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Should you deploy disconnected VDI?

Disconnected VDI means remote users can access their desktops from anywhere, but there are some downsides.

What are the benefits and downsides of disconnected VDI?

When virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) first became popular a few years ago, the argument most often cited against transitioning to VDI was the fact that it didn't work when a user was offline. With so many users now working remotely or travelling, many decision-makers still discount the viability of VDI for this reason.

Support for disconnected VDI is readily available from vendors, via a "check-in/check-out" process for user desktops. But, should you give it a try? Technical roadblocks to disconnected VDI may be a distant memory, but there are still good arguments for and against using disconnected virtual desktops. Let's examine each side of the story.

Nay-sayers say "Heck no!"

The downsides to disconnected VDI include:

  • It's more expensive;
  • It's more complex to deploy, configure and maintain than network-connected VDI and
  • Syncing during desktop check-in can go slowly when using limited-bandwidth connections such as those found in hotels and at airports.

Yea-sayers say "Yay!"

The upsides to disconnected VDI include:

  • Users can securely access their desktops from anywhere, using any supported device;
  • Admins can automate backups data once users reconnect to the network;
  • It can lower hardware costs because you don't need powerful, expensive laptops for remote workers;
  • Users can work in offline mode while traveling, then sync their desktops and data during off-hours or once they return to a network and
  • Disconnected VDI makes disaster recovery easier.

The list of credible objections to disconnected VDI is dwindling compared to the advantages it offers. In fact, disconnected VDI is a natural extension of the move by IT shops to regain control over the end-user experience in a cost-effective fashion. That's why we expect more companies to adopt VDI strategies that include support for disconnected user desktops in the future.


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