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What are the benefits of on-premises hosting for virtual desktops?

IT shouldn't overlook the benefits of on-premises desktop hosting, such as more choices for virtualization software. Cloud-hosted desktops also fall short in areas such as infrastructure control.

When it comes to VDI implementation, organizations can choose between hosting virtual desktops on premises and hosting them on the public cloud.

Although some desktop admins would say that the cloud is the best platform for VDI, there are some key benefits of on-premises hosting that cloud-based desktops don't provide.

Benefits of on-premises desktop hosting

Wider range of software choices. One of the benefits of on-premises hosting is that IT pros have the freedom to choose whichever software works best for their organization. Organizations can select from a range of vendors, including Citrix, VMware and Microsoft, for their virtualization software.

Some cloud-based virtual desktop providers force customers to use specific desktop image sizes or versions of different OSes. When an organization hosts its virtual desktops on premises, it remains in control of these factors.

Stronger control over back-end infrastructure. Another benefit of on-premises hosting is IT's access to all aspects of the back-end hosting infrastructure. IT professionals can use whatever management, monitoring and capacity planning tools they desire. They can also make low-level configuration changes to the infrastructure when necessary. In contrast, cloud providers often hide the underlying infrastructure from view and force subscribers to use proprietary management tools.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of on-premises hosting is the ability to minimize latency.

Minimizing latency. Perhaps the biggest benefit of on-premises hosting is the ability to minimize latency. When an organization hosts virtual desktops on premises, the users have direct, high-speed connectivity to their virtual desktops. Any existing latency should be negligible.

When an organization hosts virtual desktops in the cloud, users' traffic must compete for bandwidth on a WAN link that could be congested. There is also a much greater chance for network communications to encounter significant latency because the virtual desktops are located remotely.

More cost certainty. On-premises VDI deployment delivers predictable costs. Conversely, cloud providers bill subscribers based on the resources that they consume within a given month. This means that cloud-based desktop subscribers' costs can vary widely as user workloads fluctuate.

This was last published in April 2019

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Which of these advantages of on-premises desktops is the most attractive for your organization?
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You are forgetting proximity to your company data, which is by far the largest benefit of why server based computing was created.  It still holds true today in the cases where you have large volumes of on-prem data and either a fat client application or custom built front end that hasn't also migrated to the cloud.  Having your corporate desktop in the cloud doesn't help at all in those scenarios, and only adds slowness and lag.
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