graphics.

The survey also discovered that there was an increase in licensing as a challenge. While this was not a top concern for respondents, licensing challenges are growing in public cloud/DaaS and remote application scenarios because they are more complex.

The biggest reason organizations deploy VDI is to provide remote application access for users. Remote application access gives users more flexibility and allows them to securely access their personal desktop environment from any approved device.

Several other top reasons for VDI adoption outlined in the survey include supporting flexible working environments, centralized management, increased security, cost reduction, support of legacy applications, support of bring-your-own-device programs, and lower energy consumption.

The survey also delved into what makes up some of the most popular VDI deployments.

Nearly half of organizations (46 percent) are deploying Citrix XenDesktop, with VMware Horizon View the next most popular (25 percent). Other deployments include Workspot, and Microsoft RDS Windows Server 2012 (R2) and 2016.

Citrix’s longevity in the industry results in the largest userbase. However, 70 percent of VDI deployments use a VMware vSphere hypervisor.

Hypervisors are used to monitor virtual machines by creating and running the VMs within a server or host machine. The hypervisor controls how much of the host machine’s processing power and memory is being used by user’s desktop, to prevent multiple virtual machines from interfering with each other.

The survey also found that Windows 7 is the main platform for VDI, with more than half of deployments using it. That was followed by Windows 10 with one-third of the deployments. However, report authors stated that Linux is utilized for specific use-cases, many of which are healthcare related.

One of the biggest survey takeaways was that organizations are not using application virtualization solutions along with their VDI environments. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said that they do not use an application virtualization solution.

Report authors suggested that the reason for the lack of app virtualization solutions may stem from the lessening of app conflict over the past several years. Less app conflict leads to less compatibility issues, which means that app virtualization – what delivers virtual applications – is no longer a necessity.

VDI is gaining popularity in the healthcare sect because of the security, cost benefits, and improved workflow it offers users. Organizations trying to cut back on IT infrastructure costs while improving patient care can benefit greatly by implementing virtual workspaces.

Healthcare organizations are able to support a more efficient and cost-effective health IT infrastructure by opting for virtual workspaces. Clinicians can give patients better quality care when they don’t need to spend so much time logging into secure systems, and IT administrators are able to have more control over their infrastructure when it is controlled from a virtualized datacenter.


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